Web Content Management has seen some major changes this year, but while many are looking to the future of content management, just as many are working hard to stay the course and get the basics under control.

A Changing of the Web CMS Guard - Or Not

Well, if you go by Forrester and Gartner, there's not much change in the leaders for web content management from a year ago:

or the Open Source CMS report:

A New Focus for Many

What's changed is how vendors are talking about web content management. It hasn't really been about the basics this year, it's been about where content management needs to go to deliver a complete customer experience. And it's that term "customer experience", that has been primary theme for this year.

We also took notice this year that a number of small- to mid-sized vendors have adjusted their prices and market focus, demonstrating their ability to meet the needs of larger enterprises.

and the demand for cloud-based solutions:

But while demand for cloud-based web content management is increasing, organizations are cautioned that all the hype may not necessary be fact:

But Don't Forget the Basics

It has been important for web content management to define its place within the greater strategy of customer experience, and it does play a critical role. But this year it was also clear that while many organizations have their content management processes under control and are moving to the next step, there are just as many who still have a lot of work to do.

Part of this "getting the basics right" is the recognition that maybe you aren't using your Web CMS to its full potential. Which is why you should consider how you use the one you have before you decide it's time to get a new one:

WCM is Not Social Business -- Or Is It?

We have spent much of our time this year focused on the idea of social business -- what it means, what strategies need to be put in place, what technologies. It has been a great discussion. As part of the discussion we have looked at the role that web content management plays in the strategy for a social enterprise. After all, many intranets have a Web CMS as their underlying technology.

Although many WCM vendors have integrated social capabilities into their solutions and platforms and the combination has worked well for many, not everyone agrees that this is the right approach:

Yes the article above is written by a social software vendor, so maybe it's somewhat biased in its view, but the key to the overall discussion is that web content management is only part of the solution required to help organizations become more communicative, collaborative and productive -- both with employees and customers. It's all the components of today's WCM combined: web content management, social features, analytics, multi-channel delivery, that will provide organizations with the right tools to provide the right content, at the right time, in the right context.

I want to leave you with one final article before we run through the list of vendor news from the year:

This article focuses on building an engaging website, but the key takeaway for me is that all the technology in the world isn't going to help you if your processes are broken. You need the right strategy and processes in place and you have to play an active role to ensure things change as necessary.

A Few Acquisitions & Partnerships

2011 did see some acquisitions and a few new partnerships:

And Some Major Web CMS Releases

Lots of major updates from vendors this year:

One final thought. If you think this year was interesting for web content management, I think next year will be even more so. Partly because we are seeing so much evolution in WCM systems come so fast, but also because I think we'll start to see more of battle between WCM and Social Software for dominance in the organization. Yes, there's room for both, but which one will lead the evolution of the organization?