My 10 years working with Kentico
August 31, 2017
By: Petar Kozjak
In: Kentico, Kentico EMS
This year I have a few anniversaries to celebrate: I've been part of the digital industry for 15 years, and I've been an entrepreneur for 10 years. Finally, I've been working with Kentico for one decade. Time to take a grateful look back...
It all started during my student days, where my friends and I were looking for jobs to earn some money. We had the idea to go into IT since back then (it was 2002) having a website was a big deal. Not many companies were online yet. We built a few websites in our first year, and then started facing our first problems. The websites had to be updated regularly and our clients called up all the time to request changes. That was not such a good distraction when we were at college. We heard about something called "CMS", a tool that was supposed to remove this terrible burden off our back and give our customers the freedom to change content on their website whenever they wanted. One more developer joined our team and we were ready to build a CMS. It had to be modular so we could resell it, and it had to be on ASP because I had Windows hosting… :)
For the next 5 years we created over 50 sites with this in-house CMS. Most of us were done with college in the meantime and we had to decide what to do next. I wanted to start a company, because our student contract wasn’t an option for larger clients. In 2007 I founded my first company Endora. We managed to acquire a few clients, but we didn’t had a future-fit solution because the ASP technology was almost dead. Our plan was to build another in-house solution, but we found out that it wouldn't satisfy us or our customers in the long run.
Kentico back in 2007
We had a company, we had clients, but we didn’t have a working CMS solution. Even back in 2007 "google it" was the answer to all problems, so that's what we did! I googled "ASP.NET CMS" and Kentico popped up first. Michael from Kentico sales gave us an introduction and I quickly saw that it is a solution that would help us deliver projects with less effort but more outcome. We were under a lot of pressure and when we delivered our first Kentico projects our clients were very happy with the solution because they could manage their entire content. Soon our clients came back to us with lists of new features. And as this was version 2.3 of Kentico, we were soon sending regular feature requests to Kentico.
Kentico 5 around 2010
I need to reflect version 5 of Kentico because this was the version where I was involved with many of our projects. By 2010, I was both a front end and a back end developer and most projects were built on Kentico 5.5R2. In this year, we were selected as a Kentico Training partner. This was a great opportunity to meet the Kentico team in person. We also had the privilege of meeting many Kentico partners, and I have found many friends amongst them. In this year, we also started outsourcing to other countries. We learned to manage clients and agencies from around the globe.
Kentico EMS and after 2013
In 2014, we were at 10th birthday of Kentico in Prague, one of best events that Kentico ever did. I remember being there with five of my colleagues, and it was a great conference, a great party and a great firework. At that time Kentico had a big UI change. Initially, I was against it, I loved ribbons too much! But over time I started to love it.
Kentico was already a big company in 2013, and I also started to move away from development. Kentico introduced EMS, a new version with marketing tools. Initially, we didn’t know how to sell it, but it later became a selling point. At this point Kentico wasn’t just a CMS or E-commerce, but rather an all-in-one solution. It was easy to work with, easy to develop and easy to present to a client.
Kentico cloud and now
As Kentico was growing, so were we. The demand for Kentico experts is high and we got the opportunity to join larger teams. This is how we become part of EMAKINA CEE, previously diamond:dogs, an Austrian Kentico partner. This was a logical move, as Vienna is a 3 hour drive from us, and the Kentico HQ was a 1 hour drive from them. We all had a lot of experience with Kentico, so joining forces under one roof was an achievement unlock for us.
Kentico also started to develop a solution for the next decade: a headless CMS. Now they were an experienced CMS vendor and they didn’t want to live on old glory. I saw how Kentico CMS was growing and how it was built, to see a new product and how it is growing brings back old memories when we started working in 2007.
A lot of people have asked me why Kentico. For me, after 10 years, it is an emotional and fact-based decision. I saw the development of this CMS almost from the beginning. And the last time when I saw Petr Palas, CEO of Kentico, I told him I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Kentico, so it sort of feels like "my" product as well.
But let me give you some more objective reasons why Kentico is awesome:
- They listen to feedback. It became a great product because they listened to their customers and partners. A lot of features that are there today were requested by the community.
- Easy to work with. Both developers and content editors agree that Kentico is easy to learn and work with.
- It is a Czech product and I know they will push the extra mile, that is part of the country culture.
- Valuable partnership. We are now part of a European company, but in the past, we were small and they didn’t abandon us. Kentico always looked for a pragmatic solution for everyone.
- Safe future. Kentico was built without any large investment or venture fund, the entire growth was organic. As I know the company and Petr they are not here to cash out. They are here to keep doing what they love. I know lot of people won’t agree, but I see this as a great strength.
Keep going Kentico!