A rising star at Nuxeo, Jane Zupan has recently been tapped to take on a new role as Vice President of Marketing. Equally at home in Massachusetts or Paris, this Kansas native has a lot to say about Nuxeo's near future, and the role she will be playing in making it a reality. Let's meet Jane Zupan, and find out where she will be taking Nuxeo in the coming months.
Are you any relation to Bruno Zupan, the Slovenian painter?
That's funny. I probably am. My father's family came from Slovenia and moved to Kansas City in the 1900's. I don't know the Slovenian part of the family but I would guess that we are related.
Tell me about your new position at Nuxeo.
I am pleased to have the new role. It's an exciting time to be the Vice President of Marketing at Nuxeo. It's a fantastic opportunity in a place that's familiar to me, and with a market that I know well. There is a lot that we can do in the coming months.
Before I was generating a lot of content, talking to customers, writing blogs and case studies, doing a lot of messaging--it was a pretty autonomous role. As VP of Marketing, I will be managing several people, as well as managing the operational marketing. I will be in charge of lead generation for the entire range of marketing efforts at Nuxeo.
How has the market evolved since you started? How has Nuxeo’s approach to marketing changed?
Since starting with the company three years ago, I have been aware that Nuxeo's natural strengths are technology-oriented. The architecture and design of the platform is appealing to a technical audience, and that is a result of strategic choices that have been made along the way. Rather than focusing on the non-technical business user, Nuxeo is focusing where its strengths lie. By focusing on the technical users, Nuxeo is promoting a platform approach to content management, which subtly distinguishes it from a pure ECM type market. The feedback and projects we are seeing reinforce the new direction, and I am excited about where it is heading.
For example, last year, we donated part of our repository technology to Eclipse. Maybe that's not interesting for a business user, but if you are a developer working with Java, and you see that headline, it will get your attention.
Another example is answers.nuxeo.com. If you download the platform and install it, if you want answers to any questions, it's very easy to ask them on answers.nuxeo.com. That's the kind of environment we are creating to appeal to the kind of person who is going to download, install and play with the platform. Along that same line we have a bug reporting platform called JIRA, which we've actually had for quite some time, but which wasn't included in our marketing materials or content three years ago. Now we are putting the environment that Nuxeo makes available to technical users in the forefront.
What are your market predictions for the next year?
Enterprise software is not something you install and a flip a switch to turn on. The projects we see at Nuxeo involve a fair amount of development, and that trend is going to continue in the future. A software project has to be customized and adapted. The more the software is aligned with specific project goals, the more effective it will be. The Nuxeo offering is an end-to-end developer environment. It's not just a question of installing software and pushing it out to the users. It’s about leveraging the platform to develop an application that is fully adapted to the project context. And it doesn’t stop at deployment. There is maintenance, upgrades, new features to develop, and enhancements to make so that the application continues to be an effective business solution throughout its lifecycle. Nuxeo manages that whole process. It's a full solution offering.
Another aspect of the platform focus is that we’re seeing more and more clients using the Nuxeo Platform as a content management backend for multiple applications in their IT shop. These applications do everything from supporting inventory and accounting systems, to managing email and documentation, to storing image and video content, all in a connected environment. It makes a lot of sense, really - to have a single backend to maintain, and have the flexibility to extend it and integrate it with other systems.
We are getting big clients with increasingly mission critical projects, and as they are rolled out, and as we can talk about them more, I think people will see that it's a good approach to build off a platform that is already technologically very strong, and designed for developing highly sustainable applications.
How has your approach to marketing changed since you started working for Nuxeo?
Open Source technology has a more community-oriented atmosphere, and that is interesting. I started using social media after I joined Nuxeo. My boss at the time encouraged me to join Twitter. I like using social media channels to be in closer contact with the people. Before, I would go to conferences two or three times a year to talk to a bunch of different people and trade ideas about the topics. Now it's all the time. I regularly scan Twitter and the various social sites, seeing what topics bubble to the top.
Content creation, content marketing is a big topic now. It's not a revolution, more an evolution. I am doing more blog creation than I did three years ago.
Whether on a blog or Twitter, consistency is important. When I first started with Nuxeo, I was reaching out to learn about the market, talking to our clients and the community about the software and our clients. I have continued for three years. What has happened over time is that people now contact me. I have a Twitter follower I have never met who contacted me out of the blue with a prospective project. People are starting to know about Nuxeo’s technology, and that is exciting.
We’ve heard through the grapevine that you spent some time in Paris. What brought you there?
I came to Paris in 2001 as part of a job offer. I came to stay for a year or two and ended up staying for 8 years. I loved the city and feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity. With Nuxeo, I do get to come back once in a while. In fact, I am in Paris right now.
What is really interesting about living abroad, and then moving back home, is that in both directions you find ways to adapt. In France, I would make cinnamon rolls for brunch, which my French guests loved. Back in the States, we make crepes in our house, and I've learned to make some other dishes, like tartiflette, which is a big hit with my friends in Massachusetts.
So you are a cultural ambassador actually?
(Laughs.) A citizen of the world…