Vendors diversify content management tools

This summer, content management vendors staged a slew of acquisitions and application overhauls as they sought to attract companies that need help managing multiple information sources

This summer, content management vendors staged a slew of acquisitions and application overhauls as they sought to attract companies that need help managing multiple information sources.

The latest vendor to fine-tune its software is Stellent, which last week released a new version of its content management suite, rebuilt to provide a common platform for its multiple application modules.

The vendor released Stellent Content Management 7.0, which offers a common user interface and a single server and repository architecture for Stellent's five content-management application modules: document management, web content management, collaboration, records management and digital asset management.

Version 7.0 also includes new built-in records management capabilities and enhanced document management, workflow and imaging functionality. Typical enterprise implementations cost $US50,000 to $200,000; individual application modules start at $25,000.

Analysts say an integrated content management platform is critical for companies that need to manage diverse content types. Content management is changing from a stand-alone application into an infrastructure that needs to be tied to other key enterprise applications, according to Gartner. Some of those ancillary applications include portals and collaboration tools.

Customers are buying into the idea, analysts say. In a survey of 877 technology buyers, Forrester Research found that 32 % of North American firms plan to buy content management technologies this year.

For their part, content vendors have worked to diversify their product lines, often through acquisition.

Earlier this month, content-management vendor Vignette announced plans to acquire Intraspect Software for $20 million. The buy will add collaboration software to Vignette's arsenal. Interwoven also is looking to add collaboration technology to its offerings by merging with iManage in a $171 million deal announced last month.

The search for integrated digital-asset management (DAM) features — for handling volumes of rich-media content such as images, audio and video — fueled two more recent acquisitions. In August, Stellent acquired the assets of DAM specialist Ancept for $2 million and 100,000 Stellent shares, and in June Interwoven bought MediaBin for an undisclosed amount.

Also this summer, Open Text announced plans to purchase German content management company Gauss Interprise for $11 million in stock. From Gauss, Open Text will gain Web content management, archiving and workflow. To fill its web content gap, IBM in July bought out Web content management specialist Aptrix.

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More about AptrixForrester ResearchGartnerGauss InterpriseIBM AustraliaiManageInterwovenIntraspect SoftwareStellentVignette

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