cms, Enterprise CMS, Enterprise Content Management, Web CMS, Web Content Management

Top 10 CMS Stories in 2009

10No year-end predictions, no resolutions. Not even debating the acronyms. Just simple numbers: the top 10 most trafficked posts in 2009 on this blog:

The post was inspired by several years of being an SDL Tridion customer, when the company was Tridion and the product was R5.x.

The Motley Crew’s collaborative Google Wave post, a riot, really, about all things CMS we collectively umm.. dislike. Ah, the power of putting several great minds into one wave ūüėČ

Step-by-step guide on how to develop (and advertise) bad taste in writing CMS marketing materials, including white papers. ‘Nuf said.

Long before Interwoven’s fate moved from acquisition intent to the ranks of a done deal, there were indications of changes and “cost savings” coming.

Still giggle every time I think of that morning.

The first big acquisition of 2009 set some folks, including me, into the pondering mode about Interwoven‚Äôs future. Since then the dust settled, some people left, products were Autonomy-zed to some degree, but it’s still fun to look at initial reactions and crystal ball gazings.

CQ5 marked the end of a 3-year-long silence from Basel and Day not Communiqué-ting much aside from a couple of point releases. The world was agonizing in anticipation of what the R&D-focused vendor came up with. I got a chance to install the product and poke around.

Just like in marriage, the expense doesn’t stop at a Vera Wang dress. Or, even earlier, at a short-list.

About this time last year, Vignette let some of its people go (was it à la Moses act of freeing?) in preps for prettifying itself for the Open Text acquisition.

This one is only vaguely CMS-related, infectious as all memes, yet curable. The real #1 of this top 10 list was actually the about me page. Go figure.

Digital Asset Management, Enterprise CMS, Enterprise Content Management, open source, Open Source CMS, social media, Web analytics, Web CMS, Web Content Management

CMS Going-Ons That (Almost) Didn’t Make it Here

blogging ain't easyRecently, I got an e-mail newsletter (from: company name redacted) – one of those that goes almost immediately to trash following a quick scan. What made me ROFL was this line:

Blogging is easy, usually free, and most importantly, fun!

Now, I am not perfect (well, am nearly ūüėČ ) and could use more self-blogging discipline, but whoever wrote that statement must’ve never blogged a single line in his/her life. It sure is ain’t that easy (Oh, yeah, after all, I live in the South).


After working very hard (yet, effortlessly ūüėČ ) on diligently neglecting this dear child of a blog, let me recap the past 68 days. Yes, it’s been that long – LinkedIn is very good at rubbing it in with their WordPress widget day counter. So, here are the CMSWire stories and happenings that have been on my radar in those 2+ months:


  • Open Text unveiled its 2010 product roadmap at Open Text Content World in Orlando, highlighting many rebranding changes that are to come, including those for RedDot/Web Solutions and Vignette. The community still doesn’t appear to be appeased. But business is business. In the meantime, I am revisiting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in preparation for my next piece on Open Text planned for early January 2010.
  • Open Text appeared in the news again with the announcement on expanding its ECM solutions portfolio for Oracle.
  • IBM continued to focus on analytics as a way of better management of unstructured and structured content.


J. Boye ’09 in Aarhus

While in the handsome town of Aarhus (aka the City of Smiles), heaps of content management fun were on the menu (topped off with duh! delish herring), including:

  • Jarrod Gingras and Peter Sejersen’s look into the pitfalls and best practices of selecting a CMS.
  • McBoof, Janus Boye, et al’s attempt to #fixwcm, while heatedly debating some of the inconvenient truths and challenges of the content management industry.
  • David Nuesheler’s of Day Software session on top 8 trends in web content management architecture and standards (CMIS, JCR 2.0, JSR-283).
  • BJ Fogg’s preso on “hot triggers,” “cold triggers,” persuasive technology and why Twitter and Facebook are winning.
  • A myriad of fantastic, thought-provoking, brain-activity-inducing conversations in hallways, at dining tables, at social events, while braving the rain and the cold – you know who you are.

PS: I miss √Örhus. Thanks, Janus!

Gilbane Boston 2009

The who is who of content management came to Boston for the Gilbane conference. I was fortunate to moderate a Content Management in Practice session, and attended a few others:

  • Content migration, the dirty little secret of content management, where content migration challenges, stumbling blocks and techniques to avoid them were discussed. One of the simplest, yet most often overlooked takeaways: Know your content.
  • One of the hottest topics of the event – open source and its rise in content management. One little tidbit of info signaling a broader acceptance of open source even just looking at Gilbane — there were virtually no OSS vendors here 4 years ago. This year, there were 6.

PS: Great fun seeing/meeting the usual CMS crowd suspects IRL and chatting about royal matters of the content management kingdom ūüôā Thanks, Frank!

Open Source CMS

Social Media

  • The CIA continued its investment in open source and technology and got more visibility into social media (=open source = data in public domain) after giving some $$$ to the social media monitoring firm Visible Technologies. Any social content (open or hidden) can be scraped, scored and displayed in a nice dashboard.
cms, Enterprise CMS, Enterprise Content Management, Web CMS, Web Content Management

Things We Hate About Content Mgmt

things we hate about cm
By The Motley Crew (== Jon Marks, Adriaan Bloem, Irina Guseva, Ian Truscott, Justin Cormack, Andrew Liles, The Spirit of Philippe Parker)

It was a lovely Friday morning/afternoon, and we were Waving. The experiment initiated by McBoof (yes, that one) brought together 6 CMS folks from around the world. The event gathered together analysts, journalists, vendors, system integrators to Wave on a topic that was decided at that very moment. We had one hour (in between conference calls and other job thingys) to pick a topic and Wave it.

A little collab on what exactly to Wave about later, we decided to do “a mindmap of things we find annoying in CMSs.” To up the ante, we also¬†decided¬†to take the original bullet points (deemed “too easy”) and convert¬†the whole thing¬†to¬†prose. Was the tool given¬†really up to the task?¬†Were¬†our minds flexible enough to wrap around this kind¬†of¬†realtime collaboration?

In the¬†beginning —¬†we¬†blame the tool ūüėČ — we were¬†Drowning,¬†not¬†Waving. We (almost) didn’t fight about¬†edits. We almost didn’t step on each other’s toes. All in all,¬†it turned out to be a fun and productive collaborative exercise. Read¬†on¬†to see for yourself.

Cosmetic Issues

There¬†really¬†should be a CMS UI fashion police. As there should be a¬†Magic Quadrant for¬†shoes and handbags. Why? Well, there’s a couple of issues.

For¬†instance, sloppy,¬†non-designed¬†design. You know the kind of thing¬†that has not been thought about and reworked and made to feel right. The sort of thing coders do if you don’t force them. But at the same time, over-designed interfaces¬†can¬†be just as bad: the designers and developers really need to be on speaking terms.

When¬†building a system that works, you can’t have the development team in the basement on a sustenance of Jolt coding away into the night, and the designers in the penthouse in turtleneck sweaters sipping espressos. Too many CMS designs end up being programmer vs. end-user friendly. And this is not the best way to charm away those marketing and web content folks.

Developers and designers need to talk to each other and essentially, both should talk to users Рnot just eat your own dogfood Рbut listen to what dogs like to eat. A developer or UI designer are not content editors, marketers or knowledge and information workers.

Some vendors¬†say¬†that the agonizingly and depressingly black UI backgrounds are hip and¬†modern. Well, they are not, really. Who told you that? Especially¬†if you add a Star Trek theme to it and sprinkle in some stars and cosmic swirls, because if Apple does it, it must be cool right? Not pointing any fingers, but I would quit if I were a content manager having to¬†spend my 9-5 staring into the “black hole” of some of the CMS UIs that are out there on the market.

Even pop-ups seem less annoying when compared to dark UIs.¬†Which brings us onto…

Interface Issues

Interfaces need a comfortable lived in feel. Content management is something people work with every day, it is their interface to their job. You meet people who hate the interface, and that makes their work a heap of pain. I have seen people who describe the 44 clicks it takes to insert an image. You have a responsibility to these people, to make them love the content and make the tool disappear.

We¬†all hate¬†it when¬†the¬†interface¬†does¬†something¬†on¬†its own¬†that¬†ruins¬†your¬†context.¬†E.g.¬†a¬†page¬†refresh, or in Wave the jumping around of the scrolled window in some cases¬†ūüėȬ†Or¬†the¬†lack of¬†an¬†easy¬†way to bookmark, so you can reference someone to the content.¬†Remember people will be collaborating and need to send links around. Make sure the UI is a proper web application with URLs.¬†And¬†why¬†do¬†tasks¬†that¬†are¬†easy to describe and often repeated in exactly the same way still take more than a few clicks?¬†(Or¬†maybe even dozens of clicks.) With¬†bonus¬†points for¬†forcing¬†users to use dialogs or tabs to enter mandatory information.¬†Remember people do not have all the information in¬†the right order.

Also, we need sane¬†conflict¬†merges.¬†Check in and check out is too extreme for most uses. But people want¬†to edit¬†offline¬†still.¬†Of¬†course¬†Wave¬†doesn’t¬†have¬†an offline:¬†Google¬†thinks¬†this¬†problem¬†is¬†going¬†away, it’s¬†real¬†time¬†so¬†there¬†are¬†never¬†conflicts (that’s¬†defined in the XML protocol;¬†it’s¬†quite¬†interesting¬†if¬†you¬†are¬†that¬†way¬†geeky). Does Google have the right answer here? Well, the Motley Crew is¬†struggling here, and¬†some browsers lost sync during this experiment.

“Power¬†users” (those who use¬†it all day long) of CMSs needed to have a “Desktop” experience. What does Desktop Experience mean?¬†Well,¬†it¬†doesn’t really have¬†to¬†be on the desktop —¬†these¬†days¬†it¬†is¬†perfectly¬†possible¬†to¬†get very close¬†to a¬†hitherto¬†Desktop experience in a¬†browser¬†or similar.¬†these are¬†qualities: very low latency from action to response, no page refreshes, modal and modal-less dialog boxes as appropriate, “push” notification.

Architectural Issues

Architectural issues of the wave overtook any architectural issues of Content Management Systems. The fact that we authored this entire article in a single blip didn’t help, and slowed everything down enormously. McBoof learned the hard way that he really need a new laptop and spent most of the¬†session giving his machine¬†CPR.¬†Next time we’ll do each paragraph in its own blip to stop FireFox going down like a Led Zeppelin.


Monolithic systems. Build it out of pieces that the client can not use all of. Obviously¬†your¬†pieces may work together better,¬†but there should be components.¬†Do not try to reinvent all¬†kinds of¬†wheel.¬†“Best¬†of breed,”¬†though,¬†is¬†just¬†another weasel marketing idea, as if systems are pinnacles not about meeting requirements.


Marketeers are adroit at using the term Best Practice to position Their Way as the only way that a particular matter can be solved. (Many of us live in that netherland of having to pedal that point of view, but it is a falsehood that the careful buyer should try to see through.) I think this devalues genuine best practice, vendors should cite references

Most¬†often¬†a¬†marketeer’s Best Practice view¬†is the¬†only one¬†they subscribe to¬†as¬†their product¬†development¬†has¬†paddled¬†up the wrong stream and cannot¬†or won’t¬†reverse their¬†architectural design¬†(probably¬†because¬†of¬†the cost of doing¬†so).¬†This¬†intransigence¬†most¬†often¬†causes¬†a¬†product¬†to doom itself.¬†(Think of IBM and The Mainframe Is The Only Way¬†To Do¬†Serious Business).

Who really still believes that there is a place in this world for Flash or Java Applet based Rich Text Editors? TinyMCE, FCKeditor and others are filling the gap left by Ektron when they bit the hand that feeds and entered the CMS market. Ephox is trying to spread, but I find it difficult to come up with an excuse to use an Applet over HTML with javascript these days. Stick with the standard.

Business Issues

Where you are buying into something that you may very well need to change or integrate with there is strong benefit in considering Open Source. Open Source used to frighten commercial software companies but we have come along way on that road to understand that commercial organisation can operate in an Open Source world and benefit. This does not necessarily mean that their prized system needs to be fully opened up, but taking the spirit of it to mean that you are completely open to people seeing and learning from your code how it operates.

Exactly what you need to see opened up varies. In a CMS¬†there¬†may be¬†a subsystem¬†that stores the content or one that allows a Rich Text Editor.¬†These arguably don’t need to¬†be opened up, but when a CMS ships with modules for, for example,¬†an¬†RSS feed widget, calendaring tool, prebuilt webforms, users who then want a¬†variation on this module¬†can¬†benefit from¬†seeing¬†how the “pros” did¬†it,¬†they can then use¬†it as a starting point for their own different¬†implementation.

We¬†really don’t need¬†vendors¬†that¬†pay¬†lip service to the buzzwords. When they¬†think the new CMS buzzword “engagement” is just a screenshot of Google Analytics. Or when they add an image picker and call¬†it¬†DAM. And a cross-over between¬†WCM¬†and ECM?¬†Don’t think¬†WCM¬†is¬†like¬†ECM and it’s¬†about¬†organizing content, not about¬†effectively communicating with¬†the¬†audience. And don’t think¬†that if you organize the content, you can¬†automatically communicate effectively.

Completely¬†different,¬†but¬†equally¬†frustrating, is procurement (and the procedures that go with it.)¬†Procurement¬†folk¬†don’t¬†recognise¬†the¬†importance¬†of¬†user adoption¬†to¬†the¬†success of¬†the¬†project — of¬†the black¬†background and all the UI issues pointed out¬†previously.¬†If a CMS is procured¬†according to procedure, the selection is a success to them. But those same rules are often a recipe¬†for ignoring what the users really need.

At the same time,¬†budgets that¬†aren’t transparent¬†are an issue¬†–¬†customer and vendor should be able¬†to¬†have¬†a sensible¬†grown¬†up¬†conversation.¬†As a customer,¬†of¬†course¬†you¬†want¬†good¬†value,¬†but¬†how¬†cheap¬†are¬†you?¬†But to vendors:¬†many¬†licensing¬†models¬†don’t¬†make¬†any sense,¬†and¬†force you to do stupid things.¬†People¬†are¬†scared¬†to have¬†that¬†conversation¬†–¬†the¬†best¬†architectural¬†fit¬†first¬†I¬†say,¬†lets¬†figure out¬†an¬†appropriate¬†license around¬†that.


So much hatred rolled up into a tight little ball of anti-CMS rage. Who would have expected it from such a respected bunch of CMS folk. We hate the designs, the interfaces, the architectures and the business. Time for a beer/wine? Wave good bye!

(Note: This is a cut/paste (as is, no edits) from Google Wave)

nuxeo tag cloud
cms, Document Management, Enterprise CMS, Enterprise Content Management, open source, Open Source CMS

Open Source Nuxeo ECM and DM Go OpenSocial-Friendly

Open Source ECM vendor Nuxeo included several new features in the latest release of Nuxeo Document Management. Nuxeo DM 5.3 highlights include support for OpenSocial API, tagging, SharePoint and interoperability with CMIS Server as an add-on component.

On top of that, Nuxeo EP 5.3, the vendor’s enterprise content management system core, reached the RC stage.

Nuxeo DM 5.3

This time around, Nuxeo concentrated on the increasingly popular social applications support and a few other things that many DM users may find helpful and welcome.

Using Nuxeo‚Äôs¬†support for OpenSocial ‚ÄĒ a common API for social apps access across various websites ‚ÄĒ users can add and/or build social networking gadgets, for example.

Nuxeo DM 5.3 serves as both the publisher of gadgets and the OpenSocial container. Just for comparison, other known OpenSocial containers include MySpace, Ning, LinkedIn, iGoogle and many others.

CrownPeak, a SaaS Web CMS vendor, also did an OpenSocial integration back in early 2008.

Microsoft SharePoint can be accessed from Nuxeo DM 5.3 for basic library services and common file operations. For those die-hard fans of Windows Explorer, there’s a native integration, so they may not even know they’re working with another document management system.

There’s also a Microsoft Office integration that allows opening, saving, editing of files directly to/from Nuxeo DM.

It was about time Nuxeo put more effort into tagging and metadata capabilities of their DM system. The new tagging service is fairly easy to use and allows users to categorize content by applying existing or adding new tags. Tagging can then result in more ways for retrieval and display of content stored in Nuxeo DM.

Tagging recommendations and dynamic tag cloud are also part of the deal.

Nuxeo DM 5.3 Tag Cloud

The vendor also says they improved search and indexing, which should play in nicely into the tagging offering.

Having been longtime fans of CMIS, Nuxeo added interoperability into this release as well with their add-on CMIS Server, which is based on the CMIS draft 0.62. The most current (and the official OASIS Technical Committee) CMIS draft is 0.7.

The idea here is that organizations can use Nuxeo DM, while also being able to search across multiple ECM, ERP, DM and other systems.

Nuxeo EP 5.3

Currently an RC, the new version includes that same WSS (MS SharePoint), tagging and OpenSocial widgets support we’ve seen in DM 5.3. In addition to that, the import/export service was improved and performance is said to be enhanced following some benchmarking efforts.

The Nuxeo EP 5.3 RC also features a CMIS implementation¬†based on Apache Chemistry that we discussed early spring ‚ÄĒ both with¬†Nuxeo’s Florent Guillaume and¬†Day Software’s David Nuescheler.

It would be unreasonable not to notice the wave of recent activity at this Paris-based open source ECM vendor. With new people on board and an aggressive product roadmap, Nuxeo (if not disrupting) is clearly starting to gain more traction in the global enterprise CMS market.

In the end, when it comes to open source, successes can be measured by the activeness of the community, as well as customer growth ‚ÄĒ among other metrics. In the U.S., for example, Nuxeo still has quite some space to spread its wings, if the vendor wants to. And we tend to think it will.

Cross-posted on Open Source Nuxeo EP and DM 5.3 Support OpenSocial

Enterprise CMS, Enterprise Content Management, open source, Open Source CMS, Web CMS, Web Content Management

Report: U.S. CMS Market to Explode due to Open Source

That is a conclusion Basex, an analyst and research firm, came to in a (at times, admittedly questionable) report entitled Content Management Systems: The New Math for Selecting Your Platform released in September 2009.

The researchers are saying the content management market is set to explode in the next several years, and open source CMS¬†vendors are contributing to this growth, as well as to how customers are changing their CMS selection processes. Let’s take a look at details ‚ÄĒ some of them you may find quite amusing.

Basex estimates that the U.S. market for content management reached about US$ 4.1 billion in revenue in 2008. By 2014, it should jump to US$ 10 billion.

Basex says that Alfresco and Bluenog are ‚Äúleading the charge‚ÄĚ in the commercial open source market. Umm, many may not agree with this stance. What about players like Nuxeo and Acquia? If we were to judge market leadership by the number of customers and license deal sizes mentioned in this report, the math wouldn‚Äôt be the same. But let‚Äôs go on.

Then the research firm adds that ‚ÄúFortunately, it‚Äôs gotten simpler to find the right [CMS] tool.‚ÄĚ Umm, really? We do like this wording (found in the same report) better: ‚ÄúChoosing the right content management system is far from straight forward.‚ÄĚ

Breakdown of CMS vendors into tiers in this report is slightly unconventional with Microsoft ECM and SharePoint sitting right next to Percussion and Alterian. Not to mention the lack of clear differentiation between on-the-premise and hosted/SaaS vendors. One would imagine this distinction would be of importance to many organizations selecting a CMS.

Leaving out DotNetNuke and eZ Publish from commercial open source CMS vendors seems like a significant omission. Some would argue Basex putting Bluenog in the commercial open source box ‚Äď actually, we‚Äôve heard that debate before ‚Äď with its technology mix of proprietary code, Apache and other open source software.

While the report is profiling 16 CMS vendor, the most mentions seem to be given to Bluenog and Alfresco (approximately twice as many, compared to other open source or proprietary CMS vendors). If in fact, certain vendors were involved in the makings of the report as underwriters, it would be nice to disclose that.

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Document Management, Enterprise CMS, Enterprise Content Management, ERP, Records Management

Vamosa Goes for Extended Records Management, eDiscovery

Not long ago, we discussed Vamosa’s work in the Enterprise Content Governance (ECoG) field and their new Check and Fix tool.

Recently, the vendor extended its Check and Fix functionality to cater more to eDiscovery and web records management scenarios.

Web governance can be tricky, even with a formal approach in place. That’s why we have tools to help us out. Vamosa Check and Fix can be used for multi-domain/multi-author website monitoring and reporting; and fixing issues with compromised standards, that are checked against a set of standard and custom measurement points. They can include HTML standards, compliance, branding and governance.

Vamosa’s Check and Fix is one of the tools on the market that can be used to take a snapshot every time content changes, providing a full audit trail. This version of the tool is sold at an additional license charge based on the volume of content monitored.

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