Vignette Layoffs VCM DPM DSM 7.6

Vignette is proud to announce a new version of its content management suite.

Unfortunately, there are fewer people available to support it than there were before Christmas.

The Bad News

In what is becoming an all too common theme in the content management market, Vignette surprised its employees two days before Christmas with news of a layoff.

While the timing comes as a bit of a shock -- two days before Christmas, seriously? -- the news should not surprise anyone who has kept even a casual eye on Vignette in recent months. Vignette's poor financial performance is well documented, and it doesn't help that competitor Interwoven appears to be thriving.

The Austin-American Statesman broke the story on Christmas Eve, and CMSWire's own Irina Guseva covered it several days later. As interesting as the Statesman's coverage is, the comments are even more compelling.

Several commenters, claiming to have been impacted by the layoff, suggested that the number of let go employees is closer to 20% of the workforce -- as opposed to the 10% number that Melanie Brenneman of Vignette Public Relations stated. Prior to the layoff, Vignette had approximately 600 employees with over 200 located in Austin, TX.

Sources within the company are unwilling to share specifics on how many were affected and from which areas. Rumors continue to swirl that more layoffs are forthcoming and a bunker mentality has developed within the organization. While a disgruntled commenter is by no means a credible source, the assertion that the team supporting Vignette's imaging product was let go is the most probable scenario.

Vignette's strength, both on the sales and engineering side, is web content management. Any attempts to diversify the product line with forays into the enterprise content management space are going to be prime candidates for cuts during tough times.

With regard to Guseva's speculation that Vignette is a potential acquisition target, I think that is unlikely. The company is certainly a value in its present state, but there are precious few companies that are:

  1. in the market for an enterprise web content management suite
  2. could absorb the considerable risk that would come with such an acquisition.

The president of a user experience consultancy posited that Microsoft could be a potential suitor. Sound crazy? Microsoft has the cash to buy Vignette purely for its cache of existing customers. Then, after establishing a painless migration path from Vignette V7 to Sharepoint, Microsoft eliminates a competitor and increases its marketshare.

But enough bad news...

The Good News

There may be fewer people filling the cubicles of Vignette's Austin, TX, headquarters, but that doesn't mean that work has stopped. As a matter of fact, enhancement and expansion of the Vignette Content Management Suite (VCM) forges ahead with the release of version 7.6.

The primary focus of this point release is on an improved administration experience:

  • Publishing is simplified and file management enhanced in an attempt to save time for customers
  • Over 250 customer-requested improvements are included
  • Expansion of the "Supported Platforms Matrix" and continued support for skip-level upgrades (from version 7.3.1.1)
  • Inclusion of Dynamic Site Module 7.6 and Dynamic Portal Module 7.6

More information on the latest release of VCM can be found here.

Like every other layoff, the sun comes up the next day and the show must go on. Vignette still has customers to support and those customers have requirements that need to be met.

What is your take on the current state of Vignette? Have you played with VCM 7.6 or seen a demo? Do you think Vignette is on life support, or will they emerge from the ashes of this recession as a stronger, more focused organization? Let us know in the comments.