[Evangelism] Article: Is Plone a Good CMS

Dylan Jay djay at pretaweb.com
Mon Aug 10 05:30:52 UTC 2009


that's a tremendous amount of useful information. some very actionable  
items.
Last conference there was a marketing sprint. Are you going to be there?
I'd like to be involved in a marketing sprint where work on completing  
some of the tasks you outline such as creating comparisons sheets and  
gathering testimonials and putting them on plone.org. It would be nice  
to a concrete set of tasks to achieve before we hit the sprint (how?  
anyone? come up with a list of tasks in this forum?) instead of the  
sprint being about deciding on the list of tasks.
I also think it would be really good to encourage the business  
development people from integrators into that sprint since a good deal  
of their work is selling people on Plone, day in day out. Marketing  
knowledge such as yours Ken, would also be fantastic.


---
Dylan Jay, Plone Solutions Manager
www.pretaweb.com
tel:+61299552830
mob:+61421477460
skype:dylan_jay

On 04/08/2009, at 2:46 AM, ctxlken wrote:

>
> Matt,
>
> Back during my 'objective CMS evaluation consulting' days with another
> consulting firm, it was pretty common to have a 'short list' of
> recommended CMS solutions to have clients evaluate.  I, of course,
> always tried to have Plone on that list, because usually the  
> functional
> requirements from clients large and small could be met by Plone, but  
> in
> those days, open source was only widely accepted at the infrastructure
> layer (Linux for OS, maybe JBoss as application server), and it was a
> tougher sell (to IT folks only, really) to pitch 'enterprise'
> application solutions that were open source and/or that were based on
> Python, a not-so-widely accepted 'enterprise' development language  
> by IT.
>
> The typical 'short lists' looked like this:
>
> Enterprise CMS list:
>
> Fatwire
> Percussion Rhythmyx
> Vignette (becoming OpenText)
> Interwoven
> Documentum (now EMC)
> Stellent (acquired by Oracle)
> BroadVision (wow, that's going back; only on list because we had a lot
> of experience with the portal delivery side of BV)
> RedDot (acquired by OpenText)
> Plone  (it couldn't hurt to get it more exposure and to show clients
> that we were knowledgeable of solid FOSS options other consultancies
> didn't even know of)
>
>
> Windows/.NetShops CMS list:
> RedDot   (.Net for CMS, but Java-basd for portal delivery engine; Used
> to be just a nice looking and easy-to-use CMS, but very feature-rich  
> now.)
> nCompass Labs  (a really nice CMS that was purchased by M$ and became
> 'CMS 2002', which seemed to then get killed in favor of Sharepoint.
> Amazing.)
> Ektron  (low-end cost .Net option, but also more limited  
> functionality)
> Plone   (Realized Plone project wins after pitching it head-to-head
> against the commercial tools)
>
>
> Affordable/Open Source CMS List:
> Ektron (especially attractive to Windows shops)
> Plone
> Typo3
> ezPublish
> Drupal
> Joomla  (for only very simple CMS requirements; basically to 'add  
> pages')
>
>
> Since Plone continued to beat out other open source tools when clients
> had more demanding functional equirements, we eventually slimmed that
> last list down to Ektron vs. Plone
>
> Notice that Sharepoint wasn't even on our list at the time, as we  
> saw it
> strictly as more of a 'DMS' (Document Management System) that could be
> used on Intranet projects.  Later on, my company bought a Microsoft
> integrator that provided Sharepoint services, so that became a bigger
> part of our offering, but wasn't really part of the public-facing web
> CMS (WCMS) list of options we came to the table with.  It probably is
> something my old company leads with now, though.
>
>
> So, we had 'short lists' or recommended tools clients should consider
> that were based upon client and expected budget size, but also that  
> were
> based upon these other criteria that I believe come into play:
>
> Decision Maker - IT vs. Marketing:
>
> If Marketing, we were more likely to get to propose/implement open
> source/Plone because they just want a great, feature-rich 'solution'  
> for
> the best price, and don't care about whether it's written in Java or
> .Net or whatever the standard skill set is of IT.  Much of the time,
> marketing wants to side-step IT and hire contractors and get support
> from the CMS vendor anyhow.
>
>
> Open Source Adoption Likelihood:
>
> Again, if talking to Marketing/PR, this is less of an issue, but in
> discussing options with IT, we would attempt to determine to what  
> level
> they might already be using open source, and how difficult a sell this
> would be, not just for us, but for the internal group trying to get  
> the
> project approved (Marketing, Human Resources, etc.)
>
>
> Magic Quadrant Effect:
>
> If a client is starting off with, say the Gartner 'Magic Quadrant' ECM
> Report or the Forrester 'Wave' Report (for which they've already paid
> thousands), then they are less likely to have heard of open source CMS
> tools (though this is slowly changing and we need to push for coverage
> of Plone), and are focusing in on 'enterprise' type software and  
> likely
> have the corresponding budget size in mind as well.
>
> See the Gartner Report
> here:http://mediaproducts.gartner.com/reprints/microsoft/vol6/article3/article3.html
>
> See an older Forrester Report here and notice coverage of Alfresco  
> (open
> source):
> http://www.oracle.com/corporate/analyst/reports/infrastructure/ocs/forrester-ecm-q42007.pdf
>
> Some clients (especially IT managers) will only blindly follow these
> reports.  It's called 'managing risk-to-resume' and is akin to the old
> addage that 'nobody ever got fired for buying solutions from IBM'.  At
> least that's an old addage in the Midwest U.S., where 'Big Blue' was
> always king during the mainframe days.  So, IT managers see risk in
> going with solutions not in the 'magic quadrant' and if we perceived
> that, we knew that recommending open source was going to be more
> difficult unless we could really get the business department  
> (marketing,
> et al) to push hard for it.
>
> Since this is the Plone Evangelism list, I think some things to take
> aware are:
>
> 1) Research Coverage:
>
> We should do what we can to contact Gartner, Forrester, Jupiter, and
> other research firms to see what we can do to get Plone represented by
> their research.  What benchmarks do they use to determine which  
> tools to
> cover?  Is Alfresco covered because it has a corporate face/backing  
> to it?
>
>
> 2) Comparison Sheets:
>
> We should provide comparison sheets that, rather than being general
> enough to cover evaluations at the 'high end' and at the 'low end',  
> are
> targeted comparisons at each end, and in the middle.   For a CMS
> comparison of open source tools only, Idealware.org has already done
> much of the work for us.  Basically, indicating that all of the  
> primary
> open source CMS tools that make it to organizations' short lists are
> viable, but that the more complex functionality a client needs, the  
> more
> they need Plone.  A summary grid such as the one they present in their
> report would be very nice to have for each targeted 'short list' we
> would want to market.  Of course, it's better when an objective third
> party does it, but since Plone isn't getting much public coverage in
> comparison to commercial tools, we may need to do some of this
> ourselves.  The CMSWatch.com reports DO cover commercial and open  
> source
> tools, so maybe the foundation should purchase a report (and others)  
> and
> then publish its own 'summary report' or something that doesn't  
> conflict
> with any report's license.
>
> I have just this week been asked to come up with my own Ektron vs.  
> Plone
> comparison report for an IT integrator that knows Plone is a better  
> fit
> for their client than Ektron, but needs the specific criteria that
> proves this.  It's not the first time I've been asked for such a  
> report
> by someone who is a project champion and who wants to navigate around
> questions about open source or python or whether it can run on
> Windows/Linux or how to host it easily/affordably (without hiring a
> Python or Linux expert), etc.  It could help Plone integrators to have
> such marketing answers/collateral.
>
> The most commonly requested comparisons for our firm and that I think
> would be most helpful are:
>
> Plone vs. Drupal  (I can now thankfully point clients to the
> Idealware.org report that was produced by an objective party)
> Plone vs. Sharepoint
> Plone vs. Ektron
>
>
> 3) Client Testimonies:
>
> Contact clients that we know chose Plone over other (commercial or  
> open
> source) CMS tools and ask them if they'd be willing to do an interview
> or to fill out a survey that asks how they believe Plone vs. CMS X
> compared in terms of various factors typical of normal evaluations.
>
> It would also be really powerful to survey our past clients and  
> provide
> 'average' numbers for small, medium, and large-sized projects, when
> implemented with Plone integrators versus what clients were quoted
> (ranges, not actual numbers) from commercial vendors.  My experience
> with the commercial vendors (outside of Ektron) is that a client is
> typically looking at $250K on up just to get a 'Quick Start' package,
> where the integrator implements one section of the website and  
> includes
> a week of training, so the client can have their own staff finish the
> rest, or pay a lot more in fees to have it finished for them.
>
>
> 4) Cost Comparison Collateral:
> It'd also be helpful to have an hourly rate schedule comparison of
> 'certified' commercial vendor integrators vs. Plone integrator firms
> (leaving freelancers out of the equation so as not to compare apples  
> and
> oranges.)
>
> I've been seeing topics for webinars from vendors such as IBM, Oracle,
> and others similar to 'The Hidden Costs of Open Source' or 'Open  
> Source
> Doesn't Come Free'.  Sure a Plone implementation is going to cost
> something for the consulting time, but it'd be useful to have an  
> overall
> project costs comparison chart as well as an hourly consulting
> comparison chart, because generally the commercial vendors are going  
> to
> charge $150-250/hr for services, while Plone services are typically
> under even their low number and decision-makers need to see and  
> consider
> this.
>
> This point is especially important as a decision-maker looks at the
> 3-year project cost.  After implementation, a firm going with a
> commercial solution is going to pay annual license fees and is going  
> to
> continue to pay higher hourly consulting fees, so the long-term costs
> are even more drastically higher for a commercial system.  Many
> organizations are silly and only look at year-1 implementation costs  
> and
> let the following years' costs be ignored during the selection  
> process.
>
>
> 5) Plone.net:
>
> Add these surveys/interviews to the Case Studies section of Plone.net.
> Or, possibly even better, once we have some of these, create a new
> section on Plone.net called Client Testimonials that are interviews  
> with
> clients (especially focusing on the CMS evaluation/selection process)
> rather than just project recaps that focus purely on what was done  
> with
> Plone was it was selected.
>
>
> 6) Plone Foundation Advertising via Google Ads:
>
> Once we have client testimonials to point prospects/leads to, I'd
> recommend having the Plone Foundation provide limited funding for some
> Google Ads that would appear when people search for 'content  
> management
> systems', 'open source cms', 'plone', and similar terms.  The ads  
> could
> have eye-catching teaser titles such as 'Why did NASA select the Plone
> CMS?'  There actually is a nice interview-style recap of the Plone
> selection/implementation process from someone at NASA, by the way.  I
> recall Jon Stahl's blog or a tweet referring to it.  Nice 3-part read.
>
> If we could even get 3-4 such testimonials, I think it'd be a very
> powerful and persuasive area for Plone.net and Plone would probably
> benefit from teasers to this directly from the Plone.org home page.
>
>
> I hope this wasn't just a walk down memory lane for me, and can help
> provide some perspective for those on the list who have worked
> exclusively with Plone in the CMS space.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Ken Wasetis
> President and CMS Solution Architect
> email: ken.wasetis at contextualcorp.com
> office: 847.356.3027
> website: www.contextualcorp.com
>
>
>
> Matt Hamilton (via Nabble) wrote:
>>
>> On 23 Jul 2009, at 09:34, Matt Hamilton wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> On 21 Jul 2009, at 21:00, Matt Hamilton wrote:
>>>
>>>> Janus Boye just published an article entitled 'Is Plone a Good  
>>>> CMS?'
>>>>
>>>> http://www.jboye.com/blogpost/is-plone-a-good-cms/
>>>>
>>>> A fairly even article saying basically 'Danish Govt say Plone is a
>>>> good CMS, but is it fair that they pick one?'
>>>
>>> There are some fantastic comments at the bottom of this post now by
>>> Martin Aspeli and Ken Wasetis. Great work guys, some nice insights
>>> into 'big firm' consulting and how they go about things.
>>
>>
>> In a further development on this, I privately emailed Janus to ask  
>> him:
>>
>> "One question to a point slightly raised on your
>> post. You mention that Plone consulting companies are generally quite
>> small.  How does this compare to the other Open Source systems you
>> mentioned, ie. Umbraco, Liferay, Typo3? Do they have larger  
>> consulting
>> companies?"
>>
>> As I was genuinely interested to see if Plone consulting companies  
>> are
>> *really* smaller than others, or if it is just a perception thing.  
>> His
>> response as this:
>>
>> "I would say Umbraco has been the most successful in attracting  
>> larger
>> consulting companies. I am speculating this may be due to large
>> consultancies with .NET skills using Umbraco as a low-end  
>> alternative to
>> commercial systems such as EPiServer and Sitecore.
>>
>> Let me know your thoughts and then I'll write a blog about it."
>>
>> This is a very interesting point. So he is saying that there are some
>> larger companies using other .NET CMSs such as EPiServer and  
>> Sitecore,
>> but when that company needs to do something low end they are using
>> Umbraco.
>>
>> So is this a good thing? What does it mean to the Plone community?  
>> Are
>> there companies out there that say something like 'We normally use
>> Vignette, but in this smaller case we will use Plone'?
>>
>> At the moment I think we are often trying to pitch against the big
>> boys saying our system can do everything they can. But maybe the
>> message that Umbraco is using is 'we are lighter/smaller/quicker/
>> cheaper etc' than the big boys. I know in reality Plone can/does use
>> both messages.
>>
>> What are your thoughts? I want to gather them up to send to Janus.
>>
>> -Matt
>>
>>
>>
>> -- 
>> Matt Hamilton                                       [hidden email]
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>> 9090901
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>>
>>
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