CMS Watch Releases Web CMS Report 2010
Analyst firm CMS Watch (news, site) released their latest installment of the Web CMS Report, providing deep insights into 40+ web content management systems, spanning global markets. As usual, there's good, there's bad and there's ugly. What caught our eye is some restructuring of their market analysis. Let's have a look.

The 2010 report is structured slightly differently than previous editions with less vendor categories (and added distinction of platforms vs. products), new ratings categories, modified service descriptions and folding all European and global vendors regardless of their regional footprint into one report.

Breaking Down the Marketplace and Vendors

CMS Watch still breaks down the marketplace and vendors into several tiers, only this time around the refactored structure looks like this:

  • Complex Enterprise Platforms (e.g., Open Text/Vignette, Autonomy Interwoven)
  • Upper-Range Platforms (e.g., Alfresco, Day)
  • Mid-Range Platforms (e.g., Drupal, EPiServer)
  • Mid-Range Products (e.g., Ektron, CrownPeak)
  • Simpler Products (e.g., Telerik, Joomla!)

Each vendor is then thoroughly analyzed and evaluated against competition in a 12-20 page chapter that includes charts. You will notice that all vendors are now in the same bucket regardless of their business model: open source, SaaS or traditional proprietary.

Surely, some vendors may take issues with this new way of categorization and come away dissatisfied with the bucket in which they find themselves placed. Just remember, there's no perfect CMS, but you should be able to find the right fit for your specific scenario (applicable to both vendors and buyers).

The analysts do go though each type of delivery and licensing model and provide the pros and cons of each approach. Some examples of their assessments include (but you should read the rest):

  • Hosted/SaaS vendors tend to innovate faster than server-based counterparts.
  • When evaluating community open source CMS vendors, look for “velocity and staying power.”

Updated Ratings Charts

In addition to keeping the traditional 4 main categories:

  • Technology & Management Services
  • Content Production Services
  • Content Delivery/Interaction Services
  • Vendor Intangibles

CMS Watch added new ways of looking at vendors from the following perspectives:

  • Content Re-use
  • UI Accessibility
  • Multi-site Management
  • Friendly Output

According to the firm, one of the reasons behind changing ratings charts was to provide better segmentation of topics and match the topics to specific roles you’d normally find in a CMS selection project (e.g., IT, business user, project manager, etc.).

Although these generic ratings keep expanding, CMS Watch advises to take them as guidance only and always weigh them against your own contextual requirements.

CMS Product Comparisons and Landscape

To use the report wisely, do read the How to Use This Report chapter, even though Part 4 - CMS Product Comparisons might be the chapter you want to jump into immediately. In that chapter, every vendor reviewed in the report is dissected from many angles with highlights of what they do well and when may not be a good match for a project.

Characterizing the current CMS landscape, CMS Watch uses two keywords: growth and turbulence. There are already thousand of vendors doing some sort of “content management,” and that number continues to grow with primarily small-ish vendors entering the marketplace.

Consolidation in the CMS market, with big vendors acquiring other CMS companies, is also part of the trend.

Notable Quotes

  • Nearly every vendors has a sweet spot.
  • Look widely across multiple vendors to create a “long list” to investigate.
  • In practice, the case for ECM suites is substantially less attractive.
  • Homegrown systems often strain under their own weight of cobbled-together features.
  • Regional players will continue to be active… [However,] remain under threat from national and international vendors.

As always, the report is quite lengthy, and CMS Watch says it is intentional. Selecting a CMS is not a trivial task, and the analyst firm aims to provide as much information as possible to aid you in making the decision.

While there are quite a few other reports that may be on a similar mission, CMS Watch's Web CMS report remains unparalleled for it's depth and focus (download a sample). But with that said, no single source of information is enough -- exhaust your sources of information, test relationships with different vendors and prototype critical functionality before selecting your next CMS.