TVNZ turns to Vignette for content

TVNZ says it opted for a website content management system from US vendor Vignette over local software in order to slash the amount of time it took to post new material.

TVNZ says it opted for a website content management system from US vendor Vignette over local software in order to slash the amount of time it took to post new material.

TVNZ’s nzoom web service previously used a custom-built content management system from Auckland software developer Artisan Group, but last year opted for Vignette’s V/5 – whose content management component was previously known as StoryServer – because “our old system restricted our capabilities”, says nzoom technology chief Alex Filkin. V/5 will allow the broadcaster to post updated content in around a minute rather than the previous hour.

But while it might speed operations once in place, getting the new technology working may be a lengthy process. As StoryServer, the Vignette technology was purchased by both Xtra and INL's Stuff news portal. In both cases, it took months longer than originally anticipated to get content sites ready for launch. In part, this is because the software ships less as a content management package than as a set of APIs for building one. Professional services around implentation typically run to around three times the cost of the software license.

Vignette's technology is somtimes criticised for its proprietary nature and difficulty of development, but Filkin told Computerworld that V/5 could offer “international standards” and readily-implemented plug-in modules.

A release prepared by Vignette says TVNZ felt "there was a perception that our content was not up to date as it could be". Despite this, Artisan’s software, memorably called Fat Controller, is still being used within the broadcaster’s Teletext service. Filkin says Fat Controller made the launch of nzoom far more efficient and says the technology is ideally suited to upgrading Teletext. TVNZ likewise uses Artisan’s Synchromesh middleware product in both nzoom and its ad-booking system (see TVNZ chooses local middleware) even though it also runs BEA’s Tuxedo middleware product.

New Australia and New Zealand manager Lee Loncasty says Vignette's competitors have traditionally been Interwoven and Broadvision, but these will increase now that it has added B2B, B2C and e-marketplace solutions to its portfolio after its takeover of US e-commerce firm OnDisplay. But she says the company's "number one" competitor is "build-your-own" - in-house projects as opposed to small software houses. Local sales executive David Venables says content management means different things to different organisations, and small development firms will deliver some of the desired functionality. "No disrespect to the five programmers sat in a room, but they will not recreate what we can actually do."

Artisan software development manager Chris Chamberlain says "it's clear only a very few New Zealand organisations are in the Vignette price range, so we're focusing on delivering our experience and technology to the wider market". While he's impressed with what nzoom has done in a short period, he says the division invested heavily in hardware, software and people to keep up with growing demands on their site and had to forgo some "really nice Fat Controller features - probably due to the cost of implementing these within Vignette".

Vignette is looking for an ASP partner in this country to match its arrangement with Solution 6 in Australia, which it believes will help it sell to mid-sized companies. Its channel partners here include Sybase, Advantage Group, CyberElves and the local arms of global companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Sun and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Sydney-based Loncasty, who was previously director of partner channels for Asia-Pacific, says the company intends to double its New Zealand licence sales from its current eight to 16 this year. Customers include Telecom, BNZ, INL, Carter Holt Harvey and the Dairy Board. It has five staff in Auckland and Wellington offices and 85 in Australia.

See What does a content manager do?

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More about Advantage GroupBEABNZBroadvisionIBM AustraliaInterwovenMicrosoftOnDisplayPricewaterhouseCoopersSolution 6Sybase AustraliaSynchromeshTeletextVignetteXtra

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