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AbsolPublisher wins Best of Breed Award

Date: Thursday, 25 Nov 2004 09:27 AM
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At a lavish event on Tuesday, AbsolPublisher was awarded the ComputerWeek Strategist Best of Breed Award for 2004/2005 in the Content Management Category.

AbsolPublisher was nominated in the category of CMS Software Product and nine highly respected technology editors chose Absol's product as the best.

Company Name: Absol Internet Business Solutions (Pty) Ltd
Product Name: AbsolPublisher

Kathy von Plato, the publisher for the Systems IT Group which publishes Computer Weekly Strategist, said that "The awards generally are highly valued by solution providers and vendors because they are a clear indication to their customers of the products they should be considering. The awards, therefore, save organisations the time and money of doing their own initial research into competitor products - enabling them to focus on the most relevant options."

1 - Product market-share locally and internationally

We believe very strongly that the market for content management solutions in South Africa and Internationally is huge, especially since web content management, which is only a small subset of the industry, can be adapted and deployed for most commercial internet projects and/or medium to large size company web sites. The trick is to make the pricing affordable so that in the context of a corporate internet presence or small company intranet, one is able to offer something of great value at a lower cost than it would typically cost to commission and then maintain a standard bespoke web site development.

Internationally, according to a study done earlier this year from Wintergreen Research, IBM's market share leads all vendors in the enterprise content management (ECM) application area.

The research, which encompasses the first three quarters of 2003, shows IBM with a 20 per cent share. From there, share breaks down as follows: Documentum, 14 per cent; Open Text, 9 per cent; Vignette, 7 per cent; Hummingbird, 7 per cent; Staffware, 6 per cent; Interwoven, FileNet, Tower Technology, and Hyland, 4 per cent each; Informatica, 3 per cent; Microsoft, 2 per cent; and the remainder split among other vendors.

These solutions could cost upwards of R1 million. Although our solutions contain many of the same features as the above we do not compete in this market but try to remain more Web-Centric, our solutions most often revolve around managing content available on the web specifically, which is the cornerstone of our experience and expertise. We have strategically taken the decision to focus our efforts to be providers of Mid-Market and SME internet business solutions and the AbsolPublisher product provides the right combination of a rich feature set, huge flexibility and relatively low cost to help achieve our goals.

International contenders in this mid-market segment are:
Serena - (Merant) Collage 4.5
RedDot Solutions - RedDot 6.0
Synkron A/S - Synkron.web
Ingeniux - Content Management System 4.0
PaperThin - CommonSpot Content Server 4.0
Roxen - Roxen CMS 3.4
Refresh Software - Core Content Management

- Information sourced

These packages target mid-market firms or enterprise departments. They typically carry $40-100k licensing fees, substantially higher than an AbsolPublisher solution, for this reasonwe view the international opportunities for AbsolPublisher as being very favourable and are making positive inroads with the recent launch of our fifth international site.

Unfortunately, there is little research done in SA to this regard, but we can assume, as with most of our competitors, we have a relatively low Market Share in this country of under 5% with no clear leader standing out.

2 - Product differentiation

AbsolPublisher uses an Object Oriented approach, which allows almost any number of content objects (such as documents and images) to be structured within a site in a way specific to the client's requirements. This approach makes configuration of the system flexible to the core. The system has been designed with ease of use in mind and does not require any proprietary software to be installed on an administrator or content provider's workstation, making content management from anywhere in the world on any PC that has an internet connection a reality.

3 - Market developments/drivers over the last 12 months in this category

CMS's have of late been incorporated into internal business processes, the theory being that everything in a company can be viewed as a document. Workflow processes are then utilized to control the flow of the document as it goes from person to person in the organisation. The term Content has been expanded to include any document including invoices, quotes and orders. Like CRM and ERP solutions, this makes workflow and content management functions integral to a successful Enterprise Business solution, and for a company like ours, it means that keeping our system open so that it can be integrated with a company's existing CRM, ERP or Accounting package is key.

4 - The future vision for the company/product in SA (including new product developments)

To continue to provide outstanding levels of service to our customers. To expand our operations internationally, specifically in Australia and the US. To continue to develop and deploy world-class CMS solutions. To develop AbsolPublisher into a worldwide "best of breed" contender. Absol invests a fair portion of revenues back into R&D and is constantly refining the AbsolPublisher product to keep ahead of the curve and to cater for our growing customer base's needs.

5 - A message/advice to enterprise users in this category

It is important to find a CMS solution that suits your particular business requirements, is flexible to your needs and provides an open, efficient and user-friendly backend administration facility. Even more importantly, one needs to partner with a vendor that is prepared to take the time to understand your business requirements and work with you over the long term to achieve your goals and help manage the sustained growth and progress you have planned for your site. Always remember that the system you choose will be used on a regular basis by you and your staff (hopefully daily), so being comfortable with the system and the support team behind it is paramount. Find a solution provider that only makes you pay for what you need, there is no point in paying for a system which includes more features than you use. Consider the time, effort and cost required to get your initial system up and running and the investment required to keep it running and evolving. Do your homework and the CMS solution you choose will be a real asset to you and your organisation.

The editors on the panel that made the best of breed selection were:

Colin Browne Manda Banda Kathy von Plato
Andrew Seldon
James Watson
James van den Heever
Kathryn Language
Kim Thornton
Mia Papanicolaou

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