While attending the Acquia Engage Conference in Boston last November, we covered an array of news and announcements from one of the market’s leading DXPs. The most notable was around accessibility, reflecting Acquia’s clear strategy to expand its DXP capabilities with a cogent solution – one that supports digital equality and improves its competitive posture.
That came in the form of an “acquisition of an acquisition,” so to speak: Monsido.
This week, Acquia issued a press release stating that the acquisition of Monsido has been successfully completed, bringing the full breadth of its investment to bear as it focuses on growth and competitive differentiation in 2024.
A leading SaaS-based website accessibility and optimization solution, Monsido has a decade-long legacy of helping customers of all sizes – and across industries – to monitor and improve website accessibility.
Monsido’s best-of-breed features also provide resources for maintaining content quality and governance, enhancing search engine optimization (SEO), improving data privacy, and impacting overall website performance.
Founded in 2014, Monsido was most recently the domain of CivicPlus, an integrated technology solutions platform focused on the public sector.
The new deal structured with Acquia allows CivicPlus to retain and serve U.S. local government customers as a Monsido reseller. Meanwhile, Monsido’s team members in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Denmark – including its two co-founders – have also joined Acquia, bringing focused talent and experience to the DXP’s ranks.
“Making accessibility and compliance core to Acquia DXP supports our mission of building an inclusive digital future, and enables our customers to provide web experiences that serve all of their users,” said Steve Reny, President and CEO of Acquia. “We are delighted to welcome the Monsido team to Acquia and look forward to bringing the Monsido platform and its capabilities to more organizations globally.”
The Monsido acquisition – initially announced on the first day of Engage Boston – expands the capabilities of Acquia’s digital experience platform, positioning it as the only leading DXP that offers a complete solution with Monsido’s full suite of features.
The addition of these tools will enable users to build and manage websites and digital experiences that are more accessible – a strategic ambition that Acquia made abundantly clear during its keynote sessions at the Engage conference.
From a go-to-market perspective, Monsido is available as part of the Acquia DXP or as a standalone offering. Acquia is touting Monsido’s composable extensibility, reinforcing that the technology continues to work with any content management system (CMS), including Drupal – the open source CMS that provides the foundation of the Acquia DXP.
Accessibility has been a rapidly evolving initiative for governments and businesses for decades. While some tenants of physical accessibility have achieved widespread adoption, digital accessibility has struggled, relying on loosely legislated requirements.
While the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) procured by the W3C have provided a foundation, many websites still fall woefully short of delivering digitally equitable experiences to users. According to an IDC report, fewer than 10% of websites are fully accessible across visual, auditory, and cognitive disabilities. (1)
Legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the upcoming European Accessibility Act are now mandating that vendors address digital accessibility. At the same time, marketers are realizing the potential of accessibility to increase conversions, drive revenue, and broaden customer reach.
In today’s connected world, digital experiences must exceed consumer expectations for accessibility. This can help enhance brands, build customer loyalty, and ultimately deliver competitive differentiation in a noisy, fragmented world of marketing messages. This is one of the key reasons why accessibility is a strategic imperative for Acquia.
As the company noted in its press release, accessibility is also a prerequisite for open DXPs to deliver exceptional digital experiences for all customers. With the acquisition of Monsido, Acquia now offers a complete solution for building, managing, and delivering fully optimized websites to meet modern standards and digital content guidelines – and comply with WCAG and web accessibility legislation.
For SaaS companies, being purchased once is a big deal. But three times? Lightning in a bottle.
While this phenomenon might raise eyebrows for some, Monsido has repeatedly proven itself to be a best-of-breed technology platform and a trustworthy brand. The continued interest and pursuit of its technology also speaks volumes about the efficacy of its software, the value of its intellectual capital, and the addressable market for accessibility and digital experience optimization.
Acquia’s purchase of Monsido also reflects how DXPs are getting creative with their expansion strategies. Now armed with core functionality around DAM, CDP, and marketing automation – all now juiced with AI – optimization is becoming a pinnacle initiative for growth and a competitive differentiator within a tight enterprise market.
While somewhat unorthodox, Monsido’s textured journey to the Acquia ecosystem may have been worthwhile. The platform’s tenancy under the Optimere umbrella (the parent company of ArchiveSocial and NextRequest) likely injected additional innovation into its roadmap and team culture.
As an organization, Monsido no doubt “learned” from its stint at CivicPlus, which purchased all three Optimere solutions in 2021 as part of an integrated, frictionless vision for public sector customers – a marketplace where accessibility is of paramount concern. Government agencies have been swarmed by an onslaught of accessibility lawsuits and evolving compliance requirements for the last decade, and tools like Monsido have become indispensable.
All this experience likely positioned Monsido as a new piece to Acquia’s DXP puzzle. As we covered last November, the company seems genuinely committed to accessibility as a strategic imperative, embracing digital equality at a cultural level and vocalizing its path to building accessible software. The investment in an accessibility platform with this clout and staying power is a testament to Acquia’s aggressive growth strategy – and a reinforcement of its commitment to delivering digital equality.
(1) IDC, “Web Accessibility: Preparing for Compliance in 2025 Brings an Intersection of DEI and Customer Experience” by Marci Maddox, May 2023 (IDC #US48610922).
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