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Press Release

FOR RELEASE: 2009-03-11


Elina Glazer ()

Marketing Manager, Real Story Group

Work 617-340-6464 x127

Obama Call for Citizen E-Participation Will Encounter Technical Hurdles

CMS Watch Finds Gulf Between Web CMS and Social Media Technologies

SILVER SPRING, MD, USA-- US federal managers trying to heed President Barack Obama's call for more transparent and participatory websites face separate marketplaces for the supporting technologies -- Web Content Management ("CMS") and Social Software -- complicating efforts to align efficient web publishing and citizen interaction, according to research released today by independent analyst and evaluation firm, CMS Watch.


In a January memorandum (, President Obama called for both greater transparency in making information available online as well as more citizen participation in federal websites. CMS Watch research suggests that different technology platforms will be required to meet those two objectives.

"Washington is abuzz about new possibilities for federal web publishing, but actually executing on a strategy of greater transparency combined with public participation will be difficult," notes CMS Watch founder Tony Byrne. "Web CMS vendors and Social Software suppliers can talk a good game about offering a unified solution to this challenge, but their architectures have not caught up with their marketing here." Byrne adds, "In particular, agencies will find that their existing Web CMS infrastructures are not up to the challenge of public participation."


"Web CMS vendors have begun to incorporate community features, but in reality most CMS platforms are not built to ingest user-generated content -- they have more ‘inside-out’ architectures," argues CMS Watch analyst Jarrod Gingras. CMS Watch found that user-participation functionality in Web CMS tools tends to get activated primarily behind the firewall. "In higher-profile public settings," Gingras points out, "enterprises incorporating user-generated content have to pay more serious attention to security, scalability, usability, and access control considerations - where best-of-breed Community suppliers have a much better track record."

Meanwhile, although Community and Social Software vendors may effectively support user-generated content, CMS Watch found that these suppliers generally cannot provide the sorts of workflow and lifecycle services that a public agency needs for publishing official content beyond the firewall.

"There may be lessons to draw here from private-sector experience," notes Gingras, "where high-profile firms have tended to deploy separate platforms for web publishing and customer interaction."

"Everyone wants a single environment where tightly-managed and lightly-managed / unmanaged content can co-exist effectively, but the industry isn't there yet," concludes Byrne. "Any agency seeking to improve transparency as well as participation needs to keep a critical eye on the limitations of present technologies in a public setting, and consider a multi-vendor strategy going forward."

These conclusions stem from the most recent releases of The Web CMS Report 2009, in which CMS Watch interviews web content management customers around the globe to evaluate forty solutions in the marketplace, and the Enterprise Social Software Report 2009, which evaluates twenty-four social computing platforms. Both reports can be purchased online from CMS Watch ( Free report excerpts available: /Try/.


Real Story Group is a uniquely “buy side” analyst firm, working solely for solutions buyers and never for vendors.

We provide research and advisory services to help customers select and optimize the right digital workplace and marketing technologies. RSG evaluates Web Content & Experience Management, Digital Asset Management, ECM, Enterprise Collaboration, Portals, Office 365, CRM, CDPs, and Marketing Automation & Campaign/Lead Management Technologies.