Some of the more 'experienced' bloggers will remember the time when Movable Type was released 5 years ago. At that time it was the bee's knees and all the geeks loved it. Then Six Apart started to get commercial, which annoyed some prominent bloggers. Then the open source Wordpress came along and (let's be frank) stole a good chunk of the developer community away from MT. Well, that's the short version of the story. It probably helps explain though why Movable Type is now being marketed more as a business blogging tool, even though a lot of individual bloggers (like me) use MT also.
Market for enterprise blogging increasing
Movable Type is currently being positioned as "the most advanced business blogging platform". Chris told me that the majority (75-80%) of Fortune 500 companies that blog use MT, as well as a lot of small businesses and power bloggers. He told me that over the past couple of years a lot of businesses have begun to develop strategies around blogging - i.e. moving up a level from project to strategy. So he said Movable Type Enterprise 1.5 is a response to increased demand by businesses for scalable blogging systems, ability to integrate with existing systems, and easier admin.
MT Enterprise: Groups
I asked if MT Enterprise is competing against giant CMS systems like Vignette, or is it being marketed in a different way? Anil said it's more complementary and can integrate with CMS's. Whereas a CMS handles the high-end things like workflow, MT should be used for the things blogging is good at - easy, lightweight publishing.
Movable Type: the Nikon D80 of blogging platforms
I noted to Chris and Anil that the brand of Movable Type appears to be changing. It seems like Movable Type (the system) is being positioned as more of a business blogging platform these days. Chris replied that MT is "good for advanced blogging needs, it doesn't necessarily mean for businesses." He cited the usage of MT by power bloggers.
Anil likened MT to the Nikon D80 camera, which is a pro level tool. He said most people who use that are probably not professional photographers, but they aspire to that level of quality, expressiveness, etc. So he said MT is "a professional level tool, whether you're a fortune 500 company that has 10,000 bloggers on the intranet using MT Enterprise, or somebody like you or me - we're serious individual or small publishers, our blog is a big part of our professional lives and MT is the right tool for the job."
MT Enterprise 1.5 Features
So what does Movable Type Enterprise offer? Here are the main points:
- Allows easy administration of thousands of users, from account provisioning to role and group management.
- LDAP authentication
- Support for multiple databases including Oracle DB and SQL Server
- Enterprise-level technical support.
- Allows distributed teams, workgroups, or multinational divisions to securely share, archive and discover important information.
- Surfaces only the most relevant information through customizable feeds, blog aggregation and categorization features.
- Saves time and resources by adopting a lightweight solution that fits into your native environment, and is easy to install and configure.
- Adopt a dynamic and flexible solution that can grow with your needs. A plug-in architecture makes it easy to extend functionality.
These are all things that businesses need and Chris said that MT is the only blogging platform that supports so many of these enterprise requirements.
MT Enterprise: Roles
Who is using MT Enterprise
Here are some examples of businesses using MT Enterprise right now:
- Wells Fargo community blog (Update: actually a Movable Type blog, not yet Movable Type Enterprise)
- University of British Columbia
- NBC show blogs
- Ziff Davis video blogs
- IT@Intel blogs
Movable Type is a great tool and I use it to publish Read/WriteWeb. I have to say though that the available plugins and general community support is not as strong as it once was for MT. The reality is that the open source Wordpress is the most popular blogging platform among 'power users' nowadays.
However for business blogging, MT looks to have the edge. The feature set is impressive and it is being used by many companies. I think it's a smart move for SixApart to focus MT on the enterprise market, as it's potentially highly profitable and has a lot more room for growth yet - as evidenced by all the Web Office talk happening.