We recently finished our evaluation of the applications for publishing content to a website. As in the past, we split this into two categories: Website Content Management (WCM) and Website Experience Management (WEM).
What is the difference?
WEM is a marketing owned, IT managed tool for organizations where the website is the key to revenue. They are easy for end users to manage day to day and have a great deal of automation and workflow/exception management built-in to ease IT customization. WEM products reach beyond the website to ensure that marketing has the campaign management tools it needs.
WCM is a marketing used, IT owned tool. This is the baseline entry model that can control publishing and editing of content on a website. In general these products require customization for every aspect of what marketing is going to do with the tool. This VL was dominated by open source products. These products are focused on the website and have very little ability to manage all aspects of a marketing campaign.
This split does not completely cover the segmentation that exists in the WEM/WCM market. Truth be told you could split this landscape into 10 categories and still not be able to fully evaluate the richness that exists in the space. Organizations should evaluate their total marketing goals and primary use for the website prior to making any decision on the products.
Overall, I was very pleased with the level of quality that exists across all of the products; all 26 products are viable as the basis for managing your website in today’s content driven world. Having said that, not all is rosy in the website management world. The products were very difficult to compare in general terms because none of them can do all use cases at a high level.
The largest concern is in the lack of innovation in the tools for classifying and managing content particularly in the commercial vendors. I find this bizarre given just how much focus there is on dynamic content presentation. The current emphasis on showing the right content to the right user seems like a huge potential risk for trademark infringement, exposure of customer data or a variety of bad scenarios. I would like to see more vendors focus on how to not showing specific content. In this multi-product world the lack of easy integration with enterprise ECM products is disappointing.
Vendors are currently focused on the tool’s marketing needs; dynamic content presentation, easy microsite creation, branding control and user analytics. Managing user experience on a website is difficult and organizations need as much help as they can get! If you need these Experience tools then you should focus on the vendors in the WEM VL.
The good news is that the WEM champions, Adobe, OpenText, SDL, SiteCore, EPiServer and CoreMedia, can deliver – just do not expect to do this on the cheap. WEM as an application is complex, the Champions can not only control the website but also have some CRM, ECM, and LMA function as well. In short WEM products should be treated as an enterprise application and the purchase, implementation, and maintenance should be handled as such.
All of the other participants in the VL can be a great partner for your WEM project, they just will require more integration and additional tools to control the more traditional marketing aspects (user analytics, email marketing, etc).
Too much marketing for your needs, or already have marketing products?
Look to the WCM VL for guidance. Two of the Champions, DNN and Drupal, have deep open source roots but have managed to stay current with the existing marketing-centric trends; this represents a shift in this market. Open source WCM products are really good and many of these products can be used without an outside web developer. These two products (DNN and Drupal) can compete with the traditional Champions; Ektron, OpenText, SiteCore, and the new entrant Bridgeline. In general the Champions have a wide set of content management tools that provide a variety of controls for dynamic presentation, social features as well as the basic marketing analytics that drive user segmentation. These products are really about how to control content from any source, including website visitors.
These two landscapes cover 26 products from 18 vendors – a mere fraction of the vendors that are out there. These are the products that the majority of Info-Tech Research Group’s members are using. There are many other viable options that can be evaluated using our advanced features. The most important aspect of your own evaluation of which product will work, is your use case; this determines the one or two features that you will need in the product to do well. The fit of the one or two key features for your use case is more important than the breadth of features.