Busting myths about CMS and Windows Vista

Excerpts from two top 10 lists can take some of the anxiety out of buying new products

In my experience, most Top 10 lists have only four worthwhile items. Three others are marginal, and the last three are truly worthless, made up in a rush to round out the list. This week I put this assumption to the test by examining two recent Top 10 lists from analysts: I’ll try to pick out the best four, and spare you the fillers.

List No. 1: “Sex, Lies, and CMS Vendors: Ten Common Myths You Might Hear During the CMS Sales Process,” by CMS Watch. In this list, CMS Watch founder Tony Byrne warns about the content management system come-on lines to beware of. The best four:

1) “Our interface will sell itself (the sex part).” There’s no one-size-fits-all CMS interface, says Byrne; they always have to be modified. What’s sexy to one user will turn off another.

2) “You can recoup your software expenses by reassigning the Web team.” No, you can’t make the business case for CMS on the cost side, because those full-timers won’t actually get laid off, says Byrne -- they’ll just end up working on the CMS. You’ve got to get end-user productivity gains to make the business case for CMS.

3) “Our migration scripts will take care of your existing content.” Right, and pigs will fly. You and only you are responsible for data cleanup and quality.

4) “Our open-source solution means you’ll get off cheap,” or “Our commercial solution is better supported than open-source alternatives.” The real TCO hit is not in the license but in customization and integration, where open source could cost just as much, Byrne notes. But open source support could be better -- if the open source community is big enough.

List No. 2: “Ten Reasons You Should and Shouldn’t Care About Windows Vista,” by Gartner’s Neil MacDonald and Michael A. Silver -- a timely list, as Microsoft again pushed back the Vista launch dates … do we care? The best four:

1) “Full Volume Encryption With TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 1.2 Support.” It does seem that laptops full of customer data get stolen weekly, and Gartner points out that Vista will help protect against the lost/stolen machine scenario. Of course, you can already buy similar encryption today for $30 to $90 per machine, Gartner notes.

2) “Integrated Search With Document Orientation.” Because Microsoft owns the UI, Gartner argues, it could potentially do a much better job of integrated desktop search than third parties. On the other hand, third-party tools are here now, and with Vista, users will have to be taught about metadata. Did I mention the bit about pigs flying?

3) “Support for Tablet PC and x64.” The 64-bit code will come on the same CD, and at no extra cost. But Gartner notes that you have to choose between the 32- and 64-bit versions on install, when you really should be able to bump up to 64 later if you start with 32 and change your mind.

4) “Because at some point, you’ll have no choice.” Although Windows 2000 support ends in 2010, Gartner predicts that XP SP2 enterprises won’t find Vista compelling enough to upgrade outside of their normal hardware refresh cycle. XP support ends in 2013 -- maybe by then Microsoft will have gotten serious enough competition from Apple or Linux to have dramatically expanded the realm of OS choices it offers. Personally I’d love a 20th anniversary edition of “Windows for Workgroups.” Not!