When picturing tech-focused companies, no one would fault you for conjuring up the cliched Silicon Valley yuppie with middling social skills and an inexplicable fondness for wearing black – whether a turtleneck or T-shirt – daily.

Don Lee, managing director of leading content management system (CMS) provider, Magnolia Asia Pacific (APAC), couldn’t be further from that stereotype. For one, with his 16 years in the marketing technology industry, he’s not a yuppie by any stretch of the imagination. He also speaks with a warm candour that testifies to the company’s promise to improve lives.

Since its 1997 creation in Basel, Switzerland, Magnolia’s powerful content management system (CMS), both customisable and lightweight, is now applied in more than 100 countries and has picked up awards along the way. Just this April, it was selected as one of three commercial CMS providers with a five-star rating by Emerce, one of the Netherlands’ leading platforms for digital marketing.

Having been with Magnolia for a little over three years the 42-year-old has seen great success for the company, which is partly due to its commitment to its clients.
Magnolia’s highly customisable and robust CMS is in the business of making lives easier. “We understand the local climate very intimately,” says Lee. “Not just for the way we do business, but the expectations of key stakeholders as well.” This involves establishing a fine balance between strength and speed.

Don Lee Magnolia
Managing director of Magnolia APAC Don Lee

In other words, treading the line between a feature-rich system that’s inevitably slower to learn and implement and a feature-light one that might not have what you need.
Magnolia’s CMS maintains this balance with customisability. Akin to a set of Lego bricks, its technology stack is neither monolithic nor proprietary. Instead, you simply pick exactly what you need. This also increases the specificity of the training that it provides to ease implementation.

For example, Magnolia client CNN Philippines benefited from its light development framework, another key feature. Think of it as code-lite, where clients can quickly adapt and redeploy their websites with a little training.

Trustworthiness and loyalty are values close to Lee’s heart, which is he is serious about the Magnolia team going the extra mile to ensure long-term success in the implementation of the CMS, both for the client and the company.

Instances Lee recalls include flying some of his team to troubleshoot for a client over a weekend, assisting clients with front-end work and additional retraining without charging them, and designing new integrations such as a Wechat connector for a China-based client that allowed the CMS provider to deliver what customers want. “For us, customer success is of the utmost importance,” he says. It’s that commitment that has led to Magnolia’s 100 per cent success rate in project implementation.

To maintain this standard, Magnolia qualifies what the client wants and whether the company or any of its partners can fulfil these requests. “We won’t sell what we can’t deliver,” explains Lee.

“If you start with Magnolia, we’re with you all the way.”