Percussion Web Content Management System
Ever heard a sales pitch that this or the other CMS doesn't require any development? Percussion (news, site) just added one of those developer-free products to their Web CMS portfolio. Meet Percussion CM1.

Vern Imrich, the company’s CTO, insisted that WCM is still too complex of a discipline for many organizations. Hence, Percussion is on a mission to simplify all things WCM and deliver a product that can be used by marketeers out of the box with zero involvement from IT.

From CM to CM1

CM1 is written based on Percussion’s existing Java-based WCM product called CM (not long ago rebranded from Rhythmyx). CM1 is just a distribution of CM System, as the code base is the same in both.

Version 6.7 of Percussion CM was all about packaging, if you recall. The company used this packaging capability to build CM1 as a library of packages with a new AJAX/JQuery UI on top.

Architecturally, one of limitations of CM1 is that it only supports Tomcat on the web server side. The release of new widgets and upgrades can be done as a package in a push model.

Main CM1 Capabilities

CM1 is offering the following (and very traditional) functionalities:

  • Drag-and-drop, browser-based UI
  • Template management via predefined regions (<div>s, really)
  • A choice of prebuilt widgets
  • In-context editing
  • URL management
  • Workflows
  • User management

And then some -- see a quick video demo below.

Who is This CMS for?

Imrich called their target audience for CM1 “the market of pages and blogs.” Another way he put it is “the under-served market.”

Percussion released CM1 for people making step up from Dreamweaver, who are not interested in integrated marketing suites, but looking for simpler approaches.

If your thoughts about a Web CMS go something like: “I can’t afford…” or “It’s over my head,” you’re Percussion’s prime target. The content management system makers want to address the market that is facing “limited options.”

This makes me there still such a niche, even though there are thousands of Web CMS products out there?

According to Percussion, open source Web CMSs are not always the answer due to some buyers being scared by issues with support, maintenance and upgrade costs. The company also sees a lot of .NET Web CMS players (as we recently talked about, .NET CMSs are on the rise), but point out that there’s a segment of buyers who are not aligned with MSFT .NET.

While some content re-use is possible in CM1, it is not the best fit for a multisite, multilingual scenario with globalization goals and many content authors and editors involved. While there is a wizard to create new sites, define navigation, change templates for a new site cloned off an existing one -- there are some limitations. For example, there’s no easy or clear delegation of admin controls from master site to a subsite. All localized/translated pages will have to be built in a very manual fashion.

As long as all parties involved have a clear understanding that CM1 was built for small WCM groups of 5-6 marketeers and 1-2 casual contributors, it’s all good stuff.

But What About WEM?

Imrich said that analysts and industry watchers come up with new acronyms and chat a lot about WEM and WCM, which causes Web CMS vendors to push large, single marketing suites. What Percussion wants to achieve with CM1 is cater to those organizations that have been “burnt by suites” in the past, but still want to have the needed capabilities – including web engagement management.

Hence, Percussion is planning to add optimization, reporting, analytics, testing in a month or so to CM1. The question is how different (or similar?) Percussion’s CM and CM1 will stay to appeal to different audiences of CMS buyers. We’ve been told CM1 is already in use by some customers. We’ll keep an eye on CM1 and keep you posted.