Goodbye 2007, Welcome 2008

2007 has been a good year for portal and content technologies. Here’s a summary of some themes that became popular and will probably be discussed in 2008 as well.

Web 2.0: There’s nothing new about it as we’ve been seeing the impact of web 2.0 for quite sometime now. What’s new is the fact that Web 2.0  is also increasingly becoming popular behind the firewalls.  Many products have incorporated web 2.0 features and they are not limited to support for AJAX  front-ends. Many portals already integrate with Google Gadgets, Alfresco announced integration with Facebook which itself is getting a lot of attention.

SaaS: Software as a Service has become quite popular in some technology horizontals like CRM. It has now started getting noticed in the CMS space as well. Interwoven and Fatwire entered the SaaS space by acquiring other companies whereas salesforce.com, an established SaaS vendor has also entered the ECM space. There are many existing vendors like Spring CM and Xythos. With salesforce.com getting into this space, along with indications of entry of more established ECM vendors, technology buyers will have another option.  

Standards: There have been a lot of discussions in blogosphere about standards or the lack thereof. Although, there are many benefits of following standards, there are often trade-offs to be made and it may not be that a “Standards approach is always better”. We must bring a balance between the two approaches as there are important trade-offs to be made. And i still think JSR-170 (or its next version JSR-283) have not been as popular as they should be.

Open Source: There has been an increased activity in the Open Source Portal and Content Management Products space. More and more people are using Open Source as a viable alternative to commercial products. In some scenarios, products like Alfresco, Magnolia, OpenCms and Liferay can give their commercial counterparts a serious run for their money.

Convergence: The lines between WCM, Portal, Web Analytics, Search etc are blurring. Many CIOs are asking for products that can do everything instead of buying multiple point solutions. However, more than technology, I think its the way an organization is structured which decides how easy or difficult is it to achieve convergence.

Google: We can’t complete this discussion without mentioning Google, can we? There are talks of a CMS by Google which already is an established player in associated areas of search, analytics, portal and collaboration.

Okay this was probably the last post of 2007. Here’s wishing you all a very happy new year.

EMC to acquire Document Sciences Corp

I have said before that ECM vendors should provide Document Composition features as this space is very closely related to content management.

The folks at EMC seem to agree. EMC ended the year with the news of acquiring Document Sciences. Doc Sciences’ xPression is a product that targets the Document Composition or Document Output Management (DPM) space.

For EMC, this provides a way to differentiate its content management offerings by adding document composition features to its suite. I don’t think any of the other big ECM vendors have this as yet and they will have to acquire/build these features to catch up. In return, Document Sciences gets a stronger company with a bigger sales force that will hopefully propel it to a leadership veposition in this space.

As with any other acquisition, a lot depends on how and when EMC integrates Documentum with xPression. However, I hope they will provide a better integration at least as an immediate benefit.

Open Source Mobile Content Delivery

Even though most CMS products claim they can deliver content to any device, the fact remains that delivering content to mobile devices is quite different. What most of them provide is the ability to separate content from its presentation and then apply a different template if you want to deliver to mobile device. BTW, this blog also uses the same technique – try accessing it from a mobile phone or a blackberry and see what I mean. You will see the same content using a different template which is optimized for mobile devices. However, mobile delivery is much more than this and so people often use multiple products to do web content management/web delivery and mobile delivery. Also, there was no option other than “build your own” if you were using Open Source products like Alfresco, OpenCms, Magnolia or others.

Volantis recently announced the availability of Volantis Mobility Server under Open Source license. I think this is an important development because it will encourage people to experiment and create more content and applications for the mobile internet.

I wish one of the Open Source CMS vendors comes up with an integration with Volantis so that there is a well integrated, end to end content management and delivery for both web as well as other channels. My limited experience in playing around with Alfresco and Volantis shows it should not be too difficult. Matt Asay is associated with Volantis and Alfresco and so I’m hoping we’ll soon have something 🙂