In the latest edition of our Web CMS vendor evaluation research, we went through a fairly intensive restructuring process, and I'm really excited about the results. Over the coming week I'll share some more details, but for today, let's look at how we've recategorized the vendors.
We decided to simplify the number of categories from eight to five, and to organize the vendors primarily according to complexity and power, rather than explicitly by license or delivery model. Specifically, we make a distinction between "platforms" and "products." See a complete list of vendors here. The five categories are:
- Complex Enterprise Platforms
- Upper-Range Platforms
- Mid-Range Platforms
- Mid-Range Products
- Simpler Products
Vendors tend to dislike the platform/product distinction. They always argue that their offerings are both "out of the box" as well as "extensible." You the customers have told us otherwise. Your experience has been that some tools simply require more development, albeit yield more power, while others can be launched more quickly and easily, but lack long-term flexibility. We don't make any value judgements on this spectrum; different strokes and all that.
As a corollary, we've folded in SaaS vendors as well as open source (commercial and open source) into our broader scheme, rather than as isolated categories. Partly this reflects blurring lines between open source and commercial, and between hosted and on-premise. Likewise, we no longer publish separate "Global" and "European" editions. You see all the vendors regardless of regional footprint. However, we do supply a handy chart that tells you, for example, which "mid-range products" are open source, and which ones target a particular geographic region. Here's a snippet from the Mid-Market Platform category.
There is a general relationship between category level and long-term total cost of ownership (TCO). Having said that, we do occasionally see higher TCOs in simpler and mid-range products -- typically when the customer underestimated their needs (or overestimated the product).
In any case, I hope this format helps you the customer make better selection decisions. I certainly welcome your feedback.