SaaS not fine enough for wool researcher

By Rodney Gedda, Computerworld Australia |  On-demand Software, content management, ECM

Implementing an enterprise content management system to facilitate the consolidation of 20 Web sites is stretching the limits of today' software-as-a-service offerings, according to Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), which went down the path of a more traditional, in-house application.

AWI assists wool growers by funding research, development and implementation activities aimed at increasing the long-term productivity and sustainability of the industry.

After the acquisition of The Woolmark Company AWI had an initial target to get the number of Web sites it managed to 17 and then all the English language sites down to one.

In July 2007 AWI started looking at an ECM system and working out what was required, according to digital services manager Marnie Macdonald.
"The biggest issue was how to get 17 sites into one," Macdonald said, adding although the organization outsources its IT, SaaS was not suitable for its ECM requirements.

During the evaluation process Macdonald was unimpressed by the hubris of the SaaS vendors who presented themselves as being "all things to all people".

"Whenever I asked them about our requirements the answer was 'we can do that' be it content management, CRM or wikis, and I just didn't believe it," she said.

Due to the nature of AWI's content management requirements, Macdonald said it will always be non-standard and outside the 80 per cent the SaaS products can cover.

The cut over to the new system, based on Open Text's RedDot ECM product, will happen this week.

"The new system has fantastic personalisation features and a lot of out-of-the box functionality," Macdonald said, adding the ECM can also support the need for digital asset management and e-mail marketing applications.

The consolidation project began in September 2008 and the integration partner is Sydney-based 5 Limes.

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