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 chimes in on how in an industry fixated by acronyms we should just get on solving six basic content management requirements.
Our industry loves its acronyms, DAM, WCM, ECM, DXP, CXP, PIM, DIM, MRM, MAM (OK, I made one of those up). Industry analysts like to carve new niches that they can name and claim, vendors and practitioners love the niches so that they can ride the analyst’s waves and claim differentiation (WCM? On no, that’s old hat, we are the DXP cool kids now) and clients are left baffled by which spoonful of alphabet soup should be at the center of their content operations.
Once upon a time, over a decade ago, the industry acronym darling was ECM (Enterprise Content Management). Some vendors marched in that direction and then discovered at their cost that the real world was not thinking “enterprise content”, but how the hell to publish a web page and the WCM (Web Content Management) industry continued alive and well without them. ECM became closely associated with the dull business of document management, bloated solutions and was no longer cool.
OK, so I am summarizing wildly here, but you get my point.
It transpires that this Enterprise content beast was not dead, it was merely distracted and the quiet business revolution of digital transformation, driven by the new business discipline of customer experience management and the multichannel, multilingual, personalized, social, messaging, voice, in-store, print, augmented reality, virtual reality, mobile, etc. needs of the consumer have moved from experiments and isolated projects within business silos to a truly Enterprise challenge.
This is creating a convergence within the market as previously distinct content management categories are being pulled in the same direction, to support this multi-touchpoint, contextualized customer experience.
So, regardless of whether an organization is shopping for a DAM, PIM, WCM or DXP there are six basic, contemporary market requirements that regardless of which acronym you apply, a content management solution will need to address:
1. Multichannel Delivery
Well. Duh… bowling a soft ball with this one, an obvious place to start, you must deliver to the web, social, mobile, email (etc.) and this includes the ability to preview and create content in that context.
2. Manage complex content models
A bit content geeky this one, as it was once the dark place that only the most ardent content professionals would stray, but organizations now recognize that we no longer live in a simple structured, page driven world, a content experience is formed from a network of content relationships, of related content components, relevant content, recommendations, product parts, pricing, images (etc.. etc).
Business functionality like personalization and marketing attribution requires the content to be semantically tagged, to be dripping in metadata, perhaps to have a taxonomy applied and the solution to elegantly manage the complexity of content variants (like multi-language, personalized content or channel optimized versions of content, layouts and images).
As you scale a personalized customer experience, building simple rules (if x clicks here and here show y) become unfeasible – the content needs to be smart, to understand its own context and easily allow the content consumer to explore its relations, to navigate this content network.
Finally, on this point, we are also stretching the term “content”, it now means prices, 3D models, people, analytical data, authors, people, dates, calendars (etc) - to support the diverse needs of the enterprise, an Enterprise CMS needs to manage a wide range of digital “things” , not just store them but understand what they do.
3. Play nicely in the Marketing Technology Sandbox
The buzz on this right now is Content as a Service (CaaS) or “Headless” CMS, a content management system of whatever denomination must enable an organization to build content rich applications on a robust set of APIs.
Of course, that’s not the complete story when playing nice in the Marketing Technology Sandbox. To deliver a personalized experience, the content delivery must be informed by systems of record, like the CRM or the segmentation in the marketing automation system and very few enterprises present a green field for technology and will have specialized solutions that will play an important part in the delivery of that experience.
Plus, and I am stealing this phase from one of our clients who presented at a recent event – you’ve got to enable the creatives to create. Which means integrating into the tools of their choice, like the Adobe creative suite and yes, sometimes integrating to desktop tools.
4. Manage rich media and print
This ain’t your fathers CMS with a 10Mb file limit and only the options are text, images and (gasp) video – today it’s a rare organization that is not embracing rich media, but tomorrow promises to bring an explosion of media, 3D modeling, augmented reality and voice are just three examples that are very real challenges for organizations.
Let’s not forget about print. It is said that the IKEA catalog is printed more times than the bible, or err.. any religious text you happen to subscribe to. This makes IKEA a pretty decent sized publishing house. When the new Oriflame catalog is released, they see a spike in online sales. The offers and coupons that fall out of a Swiss newspaper for Migros supermarket drive an omnichannel retail experience. All of this needs to be managed and why not in the same system that publishes the same content on the website?
5. Everything is Awesome When You’re Part of Team
OK, I admit, it isn’t often that you will read an RFP that has a section that starts “Everything is Awesome” – however, what it will talk about is how to get everything we’ve just talked about done, within a collaborative tool, with all the checks and balances of corporate and brand governance, digital rights management, translation workflows and approval processes.
Any CMS worth it’s “M” (you know, for Management) must enable team collaboration, workflow approvals and some form of business process management.
6. Resourcing and reporting
This, for me, having been in the industry for 15 years is a relative newbie on the CMS requirements block, but for the modern digital marketer it ain’t happening unless it can be measured and in an age of increased demand and scrutiny on budgets content performance against its cost is an essential KPI.
Our CMS also needs to satisfy the needs of the relatively new discipline of content marketing, enabling content authors to plan work, to manage content campaigns, to schedule a content calendar, to track and report on its use, re-use and syndication.
What Do You Think?
So those are my six real world requirements, I could add a seventh which would be to understand the audience, but that would be straying out of the realms of content management and into the midst of the rather nebulous CXM or DXP platforms, which for most organizations are more of strategy based on integration, rather than a single product.
If I’ve missed anything, it would be great to hear your ideas, I’m @iantruscott on Twitter.
The nice thing is, that you don’t need to take my word for it - our clients share these stories of consolidation with us , how they selected our product for a specific task, for example Digital Asset Management and the programme grows to respond to a set of Enterprise needs to efficiently, centrally manage all of their content.
We simply call solving these challenges Universal, Smart Content , as we help our clients with the alphabet soup, cutting the acronyms and solving these six real world content challenges for them.