Filed under: Content management
There are a lot of content management system (CMS) products in the marketplace, over 140 in Australia alone. There are new products springing into existence even as this is written. As discussed by Seth Gottlieb, there are also an uncounted number of homegrown CMS packages, developed by individuals for one-off projects.
There is a lot that goes into a successful CMS, something that is often taken for granted by both developers and purchasers. Having spent a lot of time talking with local vendors, I would estimate that it costs at least $5 million to develop a fully-functional CMS.
This is real money (cash) that needs to be found and spent by vendors, to produce an acceptably good mid-market solution. This isn’t a all-singing-all-dancing product we’re talking about here, but rather a CMS that just “works right”, and meets the expectations of most purchasers.
This is a lot of money.
There are some natural consequences and observations that arise from this:
- If you’re thinking of taking your home-grown solution and making it into a commercial product, you need to be able find $5 million. That’s the price of entry into this marketplace now, and the minimum requirement for commercial success.
- A lot of this money is not spent on implementing functionality, but on improving performance, fixing bugs, handling special cases.
- There’s a lot of difference between the maturity of products, between CMS solutions that work to a point, and those that have spent the time (and money) to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s”.
- While all the products can probably “tick the boxes”, you want to purchase a solution that has devoted sufficient resources to get their product to an acceptable level of stability, functionality and maturity.
- The $5mil is just the beginning, as the bar is being raised all the time for “best in breed”. So vendors have to keep spending a significant percentage of their income on R&D, just to keep up with their competitors.
- While $5mil is a fair bit of money, this is still quite achievable by hundreds of vendors, so it doesn’t naturally mean that only the big players will survive. (Particularly as the general selling price of products has fallen five-fold over the last 3 years.)
- And no, don’t try to build a solution yourself. Trust me, buy a product from a vendor that has already spent this money on your behalf, to build a solution that really works.