For more than a decade, Microsoft was a significant player in Web Content & Experience Management (WCM), first by acquiring NCompass in the early 2000s, then telling customers they could deploy SharePoint as an externally-facing CMS platform. Ultimately, both strategies failed, with many scars among digital leaders to show for them. But I don't think Redmond is done here...
Such was the power of the Microsoft implementation channel that SharePoint fanboys touted the platform for WCM long after even Redmond had given up on it. SharePoint seemed to be lying around everywhere ("SharePoint Happens," we used to say...), so why not use it for public websites? That notion still lingers even today, which is why we continue to evaluate SharePoint in RSG's WCM Report — simply to explain in a structured way why you shouldn't use it for external digital engagement.
As Microsoft pivoted to the Office 365 cloud, some of us wondered whether the vendor would rebuild some WCM-oriented functionality there, but Redmond has (wisely, I think) focused only on digital workplace use cases for that environment. It's been two years since Microsoft sunset WCM in the cloud.
Dynamics Is the New Game in Town
Microsoft has not stood still on digital marketing, though. Once just a mid-market CRM platform, Dynamics now has pretensions to become a digital marketing suite as well, particularly in its cloud-based incarnation.
Could this be where Microsoft makes its 3rd foray into the WCM space? Perhaps, but if so, likely in a limited way. Here's some more thinking on the topic in this two-minute video:
Of course, Redmond could always acquire a true WCM platform — and many a .Net vendor has fervently wished for such a courtship, though I tend to think those dreams will not come true.
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