Making sense of CMS Watch....

At CMS Watch we evaluate an awful lot of products, and making sense of all this research can be a challenge. Often within the same subscription service we have to evaluate more than one group or type of technologies, for example our XML & CCM research service.

Within that service we cover XML authoring tools: the software for creating and editing highly complex documentation, be it DITA structured technical documentation, complex translation work, or product information designed for multiple re-use. But our research goes beyond the editing and authoring options at the front end, and evaluates all the leading CCM (Component Content Management) tools that have been designed to manage the publishing and workflow of these complex XML document components throughout their lifecycle.

On other occasions we separate technologies into different categories, where others may have bundled them together. An obvious case here is our Web Content Management research and our Enterprise Content Management Suites research. Just in the past fortnight I have been asked by more than one person why we have two subscription services for the same technology. Well the simple answer is that it is not the same technology: the technology to manage outward (web) facing content and sites, versus the technology to manage inward-facing (documents and files) content and filing systems is quite different. But nevertheless it is a very fair question to ask, because to someone outside the industry (and even some insiders) that distinction is not always obvious.

Confusion can come about due to vendor branding strategies or a plethora of nebulous acronyms used within the industry. For example Interwoven (recently acquired by Autonomy) did a good job of branding their WorkSite (document & files) offering quite separately from their TeamSite (web content) offering. Other vendors such as EMC Documentum or Open Text use a single brand moniker (such as "digital media") to cover all their content-focused software offerings regardless of each component's specific purpose, while in other instances product names can even be synoymous with the firm's brand, as with ADAM and Sitecore.

Then there is the issue of acronyms. We use the term ECM as it is the most commonly used term for document-based technologies, however in different regions and industry segments ECM is referred to as EDMS, EDM, EDRM, Document Control, IM, IDM even KM. As an advisory firm we have to call our research and services something, and we are faced with picking and choosing amongst a myriad of terms, typically choosing the most well-known term currently in use.

Our job at CMS Watch is to make sense of the complexity of the technology offerings out there for you, the buyer - and that can be a challenge at the best of times. We believe it's safe to say that we have more research available to our subscribers on content technologies than all of our competitors combined. But volume, depth and breadth is not all that separates us from our competitors, we are in addition avowedly a firm that follows the market rather than "makes" it. Thus, we don't try and come up with new acronyms, terminology or market segments, we don't cheerlead for the industry or get involved in market sizing, we stick to the basics of evaluating current release products side by side and evaluating the importance of current trends.

So here is my challenge to you. We evaluate over 200 products and sub-divide those into 10 subscription services, which in turn are sub-divided into about 5-8 sub-categories each. We try to use common terminology so that you the buyer can relate to and locate the research that meets your needs, but that does not always work as well as it could. So if you find the product evaluation(s) you need, but locate them in a place - or grouped in a way you find 'surprising' or 'interesting', let us know. Tell us how you and your colleagues perceive these technologies, what you call them, how you would categorize them differently, how you explain them to your internal clients or project teams. Truly we would love to hear from you as this industry remains a dynamic and very moveable feast at times....

Other ECM & Cloud File Sharing posts

ECM Standards in Perspective

In real life I don't see ECM standards proving particularly meaningful, and you should see them as a relative benefit rather than absolute must-have.