BtoB Media Business - June 2009 - (Page 9)

SPECIAL REPORT Open source opens up CMS options Business publishers have a variety of choices when it comes to picking a Web content management system BY MARIE GRIFFIN O pen-source software has transformed the landscape for Web content management systems (CMS). While debates over open-source CMS continue, there is no doubt the communitydeveloped software has dramatically increased choices for online publishers. “It’s a good time to be choosing a CMS,” said Ray Anderson, CTO-online at IDG, who recently implemented Drupal, an open-source CMS, on “The CMS market is mature on both the proprietary and open-source sides because open-source systems are able to handle more complexity and deliver a lot more value than ever before.” On the other hand, Anderson said the growing number of CMS alternatives increases the complexity of the choice, and added: “If your goal is to implement an open-source CMS—just because it’s open source—you’re going to be disappointed.” “There is a lot of polarization when you talk about the technologies,” said Christos Moschovitis, CEO of tmge-media, an independent consulting firm, who serves as CIO for Summit Business Media. “Many people are so devoted to a particular technology that it’s impossible to convince them that another is equally applicable or better.” Rather than letting a preference for open-source or proprietary software make the choice, “look at your business requirements,” Moschovitis said. “You need to make your CMS decision based on your business goals, your environment, your culture, your budget and your timeline.” Moschovitis said all systems have strengths and weaknesses. “If you do your due diligence, you will find that out,” he said. “The marketplace is very fragmented,” said Rick Garvin, managing director at consultancy Ten Mile Square. “If you look at the number of commercial products, the number of open-source products and all the options that are emerging, this tells you that no one has solved the problem perfectly—and the nature of the problem [managing online content] continues to change.” Key questions to ask when choosing a CMS ■ What’s your budget? Include ongoing maintenance and upgrades; assume it will cost more than you think. ■ What’s your timeline? Assume selection and deployment will take longer than you think. ■ What are your primary business requirements? Are you trying to drive traffic with better SEO, produce more content, provide social features, provide flexibility to advertisers, etc.? ■ What technology do you already own and manage? ■ Once you’ve identified suitable CMS platforms that work with your existing technology, evaluate them against your functionality needs. If you cannot find a CMS that fits your in-house technology and requirements, it may be time to introduce new underly—M.G. ing technology. Open-source software has gathered buzz for two reasons: low cost and a vast community of developers around the world that continually updates the code and adds new features. But as everyone will tell you, opensource software is not free. The systems almost always require some level of customization—and that development has costs attached, whether it is outsourced or handled in-house. In addition to customization, developers or third parties charge for service and support of opensource products. Even acknowledging these costs, many online b-to-b publishers have found open source to be less costly than proprietary alternatives. Before deploying the Drupal CMS on, for example, Anderson compared solutions that were totally open-source to ones that combined proprietary and open elements. One of the options included upgrading the pre-existing proprietary CMS. “That would have required paying the license, as well as all the costs of customization,” he said. “Everything considered, the difference in cost of using Drupal was 40% lower.” Another Drupal user, MedTech, a 6-year-old b-to-b media company with 24 employees, cannot match the scale or technical resources of a company like IDG. But it, too, is saving money. “If you looked at the total cost of licensing, maintenance, development, design and hosting over a three-year period of ownership, there wasn’t a strong cost argument,” said Jack Beaudoin, VP-content at MedTech. What made the case, he said, was ongoing flexibility and innovation. For example, when MedTech wanted to create a new microsite for an advertiser, Beaudoin was able to hire someone to do the work for one-tenth the cost of his previous, proprietary vendor. “Plus, it took just 30 days to get it up,” Beaudoin said. Another open-source user citing cost savings is Scott Delman, group publisher, ACM Media Group, which publishes Communications of the ACM, the magazine of the international association for educational and scientific computing professionals, and its Web site. | June 2009 | Media Business | 9

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BtoB Media Business - June 2009

BtoB Media Business - June 2009
Publishers Reassess Google AdSense Programs
Amid Cutbacks, Media Firms Are Still Investing
Open-source CMS Advantages Outweigh Problems
Sales & Marketing
The End of B-to-B Media As We Know It?

BtoB Media Business - June 2009