Posts Tagged ‘CMS’
So what’s new in Sitecore 7? Well, we’re not quite sure. We haven’t had the opportunity to upgrade any of our production websites just yet. This is likely due to some stage fright and the fact that Sitecore hasn’t fully endorsed it as the oficially recommended installation package. This is probably a wise move to hang on a little while as the early adopters help to stress test the production side. I subscribe to the ‘Chaos Theory’ and there will likely be a small wave of install bugs that pop up. This is totally natural and so for their sake I hope they are very minor and we can get our feet wet very soon!
Having fished around endlessly in the content tree and more importantly, the media library, the new integrated content search is going to be a very fresh and welcomed addition. These folks over here did a great job in describing some of the high level features found with the new Search and we are very much looking forward to giving it a try ourselves. The developers of course are quite nervous about the ability for the upgrade to merge with all of the custom code that is layered all through some of our more creative exploits. Well, there probably isn’t a single upgrade of any CMS that doesn’t have some level of anxiety attached to it. Like the first time you turn the key on a project car after new head gaskets or some other rebuild.
What they’ve done here is to apply a fundamental change in how we will interact with the stored content. Or at least force us to develop a more comprehensive taxonomy in order to leverage this new high level of functionality. Contextual links between content assets will play a massive new role with the understanding that personalization is driving a great deal more marketing and content strategy in today’s CMS platforms. CEP, WEM, CXM, whatever, it’s all content management regardless of what colour jacket you put on it. But Sitecore, at the moment appears to be wearing the ‘Technicolour Dreamcoat’ of the CMS world.
We’ll certainly be elbows deep in Sitecore 7 shortly so stay tuned to hear what this integrator thinks of the whole migration/upgrade procedure!
It’s going to happen sooner or later. Someone will ask, “Would you like some SaaS with that CMS? What?!
You decide that it’s time to start putting time and research into a new CMS Platform. Whether you call it a WCM (web content management), CXM (customer experience/engagement management), WEM (web engagement management), ECM (enterprise content management), or whatever, they are really just glorified marketing jargon for the same core requirement. That is, a collection of tools necessary to manage all of the various website technologies, bundled into a central system (CMS). Where these systems attempt to develop unique personalities (and contribute ingredients to the ‘CMS acronym soup’), is when vendors start providing substantial ‘add on’ features such as Social Marketing, Digital Marketing, Advanced Analytics, eCommerce, etc. These additional features generally live outside what is traditionally understood to be Content Management (CMS). Our preference is to simply refer to these more advanced, multifaceted software ‘bundles’ as Content Management Platforms. Keep it simple.
So in keeping with the K.I.S.S. philosophy, I’m going to way oversimplify some Cloud Computing terminology that you will run into when evaluating the best possible option based on your particular development capabilities.
Cloud? You Mean Like, up There?
Nope. So now, throw in all the ‘Cloud’ based software terminology and what you are left with is a maddening stew of technical geekery that would send any well intentioned marketing exec into a frenzied tailspin.
Thankfully, the process for taking your organization into the next phase is always the same regardless of your size or particular market: Requirements. There isn’t a single more important piece of the selection process.
- Why do you need a CMS anyway?
- Who is going to use it?
- Have you conducted very detailed interviews with the staff that will primarily engage with the new software?
- And what are your internal IT capabilities…
That last question will often lead you into the Cloud…
What’s all this SaaS Talk Anyway?
The intention of this post is to stay as non-technical as possible and try to ride between the lines of practicality. I know ‘just’ enough to be dangerous so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Wikipedia actually does a pretty good job of describing cloud computing so check it out. In a nutshell, get ready for this, the Cloud is … THE INTERNET.. Whoa! No Way! .. Way..
So, it’s likely that I’ve way over simplified this but really, cloud computing is essentially storing and managing data on an external network, plain and simple. So, in most cases the term ‘in the Cloud’ is just a network ‘out there’. So don’t get intimidated by overzealous use of the term in order to sound super nerdy and cool.
Getting to the point, I’ll try to explain each of the 3 core Cloud based service options that you may find yourself confronted with, and how each would make sense in your specific scenario. My plan is to be as simple as possible so don’t expect to learn the intricate technical details of each solution. The 3 core offerings are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Let’s dig in.
IaaS is designed to match a completely self sufficient internal IT and Development department to a remotely hosted data center (Infrastructure). It is highly scalable and designed to quickly meet fluctuating hardware demands. In my day this would be loosely considered Dedicated Hosting. All of the hardware is leased by and controlled by the hosting provider. Your IT department has full reign to install and manage the OS and application layer. Whether that be CMS, Intranet, eCommerce application or a mixture of all and more. As with any service there are many variations and feature solutions. So essentially you lease a complete Infrastructure from hardware, networking and connectivity. All ‘hardware’ based maintenance and upgrades are handled at the solution provider. You must have a very capable IT and Development team in order to select this method.
PaaS moves slightly more control out into the service provider’s hands. Here you would still need to have a capable developer on hand to configure and build the various web applications such as a CMS or website or whatnot. As well as the complete hardware and networking responsibilities, the PaaS solution provider also controls all web server specific software duties such as the Operating System, web services, database management, server backups, hardware and software RAIDs, etc… This additional layer is often referred to as ‘middleware’, which lies between the Hardware and Application layers. Again, I’m purposely being way over simplified in order to help with developing a general direction based on your internal resources.
SaaS is the ‘All In’ approach with everything handled by the solution provider. Remember that Hotmail account you setup in the very late 90′s? That was/is a SaaS service. Gmail, Dropbox, Salesforce; it’s infinite. With SaaS, you interact directly with the applications that have been pre-installed on the remotely hosted and managed web servers. These may be virtual or dedicated and may host many other web sites and organizations. The elasticity/scalability of this solution can be subject to the type of software you are subscribed to. For instance you are pretty much locked in to the vendor’s system (CMS) however you may be able to bolt on modules and add-on packs with ease. No core development is needed here other than a fluent understanding of the administrative and content editing functions of the platform (generally significant CMS training is necessary). Support is a huge factor for SaaS systems so be sure to research that to the nines when shortlisting vendors for a SaaS option. Many organizations opt for this option quite simply for the ease of use and time to market. Of course there are some exceptional cost savings when you eliminate the need for complete hardware and a whole development cycle. You are up and running in a matter of days as opposed to weeks and months with an internally managed and developed scenario.
Now that you’ve had a super high level primer,you too should be able to talk some SaaS with your buddies. Want more? You could catch a live webcast about this very subject over here: http://www.cms-connected.com/Web-Content-Management-in-the-Clouds. If you decide to register, consider submitting a question for the panel. They’ll answer it live on the show, so that’s pretty cool right?
As always, I welcome any and all feedback.
For the last three years I have been working for companies that help select software within a client development role, which has put me on the front line to have initial discussions around Content Management System (CMS) solutions. One question that I am always asked about is: what’s the difference between a proprietary licensed product and an open source product, and just to be clear… I understand exactly why I am being asked this question.
When organizations are frantically trying to choose a CMS solution that is going to take their online business into the future, there are just too many choices within the market space. Every good CMS solution out on the market today has an answer to most if not all of a customer’s requirements. So at the end of the day, when these organizations have to sit down and wade through the piles of marketing material, slick sales demos, and never-ending emails from vendors suggesting to watch a webinar on how they’ve just solved the current technology buzz word – responsive design, customer engagement, globalization – the answer is never a clear choice.
Nine times out of ten, organizations begin building that huge matrix of variables to try to differentiate the solutions, and typically what sits on top of the list is “how do we get the biggest bang for the almighty dollar.” So as they begin to look at the initial costs of the software, they see licensing fees that can range anywhere from a couple thousand, to hundreds of thousands or more. This ignites sticker shock which quickly finds the open source solutions extremely attractive, because they use the word “free” when discussing licensing. This is when I typically get the call.
Like all good client development managers, my job is to gather information to understand the situation, and deliver an initial response that encompasses the next steps to help move a project forward. So my response goes something like this:
1. How long will this project be a viable business tool?
2. Do you anticipate having an internal team and/or an integration partner support the product for the length of the project?
3. What are the functional requirements?
These questions can typically draw out that important answer, and here’s why…
When you’re looking to support a business model like your company’s public website or intranet, it’s usually pretty clear that the solution you’re looking for is getting the longest shelf-life from the product as possible. On a side note, if you’re creating an online campaign or a limited marketing tool to drive traffic, you may need to get a site or application up quickly to reach the target audience. These are the two very different scenarios that have two very different outcomes. For now, I am going to focus on the long-term solution as it is the more typical scenario.
Let’s look at what’s important for a long-term shelf life scenario:
• The need to increase ease-of-use for employees, users, and business channels that reduce change management over time.
• The need to increase “return on investment,” and minimize development costs past a three to five year period.
• The need to create a plan of action that has a phased approach, and the business model coins the phrase “this is a process, not an event.”
So if these are your needs, you’re going to be looking for a solution that has a proven business model, which can support a long term strategy. This is where I have become “the open source killer,” and I have a very strong argument for moving away from open source solutions.
• Who is accountable to ensure that the product is stable?
• Who is accountable to ensure the long-term support of the product?
• Who is accountable to ensure that the product keeps up-to-date with market trends?
• Who is accountable to ensure that the future needs of your organization are being heard?
Do you want to be the only one paying into that accountability model? You will, if you choose an open source platform, because you will be standing alone with a handful of companies that are paying that development shops wages to build out that open source framework. Your website is being built on a platform that utilizes 3rd party tools and rolling the dice on whether or not they’ll still be in business three-five years from now to support an upgrade path to a critical system. You’re not going to be engaged with the company or persons that created the solution, so you will be at the mercy of the development shop to support your website, which will almost certainly cost more in the end than that initial license fee.
With a licensed platform you will be one of thousands paying into the products viability and long-term success. You will be able to call that company and get direct support for any problems you’re facing. Most good licensed CMS solutions today have developed a solid partner channel that have development shops that have certified developers trained in developing, integrating, deploying and supporting the product. So if you move forward with a licensed solution, you can ask them to provide a developer that understands your market needs. This minimizes risk and ensures accountability.
Now here’s the reason why I know the above statements to be true!
Drupal is one of the leading open source products on the market today and has a huge following with over 600,000+ members. The founder of Drupal, Dries Buytaert, is also the co-founder and CTO of Acquia, which is a company formed in 2007 that provides products, services, and technical support for Drupal. Acquia is financed by venture capital, receiving $38.5 million of raised funds for the Drupal platform. This money is used to allow all of Acquia’s customers a level of service and support for Drupal to combat that word “Accountability.”
DotNetNuke is also a large open source product that is considered the largest Microsoft .Net Web CMS solution on the market, with over 700,000+ websites currently using the framework. In 2009 DotNetNuke decided to move to a licensed model and now have Professional and Enterprise editions that range from $3,000 and up. Now with full support of Microsoft behind them for the next 4 years, to move DotNetNuke in the cloud, it will help change the perception of “accountability” for the product.
Both platforms have moved into a supportive licensed model which raises my point, “accountability” at the end of the day is almost always the leading initiative for a long-term strategy. These two companies have developed a solution to the problem, but I would still consider them very new to the licensed industry model, and will hit some heavy pitfalls while trying to change over to a more company centric accountable model.
My Final Admission:
The reason why I left budget off the table as one of my initial questions is for the fact that you’re going to pay for your website based on the budget you put forth. You get nothing for free in this industry. If you think just for the fact that you’re not paying up front for licensing, understand you will certainly pay for it during the development and support cycle when issues turn up. People and products just don’t move forward on their own, it takes capital (your capital), and if you happen to find that solution that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Recently, I was at a Web Content Management vendor conference in Vegas, chatting over drinks with colleagues about different business strategies. When out of the blue one of my competitors chimed in with a remark about Falcon-Software being a CMS vendor whore. Now, aside from finding that word offensive, I believe there was a little jealous undertone with his backhanded comment.
Regardless, this got me thinking about which strategy is truly the best; for an integration partner to be loyal to one or two CMS vendor partners or like Falcon-Software, have a healthy line up of several CMS platform solution for customers to choose from?
Now, I do understand the value in supporting only one particular vendor and becoming highly proficient in deploying that CMS platform. In fact, in 2002 Falcon-Software started off with only one CMS vendor – Ektron, which fostered a healthy funnel of sales leads between us over the years. In 2006, Ektron selected Falcon-Software as their Partner of the Year amongst their list of 200 partners worldwide. So it would seem the benefits can be very rewarding. Well… let’s peel back that onion shall we!
In 2007, Ektron decided to change their partner model and starting offering integration services, and having all our eggs in one basket all the sudden seemed potentially hazardous to our health. So Falcon-Software quickly countered by adding three new CMS vendor solutions Kentico, Sitecore and Sitefinity to our portfolio and the pros quickly became apparent over any cons. Instead of having leads and RFP opportunities with just one vendor, we now had four vendors feeding the machine. More importantly, we could offer our customers a solution that truly was a best fit for their business needs, budget, infrastructure, etc. So it makes sense to me that being limited in offering only a couple of CMS vendor solution to customers, that objectivity becomes seriously compromised.
Over the years, I’ve managed to acquire an in-depth understanding of the differences and limitations between all the top CMS vendors, limitations that are not generally discussed in their glossy marketing brochures and flashy PowerPoint presentations and in my opinion, the only way to acquire this knowledge and expertise is by having a deep portfolio of successful deployments from many different CMS solutions.
On a side note, in 2012 Ektron went back to their original partner model abandoning their integration services all together.
Currently, Falcon-Software partners with 8-different .NET Web CMS vendors: Ektron, EPiServer, Elcom, Kentico, SharePoint, Sitecore, Sitefinity and our latest addition – DotNetNuke. Our philosophy is that there is no one size fits all CMS platform on the market today that can provide the best solution for everyone’s budget and technical requirements. For example, some customers may require an out-of-box solution that offers a robust e-commerce or social media application, which narrows down the field. Others may require a system that excels in site globalization or one that can seamlessly integrate with a particular ERP or CRM solutions, which certainly narrows the field of players down even further. Let’s also not forget about those customers that have a $200,000 project scope with only a $100,000 budget. Try that budget with Sitecore or SharePoint and you better be prepared for a stripped down gas can of a solution… not a good fit.
Can an integration firm be successful offering just on Web CMS solution? Sure… we did it for 5-years. But having tried both strategies, for us there is a clear and definite advantage to offering our customers a multitude of vendor solutions. The key is being proficient in delivering all the solutions you support so partner certification and ongoing training is vital.
Please Note: The image being used in the blog post is in the spirit of the debate and to help drive home a point and in no way meant to be offensive towards any female readers. I promise to post a follow up with a male character casting a seductive pose to help even things up
Joining us on CMS-Connected is Tim Walters from Forrester Research, to help us dive into a discussion on where SharePoint WCM aligns in the marketplace from a Web Content Management perspective. What are its strengths, its weaknesses and how does it stack up with the other top WCM .NET solutions?
Also joining us on CMS-Connected is Michael Alden the President and CEO at Axceler to discuss articles and surveys posted by his organization on why companies are not coming to grips with SharePoint governance.
CMS-Connected is a monthly webcast featuring news, trends and commentary related to the content management industry. Streamed live on The Pulse Network, the show features experts in the field discussing topics relevant to practitioners everywhere. The program showcases the top products and platforms on the market, innovations, mergers & acquisitions and best practice commentary and advice.
March 14th Show:
- Hosts Scott Liewehr and Tyler Pyburn discussing the top news & events from around the CMS industry.
- Seth Gottlieb from Lionbridge will be joining the show to discuss Content Management for a Global Business.
- Jamie Anderson from SAP will be skyped in from London England for a quick chat on Forrester’s 2012 Customer Experience Index.
- Lisa Welchman from WelchmanPierpoint will also be joining the show to discuss Who Owns Your Website from a Governance Viewpoint.
- Elcom CMS is In the Vendor Spotlight.
- And finally, Rapid Fire with Scott Liewehr.
Don’t Miss This One:
Social is here!
Elcom has just launched v7.5 of their flagship product the elcomCMS. As well as enhancements to key features within the system; Elcom’s excited to be launching an enhanced layer of Social functionality across the system.
The new social layer provides intuitive and easy to use Facebook like functionality, giving users the ability to publish status updates, share information, comment and invite colleagues or members. This builds on the elcomCMS’s existing social features which include blogs, forums and wikis.
Commenting on the development, Anthony Milner, Elcom’s Product Director said “Bringing FaceBook like functionality to the enterprise concerns some HR teams but in reality an effective and well managed social layer can significantly enhance productivity through improved communication and collaboration. It can also reduce the need for formal meetings and improve communication across geographically disperse teams.”
In addition, Elcom have also introduced a framework to easily integrate external content such as YouTube. This allows authors to automatically extract and store video metadata as indexed objects without the need to actually store the video asset on their site. The content can then be integrated with the elcomCMS’s taxonomy engine, dynamic content widgets and search. This provides a quick and powerful way to enhance existing content with external content; and reduces the duplication and maintenance often associated with managing multiple content sources.
For marketing and campaign managers, Elcom have also integrated in version 7.5, the outstanding email marketing software, Campaign Monitor. This is a third-party online email marketing tool that lets marketers send “professional and engaging email campaigns, track results and manage subscribers”, to provide powerful email campaign management.
To find out more or to arrange a private Elcom demo contact Falcon-Software at 800-707-1311.
Version 6.0 will be a huge step for Kentico, adding a new product line – Enterprise Marketing Solution (EMS), currently in Beta – that will bring additional enterprise and on-line marketing features. This product will be focused on medium and large clients.
Kentico will not be making any changes to the current CMS licensing. All the features that are available in Kentico CMS will be still available for the same price. Plus, Kentico is adding many new features and improvements to version 6.0 and will continue adding new features in the future as well.
The following figure shows how both products will coexist in version 6:
The new product Kentico EMS will be based on Kentico CMS and it will enhance it with additional features focused on two areas:
Online Marketing Features:
- Contact Management – single point for managing all contacts received through your website and tracking their activities on the website
- Segmentation – identifying customer interests and profiling visitors based on their behavior and attributes
- Lead Scoring – scoring the value of the contacts, identifying hot leads
- Content Personalization – delivering relevant content customized to the particular visitor based on visitor behavior and profile
- E-mail marketing – advanced features enhancing the Newsletter module: open e-mail tracking, click-through tracking, bounced e-mails. These features will be also available in Kentico CMS in version 6.0, but some additional e-mail marketing features added in later versions may be only available in Kentico EMS.
Additional Enterprise Features:
- Health Monitoring – tracking system health through performance counters in Microsoft Windows
- Load Balanced SMTP Mail Servers – ability to send e-mails through multiple mail servers for higher performance
- Scheduler Windows Service – execution of scheduled tasks using an external service running as a Windows Service rather than in web application context
The new Kentico EMS aims at the mid-market and enterprise CMS segments and with the goal of providing a product that is more attractive and competitive.
Upgrades for Existing Clients
Every client who owns Kentico CMS 5.x and a valid maintenance will be able to upgrade to Kentico EMS for the price difference with 50% discount by the end of 2011 and 20% after that.
For the past five months CMS Connected (http://www.cms-connected.com) has hosted great CMS vendor product debates via live webinars. The turnout for these has been amazing, with hundreds of registrants and attendees each month. Even the participation on Twitter has been healthy, with over 250 tweets generated during our Hippo vs. Plone webinar in June.
Now, after months of build-up, we bring you a CMS Connected webinar for the ages. Since the mid-90′s, open source and proprietary CMS platforms have been positioning for supremacy of the content management landscape. Now… two powerhouse solutions prepare to meet on the CMS-Connected battlefield to see who will reign supreme!
On September 15th at 12p ET, Drupal will go up against Sitecore in a one-on one debate for the ages. Don’t miss this exciting event with Hosts Veronica Cooper from CHEK TV and Scott Liewehr, Outsell Gilbane WCM Analyst, in a lively and interactive 90-minute debate.
CMS-Connected digs past the glossy brochures, flashy websites and sales-speak buzz-words, focusing on what the buyer definitely needs to know and what’s really driving the top CMS platform solutions on the market. During the 90-minute event, Veronica and Scott will be asking our guests some hard-nosed questions about their products and business strategies, allowing each vendor guest an opportunity to reply. Then, the attending audience has the opportunity to ask a few ‘no holds barred’ questions
of their own.
The event will cover various topics such as:
- Product performance & differentiators
- What are the analysts saying
- What’s really under the hood
- How much will it cost to deploy
- What’s included and not included for that price
- And much more!
- Visit us at www.cms-connected.com
- Follow us on Twitter: @cmsconnected