Vignette Corp.: Now Comes the Hard Part

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

Dossier: Vignette executives used to brag that their firm was the fastest-growing software company in history. Not anymore.

Vignette executives used to brag that their firm was the fastest-growing software company in history. It was no idle boast; Vignette's hockey-stick growth chart would have been ruled illegal by any NHL referee, going from just $3 million in revenues in 1997 to $367 million by 2000.

PDF DownloadNot any more. It's now fighting to curb losses and boost revenue. Its biggest asset: a blue-chip customer base.

MediaNews Group, a Denver-based publisher of more than 46 daily newspapers, looked at all of the major content-management players when it went shopping in early 2000. It felt Vignette was the only one with technology that could meet its demands. The company currently runs Web sites of just over 40 papers, and another 40 or so affiliated sites off the platform. As many as 35 million pages per month are being served up.

Eric Grilly, vice president of interactive media, says the company has had some issues with the system, particularly as it went from one or two sites to 40. "I think we pushed (the platform) into new areas and we've had some difficulties as a result," he says. "But Vignette has been a great partner in helping us work out the issues."

Vignette customers say they are concerned about the company's finances, but not any more so than they would be with the other Internet companies.

"I can point to just about any vendor we've bought technology from on the Web side of the business as having financial concerns," says Paul Barnhill, director of information technology at Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "With Vignette they've got a client base that you know isn't going away."

Cambridge has been using Vignette for about three years to serve up research and reports on the oil and gas business to clients over the Web. Barnhill says the company could have purchased another content-management system for less money, but doesn't believe he would have gotten the reliability that Vignette affords.

Richard Stuller, chief information officer of Hawaiian Electric Co., Hawaii's largest electric utility, says overall he has been satisfied with Vignette's system and support since it was installed in 2000. "Its ease of use has been a big benefit for us," says Stuller. "We can train someone to develop and maintain Web site content in less than one hour."

Vignette Corp.
1601 South Mopac Expressway, Austin, TX 78746
(512) 741-4300 www.vignette.com

Ticker: VIGN
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 1,300

Greg Peters
Joined company in 1998 from Logic Works. Served as Vignette's president and CEO, and eventually assumed chairman's role. Handed over CEO's responsibilities in July to Thomas Hogan.

Thomas Hogan
President, CEO
Was a rising star with Siebel Systems before joining Vignette in 2001 as president and chief operating officer. Named CEO in July. Prior to Siebel, spent 17 years at IBM in sales and marketing.

Dave Shirk
VP, Products and Strategy
Responsible for product development. Was chief technology officer at Novell.

Vignette Content Suite, which is used to store, create, manage and publish content on the Web, or within an enterprise.

Reference Checks

Paul Barnhill
Director, Information Technology
(617) 497-6446
Project: Uses Vignette to manage and publish oil and gas research to clients via a secure Web site.

Eric Grilly
VP, Interactive Media
(303) 563-6410
Project: Country's seventh-largest newspaper publisher uses Vignette to manage content on about 75 Web sites.

Larry Patrick
VP, Customer and Partner Integration
(210) 697-8888
Project: The provider of checks and check-related services uses Vignette to serve up information on its corporate portal, including the ability to view check designs and place orders.

Rick Stuller
Chief Information Officer
(808) 548-7311
Project: Uses Vignette to manage information on its Web site. Has integrated platform with electronic bill presentment and payment services.

Mark Pippin
Manager, Customer Relations Systems
(321) 724-7520
Project: Semiconductor manufacturer uses Vignette to manage content on its Web site. Recently expanded use to include an employee portal.

Dave Eisenlohr
VP, Engineering
(650) 794-3700
Project: TestMart has a contract with the Navy to provide an online marketplace to purchase test and measurement equipment. Uses Vignette to manage Web site content including detailed specs.

Executives listed here are all users of Vignette products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

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.


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