Posts Tagged ‘Ektron’

Multiple CMS Vendor Partners… Is this a good strategy?

Thursday, November 1, 2012 @ 05:11 PM
Author: Gary Eisenstein

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 :)

 

Top .NET CMS Vendors – 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011 @ 05:06 PM
Author: Gary Eisenstein

More often than not, we receive requests for proposals for multiple .NET web content management vendor solutions. Gone are the days of requests for two .NET CMS vendor solutions to compare. Now it’s a request for five or six solution comparisons along with a 70-page matrix/Q&A document, followed by 6-hours of vendor demos and countless hours of sandbox trials.

Don’t get me wrong, this is what the customer should be doing to avoid one of the most costly blunders in today’s corporate spending - failed software integration projects. Since there is no one size fits all .NET CMS product on the market today that can provide the best solution for everyone’s budget and business requirements; conducting proper due-diligence is a must.

The first step is to identify the top .NET CMS vendors on the market and which ones are best suited for your organizations short and long-term web strategy.  Visit their websites with a check list of features and modules you require. Read the reviews on sites like CMSWire and CMS Critic and finally, hire a CMS consultant to aid in mapping out some top level needs and requirements as well as assisting in preparing a proper RFP document. Until then, there’s no point in conducting extensive comparisons and evaluations. One thing is for certain… unless you have six to eight months to burn, you can evaluate 2 to 3 vendors a lot more comprehensively than 5 to 6 vendor solutions.

To get you started, Falcon-Software has compiled a list below of what we consider the top rated .NET Web CMS solutions on the market today. The factors we considered for this rating list are product stability, robust features, extensibility, lengthy track record of customers and integration partners, and good overall customer service record.

- Bridgeline iAPPS (http://www.bridgelinedigital.com/)
- DotNetNuke Professional (http://www.dotnetnuke.com/)
- Ektron CMS400  (http://www.ektron.com/)
- EPiServer (http://www.episerver.com/)
- Elcom (http://www.elcomcms.com/)
- Ingeniux (http://www.ingeniux.com/)
- Kentico (http://www.kentico.com/)
- SharePoint WCM (http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/)
- Sitecore (http://www.sitecore.com/)
- Telerik’s Sitefinity (http://www.sitefinity.com/)
- Umbraco (http://www.umbraco.org/)

Falcon-Software offers website planning, creative design, development, CMS deployment, training and server hosting services. We invite you to get started today, at no cost. Call us for a free consultation at 800-707-1311 or visit our website at http://www.falcon-software.com/

Falcon-Software first became involved with web content management (WCM) back in 1995. Our IT manager at the time suggested that we build our own custom WCM solution as a value added for our growing list of clientele. Knowing that the writing was on the wall and the days of deploying static websites were numbered, we decided to move forward with our first generation proprietary ASP CMS solution.

We closely monitored the impact it had on our business and found that it opened up a whole new revenue stream for Falcon-Software. Fifteen years later, it has become the core of our services – developing and deploying .NET WCM solutions, while assembling one of the most complete and comprehensive list of vendors in the industry. This strategy allows us the ability to provide the ideal technology solution for our clientele’s unique technical requirements and business needs.  

We are often asked — How can Falcon-Software be highly proficient in understanding and implementing so many different .NET WCM solutions?

First and foremost, we have a solid foundation in .NET technology and almost two decades of experience deploying WCM solutions in a wide variety of different sectors. Having a strong .NET knowledge-base to pull from allows us to exceed client expectations no matter what WCM platform we use. In my opinion, when you are limited to only one or two WCM vendor solutions, objectivity becomes seriously compromised. 

Secondly, we understand the differences between the top .NET CMS solutions. They all promote user-friendly interfaces, customizable workflows, online forms, reporting analytics, e-commerce and social media modules – the similarities go on and on. The real trick in recommending one WCM product over another is understanding their differences. Some vendors have a robust Intranet modules as their differentiator, others may have a more mature social media package that allows you to deploy fully featured web portal communities rather than just a simple blog. So it all comes down to understanding the client’s needs and technical challenges and matching them to a WCM system that best fits their budget. 

Integrators that offer only one particular WCM system will undoubtedly make them an authority on the product over time. But, is that in the client’s best interest? Certainly not. Launching a WCM system that works flawlessly from an integrators point-of-view does not always translate to being a successful project. One of the main reasons so many WCM implementations fail is poor adoption by the system administrators and site contributors that work with the product day in and day out. This could be due to several reasons - it could be too complicated for the user or it may not provide the ideal solution they were expecting the product to solve or users aren’t provided proper training. Regardless, there is no one size fits all WCM product on the market today that can provide the best solution for everyone’s requirements or budget. 

We are also frequently asked — Since we have experience deploying so many different WCM systems – Which is the better product – for example Ektron or Sitecore? If you’ve spent any length of time in the WCM industry, you have almost certainly noticed the fierce rivalry between competing vendors. At times it can get pretty nasty and lines are constantly being crossed making the politics of the business just as immature and counterproductive as government politics. So, how does an integrator that supports several different products separate itself from the mud-slinging and smear tactics so heavily deployed amongst the WCM brotherhood? Our answer is simple and factual. Both Ektron and Sitecore are very good .NET WCM platforms and are well represented with thousands of customers across the globe and both have very mature development communities. 

The problem is the question. The proper question should be – which WCM platform is the right one for my organization? Unfortunately, the answer is far more complicated and you should make sure you understand your own politics, technical challenges and organizational needs as a starting point. Then explore the WCM vendors that best match your criteria. Make sure you have a demo of the short-listed vendors and include all the key stakeholders and site administrators. Then setup a ‘sandbox’ trial version and start playing with the products in real-case scenarios. What you’ll find is the ability to answer your own question – Which is the best WCM product for me?

List of Web CMS Vendors

The list of vendors below is by no means complete, but certainly in our opinion stable solutions. We also linked the systems Falcon-Software supports.

Enterprise Level WCM Systems:

Small to Mid-Level WCM Systems:

  • Bridgeline iApps
  • Clickability
  • CrownPeak
  • DotNetNuke
  • Drupal
  • eZ Publish
  • Hippo
  • Hot Banana
  • Joomla! 
  • Kentico
  • Plone
  • Telerik Sitefinity
  • TYPO3
  • Umbraco

 

About Us

Falcon-Software offers website planning, creative design, development, Ektron, Elcom, EPiServer, Kentico, SharePoint, Sitecore, and Sitefinity WCM implimentations, WCM training and server hosting services.

We invite you to get started today. Call us for a free consultation at 800-957-1126.           

Best Practices Blog Template

Thursday, September 23, 2010 @ 08:09 PM
Author: Gary Eisenstein

What started out as an outlet for teenage expression and grassroots journalism has turned into a lucrative communications tool for small and large businesses alike, reaching into the corporate and government sectors as well.  As with anything, there are certain “best practices” to be followed to ensure your company reaps the maximum benefits. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or are new to blogging and want to work on your blogging skills, then the following components should be considered as a best practice blog template:

  1. Brief, readable title that articulates an outcome.
  2. Contributor name with link to contact information. 
  3.  Problem or opportunity statement described in simple terms.
  4. Visual clue early in the post that illustrates an outcome. 
  5. Keywords that someone would type in a search engine to learn how to achieve something.
  6. How-to information that reads in chronological order; summary format.
  7. Use of bullets and brief statements to improve scanning and understanding.
  8. Readable on a PC and smartphone.
  9. Call to action and link for related information. 
  10. 300 to 750 words in length.

 

This information is provided for our valued clientele that are new to the blogging world but now posses the powerful tools needed to create a blog site through our WCM software products Ektron, Kentico, Sitecore and Sitefinity. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-707-1311 or email us at (general@falcon-software.com).

Web CMS Vendor Comparisons

Thursday, September 9, 2010 @ 09:09 PM
Author: Gary Eisenstein

One of the most requested Web CMS queries we receive from clientele that are at that critical due diligence stage is… What’s the difference between the top .NET CMS vendors? Which one is a better fit for our organization? Well, after compiling numerous matrix comparisons based on our own expereinces over the years we thought it would be a good idea to find out what other developers and the customers that use the software have to say. 

So, over the next several months we will be providing a match-up between the top .NET Web CMS vendors. Not just the features and specifications… we will be digging deep behind the scenes to uncover vendor support performance, coding quality, return on investment value, and much more. So, stay connected and be the first to contribute to the debate on which Web CMS vendor reigns supreme at www.cms-connected.com.

 

Commercial vs. Open Source Web CMS

Monday, August 23, 2010 @ 06:08 PM
Author: Gary Eisenstein

The open verses closed controversy (commercial vs. open source Web CMS debate) is one that Falcon-Software continually defends and although it would be much easier for us to simply provide open source CMS solutions to our clientele, we feel that building long-term partnership with our customers is paramount to our future success. For this reason we do not recommend open source CMS solutions. Now, we do realize that we are primarily a .NET WCMS deployment shop that has aligned with mainly commercial .NET software vendors, but we also have a vast amount of experience developing with open source CMS solutions such as Drupal, Joomla and DotNetNuke. The opinions stated in this blog post are based on those experiences and deploying CMS solutions for well over a decade.    

To clarify, the main advantage with open source CMS solutions is the source code (the code the program consists of) is made available to website integrators such as Falcon-Software, providing them with the ability to make customized changes to the software program as they see fit. An approach which is great for immediate updates, but is it wise for the long-term? Customized changes to the underlying code can severely limit the future support and growth of the application. This is because changes made to the core software program can impede the ability to apply future updates, fixes or additional modules that are developed for the improvement of the CMS platform. In the event of this happening an organization may find itself in the precarious position of having to remain with an outdated version together with any limitations or bugs that version may have.

Free does not mean inexpensive:

Free access to an open source solution does not equate to a free or cheap content managed website. The nature of open source implies that the product is not going to be as ‘out-of-the-box’ as you would expect in comparison to a commercial package. This could equate to longer implementation times and a higher level of expertise required when implementing and customizing website projects properly (successfully) and most likely will not be discussed upfront with most open source web developers.  

 If you can’t use it why have it:

When developing a commercial CMS package, usability and client support is essential for the survival of the product. For these reasons, CMS specialists take the time to ensure that the usability of the product is advanced and help and training guides are thorough, enabling non-technical staff to take control of their website. Conversely, open source solutions are developed around technically minded users. Arguably this defeats the purpose of a client’s investment in a CMS by limiting content management to those with technical expertise.

Plagued with an uncertain future:

Developers of open source CMS are generally not driven by commercial gain. Consequently the completion times for fixes and updates can be significantly longer than one would experience (or tolerate) when partnering with a commercial CMS provider. Fixes or updates that could jeopardize the effectiveness of an organizations online strategy are not necessarily prioritized efficiently.

Community support model:

Open source products rely on its community network to deliver support to its user base via forums and web blogs. For organizations looking for a basic support, open source solutions are unable to provide the responsiveness that a product specialist willing to take ownership of that issue is capable of. In addition, while the community aspect is an appealing argument for open source, many commercial CMS providers are offering that approach as well. The .NET CMS software we support (Kentico, Ektron, Sitecore and Sitefinity) all have full documentation and technical support while also managing interactive forum environments.

Final Word:

We strongly feel that the additional value and value-added services that commercial CMS software provides justifies the extra cost. That doesn’t mean that it’s the right solution for everyone — if you have a deployment budget of under $15,000, an open source solution is a more realistic option. However, drawing on our vast CMS experience, training and support simply cannot be understated when it comes to a successful CMS implementation and those are two areas where commercial CMS clearly wins when compared to open source.

Falcon-Software Globalizes Client’s Website

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 @ 08:02 PM
Author: Gary Eisenstein

Falcon-Software announces the signing of a globalization contract with West Control Solutions, a Danaher Corporation company. West Control Solutions is a renowned European leader in the manufacture of state-of-the-art, temperature controllers for over 50 years. Falcon-Software will be developing a German site using Ektron’s .NET web content management software.

Falcon-Software has been designing and developing web-based B2B Internet e-catalog, e-commerce and content management solutions for various Danaher business units for well over a decade. What started as a single website redesign project for Gems Sensors in Plainville, Connecticut, has now grown into being named the web-agency of record for over 12 other Danaher divisions across the globe. “We have been a valued partner of Danaher’s since 1998, providing a wide range of services from web design and complex software integration, to e-marketing and hosting servers”, states Gary Eisenstein, Falcon-Software’s President. “And we look forward to the next decade of defining, developing and delivering robust, dynamic and engaging web services to Danaher”, says Eisenstein.

Falcon-Software has partnered with these .Net Web CMS Vendor Solutions