CoreMedia (news, site) is going around the "Portals are dead / portals are not dead" debate with the upcoming release of a new content management module built specifically for (the apparently struggling) SAP NetWeaver Portal users.

Why SAP?

According to the vendor, they see SAP as a special niche characterized by a considerable number of customers with acute pain points. The poll CoreMedia conducted among 700 users of SAP NetWeaver portals in January 2010 revealed that 72% of respondents think that publishing content on the SAP portal is too difficult and time-consuming.

To make matters even worse, 52% of respondents said they were frustrated because they had to go to IT to publish pretty much anything. So, you are not surprised that "portals are dead" discussion has been circulating in the content management universe for some time now.

How CoreMedia Wants to Solve the Issue

CoreMedia built an AJAX-y content management UI to be used in combo with the portal, where users can conduct basic content management tasks and edit content inside the portal, drag and drop iViews (be it widgets, portlets). The vendor says that one of the differentiators in this module is the ability to mix content and apps on the same page.

All the actions are dynamically taking place in the live environment, rather than staging, making content appear on live quicker (and, hopefully, without many possible risks of unwanted content appearing live involved).

What Else is Coming

CoreMedia is already doing some personalization and social software features in the Web CMS, but later on the roadmap we should see more of that being done for SAP customers, so that they can use inherent to SAP transactional data (from CRM, ERP, etc.) to enhance their existing online engagement offerings.

Transactional data managed by SAP is becoming more valuable on the web, as organizations are looking to drive the web more dynamically and to have a more personalized website. Hence, more attention to CoreMedia's Content Application Engine (CAE) in the second phase.

Why You May or May Not Care

Interestingly, many of SAP's known features -- such as collaboration and KM (Knowledge Management) -- CoreMedia chose not to support -- focusing mainly on the infrastructure/delivery capabilities -- citing the fact that they wanted to avoid any "dependencies" on those features based on what they heard about SAP not developing those capabilities in the future.

And not to mention that CoreMedia already has a separate, existing portal product -- CoreMedia Open Portal -- that allows to manage apps like content, be in compliance with JSR-286, and support mashup technologies among other things. But all in a different UI than those of CoreMedia CMS or the SAP portal module.

The question is why go after the portal technology, when there're so many things that can be done on the core WCM side of the CoreMedia house.

Yet, if you use SAP NetWeaver as your PMS (and we do love three-letter acronyms, this one stands for Presentation Management System), a module like this one might be for you. It will be available around September 2010.