Acquia wasted no time engaging the DX world this morning.
Just before the official start of its flagship conference in Boston, the industry-leading DXP made two splashy announcements – each reinforcing a more complete vision for digital experience optimization.
Let's break down the news.
Topping the headlines is Acquia’s announcement that it will purchase Monsido, a leading SaaS platform for monitoring and managing website accessibility, content quality, and SEO.
Acquia will acquire Monsido from CivicPlus, an integrated technology solutions platform focused on the public sector. CivicPlus inherited Monsido as part of its broader Optimere acquisition in 2022, a trifecta that also included ArchiveSocial and NextRequest.
At the time, the move seemed a logical growth strategy for CivicPlus, which had built a strong portfolio of government and municipal agencies looking to track, remediate, and secure their ADA accessibility as part of an integrated and inclusive digital strategy. Monsido continued to maintain its brand under the CivicPlus umbrella, a testament to the trust it has built in the marketplace as a go-to solution for accessibility.
Now, Acquia is adding the accessibility gem to its crown, further evolving its charter as a digital optimization platform – and helping to scale adoption for Monsido’s bench of solutions. According to the company’s press release, the acquisition not only expands the capabilities of its open Acquia DXP, but also supports its mission to “help build a better digital future” that’s more inclusive, accessible, and sets new benchmarks for performance and innovation.
“Acquia’s vision is to deliver the most open DXP to enable our customers to improve their businesses by creating superior experiences,” said Steve Reny, President and CEO of Acquia. “Monsido empowers digital marketers and website owners with an all-in-one suite of capabilities for website optimization and compliance. Used with any website or as part of Acquia DXP, Monsido helps make digital experiences more optimized, accessible, and inclusive, so organizations can fulfill legal and regulatory requirements, uphold social responsibility, and expand market reach.”
From a product, market, and channel perspective, both companies will maintain interests in Monsido through a strategic partnership. Following the close of the acquisition, CivicPlus will retain and continue to support U.S. local government customers using the Monsido platform and become a reseller of Monsido to the U.S. local government territory and market.
U.S. state and federal government – and all other Monsido customers – will become Acquia customers. It’s also worth noting that Monsido will be available as part of Acquia DXP or as a standalone offering.
“As the leading provider of accessibility solutions in the U.S., CivicPlus remains deeply committed to bringing accessible and inclusive technology to local governments,” said Brian Rempe, CEO of CivicPlus. “Through this partnership with Acquia, we will continue to make the Monsido solution and its accessibility, quality assurance, and web governance capabilities available to U.S. communities. At the same time, we recognize that accessible digital experiences are critically important for every interaction with every digital property, and we're pleased to know that Acquia's leadership of the Monsido solution will bring this powerful tool to more entities in more markets around the world. By forming this partnership, CivicPlus and Acquia will lead and empower greater adoption of accessible technology that creates positive digital interactions for all technology users.”
The transaction is expected to close in early Q1 2024.
At the center of the push for digital optimization is consumer expectations. Users demand fast, intuitive, more productive online experiences and interactions – and brands that deliver on these expectations will have a decidedly competitive edge in a crowded, fragmented market.
With the acquisition of Monsido, Acquia is now positioned to deliver a complete solution for building, managing, and delivering digital experiences that are fully optimized to meet modern website standards and digital content guidelines. This includes the vital role of accessibility, helping organizations ensure that they comply with the W3C's WCAG standards and web accessibility legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Thousands of organizations worldwide use Monsido for website optimization, including national and local governments, financial institutions, non-profits, culture and arts organizations, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, utilities, and transportation services. Along with this embedded customer base, Acquia now has a key component to offer customers when managing their accessibility and digital optimization strategies – and a means to do it all at scale.
The addition of Monsido will help Acquia customers achieve even better business outcomes by helping every user – regardless of their abilities – to navigate the web more freely.
In addition to enhancing website content accessibility and compliance, Monsido helps organizations improve performance by identifying and fixing website quality issues. This includes common errors like broken links and slow load times. It also supports brand reputation by ensuring website content meets specific brand guidelines.
One other advantage is Monsido’s user consent capabilities. The platform enables organizations to manage user consent for cookies and other tracking technologies, supporting compliance with privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA.
Monsido is also designed to work with any content management system (CMS), including Drupal, the open source CMS that provides the foundation of Acquia DXP. When combined, users can navigate from a flagged issue in Monsido directly to the flagged page in their CMS with a click – or use the Monsido Browser Extension while browsing their website to highlight issues directly on the page.
Today, Acquia also announced strategic partnerships with Conductor, the leading organic marketing platform, and VWO, the leading experimentation and conversion optimization platform. Along with the acquisition of Monsido, these partnerships create one of the most complete solutions for digital experience optimization.
According to the company’s press release, combining these tools now addresses all facets of optimizing an organization’s online presence, which most modern DXPs can’t fully deliver. By enhancing digital presence, organizations can directly influence user satisfaction and engagement, brand perception, and business success – translating into growth.
“Today's DXPs fall short in providing a comprehensive offering for digital experience optimization,” said Dries Buytaert, Creator and Project Lead of the Drupal content management system and Co-founder, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Strategy Officer at Acquia. “Acquia already provides the best platform for building and operating digital experiences. With the acquisition of Monsido and strategic partnerships with VWO and Conductor, we now offer the industry’s best platform for creating inclusive and optimized experiences.”
The Conductor partnership will support SEO and content marketing through its comprehensive organic marketing platform that increases organic web traffic from search engines. Leveraging cutting-edge AI, Conductor helps brands identify new keyword opportunities, develop and execute content strategy, optimize content and technical site health, and report on organic search performance.
VWO will expand Acquia's capacity to enhance every aspect of the digital experience, introducing a range of advanced functionalities for both Drupal and non-Drupal sites. This includes running A/B tests or creating personalization campaigns using an inline WYSIWYG editor, generating AI-driven content testing ideas, and more. VWO's comprehensive toolkit, including multi-platform testing and personalization capabilities, server-side testing, surveys, session recording, heatmaps, feature experimentation and rollouts, unlocks new avenues for Acquia DXP customers to optimize every facet of the digital journey.
Acquia has long established itself as one of the leading DXPs on the market. Its open source heritage has been a source for innovation – and as platforms pursue digital optimization as the next frontier, that innovation will be key to Acquia’s success.
The acquisition of Monsido addresses several gaps in the completeness of vision, and Acquia appears to be taking a more composable route with this feature set. As noted, the product will be available not only as part of Acquia DXP, but as a standalone solution that will continue to serve the CivicPlus ecosystem and the broader market.
Accessibility is central to creating inclusive digital experiences. Acquia’s core acquisition of Monsido underscores its roadmap around the importance of digital equality and its confidence in scaling commercial adoption. The additional partnerships also demonstrate the commitment to enhancing optimization with more advanced, AI-powered testing capabilities that give users greater choice as they expand their optimization practices.
Competition at the top of the enterprise DXP market is fierce, and Acquia remains one of the leading platforms vying for dominance on the Gartner Magic Quadrant. While rivals like Adobe and Optimizely have been doubling down on digital optimization, Acquia is gaining ground with these moves – enhancing its competitive posture and giving the market more of the tools it needs.