Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It's Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it's time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week Ian Truscott returns to a topic close to his heart - the damaging effects of industry acronyms.
I really enjoy working with good industry analysts, I was one for a time, well, I was an industry analyst (not sure about the good bit). After a couple of conversations this week, however, my frustration at this industry's obsession with content management acronyms and silos has resurfaced.
Frankly, this model is out dated.
In the olden days, you needed specialist solutions to manage digital assets, to cope with large files, show previews and to manage size variants (etc. etc.).
In the olden days you needed a specialist solution to manage metadata and the relationships between content items which products, their parts, pieces, prices, and descriptions (etc.) require.
In the olden days, publishing to the web or to print was a specialist technical activity.
But most of all, in the olden days, consumers did not demand to see video on their phone, personalized to them as part of their e-commerce experience, or indeed any number of other silo crossing use cases which make up providing a contemporary customer experience.
To meet these consumer demands, content management tooling can no longer afford to be specialist, and that short, random list of “olden day” requirements is now a table stake for any content solution.
Whether you call the solution WCM, PIM, DAM or even a DXP (Digital Experience Platform) , the problem which needs to be solved remains the management of digital assets and the metadata which describes them, and then their publication somewhere. Sprinkle a bit of workflow and governance over that and you have the bones of any content management system.
“The bones?” you may ask, “but surely the devil is in the detail?” Clearly, it’s one thing to have the ability to manage a picture and another to truly manage a digital asset, it’s IP ownership, the usage rights, large video, size variants, and the rest.
And you are exactly right. But my argument is that today, the base level of business requirements for any content solution have risen to the point that the cases you can make for needing a specialist solution are disappearing, these needs are now mainstream.
Regardless of the acronym that describes your solution:
If you publish an image on your website, you had better ensure that you have the rights to use it.
If you publish personalized content, you have metadata needs which were once seen as advanced.
If you manage product content, you need to publish it to multiple-channels.
If you put a product on your website, you’ll need to publish a whole lot more information than just marketing material…
…and so on and so forth. The old worlds are converging.
But does it matter?
Well, if we continue with this silo’d thinking, ignore this convergence of business requirements and continue to build solution architectures with multiple tools deployed for their narrow specialism, we are overbuying as we are buying overlapping capabilities.
To make this “frankenstack” work, organizations are then not only over buying and filling these narrow silos, but then paying again for integration, or worse, operating these systems in silos.
Convergence is not only a challenge for analysts, who have traditionally defined and valued themselves around a relatively narrow field of “subject matter expertise”, but also for those buyers and procurement departments conditioned to buy point solutions. Today’s content management market is structured around these labels and all of us who participate in it need to recognize this convergence and change this model.
It's time to move on, before the acronyms kill our businesses.