Tag Archives: alfresco

Who should be on your CMS shortlist?


Selecting the right CMS is not an easy task with; there is in excess of 1,000 vendors in the very dynamic CMS marketplace. Unfortunately industry analysts tend to evaluate too many vendors for the needs of most buyers. Consider CMS Watch which has 42 systems in their Web CMS Report and Gartner with 18 vendors in their recently updated Magic Quadrant. How do you narrow it down even further, so you can get to a shortlist of vendors you should examine closer and potentially send your RFP to?

Based on our extensive experience with CMS selection, we have created the below Top 10 list with vendors you should always consider. This is geared towards buyers from large and complex organisations with significant web demands.

Web CMS Shortlist 2009

What it requires to be on the list:

  • Significant dedication to CMS. It does not have to be everything the vendor does, but to mitigate your risk, CMS has to be very important to them. This includes a history of relatively smooth upgrades combined with on-going technology investments in improving the system.
  • Global footprint. You can either find direct vendor representation or experienced partners in almost all parts of the world to help you with the implementation. There are also successful references around the world for you to learn from.
  • The vendor has something very significant to offer. This easily turns into yet another unhelpful long list, so we kept the list short and predict that the list will change in 2010. A vendor can only get on the list if we can remove another one. This means that many vendors, even though they might have interesting references, are not on this list.

You can reduce the list further by considering licensing and technology. Some on the list might also not have local partners in your region. If you feel troubled by suddenly having too few vendors, remember that you also need to find a good implementation partner to support you. To find the right one, you should send to more than one implementation partner for each vendor; this way you will easily end up with 10 - 12 qualified companies on your list.

Here a few comments about some of those missing from the list:

  • Microsoft is not on the list as neither SharePoint nor Oxite are good fits for Web CMS. Despite tremendous adoption, SharePoint is often chosen for the wrong reasons. Also, as mentioned on this blog, content management does not seem important to Microsoft. For additional details, you can consult our research on Best Practices for Using SharePoint for Public Websites.
  • Several other large vendors are absent, eg. Autonomy, IBM, Oracle, as they are often simply overkill for Web CMS. Not only are their products very expensive, but they are also very complex to implement and use. We challenge buyers who insist on adding them, that they carry additional risk due to the CMS being acquired from smaller vendors and their diminutive focus on WCM in the overall picture.
  • Many significant, but still regional vendors, eg. CoreMedia, e-Spirit and Terminalfour are left out as they do not yet have a global footprint. There are regional differences in the market, which we will cover in separate forthcoming blogs.
  • Alfresco has very good marketing, in particular for an open source vendor. The actual product is quite complex with weak usability and many on-going architectural changes.
  • Joomla lacks a few important features such as workflow, custom roles and custom content types. This combined with security concerns means that we do not always recommend Joomla.
  • WordPress is a very popular blogging platform, which might slowly be morphing into a CMS, but is still lacking in many enterprise features, including security. In too many regions it is also quite difficult to find any significant SI that offers WordPress implementation support.

Most CMS vendors are having a great time, c.f. recent earnings from Day Software, FatWire and Sitecore, but I'm hoping this list will help you save some time and confusion while navigating a still very crowded marketplace.

I welcome your feedback and stay tuned for regional shortlists soon!

Thanks to James Hoskins (@jameshoskins), John Goode (@johngoode), Jon Marks (@McBoof) and Mark Morell (@markmorrell) for valuable input.

UPDATE:  Aug 18 - In response to popular demand, I've released a wrap-up with additional background on the shortlist

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