alterian_logo.jpg There have been some rumors circling around about Alterian (news, site) discontinuing its Immediacy Web CMS brand. Morello, their other CMS, is part of that goodbye story as well.

So, is it true that it is finita la comedia for Immediacy and Morello? We had a chat with Alterian’s VP of WCM product strategy Ian Truscott to find out.

When Too Much is Too Much

As you may know, there’s a bit of a mish-mash of web content management technologies at this vendor as a result of the Mediasurface acquisition 2.5 years ago. Alterian, as a company, has several CMS brands: Immediacy, Morello and Alterian Content Manager.

Don’t you think that would only be logical to apply some consolidation rules to this variety? And this is exactly what Alterian has decided to do.

The Web of Web Engagement

Continuing to preach web engagement, Alterian wants to focus its WCM strategy on web engagement, bringing together audience insight, content and analytics to deliver a multi-channel, personalized message.

The product strategy is focused on realizing exactly that, with the recent release of the WebJourney product, a tight integration of Alterian Content Manager (ACM) to it and to the SM2 social media monitoring tool, plus improved integrations to Dynamic messenger e-mail delivery platform, so that a marketer can drive a multi-channel campaign from within ACM.

As Truscott notes, the CMS market segment that Alterian lives and breathes in has become increasingly competitive and lower tiers are pushing up in functionality, hence the need to change. We’re frankly surprised it took the vendor so long to consolidate all those brands.

Given that a new major release of the Alterian Content Manager -- Alterian Content Manager 7, or CM 7 -- is coming up later this year, Alterian decided to take this opportunity to consolidate to one WCM platform and drop Morello and Immediacy brands (sorry, we know you like those pretty names).

The combined product, according to Truscott, is being built by the same teams that built Immediacy and Morello:

“This strategy means that we don't need to build and maintain two of the common components (WYSIWYG editors, multiple SharePoint connectors, accessibility checkers, etc.) and focus on differentiated functionality for today’s WCM market.”

But the not so good parts will have to go. Immediacy will soon be discontinued because it was constrained in some functionality. We have heard before that Immediacy – with its page-based content delivery and storage model -- has been criticized for its lack of API and browser support.

However, Alterian wants to keep the best parts of the product, such as its easy- to-use theme and plug-in functionality, as they build out the new version CM 7.

How Does This Affect Customers?

Truscott calls it “business as usual.” Meaning that Alterian is developing upgrade scripts to help their Immediacy and Morello customer base make a rather major move: from page to object model that is the underlying change in the codebase consolidation. The upcoming major new version will be made available to all CMC customers as part of their support contract, and will require some upgrade effort.

“As with all major releases there will be an upgrade, but we are already building the tools to do that from the start of the project. These tools and access to the new version of the software will be included as part of any existing customers support and maintenance contracts with us,” said Truscott.

But Alterian also promises to “support CMC 6/Immediacy indefinitely,” because they want to make the transition easier and “don’t anticipate major difficulties” with the upgrade path for their customers. Alterian CEO, David Eldridge, says:

“Alterian is very excited about our increasing investment in the WCM space, and the new capabilities that we are bringing to market for all our customers. The evolution of our CMC offering will bring real benefits to our customers and enable them to take their web presence to a new level of engagement.”

The pricing structure won’t change either, as the vendor intends to stay in the same Web CMS market segment. Surely, there will be some initial shock from the customers, as "There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things," noted one wise man a very long time ago. Stay tuned for more news from Alterian. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.