Recently, the Real Story Group identified mid-market Microsoft .NET-based content management systems as the biggest Web CMS trend for Q3.

I was inspired to explore this topic a bit more, as industry anecdotes of organizations selecting one CMS vendor over the other based on the "We're a 100% .NET" claim sprang to mind.

Mid-Market .NET Web CMS Software on the Rise

Accordingto version 19 of the Web CMS report, "the Microsoft mid-market" contentmanagement systems will exhibit dynamism in Q3. The .NET-based Web CMS (WCM)tools analyzed by the Real Story Group include such products and platforms as:

  • DotNetNuke
  • Ektron
  • EPiServer
  • GOSS
  • Kentico
  • Sitecore
  • Telerik
  • Umbraco

Althoughthey all differ in features, price points, architecture and .NETpurity, the one attribute they have common, says the RSG, is thatthey're able to fill the void left by SharePoint.

Tony Byrne, the RealStory Group founder, says that this Q3 trend has been identified largelydue to a "confluence of the SharePoint 2010 hoopla" and "strong growthand entry of vendors in this segment." Byrne adds that this is"suggesting ample demand for mid-market .NET-based systems that MS isnot filling."

The Demise of SharePoint Web CMS?

SharePoint hastraditionally been a big topic here at CMSWire. With the release of SP2010 (see our SharePoint 2010 review) we were hoping to see improvements on the Web CMS side of the product. Alas, the WCM improvements have been somewhat disappointing,especially given how long that release has spent in R&D.

Webcontent management capabilities are cited among the weakest inSharePoint 2010 (and 2007) release despite the many improvements in thelatest version -- such as enhanced metadata management, the ribbon andsocial media features via Communities.

CMSWirereaders know that it's a stretch to call SharePoint a full-fledged webcontent management system. Nevertheless, as we mentioned before,Microsoft stated that they believe SharePoint is a good platform tosupport your Web CMS needs -- whether it's for an intranet, extranet or theInternet.

Nevertheless,SP2010 Web CMS features are not considered best-in-class.

Some mayargue that where SharePoint falls short is in appealing to largeraudiences than the IT folks. The majority of pure Microsoft shops have anextensive dependency on IT resources. Some of our SP gurus insistthat SharePoint 2010 will long live under the wings of the IT deparment.

SP2010can be great for techies, there are a lot of enhancements to make aMSFT devout smile: particularly improvements to SharePoint Designer,Visual Studio, SharePoint Foundation and Business Connectivity Services.

But the majority of Web CMS vendorsare now offering connectors or integrationsto/with SharePoint to eliminate that little obstacle, if there's no WCM replacement talk (yet). This is when sometimes more user-friendly and less expensive .NETWeb CMS products can be  in a position for the classical "veni, vidi, vici."

Entry and Growth of .NET CMS Vendors Continues

Easy adoptionin the organization is key to overall success of a new CMSimplementation. At times, SP2010 falls short in this area, even in pureMS shops that like to use the full MSFT stack (MS SQL, Visual Studio,etc).

But that stack, along with SP2010 and its rather complexpricing structure, is not cheap. No wonder some organizations mayconsider $200K+ Intranet solutions from Ektron (or even cheaperalternatives as the one from Sitecore), for example, when they cannotget SharePoint to fill those functional shoes.

As we have beenreporting, many .NET/ASP.NET CMS vendors are doing quite well despiteeconomy setbacks and shrinking budgets. Here are a few samples:

DotNetNuke (news, site):

Ektron (news, site):

EPiServer (news, site):

Sitecore (news, site):

Umbraco (news, site):

Having lostcount of the waves of European CMS vendors entering the U.S. market,relatively new-ish Sitefinity by Bulgaria-based Telerik made its entrance recently as well, though with their .NET components business, they've long been active on this side of the pond. The Web CMS part of the company has been busy, with frequent updates and plans a major new release later this year.

Czech-based Kentico (news, site) progressed from a beta in 2004 to being an active member of the U.S. web content management market.

Learning Opportunities

Telligent (news, site) despite having a bit of trouble with its Graffiti Web CMS -- has taken Graffiti open source, and found a niche in Community, Analytics andEnterprise Collaboration tools.

The open source Sense/Net CMS (news, site) is slowly but steadilymovingthrough beta releases.

emagiC (news, site)released CMS.Net v8.0 in early 2009 and progressed to v10 in March of this year.

In 2009 Bitrix (news, site) startedoffering a .NET version of what was originally its PHP-based Site ManagerCMS, and put much focus on Intranet contentmanagement with Bitrix Intranet Portal.

Even Though Some .NET CMSs May Be Fading Away

Of course, we have also seen somedepartures from the stage. The former Immediacy and the CMS weused to call RedDot.

While with Immediacy, it's rather clear thatAlterian decided to drop the product, RedDot (or Open Text WebSolutions) has been woven into a variety of product quilts over the pastyears with little certainty as to the direction of the product. OpenText hasn't officially announced they've discontinue support. And such an event may be a ways off, we don't know, but it wouldn't catch us by surprise.

Evenwith the above in mind, there's still plenty of choices in the Web CMSmarket for any organization -- big and small -- looking to play in theMicrosoft world.

CanYou Play for Both Teams? They'll Try.

Many mid-to-larger organizations have an strong inclination towards either the .NET or Java technology platforms (sorry, PHP, Ruby andPython). And some of them are large enough to be busy with both.

Given that in the upper tier of software buyers there is a certain amount of technology-based product filtering in the selection process, some content management vendors are trying to position themselves in both campsat once -- peddling plausible stories sure to please either camp.

While CMS vendor selection is usually performed by a hybrid business- and IT-minded group, IT are the ones weighing-in on the technology side (as they would). Noting IT's relative power in the tech domain, vendors have felt an incentive to please. And oh,the creative ways of making a mainly .NET CMS wrapped in some Java (orvice versa) appeal to the religious minded...

But there's big software license revenue on the table and so who can blame thevendors for playing the multi-platform card. It's a reality buyers need to be aware of, for even as we speak, more hybrids are on the way.