OpenText sits at the top of Gartner's list for Web Content Management and customer experience. The vendor took major strides in 2011 to ensure that its technology enables organizations to truly engage and support their customers. And it isn't done yet.

All the Elements of Customer Experience

Customer Experience Management (CXM) is huge. It's made up of so many different elements and includes both online and offline relationships with both customers and potential customers (prospects), and employees. OpenText is one of a number of vendors focused on bringing together all the technology required to support that customer experience. And to provide the right technologies, you need to have a vision. And that -- OpenText clearly has.

It's About More Than Marketing

This is a theme you will hear from OpenText throughout this year. Customer experience management (CXM) is more than a marketing function. According to Marci Maddox, Director Global Product Marketing at OpenText, customer experience management needs to be core to your entire business. It's about employing the strategies and associated technologies that enable every employee in your organization to get to know the customers better. This is also a focus not just of the online customer experience but offline as well, so things like print, digital signage, peer to peer and lots more.

OpenText thinks of it in two core terms:

  • The Lifetime Value of your Customer, and
  • The Lifetime Value of your Content

What is critical, says Maddox, is finding your customers throughout the lifecycle and applying technology to contextualize the experience at that particular stage. It's also critical to capture data on that experience and analyze it, using it to make the experience, and the one after that (and the one after that) even better. Customers want to feel known, not just in a single channel, or for a single interaction, but across all channels and time.

To achieve this level of customer experience takes more than the marketing department, it takes the entire company working together. And what we know is that happy employees almost always result in happy customers. So you need to ensure you are employing the tools and process necessary to enable your employees to do their best work (ultimately making them happy in their jobs), and this in turn will produce a brand that customers love and want to work with/buy from. Maddox described this to me a while ago as "big C (customer), little C (internal customer -- or employee)."

What OpenText Brings to the CXM Table

There are a number of Customer Engagement Solutions in the mix here from OpenText, including:

  • Online Marketing
  • Management of Global Brands
  • Social Business
  • Customer Communications Management
  • Customer Self Services (these are CXM solutions for specific verticals)

OpenText solutions are a mix of on-premises and cloud-based offerings.

Getting into the Cloud

Maddox told me that CXM is tied to business processes and many of these processes are already hosted in the cloud. Although many regulated industries are unsure that cloud-based offerings are viable for them, OpenText does have security and compliance capabilities that will make a move to the cloud easier for organizations.

OpenText sees major shifts in the IT department as organizations move their apps and content into the cloud. New titles such as Web IT and Web Business IT will pop up for what were formerly IT resources. IT staff will be able to move away from day to day maintenance and focus on things like analytics and data queries -- tasks that are much more important to the organization.

To go along with the idea that cloud-offerings are becoming the norm, OpenText only offers cloud-based versions of some of its solutions -- Video Streaming is one example. Maddox believes that mobile and social are easier to adopt when they are cloud-based.

WCM is Not Just WCM

There is a lot more to web content management (WCM) than managing content. It has very much become a primary tool for marketers to engage with customers online -- not just on the website, but across different channels and devices. OpenText has a large number of engineers on WCM R&D projects. For OpenText, it's not all about bells and whistles, but about a stable infrastructure. That's important as WCM is a core component of CXM solutions.

Content comes in different shapes. It includes social content, a critical part of a customer's conversation with the organization. OpenText does support the archiving of social content (comments, pageviews, etc), which means that compliance concerns can be alleviated.

Rich Media is Growing in Importance

As we will continue to see in 2012, rich media plays a big role in customer experience. Whether it's video, interactive websites or other approaches, customers are looking for different ways to absorb information. What this means is that OpenText needs to ensure it is offering the right solutions for rich media, including both the management of it and the measurement of its value to the customer. And keep in mind that rich media spans both online and offline properties.

Going Mobile

During OpenText Content World late last year, the sessions related to mobile were packed, Maddox told me. And we've seen time and again that mobile access has been a critical aspect to any organization's customer experience. Maddox indicated that mobile is primarily used for two reasons:

  1. Knowledge Sharing
  2. Communication Apps

The OpenText mobile platform is called Wave Mobility, and it enables the creation of both internal and external mobile applications. Using it, you can develop mobile apps for hundreds of devices (and with the whole BYOD -- bring your own device -- organizations need this ability both internally and externally).

The key with mobile devices -- including tablets -- is maintaining the ability to manage and control the content that is offered.

The Metrics Behind Your Social Business

You can't talk customer experience without talking social business. And OpenText knows about social software. The approach is a little different than many vendors: it is applied at the Line of Business (LOB) level for business processes.

Its Social Communities solution offers social work processes natively and is a single platform for both internal and external communities. The social business suite also offers three apps for teamwork, intranets and social websites, and there are more to come.

Leveraging social features as a natural part of the business process is only one part of the equation though -- you also have to be measuring the right things. There are a lot of standard metrics that can be applied, both web and social. OpenText recently released an update to its analytics offering. Using it you have the following:

  • A behind the firewall alternative to traditional analytics like Google Analytics (the value add here is that you own all the content)
  • It is integrated with the OpenText platform, including WEM, Communities and Portal
  • It offers real-time analytics allowing you to "attract, react and measure."

Analytics are another big focus for CXM this year. Social Analytics allow you to measure the success of your social features, at the Site, Social App, item or people level. You can get reports on ratings, comments, do sentiment analysis and even input your own KPIs to measure. (Get more details on the latest release of Social Analytics)

The latest version of the Social Analytics also offers a Site overlay capability so you can view different sections and/or components of your website and see the metrics in real-time. This enables marketers to quickly assess how content is doing and change it as quickly as possible if need be. And there's a REST API to enable you to get these analytics to other apps and/or devices.

Tying the Customer View Altogether

OpenText focuses on the perspective of the customer. They look at things from the outside in and ask how to enable the CMO to know what customers are saying about them. It's about managing the entire customer experience from brand awareness, to prospect and conversion to customer support/self-service to employee communications -- all with an eye on control and compliance.

We get a bit of flack at CMSWire for calling it customer experience management and not specifically, online customer experience management. I think CXM is the correct way to talk about what OpenText is doing, it's an end to end exercise in getting to know your customers. It's also a complete customer experience in that it looks not only at the external customer -- the one who buys your products and services, but also the internal customer -- the one who comes to work everyday to create, sell and support those products and services.