Experiencing Enterprise

Over the years I have watched my share of Star Trek (you are shocked I can tell!) and my favourite episodes were always the alternative universe episodes -Spock with a goatee, rebel Sisko etc.

Yesterday I was reading the Gartner report on Web Content Management systems aimed at ’enterprise’ clients (there is the first tenuous link to the first para!) and I felt like I had stepped through the ’looking glass’ into one of those alternative universes (second link achieved!).

I consider myself pretty switched on when it comes to CMSs – working with them, procuring them and cussing them has dominated my professional career and I have tried to stay in touch with the wider market even while my own prejudices have been more and more focused on open source solutions.

This report was an eye opener for me though – there are products on here I have never heard of (with a $10million turnover required just to make the list that’s worrying) and a couple I am a little surprised still exist (let alone are market leaders!).

Also – come on guys – has there ever been a dumber term than ’web experience management’?

I found I was more drawn to the products mentioned in ’note 1 : vendors not in the magic quadrant that many suit some clients’. This is the report ghetto where things like Drupal, Plone, Joomla, Alfresco and DotNetNuke (i.e. Open source) ended up. WordPress doesn’t rate a mention at all – so this report ignores a pretty high % of all CMS driven websites out there – and many of them using these solutions probably consider themselves ’enterprises’.

Putting all that to one side and accepting the report for what it is there are some interesting general insights and a nice concise list of functions for a generic CMS.

’Growing interest in cloud-based WCM’ is very interesting and something I think is worth keeping an eye on – I genuinely think this might take off and as organisations move more and more functions into the ’cloud’ the web CMS is an obvious fit. I know it is already done with some smaller CMSs and imagine it is mainly security concerns and integration with local systems putting off bigger orgs.

There are still some mega-corps in this market with Microsoft (Share*cough*point), IBM, Adobe and Oracle all still offering solutions (Adobe and Oracle most recently by making acquisitions rather than developing products) and I do wonder who these solutions appeal to?

Squiz is an interesting addition to the list. A rare Php solution on a list dominated by .net and Java it is also ’open source’ (though I’m not sure it would meet my definition of a truly open project) and has apparently built a decent reputation in HE and gov communities (they certainly have phoned me a few times saying that!) so I am certainly going to have another look at them.

In my experience (though of course they wouldn’t agree) at least three of the .net solutions are interchangeable (Sitecore, Tridion and EpiServer) and it’s been a while since I used Reddot or Vignette but neither set the world alight for me when I did – that’s not to say they are not much improved these days though. I don’t think I’ve had any experience at all with any of these others.

(I’m also pretty sure SDL who own Tridion bought Alterian pretty recently so that’s one les company in the marketplace – though not product I guess for now.)

If anything the report has reinforced my view that most of the development in the CMS ’enterprise’ market is not really aimed at the kind of websites I tend to take responsibility for – which is probably part of the reason open source has got an increasing foothold and actually why the GovUK guys are building so much from the ground up.


3 responses to “Experiencing Enterprise”

  1. Well, as you’ve already pointed out Gartner basically only talk about vendors with large turnovers. I guess there is a reason for this. Gartner are in the business generally of providing insight into companies from an investors point of view. Not a customers. They focus more on the vendor company rather than the product itself. Hence why most Open Source solutions don’t appear as there is no ‘company’ for Gartner to look at. The exception is the single-vendor-open-source products/companies such as Squiz, Alfresco, etc.

    If you want a report that truly looks at the products themselves then you want to look at the likes of the Real Story Group CMS report. It ain’t cheap at a few thousand pounds a copy, but the. You do get several hundred pages of analysis in there. If you look at their site you will see the list of vendors/products they cover. It is much more balanced.


  2. to be honest Matt I only read the Gartner one because Sitecore sent it to me and I have nothing else to read on the train – I certainly wouldn’t pay for it (or anything else that cost more than my 10 quid ebook limit!)

    I didn’t realise about the investors focus though and it does make much more sense now you have said that. I did work out quite quickly the lack of ‘open source’ was down to a lack of a single company for them to research.

    Mainly it was the shock that people like IBM & Adobe were still in the CMS game – I’d pretty much forgotten that!

  3. Well what you may find even more surprising is that Adobe is in the game via their acquisition of Day (CQ5). Which is an Open Source CMS (Open source in the enterprisy-javay way). So Adobe are now saying they are fully behind Open Source. Quite a turn given their proprietary history.

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