Ex-Percussion-ist Beardslee Joins Open Source dotCMS

Notice a trend? Open source is "stealing" away closed-sourced content management talent. The most recent one to be charmed away is Bill Beardslee, who, until recently, was a SVP, marketing and business development, at the Web CMS vendor Percussion.

Who knows whether it’s better weather (think Miami), or more chocolate, but open source vendors seem to be finding more and more ways of attracting employees from proprietary CMS players.

We had an opportunity to have a quick chat with Beardslee about where dotCMS stands now, where it is going in 2010 and what he plans to achieve in his new role as SVP, strategy and development, of the Java-based, open source CMS provider dotCMS (news, site).

Why dotCMS and the OS CMS Market

Beardslee told us that the reason he took the new job was Tim Brigham, principal, and CTO Will Ezell reaching out and announcing they “are ready to ramp it up.” “Bill and I have been talking for the past 5 months, and from the first conversation we saw eye to eye on how to grow the dotCMS business,” said Brigham.

According to Beardslee, dotCMS is seeing an overall revenue growth of 25% this year, and has “a lot of good things in place.”

Right now, dotCMS is operating in a similar way to Acquia and others, said Beardslee, as they attempt to develop software that can be available as OSS and/or with a commercial offering on top, appealing to customers who want a warranted product and access to the 24/7 technical support.

While Beardslee feels more differentiation is needed as to what makes dotCMS special, he points out that Java is a starting point in building out the differentiation strategy. There’s a number of Java-based open source CMS providers out there (Hippo, Jahia, Magnolia, Alfresco, Nuxeo, etc.), but it is relatively small compared to .NET and PHP.

And that is the first cut of product differentiation. In addition to that, Beardslee mentioned the web-centric nature of the product and its focus on the web vs. DM or portals.

Beardslee believes that one of the things dotCMS is really good at is “it goes beyond Java and focuses on adding new features and capabilities for social world…” as well as adding functionalities that help customers deal with the massive increase in content.

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What is Coming for dotCMS

By the end of his first month in the new role, Beardslee plans to define and begin to hone dotCMS positioning on the market. There are already some expressions of that in the sales pitch, but he wants to take a harder look at the product and services lineup.

Also on the to-do list is to do a better job of getting the product in front of people, as was done with the latest announcement on the dotCMS installer; figure out market needs and what turf the competition has staked out.

According to Beardslee, dotCMS is on a growth trajectory with Q1 2010 bringing more private equity to grow the organization, improve products and services offerings. dotCMS is looking to raise approximately US $5 million.

This won’t be the first round of funding for the J2EE/Java Web CMS provider, as the company had been angel funded in the past.

This move goes in line with recent industry trends outlining OSS openness to investment, based on the growing open source market and continued venture funding trends since 1997. The market is as viable as the amount of funding it gets from private investors, and dotCMS seems to support this direction.

In other news, dotCMS plans to grow its partner channel to make sure they provide subject matter expertise, without cross competing. The role of dotCMS Professional Services group “is not going away, but will instead be supplemented by a much larger partner community,” clarified Beardslee.