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Six strategies for low-cost content management

by xavier last modified 2008-09-19 21:14

Some content is priceless, but the systems that manage them can wind up a little too pricey. How do you set aside enough money to solve the initial ECM pain points and create a strategy for the future?

By: Shane Schick - ComputerWorld Canada

According to research firm Gartner Inc., the market for enterprise content management (ECM) was worth US$2.9 billion in 2007 and will grow 12.9 per cent through 2011. Although Gartner says software licensing for basic content services can cost less than US$100 per user for large volume deals, requirements for extra functions will increase the initial software costs if content management components are not included.

How do you set aside enough money to solve the initial ECM pain points and create a strategy for the future? We asked the experts for some ideas.

The first idea is to have in mind that Open Source may do the job.

Alongside well-established firms such as IBM and EMC, independent developers have created alternatives such as Plone, Drupal and Joomla. These can be readily adapted for Web-based ECM and even advanced projects with minimal up-front costs.

“If you have a business case (for proprietary software) that that makes more sense you should do that, but if you don’t consider an open source solution you’re hurting yourself,” says Harold Jarche, a content management and collaboration technology consultant based in Sackville, N.S. “The thing with open source is you have options on who’s doing your service, whereas with proprietary, the development and the services are one in the same. That’s at odds with the clients’ best interests.”

Jarche says the degree of open source use may depend on the amount of in-house IT expertise and the amount you’re willing to spend on consulting. He suggests companies should also research the ease of using the open source system they choose. “It’s not the functions so much as the strength of the community — is it on version 1.0 or 7.0?” he asks. “How many installations have there been? Who’s providing support services?”

OSCOM, the International Association for Open Source Content Management, is one resource to connect developers and users through events and electronic backgrounders.

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Plone provides professional solutions to all the points raised in this article

The Plone project was started in 1999. In 2004, the Plone Foundation was formed to protect and promote the use of Plone. Hundreds of worldwide references about Plone can be found on

Additional features include:

  • Plone is easy to install. You can install Plone with a click and run installer, and have a content management system running on your computer in just a few minutes.
  • Plone is easy to use. The Plone Team includes usability experts who have made Plone easy and attractive for content managers to add, update, and maintain content.
  • Plone is international. The Plone interface has more than 35 translations, and tools exist for managing multilingual content.
  • Plone is standard. Plone carefully follows standards for usability and accessibility. Plone pages are compliant with US Section 508, and the W3C's AAA rating for accessibility.
  • Plone is Open Source. Plone is licensed under the GNU General Public License, the same license used by Linux. This gives you the right to use Plone without a license fee, and to improve upon the product.
  • Plone is supported. There are close to a hundred developers in the Plone Development Team around the world, and a multitude of companies that specialize in Plone development and support.
  • Plone is extensible. There is a multitude of add-on products for Plone to add new features and content types. In addition, Plone can be scripted using web standard solutions and Open Source languages.
  • Plone is technology neutral. Plone can interoperate with most relational database systems, open source and commercial, and runs on a vast array of platforms, including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris and BSD.

More about Plone