Shaky Financials Hurt Content Managers

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-10-11 Print this article Print

Companies are desperately searching for a content-management system to handle the ever-growing volume of data on their Web sites—but the leading firms are all wavering financially.

In the fall of 2000, Jeff Sears searched for a content-management system to handle the ever-growing volume of data amassing on his company's Web sites. In the end, he bypassed major vendors because of worries about their financial health and instead had a system custom-built. While his action may be considered extreme by some, Sears is far from alone in his concerns.

PDF DownloadThe manager of Web services for NCS Pearson—a division of educational publishing giant Pearson Education—Sears had initially looked at the top three players in the market, Documentum, Interwoven and Vignette. By and large, he liked what he saw. In fact, NCS already was using a content-management platform from Documentum at one of its subsidiaries, NCS Learn, and was pleased with its performance. However, Sears noted that the three were piling up heavy losses, and with technology companies failing all around, he was reluctant to bet on any of the trio.

"Everything was risky," he recalls. "The systems the vendors were selling were large and expensive. We agreed the market was so volatile, it wasn't the right time to be buying."

Instead of doing nothing, NCS had its own developers custom-build a content-management system in Macromedia's ColdFusion. It took six months to create, and came in at about one-tenth of the $3 million to $5 million price tag quoted by the vendors. "We don't have all the bells and whistles that you would have in a full-blown content-management system, but we don't need all the bells and whistles," he says.

Still, Sears believes NCS will eventually have to implement an off-the-shelf content-management system—the growth of content and the headaches associated with its management are too big to ignore. But he's prepared to wait until he's more comfortable with long-term prospects for the software providers.

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.