Like old soldiers, sometimes old Web CMS tools don't die outright....they just fade away.
Case in point: the product formerly known as RedDot, which became OpenText Web Solutions, but is now re-branded "OpenText Web Site Management." RedDot boasts a long and storied past. However, it started falling behind its competitors even before getting acquired by Hummingbird in 2005. RedDot got absorbed uneasily into OpenText in 2006, and then was eclipsed by the latter's acquisition of Vignette in 2009.
We stopped reviewing Web Site Management earlier this year, as we added evaluations for more modern Web CMS platforms that address similar niches, such as Kentico, Telerik, and soon Umbraco and others. (Our WCM stream subscribers can still access an archived version of our last Web Site Management evaluation.) We continue to evaluate the former Vignette VCM, now "OpenText Web Experience Management."
To be sure, OpenText Web Site Management is not officially dead, yet. OpenText continues to support it, schedules training classes, and occasionally releases some minor enhancements. The vendor seems to be paying special attention to its large German installed base. Over the years, though, OpenText has appeared almost embarrassed by RedDot, treating it like a chronically misbehaved child who -- while obliged at home -- must be kept hidden from guests. Today, OpenText doesn't bother to link to its Web Site Management offering from its own WCM index page. If you dig, you can find the official product subsite off on its own digital island.
In practical terms, the Web Site Management offering is in a death spiral. The most telling indicator is a near complete evaporation of its North American and UK partner channels. There are fewer and fewer people around who know how to keep a RedDot implementation stable, let alone healthy. That's irrevocably bad.
What should you do? I'll share the advice we give our subscribers who call to ask about this product:
- If you are an existing OpenText Web Site Management customer, you should prepare for a strategic replacement, although the availability of ongoing support means that you can do this on your own schedule (and kudos to OpenText for that)
- If you are a prospective customer, don't bother considering Web Site Management
Since I don't know when OpenText will finally pull the plug, I'll just deliver a well-deserved requiem right now. Let's remember some very important lessons that RedDot proved back when it was still very much alive: That business users want a more WYSIWYG experience. That European vendors can successfully cross the Atlantic to add strong alternatives to the North American market. That building CMS tools on Microsoft technologies should not be left exclusively to Redmond. That a large segment of mid-market customers wants something in-between enterprisey platforms and simplistic site publishing tools.
The fact that other vendors have taken these lessons much further is no dent in RedDot's original accomplishments. Yet it's also a lesson for you the customer to stay vigilant about warning signs in a failing platform. RedDot's situation was already very grave four years ago. For our part, we'll keep watching on your behalf.