Every Friday, I’ll be reviewing a vendor in the emergent collaboration space and will provide an overview on that vendor which includes aspects from leadership and vision to technology and market focus. If you are vendor and would like to participate, please contact me (my email address is in the sidebar as is my Twitter link). The goal of these posts is not to bash or praise vendors but to simply offer an objective view on what various vendors offer so that YOU can decide if they are a good fit for your business. Every post will cover the same elements for each vendors. If you have ideas or recommendations for other items to be covered in these reviews, please let me know and I will consider them. Other collaboration vendor reviews can be found here.
This week I’m taking at look at XWiki which is marketed as a “next generation wiki” for enterprises complete with enterprise class features to make wikis easier to use (Wysiwyg editor, Office importing, PDF export, etc..). XWiki is open source so there is a community behind it which continuously supports its development. The company has 35 people and is based in France and Romania. In 2011 XWiki did 1.5 million euro in revenue. Most of this revenue came from France but 40% of it came from international clients. I spoke with the CEO of XWiki Ludovic Dubost.
XWiki integrates with search engines such as the Google Search Appliance or Sinequa (and several others). There is also an integration with LDAP and Active Directory, Kerberos or CAS Single Sign Ons and Google Apps.
XWiki is an open-source product so there is a community behind it that continues to build and extend the platform. XWiki does offer professional services as well as a Cloud offering.
The product itself is free so XWiki charges for support and services
Maintenance & Upgrades
XWiki runs on a three-month cycle for the open source version. The cloud version gets upgraded twice a year.
Overall direction and strategic vision for the company and industry
The plan for XWiki is to develop and further market the “app-store” like functionality they are building out to support the product and to allow standard users to develop their own applications and wiki customization’s. XWiki is a private company that is 95% owned by current employees and 5% owned by past employees. Their goal is to keep the company growing without additional investment but they recognize that this means they can’t always move as fast as they would like. XWiki has been around for 7 years and has hit break-even every year. Additionally they want to focus on their partner programs and focus on developing them internationally.
XWiki believes that there are two big areas in the social software space around discussion and content. These two areas will integrate closed together but for now this is hard since standards to not exist. The Cloud will become more and more pervasive as well as “app-stores” where customers can purchase modules and additions to their platforms. Many companies are already using wiki type tools and XWiki believes this will also continue to grow. In addition they seek wiki usage expanding with new capabilities built into the wiki tools and the addition of “wiki apps.”
XWiki believes there is a lot of space for open-source vendors. Ultimately these types of companies might see lower revenue but they usually have a much greater reach. According to XWiki only larger vendors will survive in the proprietary space but open source competitors will remain and become more relevant.
Key differentiating factors from competition (Atlassian / Sharepoint / Mediawiki)
- Much more enterprise oriented and easier to use (wysiwyg, rights management, etc..)
- Versus Atlassian, the key differentiator is the capability to organize information in more and better ways
- Ability to structure wiki pages with meta data and allow for better navigation
- Easy editing of information for non trained users.
- Open source
- Development capabilities (both user and advanced)
- It’s still a wiki
With XWiki you can customize anything since it is open source. There are three levels of customization: configuration, scripting, and modifying the actual tool/software itself.
Time to go live
The cloud version can go live in 5 mins, custom projects depend on the company and can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Built on the Java platform and open source modules from Apache. Uses HTML and web standards. WCAG compatible.
Any company in any industry but focused a lot on sales, support, project teams.
Capabilities (customer, partner, employee collaboration)
Employee collaboration but can be used in open communities (education, end-user communities, public document wikis)
I’ll be honest, I didn’t see anything specific in terms of features that made me think XWiki stood out from the crowded collaboration space, but that’s not meant to be taken negatively. In fact with so many vendors in the space all doing the same thing it’s not that often that one really does stand out. What does make XWiki unique is their open source model which is not something that we see in the space very often. It actually reminds a bit of what Acquia is doing with their open source Drupal platforms (again where you pay for the service). Honestly XWiki looks like a team of people who are having a lot of fun with the work they are doing so good for them! They are a private company and have always broke even which is more than what many vendors can say which are taking heavy loses and raising more money to pump into marketing.
I really like their approach of building an “app-store” which is actually the same direction that their competitor Atlassian has been going in as well. Right now it appears that XWiki is really doing well in France where they are based and are starting to get into some other neighboring countries as well. Their largest U.S. based client is EMC which is a huge win for them. The challenge for them of course is going to be able to grow and scale as quickly as their competitors and with no outside funding that is going to be challenging. XWiki might not be the best fit in terms of a stand alone collaboration platform since it doesn’t have all of the features. However, it could make for a great addition to an existing collaboration platform which is a bit weak on the content or document management piece as well as the document collaboration piece. I also get the impression that while XWiki may have some large clients these deployments are not necessarily across the enterprise but instead being used by functional teams within organizations.
XWiki could be a good solution for a company of any size keeping in mind that while the product is free, their will be maintenance and support which will have to be purchased (or managed internally).
To find out more visit their website at XWiki.com