A Look Back at Web CMS in 2010

9 minute read
Irina Guseva avatar

Web content management continued to be an interesting space in 2010 -- from shaker acquisitions to the pivoting role of open source, not to forget SharePoint 2010 and a slew of new acronyms and debates. Let's review the highlights of what's happened.

1. WCM and WEM

The historical value proposition of web content management has been around ease of use for non-techies. Since then, the web has graduated from simple HTML and swirling graphics to a more multi-dimensional channel. Many organizations are starting to ponder not only how to manage their web presence, but how to manage user engagement more efficiently.

Brochureware days are over. The notion of a marketing campaign has changed. Web Engagement Management (WEM) is not a replacement for WCM, but rather an supplemental area of practice that includes many of the tricks for marketeers to do their jobs better.

Vendors jumped on the WEM bandwagon and started sprucing up/re-inventing their Online Marketing Suites, Website Marketing Acceleration solutions and Web Experience Management tools.

While WEM as a discipline is valuable, beware of vendor marketing and positioning messaging that doesn't carry the weight behind it. If looking for WEM capabilities, be sure the tools are truly able to provide targeting and personalization, and tailored, relevant, localized, actionable content.

Consider larger scheme of things and the notion of the umbrella term of CEM - Customer Experience Management. Whether these acronyms are mere buzzwords or the real thing time will tell. But we'll hear as much about them in 2011 as we have in 2010.

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2. SharePoint 2010 and .NET CMSs

One of the biggest events of 2010 is the release of SharePoint 2010. Many held their breaths expecting a galore of new features. Some saw a lot of improvements, while others came to the conclusion that SharePoint 2010 (to put it mildly) is not the best technology to manage external web sites.

Many of SP's shortcomings contributed to the rise of mid-market .NET CMS alternatives. While the Java vs. .NET debate will permeate the technology landscape for as long as both are alive, .NET shops are expressing more interest in CMSs that are not coming from Redmond, but can work on their Microsoft-centric infrastructures.

Let's not forget that there's also a set of vendors with mixed technologies under the hood. One of them, Alterian, discontinued their Immediacy CMS this year and dropped the Morello brand. The only standing product Alterian CM has a .NET delivery and APIs, but still is very much Java under the covers.

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3. Day is Now Part of Adobe

In the spirit of market consolidation and CEM-for-all movement, Adobe has acquired Day Software. Following the Omniture acquisition, Adobe now has the needed bits and pieces to offer a set of tools for the customer experience management journey (online, offline and around) - if the integrations go well.

Technologically, there seems to be a lot of traction with LiveContent, LiveCycle, ES, CQ5, CRX and JCR in the play. The mélange of predominantly European and mainly American DNAs may present a cultural clash at some point, but which acquisition goes without some blood being shed, especially when a smaller company is trying to fit into the software giant that Adobe is?

Ever since Day broke its three years of WCM silence with the release of CQ5 in late 2008 and overhauled the upper echelons, we saw promising things coming out of Basel. How will things change with "now part of Adobe" in the tagline?

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4. EPiServer: From Failed IPO to Acquisition

Quite quietly, Web CMS vendor EPiServer tried to set out an initial public offering, kept it under wraps when failed to do so and then got acquired by a company that has not been active in the technology space prior to this buy. The acquisition itself is not that interesting. The buyer is. With a myriad of technologies in EPiServer's basket, let's see next year which ones will be the good eggs.

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5. Open Source Web CMS

Open source had a great impact on the Web CMS market. Market view of the open source continued to change from unknown and scary to "Hmm, let me take a look at this thing." While it still costs money to implement an open source Web CMS, there are several advantages weighing heavily in favor of OSS.

There's been no lack in activity from vendors like Drupal, Liferay, dotCMS, Hippo, Magnolia, Jahia, Alfresco and many *many* others.

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6. WordPress as a CMS Debate

Yes, the wildly popular web publishing and blogging tool (that is sometimes used as a simple tool for managing content for simple sites) has been on the minds of many this year. The debate on whether it's a CMS or not has gotten to theological depths. Some started covering WP in their Web CMS reports. Others rebelled. Countless tweets and blog posts were exchanged fighting for the Holy Grail of the only truest truth. Turns out, there isn't one.

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7. WCM and Open Standards

2010 is the year of CMIS -- the spec that was officially ratified in May. While CMIS is not as prevalent in the WCM space as it is in ECM and DM, there's no indication that the standard will not evolve to the state of being truly applicable to web content management. With many organizations looking at interoperability and avoiding vendor lock-in, WCM vendors should exhibit more interest in this area in 2011.

Learning Opportunities

The speed of adoption for CMIS is remarkable. Within the past several months we saw several reference implementations, including the xCMIS Project and OpenCMIS, which then merged with Apache Chemistry.

The JSRs didn't see much action in 2010. JSR-170 was outranked by the long-awaited JSR-283 -- Content Repository for Java Technology API Version 2.0 -- late 2009, leading to the release of JCR 2.0. The next JSR spec JSR-333 (aka JCR 2.1) is in the making.

With the recent departure of the Apache Software Foundation from the JCP, there was a concern about the future of existing and new JSR specs. But it doesn't look like there will be any impact at this time.

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8. Web CMS Quilting Hobby of OpenText

OpenText, as usual, has been buying things for its quilt of Web CMS and other technologies. One of the reasons for that is to compensate for the lack of organic growth, as some financial analysts note. OTEX Q3 license revenue dropped 5% despite the Vignette acquisition from the year before. What used to be RedDot has taken the Web Solutions back seat in the orchestra, and Vignette was given the Web Experience Management flute to play.

Nstein was another acquisition with bets on their Text Mining Engine (TME) -- now known as OpenText Content Analytics.

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9. Oracle + Sun Debacle, (My)SQL Alternatives, Rise of NoSQL

Some hearts were bleeding when the Oracle + Sun deal was finalized. We looked at the acquisition from the perspective of the impact on the content management industry and saw some troubling signs.

Former MySQL founders and employees from the original, pre-Sun, pre-Oracle MySQL era didn't lose much time to launch their alternative solution (SkySQL) for all ya'll MySQL fans.

With the rise of NoSQL, Web CMSs like Lily may be getting more attention in the near future.

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10. WCM and Social + Mobile

The iPad has changed the world. The iPad set a new direction for web content and website design. Gartner predicts tablet sales worldwide will hit 54.8 million units in 2011. With the whole world going mobile it would be not sensible for Web CMS vendors to up the mobile channel delivery game for mobile phones or tablets. And many have done so in 2010.

The mobile trend was about as popular as the social one. As "likes" are becoming one of the driving forces of today's business world, software vendors turn to incorporating social media publishing/management features into their products either natively or via integrations. Tweets are starting to go through workflows, and your social graph can now be used by marketeers to dig into your personal preferences, as well as those of your friends, to upsell you the products "you may also like."

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Bonus: Top 5 CMS Executives Under 35

No list goes without a bonus point, right? This year we put together a list of 5 CMS hopefuls. They're young, ambitious, talented, already very accomplished and hold a lot of promise for the future. We've heard from them this year and looking to see if they live up to the expectations in the year to come.

Super Bonus: 10 Common CMS Implementation Mistakes

Avoid these common bad behaviors if you don't want your CMS implementation to turn into a fiasco of epic proportions.

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