[Evangelism] Article: Is Plone a Good CMS

Takeshi Yamamoto tyam at mac.com
Mon Aug 10 06:08:24 UTC 2009

This page could be helpful to make a comparison sheet.


Click the check boxes of Plone and few more CMS, then press Compare  


On Aug 10, 2009, at 2:30 PM, Dylan Jay wrote:

> 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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