Content control on demand
Touting lower costs and fewer headaches, the hosted CM model is making a run at the enterprise
The ASP moniker may be yesterday’s buzzword, but the on-demand delivery model lives on -- with struggling software segments such as CM (content management) ripe for its promise of reduced complexity and costs.
Past fears about the financial viability of the hosted model have largely faded, due in part to the success of on-demand software services companies such as Salesforce.com. Illustrating this hosted model rebound, research company IDC predicts on-demand application services will grow from $425 million in 2002 to $2.6 billion in 2007.
Whether targeting Web content or the larger pool of corporate documents and digital assets, traditional installed CM software has garnered a reputation for being costly, complex, and time-consuming to implement.
These factors have set the table for the quick rise of hosted Web CM, which focuses on the management of Web-based content for intranets and public sites, including large, complex sites -- such as newspapers -- and those that support functions such as e-commerce.
Economics is one reason the on-demand model is thriving for Web CM. High-end installed systems such as Interwoven’s TeamSite start at approximately $150,000. In contrast, one-time setup charges for hosted offerings can range from a few hundred dollars to $20,000, with monthly fees from $10 to $3,000.
Furthermore, today’s Web CM services typically are hosted in enterprise-grade datacenters, such as those run by IBM, with the option for businesses to publish content to their own Web servers. Beyond this newfound flexibly and business safety net, the hosted model alleviates a continuing problem with CM applications, namely keeping software updated and Web sites running; vendors take responsibility for these essential tasks. Usability, without skimping on core functions, and quick ramp-up time are other benefits of the hosted Web CM model.
I reviewed three of the top hosted Web CM offerings: Clickability cmPublish Version 4, CrownPeak Advantage CMS, and iUpload Content Manager Version 5. Another notable player in this space, Atomz, declined to participate in my review.
I also took a quick look at two lightweight hosted services for intranets. MindHarbor’s mmprove is worth consideration for more modest needs (see “Small-scale CM”). Although it’s more of a portal, Intranets.com also delivers high value to those seeking a collaboration-focused CM solution (see “Instant collaboration from Intranets.com”).