Content Management Trends and Innovations

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Managing Customer Interactions
In response to what it sees as the leading trends in content management, which include increasingly interactive customer experiences, Ektron has positioned its CM platform around social software. "If you look at the problems we're trying to solve in the marketplace," says Rogers, "we have different audiences with different problems. One is the site visitor. He expects a more personalized experience, so it is good to know something about the user, where he comes from and learn what content will keep him there."

Thunderhead also focuses on the customer, but from a different perspective. "We take customer information and customer data and assemble the appropriate communication," says Keene. "That includes everything like letters, contracts, statements-you name it."

Thunderhead keeps a conversation history of everything that is sent out. "It's not an archive," says Keene. "We integrate with the archives, but the conversation history allows us to [personalize more] in the future. For instance, if you are interested in working with your bank on a new product, we know what you've requested in the past, so we know how to increment the messaging in the marketing back to you. This should make the message not only more efficient because it is going through your preferred channel, but more effective because we know what conversations we had with you in the past."

An emphasis on customer interaction means that the marketing department has become a bigger player in website development. Rogers says that's caused a shift from the IT department to marketing when it comes to CMS software buying decisions.

"What a marketing professional looks for in CMS is different from what an IT professional will seek," says Rogers. Ektron has responded to this shift with capabilities such
as PageBuilder, Analytics, and Multivariate testing.

The web is also becoming a leading sales channel for business, Rogers points out, so Ektron has built social software and ecommerce functionality into its web content management platform.

Managing Social Interactions
Social media is certainly one of the most transformative forces in business today.

Social media tools have changed the way people communicate; in particular, end users are no longer passive website readers, and businesses need to adapt.

Rogers says he is seeing a serious uptick in the use of social media. "The information you are pushing out to Twitter might also be pushed out to your Facebook community or YouTube," he says. "And it sometimes goes the other way. Webpages now are a mashup, where the content on your page isn't only created by you, but [it is] also coming from third-party places."

"Organizations are struggling with how to use social media and how to enable workers, especially young people, to use the tools that have become a natural part of their interaction with other people," according to
EMC's Tidmarsh. "But those tools were designed to share with the maximum number of people, and that's not what companies want to do to protect their intellectual property." The challenge of a CMS is to model the interaction social media provides but back it with the technologies that can provide control and protection.

Another driving force in the changes to CMSs is a generation of people who grew up digitally. It is true, there are people of all ages who are adept on the latest technologies. But the vast majority of young adults have never known life without cell phones, text messaging, online communities, or instant communication. Keene from Thunderhead emphasizes that companies need to understand how to deploy effective content management tools as they can be the most effective method to work with and to reach out to members of the digital generation as they become an increasing presence in the work force and as consumers.

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Four and a half years of columns, on top of a couple of years prior studying content management systems at CMS Review, taught me a lot about how information is created, managed, and published today, especially on the web.