Still too early to retire WCM

  • 2-Aug-2012

Recently, I was asked to comment on the following topic: "Web Content Management Systems – are they too outdated for organizations to rely on, and how so?"

I see where this is coming from: all the hype created by vendors, journos, bloggers, consultants, and (ahem!) analysts about "Customer Experience Management" (CXM). Well, let me tell you -- CXM is not panacea. Nor is CXM a replacement for WCM – or as we refer to this discipline and technology – WCXM.

Web Content and Experience Management (WCXM) is no longer just about managing pages on your website (as it was at the beginning of WCM in the 1990s with crude FrontPage-like tooling only approachable by more technical types). WCXM today has become more about managing the experience for your customers across all digital channels -- including web, mobile, and social. WCXM is evolving and becoming increasingly more complex, but the discipline and technology itself has not changed much.

So the next time you hear something along the lines of “Oh, WCM is so five years ago, what you really need is a customer engagement system/platform,” you should think very carefully. And here is why: while many WCXM systems in the market provide customer experience management functionalities either natively or through a myriad of integration points, there's no such thing as a "customer engagement/experience system."

CXM is not a piece of software, but a practice and a strategy, in which WCXM technology (among many others in your architecture stack) plays a crucial role.

A WCXM system can offer services like analytics, tagging, URL management, workflow, social integration, personalization, and targeting. Just as importantly, a healthy WCXM system provides an organized container for you to produce and manage the kind of fresh, contextual content that most marketing experts agree is essential to any online promotion.

At the same time, you also likely need systems that offer more proactive outreach. For instance, a Digital Marketing System like Marketo or Eloqua for marketing automation tasks such as campaign creation and management, or toolsets like SDL SM2 or Sysomos for Social Media Monitoring & Intelligence.

To paraphrase one wise man, the rumors of WCM systems being dead are hugely exaggerated. The marketplace is not yet at a point where we can retire WCM in favor of some enigmatic CXM system proposition. Experience-oriented services matter, but they are only part of the digital marketing equation. Tread the waters of slippery buzzwords carefully.