Common Sense Advisory analyst firm recently released their rankings of 16 content management systems attempting to answer the following question: “Which CMS delivers the best support for multilingual and multiregional use?”

The firm looked at a variety of functions that matter most in managing multilingual websites, trying to deduce which CMSs do the best job in managing global information.

Evaluation Criteria

By looking at features and functions, organizational capabilities and other criteria, the analyst firm scored the solutions based on the following four criteria:

  1. Multilingual content handling
  2. Multiregional process management
  3. Multilingual user support
  4. Resources for multiregional implementation.

Then they rated Web CMSs for completeness of support along each criteria, scoring each requirement on a scale of 1 to 4, where a score of 4 represents full-featured capability and 1 indicates minimal or missing support.

Finally, after adding up points for each criteria, they divided that number by the number of factors present in the scoring matrix. The results were published in the 30-page report.

Defining Global Content Management

Common Sense Advisory defines Global content management (GCM) as:

… the business processes and system software used to create, approve, transform, re-purpose, store, and distribute multilingual text, images, and other digitized information. GCM process typically orchestrates the activities of a distributed workforce – one that is not only geographically dispersed but also involves resources both inside and outside the organization. Users of GCM technology also expect systems to interoperate and exchange content and work data with other systems of record, including databases, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning.

Then, they identified three common use cases -- for web, technical materials and specialized content for WCM, CCM and ECM.

ECM in their terminology is “an overarching category whose proponents envision a single, unified solution for all content processing and management needs.”

Web content management involves files or database content in HTML, XML, or related tagged formats, including multimedia that increasingly challenge both content management systems and the translation management solutions that support multilingual workflow.

Component Content Management (CCM) is used by an ever increasing cadre of technical publications departments, involves database content – most often in an XML data format.

Global CMSs Analyzed in the Report

Here’s a look at CCM, WCM and ECM vendors who were analyzed in the report:

CMS Products Analyzed for This Report.jpg

CMS Products Analyzed for This Report, Source: Common Sense Advisory, Inc.

Who’s Who in Global Content Management?

CCM and ECM Rankings for Global Users and Implementation.jpg

CCM and ECM Rankings for Global Users and Implementation, Source: Common Sense Advisory, Inc.

WCM Rankings for Global Users and Implementation .jpg

WCM Rankings for Global Users and Implementation, Source: Common Sense Advisory, Inc.

Implications for CMS Buyers

Common Sense Advisory suggests that buyers should mix style and substance in the adoption decision matrix.

Their conclusion: prospective buyers of global content technologies need to balance deployment scenarios, development approaches and system capabilities when refining their business and technical requirements. The following steps should be taken they say:

  1. Step 1: Pick Your Adoption Scenario
  2. Step 2: Pick Your Paradigm for Application Development
  3. Step 3: Select a Solution More Advanced than Your Requirements

Final Thoughts

This is only one of a multitude of reports focused on multilingual content management vendors, so while it's worth consideration, look at other research as well to get the full picture. When looking to buy a CMS that can handle your global information management scenarios, look at the origin. It’s not a secret that those vendors coming from the U.S. market may not be as strong on the GIM front as their European counterparts just based on the fact that Europe has always had stronger multilingual requirements due to geographical proximity than the U.S.

That fact also means that vendor’s professional services and sales teams may not be necessarily local to you. Globalization requirements add a certain level of complexity to your CMS deployment, so you probably would want to have some close-by support in this endeavor. Plus, we all know that buying a CMS is cheaper than implementing one.