ArsLogica_logo_2010.jpgIf you are tired of reading through hordes of websites and documentation to get the information you need on a particular web content management system, Ars Logica may have the answer. The analyst firm has just released the latest set of Compass Guides to WCM for Vignette, Jahia and Bridgeline Digital. Other than the length, what else can you look forward to?

Evaluating Web Content Management Systems 

Somebody has to do it and it seems like Ars Logica enjoys it. The analytst firm has evaluated over 35 web content management vendors, producing comprehensive research reports that will help your organization identify the right Web CMS for your organization.

There's a bit of work involved in developing these reports including:

  • Extensive Product testing -- which takes place at the particular vendor's headquarters
  • An indepth 172 item product and company questionnaire completed by the vendor
  • Vendor interviews

It also helps that Ars Logica founder Tony White has a lot of experience analyzing and evaluating Web CMS products, including helping vendors evaluate features for future versions of their products.

According to White, its the product testing that sets the Compass Guides apart from other similar reports on the market. We'd also point to the size, compacting as much advice as possible into a smaller report (so size does not matter).

A Guide to the Compass Guide

There is a lot to look at and consider when you are evaluating an product or solution and with the changing state of web content management today, the list just keeps getting longer and more complicated. The Compass Guides give you a snapshot of the vendor and its product, including a look at who the top competitors are and the key verticals where the product works best.

In addition to looking at the product history, the guide models the ideal buyer. For example:

The ideal buyer of a Vignette solution is a global enterprise with requirements for a distributed, multiregional, dynamic, highly personalized, public-facing Website whose interactive and social computing features play an important part in building and maintaining customer relationships.

Product strengths and limitations are reviewed, but it's the report card that will catch your attention. Here's a look at how Vignette scored against four categories:

Compass Guide - Report Card for Vignette (Open Text)

Somewhat surprisingly, Bridgeline Digital scored better on Usability (8.1) and Marketing & Sales Tools (9.0), but lower on Market Presence/Viability (6.1) and Multi-channel, site and lingual (6.6).

Report cards are also given for technologists rating scalability, flexibility, development tools and ease of administration.

There is a lot of valuable information packed into these reports which run 13 pages in length. When you are struggling to get through all the features and capabilities covered on the actual vendor site (in some cases there isn't much information at all), it's nice to turn to more objective reports like this.

Free: From Influence and $$

It's also important to note that although there is extensive interaction with the Web CMS vendors, the reports are not funded and Ars Logica retains complete editorial control. The reports are free to download, which is also nice.

In addition to the latest Compass Guides for Vignette, Bridgeline Digital and Jahia, guides are also currently available for Day Software, SDL Tridion, Sitecore and Magnolia Software. And there are many more to come