New report: Open to disruption — open source in content management

We have a new report entitled, “Open to Disruption: The Impact of Open Source in Content Management.”  Our purpose with this report is to look at the commercial implications of open source in content management. That is to say, our focus is on the vendors that have tied their business models to the availability of open source code and the customers that are willing to engage financially with these vendors.   The community-run projects (e.g., Drupal, Joomla et al) have a big impact on this market, but they are not the focus here.

I’ve been slogging away on this report for weeks and it has been really interesting to write. I have been covering the vendors making a go with business models tied to open source for several years now, but I never sat down before and tried to look at the market as a whole, to look across the vendors, across the different sectors in content management and across target markets.

Some of the things that struck me and are covered in much more detail in this report are:

  • There is growing acceptance of open source in content management and there are more commercial options for organizations that want (or need) to have a commercial license and/or entity behind the code. More than a dozen vendors are profiled in the report.
  • That said, we’re still in the early days of commercializing open source in content management.  While many of the open source projects in content management are well established, many of the vendors in this report have had fairly significant changes to business models and / or geographic expansion in the last two years.  Most are still fairly small (e.g., no more than $10m in revenue and less than 100 employees), though several are growing quite rapidly.
  • There is a good deal of variety in terms of platforms, market focus (e.g., SMB vs. enterprise) and sector (WCM vs. ECM), though open source has a much stronger showing (and much more accepted) in WCM than in other areas of ECM.
  • Many of the vendors in this sector are moving to or have moved to sales of commercial licenses (even if they don’t call it that) generally of “enterprise” products that extend an open source core.  This is the model that Alfresco follows, with some success, and it is being taken up by a number of other vendors here as well.
  • This isn’t true across the board though and there is certainly no shortage of controversy about this approach.   This report also profiles that are primarily selling support subscriptions for open source code, implementation services or add-on products / extensions.

The report goes into a good deal of depth on what is driving adoption of open source in content management, challenges to adoption that are specific to this sector, the overall vendor landscape and business models the various vendors are applying.  The report also profiles Acquia, Alfresco, Concrete CMS, Day Software, dotCMS, DotNetNuke, eZ Systems, Hippo, Jahia, KnowledgeTree, Liferay, Magnolia, Nuxeo, SilverStripe, Squiz and Umbraco.



#1 Eric Monkton on 05.18.10 at 6:06 pm

“The community-run projects (e.g., Drupal, Joomla et al) have a big impact on this market, but they are not the focus here.”

… Perhaps a silly question, but could I ask why, since their impact is substantial, as you say.

#2 Kathleen Reidy on 05.19.10 at 9:16 am

Not a silly question, a fairly obvious one I’d say, when you put it that way 😉

I may have overstated a bit – the report does look at the impact of community-run projects on the market overall – where they have the biggest impact (e.g., SMB and WCM) and has some very brief profiles of a few projects (Drupal, Plone and WordPress).

But there is a good deal of analysis out there already on the popularity of various projects, comparisons of downloads and overall customer awareness and so forth, and so that is not where we wanted to go with this report. Here we look most specifically at the commercial efforts – when / how / why are organizations engaging with commercial entities, who are the vendors with business models tied to open source content management, what are these models, which are successful, what does the overall vendor landscape look like and what conclusions can we draw based on this about the market overall.

The TOC in the exec summary shows this, I think.