Our friends at CMS Watch recently announced their take on trends in SaaS Web Content Management for 2009. We've been contemplating about the future of SaaS WCM for quite some time ourselves.

Let's take a look-see at CMS Watch's predictions for the year to come and some more analysis of hosted Web CMS solutions.

CMS Watch on SaaS Trends

Citing the recent 2009 Web CMS Report, CMS Watch's Jarrod Gingras says that "the technology marketplace has seen consistent growth in the acceptance of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models, and Web Content Management is certainly no exception."

At the same time, Gingras refers to the major SaaS-based Web CMS vendors - Clickability, CrownPeak and OmniUpdate -- as "relatively small players" that still need to evolve to meet the changing customer demands.

Going back to the Web CMS Report 2009, CMS Watch outlines the following interrelated trends in the SaaS Web Content Management space to expect in 2009.

1. Customers Want More Than Just Software

My SaaS is not your SaaS -- we said it before, and we say it again. Not only all hosted WCM solutions are different, many customers want more than simply taking the weight off their IT teams' shoulders.

Despite the original idea of SaaS being a limited, hosting and outsourced utility, in fact, SaaS WCM customers tend to see SaaS providers as a kind of outsourced consultancy with not only infrastructure but Web design and development support as well. Will SaaS WCM vendors expand their offering portfolios or stick to the original business model?

Vendors like OmniUpdate already offer training services (from 2-hour end-user training to a multi-day custom one)? What's next?

2. Vendors Turn More to Implementation Partners

With customer needs expanding, vendors look for more help from implementation partners and systems integrators for such services as custom development, CMS implementation and customer support, moving away from the more traditional in-house model.

Word of caution: Be careful which implementation partners you choose, as not all of them will help you extend (and protect) your brand.

3. Vendors Pay More Attention to Developers' Needs

With changing customer demands, open APIs represent a long-term trend among SaaS vendors. Not all customers want to outsource their Web development. Developers also want more flexibility as to access and tools they are able to work with.

Online or desktop IDE, either way, developers want in on all CMS APIs and everything that goes with it. In response, WCM SaaS vendors are trying to adapt and make their IDE tools more flexible. Clickability, for example, is making their tools more Visual Studio-like.

OmniUpdate, on the other hand, doesn't offer any dev tools whatsoever, allowing developers to work in their own familiar environments and then upload their work to the CMS via FTP.

A Look at SaaS WCM Vendors

In the SaaS Web CMS space, we closely watch the following vendors: