10 Predictions for Web CMS in 2011

It’s that time of the year when analysts, pundits, and vendors announce their bold predictions for the upcoming year. 2010 was a banner year for Web CMS, as companies realized the benefit of integrating Web CMS into critical business processes like marketing, sales, and customer support. Corporate websites took a giant leap forward, evolving from static to dynamic, and from generic to personal. The explosive growth of mobile devices in new form factors like the iPad caused CMOs to rethink their mobile strategies.

So let’s get started with my ten predictions for Web CMS in 2011:

1) WEM, the acronym, will remain vendor jargon. WEM, the concept, will transform the future of Web CMS.

WEM, or Web Engagement Management (or is it Web Experience Management?) has emerged as a potential challenger to replace CMS as the acronym that describes how companies use content to drive site visitor engagement and deliver business outcomes. Although WEM has been heavily discussed and debated among analysts and journalists, it remains a mystery to the only audience that matters- the users and buyers of Web CMS. While the capabilities described by WEM are paramount to the future of Web CMS, buyers will reject WEM the acronym but will come to expect that the existing acronyms WCM and CMS will include the capabilities of delivering and measuring site customer engagement.

2) Companies will evolve their mobile strategy beyond “mobile friendly”.

2010 was the year where mobile devices finally drove enough site traffic to compel companies to craft a mobile strategy. Yet most organizations stopped at mobile friendly, assuming the battle was over once the website and marketing campaigns rendered correctly on mobile devices. In 2011, we’ll see marketers take advantage of device capabilities and characteristics to deliver mobile experiences, not mobile friendly websites. Users are open to more immersive experiences on tablets but will look for more transactional experiences on smartphones. Mobile development will no longer be an afterthought, and innovative companies will develop for mobile first, and progressively enhance the experience based on the capabilities of the browser or device.

3) Web CMS vendors will differentiate through their decisions to build vs. integrate.

The decision to “build vs. integrate” has become a battleground for vendors trying to establish unique identities in the Web CMS space. Some vendors are focused on creating all-encompassing suites of capabilities, while others are more focused on integration with existing business applications. In 2011, vendor strategies will diverge even more strongly in this area, with vendors picking sides and aggressively committing to their strategy. For those vendors that choose to integrate, their success will be predicated on their ability to deliver deep technology integrations, not the fluffy “press release integrations” of the past.

4) Content is king. Context is queen. Together, they rule the fiefdom of web engagement.

It’s long been said the content is king, and as marketing shifts from outbound to inbound, content has evolved into a strategic corporate asset. While context is king, context is its queen. Context provides an understanding of the content consumer, and her unique set of circumstances. With context, you can match the right content, at the right moment of opportunity to encourage, support, or persuade the visitor to take action. In 2011, being able to understand the context of site visitors will transform how organizations view Web CMS and dynamic content delivery.

5) Web CMS acquisition fever will slow down, or maybe even stop.

The last five years have seen transformative acquisitions in the Web CMS vendor landscape. Oracle bought Stellent. Open Text acquired RedDot. Autonomy purchased Interwoven. Open Text bought Vignette. And most recently, Adobe acquired Day Software. In 2011, the acquisition fever will slow down as the remaining best-of-breed vendors focus on growth and differentiation in the next wave of Web CMS.

6) Multichannel publishing will drive a resurgence in structured content authoring

While newer authoring interfaces like in-context editing and drag+drop page creation have emerged as important tools for Web CMS users, the need for multichannel publishing will push users back towards more traditional, structured authoring interfaces. Publishing to multiple channels requires additional structure to ensure the right content is delivered to the right channel. Users will tag content for usage in specific channels, ranging from traditional long-form channels like the desktop web browser to short form channels like mobile devices and Twitter.

7) Platform will become less important in the Web CMS selection process

In the past, companies would have a strong preference for platform when selecting a Web CMS platform, typically Java or .NET in the enterprise. The platform requirement will become less of a decision point as the viral growth of Sharepoint created .NET expertise in even the most formidable Java strongholds like financial services and insurance. While some companies will still prefer a particular platform, it will become increasingly less important in 2011. Buyers will pick the products that best fit their business and technical requirements, regardless of platform.

8) Enterprise search is sexy again

Search and Web CMS have always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, and the relationship will grow deeper in 2011. Enterprise search platforms provided by vendors like Microsoft, Endeca, and Autonomy do far more than just keyword searches. They power mission critical business processes like commerce and customer support, and play a significant role in the overall customer experience of a website. Search is an important part of a customer engagement strategy, and Web CMS vendors will use enterprise search platforms to provide new sets of capabilities focused on engagement and experience.

9) Social media will permeate the corporate website

The website of the future will be a seamless blend of corporate generated and user generated content. Social is no longer just a disconnected feature of a website, it's a fundamental shift in how companies embrace customer relationships, transparency, and authenticity. In 2011, we’ll finally start to see companies and brands adopt the principals outlined by Jeremiah Owyang in his 2007 blog how on How to Evolve Your Irrelevant Corporate Website (http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2007/05/29/web-strategy-how-to-evolve-your-irrelevant-corporate-website/).

10) Developers. Developers. Developers.

Web CMS vendors have spent the last few years catering to marketing departments and business users, addressing usability and innovating new ways to use Web CMS to run marketing campaigns. Web CMS vendors will place the same emphasis on transforming the developer experience, providing better tools, APIs, code samples, documentation, and more.

So those are my predictions for 2011. 2010 was a great year for Web CMS, and I think we’ll look back and identify 2010 as an inflection point in the market, driven by both the emergence of web engagement and the growth of new channels like mobile and social media. Please share your thoughts and predictions in the comments, or on Twitter using the hashtag #futurewcm.

About the Author
Tom Wentworth is an experienced, versatile, and passionate technology executive with over 15 years experience selling, marketing, and designing enterprise software. In his current role, Tom is the VP of Web Solutions for Ektron, where he's responsible for corporate strategy.

For more about Ektron: http://www.ektron.com