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Report Finds Content Management Buyers Experience25 Percent Industry Failure Rate with Multilingual Applications
Content management (CMS) suppliers estimate more than a 25 percent industry failure rate for content management applications, and suspect an even higher rate for multilingual deployments due to their more complex process and workflow requirements.

In the report “Rage Against the Content Management Machine,” Common Sense Advisory, an independent research firm, interviewed 75 international CMS buyers and suppliers on their multilingual application needs and discovered that while more than two-thirds of corporations build their own content management solutions rather than buying commercial ones, many end up spending more in compensating for process failures and attempting to keep up with ever-changing technology.

The 40-page report released today examines how CMS solutions handle multilingual applications. Common Sense Advisory investigated the technology challenges faced by content developers and assessed the ability of today's enterprise CMS systems to make the leap to global content management. Common Sense Advisory interviewed managers and decision-makers responsible for one or more of their firm's multilingual applications. Among the major suppliers profiled in this report are Documentum, Tridion and Vignette.

“Over the last few years content management has evolved from simple tools for editing and posting HTML pages to an enterprise platform for creating, managing and distributing a wide range of corporate assets,” said Donald A. DePalma, president of Common Sense Advisory and the lead analyst on the report. “Buyers now want to use these solutions in their international operations.”

DePalma, who in 1996 was one of the first industry analysts to identify the content management category, added that in today’s business landscape, “automating before understanding the process, needs and goals of their international business units and then scrimping on content management solutions costs companies in lost sales, inefficiencies and process failures.”

Additional findings from the report include:
Most companies favor building their own content management solutions

  • Nearly two-thirds of interviewees built their own content management solution rather than buying a commercial one forcing themselves to keep up with technology innovations, standards and the evolution of other enterprise software
  • The report also found that only 46 percent of companies with multilingual applications use tools like translation memory that could substantially cut their costs and improve their productivity
  • Language service providers contacted for this report said their clients are behind the technology curve, favoring simple files over content management and e-mail over formal workflow

Many Content Management Prospects Remain on the Fence
Of the interviewees who bought their CMS solutions rather than building their own, did so for classic business reasons, including:

  • Gaining control of runaway content
  • Homegrown solutions reached their capacity
  • Cost, product maturity and complexity drove them to build rather than buy their own solutions

Complexity Topped Buyer Concerns with Commercial CMS Solutions
Users of commercial CMS solutions complained about bad or missing integration of mainstream systems, and the need to turn to European content management providers because they are perceived to have better multilingual support.

  • For CMS solutions, complexity and lack of training ranked the highest at 72 percent, with lack of flexibility coming in second at 43 percent
  • For globalization management solutions, training and customization were the top concerns, ranking at 57 and 39 percent, respectively

CMS Vendors Think Customers Don’t Want Localized Software
While most CMS vendors claim their products can store non-English text, some interviewees admitted they had trouble dealing with double-byte characters. However, for the most part, the tools that allow companies to manipulate, manage and distribute content have not been translated or adapted to work with any language other than English.

  • These shortcomings mean developers and content creators must work in English
  • While most CMS providers offer English, ranking at 37 percent, other languages such as German, French, Spanish and Japanese get less attention
  • For localized developer interfaces, the leader was Filenet, followed by Divine, Documentum and Stellent

About Report Lead Analyst
After initiating the coverage of content management in 1996 at Forrester Research, DePalma led subsequent reports on CMS, where he expanded his coverage to include organizational issues, the need for integral globalization and the evolution of corporate platforms. Author of the seminal research report on globalization, “Strategies for Global Sites,” published by Forrester Research in 1998, DePalma also wrote Business Without Borders: A Strategic Guide to Global Marketing, published in 2002 by John Wiley & Sons.

“Rage Against the Content Machine” is the latest in a series of reports produced by Common Sense Advisory, and is available as part of a subscription to clients. For more information about this report and others, visit www.commonsenseadvisory.com.

Submitted On: 1/17/2011

Common Sense Advisory research and analysts are frequently cited in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Fortune Magazine, Inc Magazine, and BusinessWeek.
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