Software // Social
Commentary
1/26/2009
08:32 PM
Peter Hagopian
Peter Hagopian
Commentary
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Hard Decisions Loom As CMS Vendors Face Tough Times

It's an unfortunate reality that in an economy like this not every content management vendor is going to stay afloat. While many ultimately will make it through, some are certain to be taken over and others simply will be forced to shut their doors.

It's an unfortunate reality that in an economy like this not every content management vendor is going to stay afloat. While many ultimately will make it through, some are certain to be taken over and others simply will be forced to shut their doors.I'm sure that the announcement last week that Autonomy is buying Interwoven raised the eyebrows of many of Interwoven's 4,600-plus customers, as they rightfully wonder what the heck it's going to mean for them. Autonomy has historically been known as an enterprise-search-focused company, so one has to wonder whether it's looking to round out its portfolio or cherry-pick some technology (and customers).

Knowing some of the warning signs can be key to helping you prepare. When long-promised upgrades fail year after year to materialize -- Interwoven's TeamSite 7 was promised for 2007, then 2008, and then 2009 -- it's time to take a step back and start weighing options. Keeping your eye on news about the company, particularly if it's publicly traded, can also help. If the company's revenue is spiraling downward and staff for research and development are being trimmed, it should probably give you pause.

Since the Autonomy/Interwoven announcement, it's been telling to see how many of the midtier content management vendors have tried to reassure existing customers that their finances are solid, while also hoping to pick up customers that are having second thoughts about staying with Interwoven. It's like an old-fashioned land grab ...

The last few years have seen quite a shakeout in the content management industry as vendors have merged, been bought out, or simply shut down. And while much of the low-hanging fruit has been gobbled up, it's hard to argue against the trend continuing.

I can't claim to know what will happen with Interwoven or any other CMS vendor in these tough economic times, but I do know that even if your vendor seems to be rock solid, it's never too early to start sketching out an exit strategy, just in case.

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