Managing Content Locally and Globally

Analyst findings on the future of Web Content Management (WCM) solutions are increasingly positive. The expected growth in this market is largely due to the concept of consumer engagement, which is driving corporations to reexamine their web presence and its influence in the marketplace. As they review their web strategies and focus on web experience management (WEM), many corporations have identified implementing WCM solutions as a strategic priority that can have benefits both from an IT and an overall business perspective.

Web 2.0 creates the new user
The concept of consumer engagement as a driver for the WCM market really comes back to the user. Traditionally, corporate websites focused on delivering the same message in an engaging way to all consumers—a one way communication from the corporation to the consumer. As Web 2.0 tools have developed, audiences have grown to expect—and even demand—to be involved. In the new web, it’s all about participation and an experience tailored to the unique needs of the end user. This is sometimes referred to as the "socialization of the web"—a solitary experience has become a social one. Today’s consumers aren’t interested in just reading about a product— they want to utilize a social network or communal dialogue to solve a specific problem. They don’t just access information— they contribute to it and create it. They are drawn to sites where they can interact and seek advice from peers and experience virtual face-to-face encounters.

New themes emerge
The influence of Web 2.0 and the resulting shift of consumer expectations have led to the emergence of three key themes in the online experience:
• Personalized and tailored: Consumers expect to have information delivered in a manner that is relevant to them and that caters to their unique needs. The essence of this theme can be captured in the statement "If the information is important, it will find me."
• Social and interactive: Not only are buying decisions influenced by peer reviews, so are opinions. This type of bi-directional feedback makes people feel as though they are an active member of a community.
• Destination neutral: The Internet is now a global platform that allows people and companies—no matter who or where they are and regardless of what device they arrive from—to create, share, and collaborate on content.

The corporate response
The fundamental paradigm shift in how consumers interact online and the resulting expectations have not only influenced site design and redesign, but have also redefined what makes an appealing and effective website. Corporate marketers are beginning to align themselves to this paradigm shift and are looking at WCM technologies to capitalize on new revenue channels. Companies planning their next generation website or consolidating various intranets or portals are looking into web experience management. WEM is a holistic view of web publishing and the processes that support it, and brings together relevant technologies and components. WEM is made up of four key components:
• Design: Page layouts; navigation and personalization rules/queries
• Authoring: Business process management (review and approval); content transformations for rich media
• Delivery: Personalized and dynamic content and websites
• Analytics: Reporting; user generated content (UCG); feedback and content rating
Organizations that take on WEM are able to move away from static websites to those that are dynamic and personalized. They can tailor their messages to individual audiences, interact and elicit feedback, and measure and quickly iterate content along with web pages. Web content management is the core of web experience management, and the focus on WEM has been positive for WCM providers and the WCM market. Many WCM providers have embraced Web 2.0 and the market is experiencing an evolution of its own. Companies can now utilize WCM solutions to easily implement engaging and interactive website experiences for their consumers.

The case for a web content management solution
In the current economic climate, making the case for a WCM solution becomes one of both short-term and long-term strategic and financial importance. In order to future proof a WCM investment, companies need to consider WCM as part of a broader IT infrastructure. Although most stand-alone WCM solutions provide core content management capabilities, companies should look at solutions that are fully integrated with an enterprise content management solution. These solutions support rich media transformations, have native digital asset management functionality, and include business process management as part of the platform offering. WCM solutions that exhibit these best-of-breed capabilities and also demonstrate business relevance in other functional areas allow companies to best position themselves as leaders in innovation and next generation web practices.

By Frank Del Pinto,
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Web Experience Management