Enterprise content management (ECM) giant Open Text yesterday finally revealed its product roadmap regarding its recent acquisition of web content management firm Vignette, but doubts still persist over the vendor's ability to integrate the latter's products with its own.
Open Text tried to reassure Vignette customers by saying its Vignette Content Management offering will form the foundation of Open Text's web business solutions.
The ECM giant, which now claims to be the largest WCM provider around, said it will continue to develop both Vignette Content Management and Open Text Web Solutions as complementary offerings.
It will release Vignette Content Management version 8.0 and Vignette Portal version 8.0 in the second half of 2009, and a new version of Web Solutions - 10.1 - in the first half of 2010. Vignette Social Media Solutions, meanwhile, will form the basis of a new Social Marketplace offering, which will be added to Open Text's Social Media solutions, the firm said.
Open Text also alluded to a new offering which will launch within 24 months, combining the strengths of its Web Solutions and Vignette's Content Management platform.
So far so good then, but aside from a few product release dates there's little information from the firm on how well the actual integration of Vignette's underlying technology with its own is going, and where Red Dot fits into all of this.
Red Dot is of course the other WCM company Open Text acquired, but despite chief executive John Shackleton's early comments that there are synergies between it and Vignette, commentators remain skeptical.
"It's tempting to follow vendor drumbeats about promised 'synergies'. But always be wary of that particular marching bunny. Mature software products almost never get usefully combined in the real world," wrote Tony Byrne, founder of analyst firm CMS Watch.
"You have to be particularly careful with Open Text here, because the company has a track record of generating more powerpoint than code in this regard."
Byrne predicted that Open Text will fail if it tries to move all of its web content management customers onto a single platform.
Predictably, rivals in the WCM space have also jumped on the Vignette acquisition as a sign that current Open Text customers will be left high and dry.
Robert Bredlau, director of international business development for e-Spirit, argued that this strategic uncertainty is detrimental to the content management industry as a whole.
"Content management systems are not a nice to have anymore - they're business critical applications," he added. "But when customers are faced with a situation like this it's not good - the industry will struggle to gain acceptance if customers are left so unsure about their investments."
Not that this seems to bother Open Text. Shackleton said the firm is dedicated to all of its customers "and the web content management solutions they rely upon".
"Our plan is not to eliminate products, but to offer solutions that help our customers effectively fulfill their unique, organisational needs - from strategic online initiatives to day-to-day site management tasks," he added.
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