by April 1, 2011 0 comments



Let’s say you’ve decided to build a website for your enterprise. You’re probably considering the plethora of CMS options available and assessing the positives and negatives of each. Opt for one with a robust plugin architecture, or go for a CMS that rides on security — the choice is yours!

Talking about choice, how would it be affected if you were provided with a CMS that powers roughly 13% of all the major websites today, and whose latest version (3.0) has been downloaded over 32.5 million times (as of February 2011)? Yes, we are talking about WordPress.

One might wonder how WordPress, a platform that is known mainly as a blogging tool and not a Content Management System, will suffice to be a fully functional CMS for an enterprise! The answer lies in WordPress Enterprise Edition.




The talks of an Enterprise Edition of WordPress have been in the air ever since 2006, with numerous blogs and websites speculating the release of a version of WordPress custom built for enterprise usage. But serious words about WP Enterprise Edition came into existence when Automattic (WP’s parent firm) announced, “The new WordPress Enterprise Edition will offer enterprises a comprehensive authoring solution that includes a powerful new platform for open communications and information management. With the addition of WordPress, enterprises will now get a platform to build their customer-facing presence in the blogosphere, or an internal platform behind their own firewall to support interactive employee communication. The solution enables authoring of content that leverages the RSS format, meaning enterprises can speed the delivery of critical information to employees, partners, or customers.” (See http://goo.gl/0Sv8D).

Don’t blink, you read that right. If all of this turns out to be even half true, the Enterprise Edition of WP may well be on its way within a few months.

Will this change the way we design websites for our enterprises? In all probabilities, yes! First up, WP brings its well known versatility to the enterprise web design sector.

So far, Drupal and more recently Concrete5 have dominated the scene in case of enterprise content management systems, at least in terms of innovation and versatility. Joomla still powers almost half the websites, followed closely by Drupal, though both seem to be falling short of favor. Reasons? Apparently the update mechanism in Joomla is even more complex than running the CMS itself (seriously, why do they compel us to fidget with K2 for no reason!). Not many enterprises can risk running an old horse and logically therefore, Drupal comes to the fore. However, even Drupal has its share of nuances, such as modifying the look and feel of a website — even though it is possible to do almost anything in terms of visual appeal with Drupal sites, the efforts (and, more importantly, time) required for the same make it a tough bargain.




In such a case, WP seems to be the ideal option. Owing to its terrific ease of use, easy updates and innumerable templates (‘themes’), WordPress took the blogging world by a storm. There seems to be no apparent reason why its Enterprise Edition will fail to do the same.

The benefits of running WordPress as the CMS for enterprises shall be many; the most notable ones being as follows:

1. Search engine optimization: WordPress dominates other CMS options when it comes to SEO, and this is not an exaggerated claim — “WordPress is, by its architecture, made to do SEO well,” in words of Google’s Matt Cutts. (video: http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=gscFgaMTm48)

2. Easy to create: If you frequently post rich content (such as conference videos and tools for users/members) on your website, WP Enterprise Edition will surely make life easier for you, to say the least. The WYSIWYG editor is just one of the many tools, the main prowess of content creation via WordPress lies in its plugins that make podcasts and other related jobs much easier.

3. Easier to extend: If nothing else, it is expected that WordPress Enterprise Edition will serve as a major cost-cutter in terms of web development. With hundreds of ready-to-use premium themes and other extendability options, WP may very well make web design for enterprises just another walk in the park.

4. Portability: WordPress supports import/export to and from several platforms like Textpattern, Movable Type, Nucleus, Concrete5, etc.

With that said, it is obvious that WordPress Enterprise Edition will surely bring a lot in terms of content management for enterprise websites. However, does that mean WP will become the demi-god of enterprise CMS? Perhaps not.




The twist to the tale lies in the licensing of WordPress Enterprise Edition. Surely, it will be open source, but if ‘unofficial’ words are anything to go by, WP Enterprise Edition will not be totally ‘free’, rather it will be available at a fee. This clearly adds a plus point to WP’s potential competitors such as Joomla, Drupal, etc as most of them are available for free (as well as being totally open source).

Further more, for some unknown reason, Automattic insists on considering WordPress as a blogging software first (read: ‘presence in the blogosphere’) and CMS afterwards. Clearly, for an enterprise, a blogging platform (or a blogging platform-turned-CMS) might not be the first choice.

And lastly, the support at WordPress so far has been more effective via the community forums instead of the official support desk itself. While this seems to suffice and is perfectly excusable for a blogging tool, this may be a huge nail in the coffin for WP Enterprise Edition, unless WP does something about it (as of now, there are no talks of such plans about ‘support’). Compare this with Zikula or even Habari, where the commercial versions meant for enterprise usage are given round the clock support, while the freeware versions primarily rely on community forums backed by paid support staff.

So as of now, the chances of WP Enterprise Edition’s success look good, but the road itself is not without hiccups.

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