June 2009
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A FatWire In Shining Armour

Nobody to rescue me,
Nobody would dare,
I was going down for the last time,
But by His mercy I’ve been spared

An interesting play by FatWire. Our knights in shining armour have heard the shrill cries of distress from the damsels stuck at the top of Tower Vignette and Tower Interwoven and have gallantly offered to migrate them away to the safety of Castle FatWire for free. The name of the package (FatWire Rescue Program) implies the damsels are in serious trouble. According to the press release, they have a lot to worry about:

This limited-time program enables organizations that are constrained by the rigidity of their current legacy WCM products, or concerned about the future direction of their current WCM vendor

I love the sneaky use of the word legacay here. Vignette and Interwoven are suddenly legacy simply because they’ve been bought by OpenText and Autonomy respectively? Looking forward to seeing a response from VIGN/OTEX and IWOV/AU.  Interwoven is the fastest growing ECM vendor and Vignette, despite recent troubles, are still fighting and releasing some cool new things. They certainly aren’t legacy in my books.

A Knight In Shining ArmourIt is going to be cheap and painless to migrate. No license costs! Woot! The press release tells us that

The program enables customers of these recently acquired companies to upgrade to FatWire’s industry-leading solutions at no license cost, when they employ FatWire’s proven migration tools and services that reduce the risk and increase the speed of migration.

Oh, wait, maybe it isn’t that cheap at all. Our knight comes with strings attached. You need to use FatWire’s migration tools. These come in the form of partnerships with Vamosa and Kapow, two heavy hitters in the world of automated content migration. My first observation here is that these two, while both offering an excellent service, normally compete with each other. So I’d be interested in learning more about the way a company (or FatWire) decides which of the two products to run with. My second observation is that both of these products can come with a reasonably large price tag. I presume the model here is that FatWire will take some cut of the migration cost in return for referring customers to Vamosa or Kapow.

The other piece of the revenue pie will come from the associated implementation services, either from FatWire Professional Services or an implementation partner. As Irina mentioned earlier today, implementing a CMS costs more than buying a CMS. And what if it isn’t only a CMS in the mix. For example, you might have Vignette Portal in there too. Or one of Autonomy Interwoven’s many other products. FatWire don’t have a product suite to replace all of these components quite yet, so this offer seems to focus primarily on customers that only use the WCM product from their current vendor.

I don’t know enough about this offering to guess whether this migration will only cover the content management and migration aspects. Any delivery side “migration” will involve a significant amount of work. Maybe FatWire already have tools in place that can either statically deploy the same files generated by a baked Interwoven site, or replace the Vignette/Interwoven API with the FatWire one for fried sites.  All three products have a Java API so at least we don’t need to worry about language-level changes too.

Maybe this is a marketing stunt. I received my email from FatWire marketing as the announcement was made. But maybe it is a genuine way for customers to save time and money if they are planning to migrate from their current platform. FatWire is a solid choice (Forrester just patted them on the back in the WCM for External Sites wave) and the content migration products are industry leaders.

The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management For External Sites, Q2 2009

The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management For External Sites, Q2 2009

If you are considering this option, I’d love to hear more from you once you know the costs involved and how the process will operate. They are many ways that this could work, and it’s all going to come out in the wash.

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9 comments to A FatWire In Shining Armour

  • good take. About your point regarding Kapow and Vamosa competing – I’d think both will be used here. Kapow has connector for Fatwire whereas Vamosa has connectors for iwov and vignette. Since any migration would require connector for Fatwire AND (iwov or vignette) they’d probably need both.

    • Hmmm. I’ve never looked at or used Kapow. Do they play well with Vamosa? So if I used a Vamosa connector to extract the content, is it quick and painless to give this content to Kapow to put into FatWire? Or do either (or both) Vamosa and Kapow have a Vamosa/Kapow connector so they can play with each other?

  • My experience of migrations from other systems – including technology like Kapow – has been mixed. I see most of the migration tools as very very complicated and often not at all required. However, I work with WCM and not ECM so the tendancy to start over is much, much greater and cost efficient than with ECM.

    I say marketing stunt but I am cynical.

    And I like that little round circle to the top right of the graph… what does it say above it? :)

  • Agreed. Content Migration is a very risky, as far as I know there is no fully automatic or a neat way of doing it. Manual intervention and tweaking of trusted scripts, XMLs and non-Java based templates is very much required in order to do the migration. I think this move of Fatwire has more to do with its own revenue generation and let Vamosa/Kapow take the pain :-) . However, this should be a welcome news for VIGN/IWOV customers planning to migrate as seems like Fatwire is the only best left in WCM space.

  • just for everyone’s information, Vamosa has a proven working Fatwire connector which has been bought by a number of Fatwire clients. Ask Fatwire.
    Secondly, the connector piece in migrations is not the hard bit as some people think. the real value of a automated software approach is the transformation,mapping and standards that are applied during the process. we have a CMIS connector as part of our involvement with the OASIS standrds group. The sooner the CMS vendors implement CMIS as the standard access method the better for everyone. However, all this does is remove the need for different vendor connectors.
    Vamosa and migrations are not just about connectors !

    Happy to set up a call to explain if anyone is interested.

    George Knox


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