WordPress and the Battle to become your CMS
By Jim Lundy
There is a battle raging for the control of your website and the growth of Open Source CMS providers like WordPress is exploding (note, CMS is also referred to as Web Content Management (WCM)). WCM Vendors want to win and they get their fare share of websites, yet they haven’t stopped the rise of WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. This rise of Open Source is creating a challenge for established WCM providers (Adobe, Ektron, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, OpenText, Percussion, SiteCore) who provide Commercial Software or a Cloud Based SaaS Service. As Open Source surges, many of the larger WCM Providers are leveraging their core WCM capabilities as part of an overall Customer Experience Management approach, in which they offer more than just WCM (more on this later).
WordPress and its App Ecosystem
WordPress is dominating the Open Source WCM space, as evidenced by the 2011 download statistics (see Figure 1). There are many enterprises that have an established Website using their legacy WCM Provider. Many of them use WordPress for their Blog (see examples). Others are using WordPress for to manage their Website.
WordPress isn’t for the feint of heart. Commercial WCM Tools offer a more integrated experience and a one stop shop for deployment and support. That said, WordPress is competing with larger WCM providers due to the strength of its App Ecosystem. There are just under 24,000 third party plug-ins that will work along with the core WordPress too. These are big numbers and this is why WordPress has become a force in Web Content Management.
There is clearly a difference in price and scale that the commercial WCM Providers offer. That said, there are many large websites that have millions of page views a month that use WordPress. For those that want to start using an Open Source CMS, it can be confusing since there are so many alleged experts out there. One site that has some high quality training content for WordPress is Lynda.com. Lynda.com also offers similar training for Adobe Products.
There are certainly downsides to the Open Source approach to managing a website. Microsite management, Multi-Language and community management are just a few of the things that can get messy. E-Commerce tops the list of add-ons that are the most challenging. Today CMOs and the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) want a one stop shop. The problem is that many of the Marketing Suites from larger providers are still being assembled. However, there is progress here and better ease of use from the larger and smaller players is emerging. IBM has made significant strides in ease of use and so have others, such as Percussion Software.
The challenge for many WCM providers going forward is to start to build a partner/app ecosystem to allow enterprises to create their own marketing suite. This is the new race in software, whether it is Open Source or Commercial. WordPress continues to grow and it is an example of the power of the growing community of developers that work in harmony to create a compelling market offering.