TeamSite Marriage Counseling

Way back in the 1990s and early 2000s, then Interwoven's TeamSite made significant inroads among early adopters of Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) tools, especially among large, B2C enterprises.  Was reminded recently in a call with an RSG subscriber that some of those implementations linger on, like a really bad relationship you can't seem to end.  Maybe it's time for counseling...or more amicable divorce?

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

For marketers in particular, TeamSite circa 2002 seemed like a match made in heaven: it demo'ed really well, had some slick editorial features, and Interwoven boasted impressive interactive agency partners who really "got" digital. Forward-thinking architects liked the fact TeamSite was "headless," though the company's acquisition of (ill-fated) LiveSite portal platform gave a packaged delivery option as well.

For TeamSite implementation teams, things quickly got ugly: the impenetrable Perl, the business logic mixed into XSLT, the mysterious bugs, the unbearable lightness of OpenDeploy, and so on. Developers had no choice but to frankenstein together highly customized implementations. And you know what that meant....painful or even impossible upgrades. 

TeamSite's previous owners

Then the product suffered through a series of terrible acquisitions that you can read about here. Along the way, it didn't age well. Licensees began to forget what they loved about it in the first place. Still, running TeamSite was a commitment — and not one to dismiss lightly.

Stay or Go?

Given that commitment, it can be tough to leave TeamSite. I can confirm anecdotally many licensees have been separating from TeamSite in a slow but steady stream over the past decade or more. Yet at RSG we still get regular inquiries from around the world — digital leaders at big companies wondering what to do with their TeamSite estate.

These advisory sessions feel a bit like marriage counseling. The first 45 minutes become a litany of complaints and frustrations. "It's just too hard to do simple stuff." "The vendor doesn't care anymore." "I never thought it would turn out this way." And then, inevitably, "But we've invested so much in the platform!" I get it.

These decisions are never simple. Lately we've counseled that a break-up is coming, but you may not need to separate all at once, and it does not need to get ugly. The key is to prepare in advance. Clean up your repository. Uncover which problems are more your fault than TeamSite's. Get realistic about future needs. If you license LiveSite (I hope not), then consider disconnecting there first.

The Good News

The good news is that you have dozens of plausible alternatives to TeamSite in a WCM marketplace that has seen the advent of modern platforms over the past decade. You can learn more about the weaknesses and strengths of the competing tools in RSG's exhaustive WCM vendor evaluations.


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Gil, Partner, Cancentric Solutions Inc.
iStudio Canada Inc.

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