by Martin Veitch

Farewell Vignette, goodbye ECM, another software god that failed

May 10, 20091 min
IT Strategy

Almost unnoticed last week, Open Text said it had agreed to buy Vignette, once a rising star of web content management for about $310m a — a knockdown priced compared to the stratospheric valuations of the 90s.

Vignette’s departure has been coming for years, as the enterprise content management sector was squeezed accordion-like by market forces. It retains deep hooks into some large customers but then content management is nothing if not sticky. Many firms spend years trying to get it to work and admitting defeat can be a career-ending expression of mea culpa.

ECM today is an unholy mixture of web content management, document management, portals, collaboration and workflow. Many feel it belongs in the stack with other enterprise software and so it has proven as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others have upped their stakes through M&A.

The logical next stage is for SAP to buy Open Text, the last man standing in ECM. Then we can put to rest the idea of ECM as silver bullet for corporate governance and business re-engineering.