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WCM Marketplace

Web CMS Kudos and Shortcomings, Circa 2007

by Tony Byrne
11-Jun-2007 --

It's time for another review of capabilities in the Web CMS marketplace. The categories below, as well as our judgments about vendors excelling and lagging, come from the most recent edition of The Web CMS Report.

As with previous years (2002/03, 2004, and 2005), this list is limited to the 40 major solutions we review in the Global and European editions of The Web CMS Report. (For more information about these suppliers, visit our Web CMS vendors list).


Here we look at core systems attributes and services.

  • Standards. Kudos to: Plone
     Honorable mention: Alfresco, Day
     Lagging: CoreMedia, Documentum, Hot Banana, Microsoft, RedDot, Tridion
  • Development. Kudos to: Sitecore
     Honorable mention: CrownPeak, EPiServer, Microsoft, Percussion
     Lagging: Drupal, GOSS, Joomla!, TerminalFour, WebSideStory
  • Access Control. Kudos to: Plone
     Honorable mention: Oracle/Stellent, TYPO3
     Lagging: Interwoven, Sitecore
  • Templating. Kudos to: Percussion
     Honorable mention: Serena
     Lagging: Alfresco, Documentum, Escenic, Interwoven, Tridion
  • Page Rendering. Kudos to: Hannon Hill
     Honorable mention: Midgard
     Lagging: Alfresco, Microsoft
  • Usability. Kudos to: Joomla!
     Honorable mention: GOSS, Immediacy, Mediasurface
     Lagging: Documentum, Enonic, FatWire, IBM, Sitecore, TYPO3, Vignette
  • Internationalization. Kudos to: IBM
     Honorable mention: Day, Microsoft, Plone, Tridion, TYPO3
     Lagging: CrownPeak, Hannon Hill, Joomla!, Oracle/Stellent, Paperthin, WebSideStory


Content Production Services

These are services that support the production of content, from conception to going live. There are several key features to examine here.

  • Authoring & Transformation. Kudos to: Mediasurface
     Honorable mention: PaperThin
     Lagging: Documentum, Interwoven
  • Aggregation. Kudos to: Day
     Honorable mention: Sitecore, Plone, Refresh Software
     Lagging: Drupal
  • Repository Services. Kudos to: Alfresco
     Honorable mention: Clickability, Interwoven
     Lagging: Enonic, e-Spirit, Plone
  • Metadata/Taxonomy Management. Kudos to: CrownPeak
     Honorable mention: Drupal, IBM, Paperthin
     Lagging: Alfresco, RedDot, Sitecore
  • Workflow. Kudos to: e-Spirit
     Honorable mention: CoreMedia, IBM, Sitecore
     Lagging: Drupal, eZ Publish, Microsoft, Percussion, Refresh Software, TYPO3
  • Globalization. Kudos to: Tridion
     Honorable mention: Day, eZ Publish, Documentum, Ektron, Sitecore
     Lagging: Microsoft, Serena, TerminalFour
  • Promotion Path. Kudos to: IBM
     Honorable mention: Interwoven, RedDot.
     Lagging: eZ Systems, Immediacy, Oracle/Stellent
  • System Reporting. Kudos to: Serena
     Honorable mention: CrownPeak
     Lagging: Day, Ingeniux, Sitecore, plus all the open source packages

Content Delivery Services

These services support the delivery of content to end-users. Some "decoupled" Web content management systems deliberately do not deliver content; they "hand off" content to a delivery system, such as a webserver, web application, or portal.

  • Personalization. Kudos to: FatWire
     Honorable mention: Day, RedDot
     Lagging: Alfresco, CrownPeak, Joomla!, Documentum, Vignette
  • Site Search. Kudos to: WebSideStory
     Honorable mention: CrownPeak, Microsoft
     Lagging: Enonic, Hot Banana
  • Scaling & Performance. Kudos to: FatWire
     Honorable mention: N/A
     Lagging: Drupal, Ektron, IBM, PaperThin, Percussion
  • Multichannel & Syndication. Kudos to: Tridion
     Honorable mention: CoreMedia, Escenic, Ingeniux, Percussion
     Lagging: Drupal, WebSideStory
  • Content Retention. Kudos to: RedDot
     Honorable mention: Oracle/Stellent
     Lagging: Almost everyone else
  • User-Generated Content. Kudos to: Drupal
     Honorable mention: Clickability, Plone
     Lagging: Almost everyone else
  • Micro-Applications. Kudos to: Ektron
     Honorable mention: Drupal, Hot Banana, Oracle/Stellent, Plone, TYPO3
     Lagging: Clickability, Day, Sitecore
  • Site Analytics. Kudos to: Tridion
     Honorable mention: FatWire, Hot Banana
     Lagging: Almost everyone else

Vendor Intangibles

A software package is more than the sum of its functional features. In fact, our research suggests that "vendor intangibles" will likely have a greater impact on your success than the specific product you select. (For open source tools, replace "vendor" with "project.")

  • Maintenance & Support. Kudos to: Clickability
     Honorable mention: Hannon Hill, Ingeniux, Vignette
     Lagging: Alfresco, CoreMedia, Microsoft, OpenCms, Sitecore
  • Integration & Tech Partnerships. Kudos to: Day
     Honorable mention: CrownPeak, Interwoven
     Lagging: Drupal, Immediacy, Joomla!
  • Active User Groups. Kudos to: Interwoven
     Honorable mention: Clickability, Documentum, Microsoft, Plone
     Lagging: FatWire, IBM, OpenCms, Serena, Vignette
  • Services & Channel. Kudos to: Sitecore
     Honorable mention: Documentum, Hot Banana, Interwoven, Microsoft, RedDot
     Lagging: Day, IBM, Mediasurface, Oracle/Stellent, Percussion, Refresh Software
  • Product QA. Kudos to: N/A
     Honorable mention: CrownPeak
     Lagging: Ektron, IBM, Ingeniux, Sitecore, Tridion
  • Strategy & Roadmap. Kudos to: Oracle/Stellent
     Honorable mention: Alfresco, Joomla!, Refresh Software
     Lagging: GOSS, IBM, Microsoft, OpenCms, Tridion
  • Good Value. Kudos to: Drupal
     Honorable mention: CrownPeak, Hot Banana, Mediasurface, Plone
     Lagging: Alfresco, Interwoven, Microsoft, RedDot, Vignette

Final Thoughts

The Web CMS marketplace is evolving, but not as fast as you might think. All of these vendors are struggling to deal with many of the same issues: AJAX interfaces that won't crash your browser, performance bottlenecks (in both the management and deliver tiers), rapidly-evolving development frameworks, and the complexity of managing user-generated content.

And of course, we offer no "magic" or "leader" ranking. Six years after major analyst firms declared the WCM marketplace all but dead, there are no dominant vendors here, although the smarter ones are finding particular niches to exploit.

Some vendors might get several mentions, and others none at all, but doesn't automatically mean should include (or discount) them in making your short lists. Alfresco doesn't offer decent personalization services; should you care? Perhaps not.

I urge you to take a scenario-based approach that will help you understand which functionalities and attributes matter most to you. And, as always, carefully evaluate the implementation team as closely as you vet any software vendor.

So ask around, take the time to digest good research, and and then test any tool before you buy. Good luck!


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About the Author

Tony Byrne

Tony is Founder of CMS Watch, a vendor-neutral analyst firm that evaluates content technologies and publishes reports evaluating different solutions head-to-head. CMS Watch also provides online education in various aspects of selecting and deploying content technologies.

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