Will Morgenweck, VP of project management at DNN, which offers a framework for building websites and web apps on Microsoft ASP.NET, sees the shift of ownership in WCM from the IT department to the marketing department as one of the most powerful forces driving the development of WCM solutions.
The marketing professionals at an organization bridge the gap between customers and the organization via all channels. As the generators of content, message, and strategy, marketers crave as much control as possible over the technological levers that bring that content to the web-and they are increasingly expecting the tools they use to be intuitive and simple.
"Marketing departments have long wanted more complete ownership over the process," Morgenweck says. "Certain responsibilities that were once managed by IT are now being taken on eagerly by the marketing content owners themselves."
"As a result," he continues, "WCM systems have had to adapt to become more user-friendly. Simple website creation services such as Squarespace and Wix have created the expectation that a user interface for managing web content can be extremely clean and easy to use. Marketing professionals are starting to wonder why their own WCM solutions-while admittedly more complex-can't emulate those same principles. Not a lot of enterprise systems are there yet."
Real Story Group's Guseva concurs. "While I am not saying that content management systems should become as easy to use as Notepad," she says, "I think the industry has a long way to go to improve user friendliness of the available products. Every client I work with wants a system that is ‘easy to use,' but rarely do we find something that appeals to various roles in any given organization."
Usability is also a concern on the front end of a WCM solution. How easy does it allow your user experience to be? How easily does it predict what your customers would like to see and do? Customer experience management (CXM) is another factor that is emerging as a fundamental of future WCM decision making.
"The vendors have been working on improving their CXM stories," says Guseva, "by either developing related functions internally or partnering with and acquiring third parties. Some vendors are way ahead of their customer bases in terms of chasing CXM, as not many organizations are ready yet for predictive analytics, super intelligent personalization, and so on."
Very much connected to but in some ways at odds with usability is a WCM solution's ability to seamlessly and thoroughly integrate into all of the pertinent systems and processes that make up a company's workflow.
"Complexity of the CMS world only continues to rise," says Real Story Group's Guseva, "as there is more and more need for integrations with other systems and for customizations due to specific scenarios in each organization. Stronger focus on APIs, standards, and other means of interoperability is something more and more vendors will be facing in terms of development of their WCM products."
DNN's Morgenweck points to integration as another priority of the marketing department and other non-IT users of a WCM solution. And he notes that there are varying degrees of complexity to integrations. While a Google Analytics integration, for instance, is usually within the capabilities of most systems, an integration with something such as the marketing automation software Marketo poses more substantial challenges.
"When evaluating a WCM solution, marketers will be thinking along the lines of, ‘How will this work with the tools we're already using?' such as Salesforce. They'll look at the responsiveness of the tools to make those connections, and if the system can't integrate, they'll look for something else."