"In my view there are only two things left that separate content management vendors: price and architecture," says Steve Williams, UK sales manager for RedDot Solutions.
RedDot clearly must be getting at least one of those right. In what has become a ferociously competitive market, the company says it has managed to garner more than 700 customers worldwide and it claims to be profitable.
Part of this success can simply be put down to the fact that the company was an early entrant into the content management software market. It was founded in Oldenburg, Germany in 1993 as InfoOffice, only changing its name to RedDot in 2001. In the intervening years it has expanded into the UK, Poland, the US and Canada. It also has distributors in a number of other European countries, including Italy.
The company's flagship product is RedDot Professional, a content management system with an entry price of €44,161 for a licence which includes 10 concurrent users, one administrator and one template editor. It also offers two additional modules for personalisation and dynamic distribution, as well as the ability to automatically import and integrate content from a variety of sources and text-based formats.
RedDot emphasises the simplicity and ease-of-use of its system. Williams claims that users only need to know how to use a browser and Microsoft Word to be able to use the software. More technical aspects of the software, such as the way in which objects are represented in the system, require administrators to take a three-day training course.
Templates can be built with a range of scripting technologies, including standard HTML, XML, Microsoft active server pages (ASP) or Java server pages (JSP). RedDot's interface is currently available in four languages: English, French, German and Polish.
However, like many German technology companies, RedDot remains reliant on its home market for the lion's share of its sales. Although it says that 85% of its sales are made in Europe, most of those are in Germany, where it can boast a more comprehensive partnership network. Key customers include the US Navy, car maker Honda, and the main website of German media company RTL, which has an average of 3.5 million visitors a month.
In 2000, RedDot raised its first round of venture funding for expansion capital, but has no plans to raise further investment. In the current economic climate, RedDot's main challenge is to expand more quickly in non-German parts of Europe and the US, where it recently opened a new head office. At the same time, it is hoping to take advantage of the difficulties of weaker, less well-established competitors.