Interesting things about ECM


Web Content Management: Inconvenient Truths and Industry Challenges

Filed under: CMS Watch, WCM — Tags: , , , — Anthony Fast @ 3:49 pm

Source :

There is no best web content management system. But there is probably a good Web CMS for what you’re trying to do. With that, we kicked-off a heated debate on Inconvenient truths and unsolved WCM industry challenges at the J.Boye 2009 conference in chilly Aarhus, DK.

And despite strenuous protestations by Aarhus mayor, Nicolai Wammen, who addressed the delegates at the opening ceremony today, the weather has not improved. Thankfully plenty of hot air warmth was radiating from the conference discussions, including the one on how to fix the WCM industry with all its problems and challenges. But why fix it, I ask, if it ain’t broken?

It Ain’t Broken, a.k.a. The Bright Future of Web CMS

CMS Watch’s Jarrod Gingras was certain there’s nothing to fix. The competition is healthy, the buyers have many options and that’s good for the marketplace. Clearly, there’s some frustration, but it is tied directly to the disconnect with end-users.

Gingras continued on to provided a rather positive outlook into what’s coming for the WCM industry in 2010:

  • Consolidation: There will be some consolidation, but nothing earth shattering or landscape changing.
  • Innovation and usability: Complex enterprise vendors will not concede to smaller vendors.
  • Platforms and products will continue to co-exist.
  • SharePoint 2010 is better, but will still fighting for deals.
  • Open source will see continued interest, but will have to improve usability.
  • SaaS: The hype may decrease a bit, acquisitions are expected.
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The Big Questions

Janus Boye, the conference organizer, and Jon Marks, lead of development at LBi (both were also presenting at the session), didn’t seem to agree with Gingras and posed the “big question” — How do we fix WCM? One way is to pay more attention to user experience and the needs of end-users by involving them more throughout the implementation. Change, as well as content, needs to be managed, said Gingras.

Marks, also known as McBoof in the Twitterverse, addressed several WCM issues:

Whose fault is it when a WCM project fails?

The ecosystem is sometimes broken, and we see a lot of finger pointing from customer to vendor to implementor. The products are not perfect, but they are what they are. As implementers, we do the above all the time, but we should know better, even if the customers do silly things.

Does the term WCM make any sense?

WCM as a term might be too big and too vague. WCM means too many things to too many people. The term needs to be sub-divided and we all need to take into account all its sides with respect to blurring boundaries among WCM, portals and SoCo.

Why are RFPs so bad?

Everyone is still doing checklists and matrices. This process encourages vendors to do what they hate. As a result, RFPs ask questions that achieve nothing.

On standards

The current ecosystem does not foster standards well. Let’s pray for CMIS and those that follow. Web CMS standards should not start with ‘J’.

Content migrations

They can be manageable with correct tools and processes. The migration of the delivery side is almost always a rewrite. And don’t believe vendor marketing bollocks.

How to Fix WCM?

In order to fix this mess, Marks suggested that one should:

  • Align goals for success when starting a WCM project
  • Plan for disaster
  • Don’t make monoliths

Boye brought up the fear and intimidation tactics used in the industry. If you’re waiting for WCM vendors to wake up and fix the problems, it is unrealistic. Vendors will not change until you make them change. The big problem here is that buyers are not talking to each other as much as they should. But Boye sees the buyers acting as catalysts for change by:

  • Openly sharing lessons learned
  • Stepping forward as references
  • Forcing vendors to take responsibility for WCM implementations
  • Identifying and adopting industry standards.

Quotes of the Day

  • Not every project fails, there are some happy customers (Gingras)
  • Too many projects fail (from the audience)
  • So many systems look and work very much alike (CMS Watch analyst Theresa Regli)
  • Q: I am asking a simple question… We made the wrong choice when selected our last WCM vendor. That set us back 2 years. What do you suggest we do instead of using RFPs and vendor interviews? A: Pay 2-3 vendors to build something and pick from the best. (from the audience, answer by Marks)
  • The most successful projects paid for the POC, people cringe at the bake-off idea, but what is the cost of a failed implementation? (Gingras)
  • The terminology is flawed. We should focus on the dialog. (Umbraco’s founder Niels Hartvig)
  • Don’t be afraid you will lose your job if you share knowledge. There are so many educational prigrams and books about the industry. (Boye)
  • Some of the problems arise from the sheer diversity of people using WCM products. (from the audience)
  • Standards are there, but most people don’t even do the basic things like [compliant] HTML. (Boye)
  • WCM vendors are having a hard time keeping up with the content.. and customers cannot integrate a Twitter widget into the CMS they bought for managing press releases. (Regli)
  • CMIS is still thought in the general audience as the document management-specific standard, even though DM and WCM are both subsets of ECM and the hope is that after version 1.0 of the standard it will be extended to WCM as well.
  • Buyers should think about where they want to go, not which “car” (=tool) to use to get there. (Boye)

For more WCM goodness, check out this Twitter stream hashtagged #fixwcm, as well as the J. Boye conference feed at #jboye09.


Looking beyond the magic quadrant to find the nitty-gritty

Filed under: CMS Watch, Gartner, Oracle UCM — Tags: , — Anthony Fast @ 11:37 pm


At first I was hesitant to write a critique of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for WCM. They’re a worthy competitor, we could learn from them about the value of high-level summaries, and the MQ makes an easy target (Alan has already dissected the phenomenon). But when you look beyond the famous quadrant and review the actual rationales, some important issues emerge for enterprises evaluating vendors and technology.

One tendency is revealing. Many of Gartner’s “strengths” and “cautions” have to do with a vendor’s “marketing effectiveness,” “messaging,” and “awareness.” Things that matter to investors and other vendors, but not so much to buyers. We are about to publish a short statement on sixteen principles behind CMS Watch’s methodology. Principles ten through twelve seem relevant here:

10. We do not rate vendors’ “market leadership,” which is vague and typically not germane
11. We do not evaluate vendors’ sales and marketing acumen, except inasmuch as different sales tactics may be meaningful for buyers to understand
12. A vendor’s “story” doesn’t matter; what they actually do matters

Let’s contrast what Gartner says with a sampling of what our research says about Web CMS vendor CoreMedia.


  • CoreMedia has a solid reputation and proven ability to execute in its traditional “sweet spot” in the media and entertainment sectors.
  • Its regional presence is strong. Even in broader Western European markets, CoreMedia has a presence and a reputation for good engineering.
  • CoreMedia has customers in different regions, but needs to develop its organization in North America more strongly and aggressively.
  • As with many engineering-focused developers, its marketing and promotion currently lag behind its technical proficiency. But recent changes in management appear to signal an intent to focus more on marketing and global expansion.

CMS Watch

(partial list)
  • Flexible, open Java architecture
  • Portal-friendly (integrates with many popular portal products)
  • Streamlined in-context editing user interface could appeal to casual authors as well as marketing experts
  • Strong globalization features
  • FAST InStream search engine included in base package
(partial list)
  • Combination of CPU- and seat-based licensing makes the product comparatively more expensive on larger implementations
  • Internal communication relies on dated CORBA infrastructure
  • Some important integrations (e.g., MS Office, Lotus Notes) have not been productized and remain third-party customizations
  • Power user interface is a thick Java client; some non-traditional UI metaphors
  • Product not well suited for intranet scenarios
  • Comparatively light footprint outside of Germany

There is one other difference. Our research costs money, and this MQ is free.  Or rather, it’s been pre-paid for you by Oracle. (Note the URL:…) This tweet from an an Oracle employee — “Oracle WIN!” — suggests how useful the MQ is for them.

So, vendors can win (and lose) at this game. But what about you the customer? Before you start researching which tool to adopt, first figure out your requirements, starting with what sorts of website(s) you publishOracle might suit your Intranet, but perhaps not your public sites.

Gartner’s observations are arguably more strategic. CMS Watch was founded on the notion that in vendor selection, the nitty-gritty matters. A lot. You see, whatever tool you ultimately select will bring tangible strengths and weaknesses — probably more of both than you ever imagined– that will impact your business. Software developers make trade-offs all the time. Which ones do you want to make?

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