Jon Marks, a technical analyst from the United Kingdom, posted an interesting article last week on his blog. In the post, The CMS Word on the Tweet, he discusses the difficulty of finding "his world" on Twitter when seeking conversations centered around content management system. Jon even uses CMSReport.com's CMS Focus as an example for showing what he observes as a large divide between open source Web content management systems and propriety enterprise software. A divide that many of us may already recognize but haven't quite put into words like Jon has.
To the Big Wide World (which includes Twitter, and all the sites I’ve mentioned above), CMS means “Free Open Source CMS with Low Cost of Ownership”. The commercial Open Source CMS solutions don’t make the cut either. Four of the five Open Source CMS products reviewed by CMS Watch (Drupal, Joomla!, Plone CMS and TYPO3) live in both worlds. Open CMS doesn’t as my feeling is it is a bit too complex. Alfresco, DotNetNuke and ez Publish made one of the lists above, but don’t really feature in the Tweetosphere.
I inhabit a world populated by analysts, commercial vendors, systems integrators, large agencies and other such creatures. I don’t believe we pay much attention to the other world until a product jumps the gap. And it seems difficult for a product that isn’t Java or Microsoft based to make it in to My World.
Jon asked me via Twitter to let him know what I thought of his article. I think Jon has done an excellent job of identifying the dichotomy found within CMS. It does seem that the enterprise often takes an approach to content management that differs greatly from open source projects. The approaches differ so much that the parties involved often end up defining what is a CMS in two different ways. The only thing I would like to comment on is that I unfortunately live on a third, yet unidentified, world that the other two worlds don't fully understand.
In my CMS world I too have to have to live with the same analysts, commercial vendors, and propriety enterprise software from Jon's world. However, I also have to live with the enterprise users that demand much more agility in their shoftware than traditional enterprise software often provides. The shortcomings of propriety enterprise software and the need to meet the expectations of my end-users has required me and others to introduce open source software into the organization. If there are two worlds, one between propriety enterprise software and another world of open source CMS...then my world has obviously become the battlefield for these two planets to fight it out.
In my world, I and the rest of the IT warriors are working very hard to make propriety and open source software work together. Some days we succeed and other days we're just plain exhausted.
It is a pity that the two other worlds often wants to eliminate each other. If they would look a little deeper they would find that there is opportunity by working together peacefully on my planet. To be truthful, I know of no world where only propriety software or only open source software exists in the enterprise. Those days are long gone on my planet and we're now seeking to move forward in evolving a world of cooperation between open source and propriety to meet our information system needs.