Vignette has officially launched version 6.0 of its content management platform, which features new integration and analytic functions it has acquired since version 5.0.
In May 2000, the vendor acquired OnDisplay, a company that specialises in the aggregation of data from within and outside of the firewall to add to the integration capabilities of its software. In January 2000, Vignette acquired the intellectual property of business analytics developer DataSage, which has provided the vendor's content management solution with new reporting, campaign management and personalisation tools.
"We recognised that integration capabilities are absolutely imperative to an enterprise content management offering," said Thomas Hogan, president and chief operating officer. "We went through what everybody goes through in this scenario -- build or buy. It proved a lot quicker and easier to buy."
Hogan used his visit to Sydney to squash speculation that the vendor's presence was being scaled down in the region, after ARN reported the exit of the Australian country manager and marketing and communications manager in May 2001 and a 10 per cent slashing of the vendor's worldwide staff.
Several months on, Hogan said the appointment of Vignette's new vice president for Asia-Pacific, Neil Weston, showed the vendor was committed to its operations in the region. Vignette currently employs around 30 staff in Australia.
Weston, like Hogan and the current vice president for Vignette in Europe, previously held a senior management role at Siebel in the United Kingdom. He said when he joined Siebel it had just $500,000 in annual revenues, but was pulling in between $300 million and $450 million a year by the time he left. Prior to that, he was managing director of Oracle Australia for three years.
"The conviction we have is that the economic shake-out has already shaken out the weaker competitors," said Hogan. "Their knee-jerk reaction was to pull out altogether, whereas we just restructured and remained in areas like the Asia-Pacific and South America. That shake-out has created a big opportunity for us."
Generally a direct seller, Hogan said that on a worldwide basis the channel only accounts for about 10 to 20 per cent of the vendor's licensing sales. But he claimed Vignette is embracing channel partners in the region for the provision of integration and development services around the Vignette product. In this respect, the company engages with the channel in between 60 to 70 per cent of its sales, and Hogan said the company is pushing to make it 75 per cent.
"We are after partners who influence deals," said Chris Mollo, Vignette's Australasian channel sales manager. Mollo said the vendor keeps an eye out for service providers with experience in application development, project management and systems integration.
With a myriad of Australian Web developers creating and reselling content management products that drastically undercut the price of those developed in the US, the recent global cut-backs had many Australian developers writing off Vignette's future in the region. But Hogan said Vignette differs from smaller content management developers as it delivers enterprise-wide solutions rather than niche solutions at a departmental level.
"If you are running a corner grocery store, then one of those niche jobs is the right decision," he said. "We're only interested in solving problems for large, complex organisations that would benefit from a world-class online experience.