The InfoWorld interview with Anil Dash provides some insight into SixApart's vision/roadmap for the future. MovableType has been slowly evolving over the years and has arguably the best UI offering of any weblogging application available now. I'm not sure who holds the marketshare for weblog applications or services, but clearly SixApart must be in the top three. They've been successful, largely due to the usable UI and to the grassroots community that uses and expands (through plugin modules) the Movable Type app. Dash provides us with a vision of how the company expects to move into the enterprise world and discusses how their software will interact with existing communications tools to ease the integration of enterprise knowledge work with blogging.
Dash says that SixApart has been looking at and discussing with vendors of email and instant messaging clients. They're envisioning a future where email, IM and other communications clients will natively support some XML format. This is clearly the future that enterprise IT people will want to see. SixApart is clearly looking to integrating with user processes rather than limiting the communication to the web interface. The web publishing UI has been their focus, which makes sense for now, but they will clearly need to provides ways of integrating non-web communications into their publishing product using APIs or some form of XML integration. Their model for doing business is going to focus on keeping the software inexpensive and selling services around software. This is clearly different from companies like Traction Software which is offering a more expensive CMS model, selling licenses based on number of seats. But Traction is also offering a much more robust application than SixApart's, so it is easy to see how much more can be handled without additional services after making the initial investment in their tool. I wouldn't doubt if future Miscrosoft .Net offerings are similarly modeled around seats and service, but with so much time lost in getting a similarly-minded publishing tool out, I wonder if they'll be able to catch up to SixApart in mindshare. Expensive tools with the MicroSoft brand might get the attention of IT, but in the end, the user experience and integration with knowledge workers' processes will drive how effectively these things get accepted and used -- unless, of course, the future includes knowledge collection in the form of invisible IM and email harvesting, which it very well may.
It will be interesting to see where SixApart goes with their future developments. Clearly they have the mind share of savvy Web users and by marketing themselves in interviews and articles in the popular business press, they're going to gain more mindshare with business decision makers. They will need to keep a keen eye on how these tools integrate with knowledge work processes in different information ecologies (e.g. small organizations with centralizsed IT infrastructures, large corporations with decentralized IT systems) to maintain a strategy for addressing all of these.