How OpenText TeamSite meets Gartner's WCM standards

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** NOTE: TeamSite product is now owned by OpenText and the information below is dated **

On Nov 10, 2011 and again in 2012, 2013 and 2014, Gartner released it’s annual “Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management“. As seen in the quadrant, HP Autonomy product stack is a clear leader. In this post we  take each fundamental WCM feature that Gartner puts forth and discuss it from an HP Autonomy Product stack’s implementation perspective.

Gartner’s comments are in italics and bold. Read on, and feel free to provide your comments below.

Functions:The WCM offering must be available as a stand-alone product, or suite of products, and include the following capabilities:For a detailed view of Autonomy’s WCM product stack and it’s reference architecture, we recommend you read our previous blog post here

  • A content repository with basic library services, such as check-in/check-out and versioning.

    HP TeamSite’s file-level (Submits to TeamSite STAGING)  and site-level versioning (EDITIONS) are powerful features out of box. On top of this, the content services API provides command line and Java API for powerful integrations with other corporate applications as needed. This may not sound all that thrilling, but in an enterprise eco-system consisting of upstream and downstream applications feeding into your WCM system – these capabilities are very important.

  • Authentication of users (authors, editors and reviewers) and assignment of permissions.

    TeamSite 7.x flexible and extensible permissions model is probably the biggest draw for most customers -and rightfully so. You can create arbitrary WCM roles. TeamSite users could live in the Operating System, in an LDAP repository, in a database or just about any content repository – like a flat file you desire. Groups can be OS groups or TeamSite groups. When you consider NFS 16 group limitations in a *nix platform OR potential domain groups synchronization issues in a Windows environment, having multiple flexible options is not just a great feature, but necessary for most enterprise organizations.

  • Content authoring through browser-based (industry-specific) templates or via conversion from a word processing application.

    Most WCM products do offer this feature.  TeamSite takes this a step forward and offers multiple browser based interfaces – namely, Content Center Standard -a portlets like feel for business users, and Content Center Professional – traditional Windows Explorer style interface.Both these interfaces provide a rich set of menus that can almost infinitely be customized.TeamSite FrontOffice – is an additional add-on product that allows Microsoft Office integration – so users can avail common TeamSite features directly from their Word or other documents.

  • Workflow sufficient for content review and approval.

    Prior to TeamSite 6.7.x, the product provided powerful workflow building features using XML and Perl. Recent versions of TeamSite provide a Java Swing based “Workflow Modeler”. A rich client that provides WYSIWYG modeling tool to build complex workflows. Out of box Tasks for most common tasks like email notifications and deployments are part of out of box workflows that can be extended – albiet with some Workflow development knowledge.One point to be noted though, while the WF Modeler is a WYSIWYG tool, it is by no means trivial to implement complex / enterprise grade workflows by non-technical users.

  • Conversion to HTML or XML and support of templates for Web rendering.

    The word ‘Templates’ is a heavily used term in Autonomy WCM space and should be used with caution. There are DataCapture Templates, Presentation Templates, SitePublisher Page Templates, Component XSL Templates and they are all used in some form for Web rendering.TeamSite provides two basic options to render web pages – the traditional page generation (HTML, JSP, ASPX, etc) mechanism or the newer SitePublisher/LiveSite based .Page based dynamic rendering mechanism.

  • Managed delivery of content to Web servers or site management systems.

    Gartner has this to say about OpenDeploy – Autonomy’s content delivery product: “OpenDeploy is still regarded as one of the best products on the market for the syndication of content — and sometimes code — to multiple servers” and it is quite true.

  • Capabilities for multisite and multilanguage management.

    Prior to SitePublisher, legacy TeamSite had no specific ready-made features for sites and language management. These features could be built-in and there are some common paradigms using TeamSite FormsPublisher that were used to implement these features.With SitePublisher and LiveSite – add on modules for TeamSite, there is a rich feature set for managing multiple sites, localization and translation.As with any application implementation – there are features and there are best practices. Following best practises in site building, information architecture and smart use of the plethora of features from the inception of web production, goes a long way in a robust, sustainable WCM platform.

  • Web analytics and reporting capabilities.

    Typical implementations of Autonomy TeamSite have traditionally integrated with other vendor products like Google Analytics (which IMO is pretty lame) or WebTrends to enable web analytics and reporting.With the new Autonomy reference architecture – discussed here, Explore is a trend setting module – and add on product to IDOL, that not only does robotic analysis – but provides ‘sentiment’ analysis.  Semantic Web, as this is often called, is still in it’s infancy and mature products, including Autonomy Explore have low adoption in the enterprise.Having done several implementations that included Web Analytics and Reporting using WebTrends and Google Analytics – one thing is clear: The amount of work required to manually tag every link (and subsequently manage the links), maintain the data on some web service or cloud, periodically inject this into relational databases – then have complex dashboarding and reporting (get the gist?) very soon becomes a behemoth to manage with little real ROI. In this regard, Autonomy Exploreis a product in the right direction, in a space where few WCM vendors offer any alternatives.While, this is not mentioned in Gartner’s base WCM features – Autonomy’s Optimost offers MVT testing capabilities.

  • “What you see is what you get” design capabilities, with the ability to modify and customize look and feel independent of content.

    SitePublisher (built into TeamSite in TeamSite 7.x), provides drag-drop features  to build site pages using Components. Components can pull data from almost any datasource and use XML and XSLT to transform the data into meaningful html page sections (components). In addition the Appearance of components can be further customized using “Skins”. Without going into a full blown technical discussion on components, pages and property inheritance, let us suffice it to say, that these TeamSite features provide rich capabilities in this department.It has to be noted, like before that implementing these features – while technically not the most challenging individually, can be daunting to put it all together by someone who has not done this before.The visual designer/ creative team,  and component developers need to work in  synergy to create a seamless content-contributor/web experience. There are some best practises and methodologies that autowoven has developed that can help tremendously for any SitePublisher/LiveSite implementation.

  • Support for developer, administrator, editor, marketer and author roles in a distributed contribution environment.

    Like I discussed this earlier, TeamSite’s flexible roles and permission model is a point of envy for most other WCM vendors. However, implementing a security model that best suits the collaborative culture of a particular enterprise is more of an art than science.

  • Support for content aggregation and syndication (via APIs, representational state transfer [REST] interfaces, RSS or similar).

    In the Autonomy WCM world, content aggregation and syndication is predominently via OpenDeploy.  Advanced Segmentation and Targeting components of LiveSite use RESTful API to pull in (aggregate) targeted content.

  • Ability to manage rich media in the context of Web efforts.

    While guessing that Virage MediaBin is HP Autonomy’s solution for rich media is not a difficult one, not many understand it’s one big limitation. Virage MediaBin does not stream. It does not stream videos nor images, and this is a common misunderstanding of most new customers venturing into a DAM (digital asset management) solution.That said, the MediaBin connector that integrates with FormsPublisher and SitePublisher allows business users to integrate rich media into web pages.