WCM Turns Twenty

  • 28-Aug-2014

In 2015, the Web Content Management marketplace will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Over the course of two decades implementing and studying these systems, I’ve seen a lot of change, but also a fair bit of continuity. Many of the nascent tools in 1995 – like Vignette's StoryServer and (then) Interwoven TeamSite – still exist in the marketplace today, albeit under different owners.

Indeed, the central question facing WCM technology from the very beginning still matters today: What is the scope of this technology?

Many Choices

Today, Real Story Group and other analyst firms refer to Web Content & Experience Management, but the “experience” bit actually isn’t new.  Most early WCM tools were very portal-like, and with some exceptions, wanted to take over and deliver your entire website.

Other WCM systems focused just on the content – on the grounds that content should live outside of any specific context so that it can be delivered in multiple channels.  Of course with the rise of the mobile channel, this argument is making a big comeback, most prominently under the auspices of effective content marketing strategies that go well beyond simple web publishing.

As a customer, then, you have many technology choices on different spectrums:

  • Complexity: from the simplest tools like WordPress to highly (some would say excessively) complex platforms like those from Adobe
     
  • Breadth: We see the return of the suite-vs.-best-of-breed debate: some WCM offerings will try to perform broader forms of digital marketing and social engagement as well, while other WCM tools will more prudently leave those capabilities to third-party suppliers
     
  • Mobility: Some WCM tools will build in advanced mobile management services, while others will assume that you are investing in separate mobile middleware

What's the Proper Role?

We find among our larger subscribers that successful firms are carefully circumscribing the role of WCM tools in their broader digital marketing efforts. The savvy marketer will see WCM as just one piece in a broader toolkit, that could include key technologies like Digital Asset Management and Marketing Automation, among others.

Nevertheless, WCM remains a central piece – maybe the central piece -- since now more than ever you need good content to drive engagement. So take enough time to perform proper due diligence, so that you can get best-fit WCM technology for your needs.

We’ve designed our research to help you succeed on that journey. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Our customers say...

"The Web CMS Research is excellent! Very well written, and you've done a masterful job distinguishing otherwise look-alike vendors!"

Peter Morville, Consultant, Guru Author, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

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