Vignette unveils new content management products

Content management software vendor Vignette Corp. today announced new versions of its applications targeted for the first time at midmarket and small businesses.

In a launch at the company's annual global Vignette Village user conference in Austin, Texas, three new Vignette V7 suites were unveiled, each aimed at businesses of different sizes.

Each of the new products includes new features sought by existing customers to make the content management applications easier to deploy, use and maintain, according to Vignette.

The three versions are:

  • Vignette Content Management Group Suite 7, which is aimed at business departments requiring content management capabilities for one Web site or portal. It includes predefined workflows, content types and the Vignette Command Center, an interactive collaborative management console. Additional capabilities are available through add-on modules at additional cost.
  • Vignette Content Management Business Suite 7, which is aimed at organizations with multiple mission-critical Web sites and portals that utilize content found throughout the enterprise. It adds graphical workflow creation, multisite management and a graphical integration workbench for managing content.
  • Vignette Content Management Enterprise Suite 7, which is aimed at large customers that need to unify content management across a large operation. Additional features include advanced reporting, adapters to integrate unstructured content into portals and Web applications and a robust set of software development kits for extending and customizing the application.

All three versions of Vignette V7 include prebuilt, configurable content management applications with configuration tools such as a graphical workflow modeler and graphical integration workbench. According to Vignette, the tools are designed to reduce the time and effort required to build and maintain Web sites and portals while requiring less support and service.

Leif Pedersen, vice president of product marketing at Vignette, said the company began engineering the new versions of the applications about two years ago after talking with customers to find out what improvements were needed. One of the main lessons learned, he said, was that users wanted a simpler process for organizing content.

Rather than storing content in one central duplicate "repository" as competitors do, Vignette uses a Virtual Content Repository, which accesses the material where it was originally stored. That reduces storage needs, he said, while eliminating problems related to updating multiple copies of the same information.

The products are standards-based, using standard Java 2 Enterprise Edition and .Net architecture, which wasn't included in the earlier Vignette V6 product line.

Another big improvement is increased speed of deployment, he said. Customers wanted to be able to deploy Web sites and portals in one month, rather than the six it could take previously, Pedersen said.

Pricing for the new applications, which are expected to be available by the end of the year, begins at $120,000 for the new group suite.

Kenneth Chin, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn., said Vignette's move to find new markets for its products by aiming three different versions at companies of varying sizes is significant.

"The group [version] allows them to be more competitive at the lower end of the market, which is a first for them," Chin said. "They've always been more aimed at the [large] enterprise."

With the technology economy still stagnant, the move is a smart one, he said. "Companies need to find new markets due to tough economic times. It makes sense to look toward the midsize enterprises," he explained.

Vignette also today announced the launching of the Vignette V7 Enterprise Services Foundation platform, which is a standards-based extensible framework for building applications. The foundation platform will enable Vignette, other independent software vendors and global consulting partners to develop horizontal and vertical industry Web applications on the platform, reducing the amount of custom application development required for deploying mission-critical Web applications.

During the next nine months, Vignette said, it will develop a new generation of Web-based enterprise applications using the foundation platform, including portal, rich media, document management, e-marketing and collaboration applications.

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