Monday, December 5, 2005

Navigating the Open Source CMS Landscape

In November, I presented at the KM World and Intranets conference in San Jose. It was a fun conference. There was a sizable group of CM Professionals and it was great to hang out and enjoy each other's company:

  • Tony Byrne of CMS Watch presentation, "Making Sense of the CMS Vendor Landscape," based on The CMS Report was excellent. Tony brings so much experience and rationality into the CMS selection process. You should definitely read or hear him before making any decisions.
  • James Robertson of Step Two Designs talked about selecting a CMS with narratives. This is such a healthy departure from the old, disfunctional feature matrix based selection process. I talked about the same topic in my presentation but James said it so much more eloquently. After reading his blog and exchanging email, it was great to finally meet him in person.
  • Lisa Welchman from Welchman Consulting gave some valuable homiletic horror stories in her presentation "Lessons Learned from CM Implementations."
  • Although I didn't get to see her presentation ("Making a Business Case for CMS"), I enjoyed meeting Jane McConnell from NetStrategy on a rare visit from France.
  • Speaking of European invasions, Janus Boye of Boye IT from Denmark made the trip and we finally were able to meet face to face. He and Travis Wissink of Anexinet teamed up to talk about content integration through Portals, Content Bridges and Enterprise Services Buses.
  • Jeff Potts from Navigator gave an excellent case study on an intranet initative at Southwest Airlines. It was a nice mix of technical description and methodology and organizational factors that helped the project succeed.

Events like these make the value of a CM Professionals membership obvious.

Another conference highlight was Tony Byrne's production of CMS Idol where several vendors were given 7 minutes to demo their product then be scathingly critiqued by a panel of judges (James Robertson as Simon, Lisa Welchman as Paula, and Janus Boye as Randy) American Idol style. The winner was determined by the audience. Tony hosted another CMS Idol at the Boston Gilbane Conference. It is an excellent concept. In seven minutes you are able to see what the CMS vendor really thinks is important and see the personality of the company. Some companies try to show breadth and range, others highlight simplicity and fitness to task. I also think these events are useful to the vendors because they can see how different demo styles resonate with a sample audience - just like a focus group.