Case Study: TALC as applied to Content Management Systems Technology Adoption

Content Management Systems were first developed as one off complex solutions for Newspaper and Magazine publishers.  A package (not dissimilar to e-procurement) of components pieced together to address the specific workflow needs of target customers, over time leading designs emerged: Vignette, Interwoven, Oracle and even IBM offered ‘packaged’ solutions still targeted at the limited market of Media Publishers with investment costs in the millions justified due to the complexity, personalization required and limited market size.

In 2001, Ovum projected that the whole content management market would grow from $3.5 billion in 2001 to $7 billion US by 2006, with a compound annual growth rate of 15%.  A market dominated by media and publishing companies in 1999, by 2004 Corporations were expected to comprise over 65% of CMS software buyers.

“The European content management software market is one of the more promising sectors today, because it addresses an urgent problem faced by both large and small, new economy and old economy companies—taking all kinds of corporate data, both internal and external, from structured or unstructured databases, and turning it into a publishable, coherent, and presentable form. In most cases, the software enables the user to do this without possessing technical skills.

This broad description of content management can be broken down into a long list of functions, including back-end database integration; personalisation; workflow management; web page templating; analytics; and the ability to publish output to a wide range of digital devices.(EuropeProfile:1998)

Corporations, however, required CMS solutions that could communicate with in-place ERP, CRM and Intranet solutions core to the business activity.  Unlike Media Publishers whose primary business activity was content management and publishing, corporations saw CMS as a peripheral application that had to be interoperable with current platforms critical to the core business model.

Due to overwhelming need for interoperability for the next stage of technology adoption users (large corporations), the Internet Content Exchange standards initiative was formed.  Founded by industry participants, the ICE initiative focused on the needs of established solution suppliers and the needs of their current client base (Media Companies), the bulk of which were early adopters.  Expecting that future adopters would have the same profile and needs of current clients, they ignored the strategic changes that would be required to overcome the impending chasm and completely neglected needs of pragmatist adopters.  Overly complex and expensive to implement, ICE was easily supplanted by RSS (Real Simple Syndication, an open source standard for content exchange and syndication).

Today, thanks in part to the RSS standard; CMS is available in a myriad of programs, applications and solutions differentiated by user organization need/size, complexity and platform.  While million euro implementations still exist for large media publishers who require extensive workflow and system integration, desktop web site publishers have open source applications that allow them to manage, publish and syndicate web content cross-platform.

As a consequence of tunnel vision by solution developers, assuming that the needs and decision-making factors of future clients would closely resemble those of early adopters, market leaders continued to develop complicated and expensive solutions.   With the introduction of a simple method for interoperability; small, open applications such as WordPress & Joomla could satisfy the limited needs of the market majority while still being able to interact with the complex systems of Corporations and Media Publishers. The definition of the Content Management Market expanded from a very limited set of companies to include any individual that had a need for publishing and distributing content: essentially the whole of the internet.