Friday, March 12, 2010

CMS vendors now and then

CMS analyst Janus Boye has just published a post on CMS vendors that discontinue their products (because they get bought out or similar)
During the past 10 years, a number of software products used by online professionals have been discontinued
That sentence reminded me that I had given a talk almost 10 years ago (it was in 2001 exactly) that contained a slide on the CMS market at that time:

The circles denote vendors that were part of CMS market overview articles by popular German IT magazines in that year (I wanted to show how differently the market place could be perceived). A vendor placed in any of the circles had enough attention to be part of at least one evaluation. The vendors outside of the circles were not part of any of these overview articles, but somehow present in the market place - at least I knew their names back then.

It is interesting to look at the landscape from that time. Of course there are a number of well-known vendors that got bought (Vignette, Obtree, Gauss), but the majority still seems to linger on - at least, a web site still exists, for example iRacer, Schema Text, or Contens.

On the other hand, one can ask how many vendors that were important enough to make it into a (German) market overview are still relevant in the market place today. I have used Janus Boye's spreadsheet of relevant European CMS vendors as a benchmark and checked which vendor's of today's list were already in 2001's presentation: Day, Coremedia and Open Text were "in the circles". Tridion was there, but outside of the circles. The rest of the vendors that Janus considers relevant today were not on my radar in 2001.

The end of my presentation involved a couple of CMS-related predictions. Let's see how I did. I predicted:
  • product borders between CMS, DMS and app servers will blur further - my take now: wrong. I do not think that these border are more blurry than they were in 2001
  • more standards and standards-based software (Java, JSP/ASP, XML, XSL) - true. The underlying technologies of CMSs are more homogeneous than they were at that time. Remember TCL?
  • But no true compatibility. True. Nothing more to say.
  • Improved Personalization. Improved Multi-Channel support. Both not really true, but rather fads of those days.
  • Improved DMS features and Office integration. Don't ask me why I said that.
  • No quick market consolidation in sight. Right on the money here.
Mostly correct on general market considerations, mostly wrong on features.