Vignette sorts out content burden

From portals to compliance, Vignette manages the content

From portals to compliance, Vignette manages the content.

What is it?
Vignette V7 is a suite of tools for web and enterprise content management and web application and portal development. Vignette suffered in the dotcom fall-out, but having survived the shake-out and consolidation in the content management market, and with significant acquisitions under its belt, it is strengthening its partner network with major players such as Sun, Microsoft and BEA. Consulting and services partners include IBM, Accenture and EDS.

Where did it originate?
Vignette was founded in Austin, Texas in 1995. Its first product, Storyserver, appealed particularly to publishing and media organisations such as Bertelsmann and Lycos, although it was also taken up by the banking and high-tech sectors.

In 2000, Storyserver 5.0 was broken in two to create the V/5 Content Management Server and Lifecycle Personalisation Server in an attempt to combine powerful functionality with a product easy enough to use "out of the box". The current version, V7, has been redesigned around an open Java architecture as a pure J2EE application.

What is it for?
Vignette is aimed at business and technical users who need to manage content, deploy and manage portals and develop custom-made web applications for internal and external use. It includes real-time analytic applications for monitoring customer interactions.

Content management applications such as Vignette are a hybrid of document management and extended data management tools and can take content from both documents and enterprise data sources.

Vignette also offers a number of pre-packaged suites for employee intranets, customer self-service, relationship marketing, brand management, supplier and channel interaction and applications for government, healthcare, pharmaceutical industries and higher education.

What makes it special?
Analysts such as Ovum have described the potential enterprise content management market as huge, with dominant players yet to emerge. After the positive reception for V7, and having stabilised its revenues, Vignette looks like a contender.

Ovum said, "For complex, high-end web content management applications and delivery situations Vignette remains solidly on the shortlist."

For organisations looking for content management solutions to help them meet regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley, Vignette has a dedicated application for corporate governance and compliance.

How difficult is it to master?
The original Storyserver required Unix TCL scripting language programmers. Every installation had to be custom-built with no code re-use. Each major release since then has simplified application development and use and Vignette is now standards-based rather than proprietary, using Java.

What systems does it run on?
Windows NT/2000, Solaris and AIX; IBM Websphere, BEA Weblogic, Sun One and Apache Tomcat application servers.

Where is it used?
According to Vignette, it has more than 2,000 corporate customers, including 10 of the world's top 20 brands. Users are in media, transport, telecoms, manufacturing and financial services. They include Egg, Guardian Unlimited, EDS, Heinz and Volkswagen.

What is coming up?
Sun Microsystems and Vignette have announced plans to market a joint collaboration product based on Vignette Business Workspaces. Ovum has predicted that Vignette will make more acquisitions this year.

Details of online and classroom training are available on Vignette's


Rates of pay
Content management specialists with Java and Vignette in their portfolios can command salaries from £35,000 upwards.

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