New research published by Adobe and Econsultancy in the Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing shows that most enterprises now believe that web content management systems need to go beyond the traditional task of managing information. Instead, most believe that their Web CMS should be also be offering customer experience management.

While for some traditional pure-play  Web CMS vendors the findings contained in this report may constitute a wake-up call, many others have anticipated this news and over recent times incorporated a customer experience, or customer relationship management module, or add-on, but the findings still underline a significant shift in content management.

This is not to say that enterprises are looking to ditch web content management. On the contrary, it means simply that enterprises are looking for vendors that can move content management beyond simple content management and provide systems that will use content to create a digital presence that will enhance their brand.

The findings are the result of a global survey of more than 1000 companies about CMS, Web CMS  and what enterprises are looking for, and appear in a report entitled From Content Management to Customer Experience Management (registration required).

User, Customer Engagement

The single most important figure in a report is that 87% of respondents want systems that will ‘improve user engagement and customer engagement’. Almost as many cited ‘brand-building through positive experiences’. There were many other financial drivers too.

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But if this is the main point then there are many others that outline the increasingly intimate relationship between content management and CRM/CXM. While the report covers many different areas of that relationship and it is worth looking at the report in full, there were 6 points that really stood out.

1. Technology As Enabler

Despite the role and spread of  Web CMS across enterprises and the fundamental role they play in delivering great customer experiences, the research found that often the Web CMS itself creates a problem where it should be helping things along.

In fact, according to the figures, enterprises are as likely to say that content management is a hindrance as they are to say that it helps them.

When asked about the primary use for web content management, 65% of those questioned said that they use it principally for their websites and mobile sites, with the delivery of CRM, document management, intranets and web services also important.

Companies, therefore, need to explore how their Web CMS is being used and decide whether that use is having a positive or negative impact on their business.

2. Mobile CXM

While mobile technologies are only a recent phenomena, they are increasingly important for the delivery of a well organized, multichannel customer experience.

However, many companies are having considerable difficulty delivering a customer experience in a multi-screen world where a great deal of our work and leisure is carried out on a phone or tablet. In fact, 70% of respondents said that delivering an optimized customer experience across all mobile devices is a major challenge with only 14% saying it did not constitute a problem.

The flip side of this is that only 11% of organizations say they are mobile-only organizations compared to 65% that said mobile is only part of their business.

One of the major problems appears to be the fact that the Web CMS used by many enterprises were designed and built before the mobile boom with the result that there is no mobile Web CMS functionality or design possibilities with them.

Asked what features they would add to their system, 33% identified this as one feature they would add immediately if they could.

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3. Content Management Silos

Another problem with content management systems is a problem we have come across many times already -- silos. The research rightly points out that content is not a channel in itself and should only be feeding the channels that the enterprise is already using.

To get the best out of content and to make it accessible to as many enterprise workers as possible, the silos need to be broken down. Organizations want integration between content management and all their other marketing capabilities. Content, the report says, is growing in importance as an engine for inbound marketing and WCMS need to reflect that.

Of those questioned, the vast majority believe that content management should help user and customer engagement (87%), as well as build the company brand through ‘positive experiences’ (78%).

4. Integrated platforms

Integration has become a problem to the point where when asked how integrated their marketing and content management technologies were, not even 30% were able to respond that it was good.

In fact there were no areas that stood out as being particularly well integrated with only web/mobile analytics pushing the 10% mark for “excellent ratings.” Generally speaking, fewer than 30% of organizations said their integrations were good and surpassed the number of organizations that described their integrations as possible.

In terms of customer experience the figures are equally bad. Less than 25% or organizations said they were satisfied with their integrations around CRM and testing. According to Adobe, the first of these is where data and single customer viewpoints meet, while the second is how marketing gets better.

5. Social WCM

While Web CMS should be able to manage enterprise content and activity in the enterprise, they should also be able to manage insights garnered from visitors' actions on third-party platforms.

This means that they need to embrace social media and provide tools that enable enterprises to manage, aggregate and analyze content from all channels and build the web experience based on these insights.

However, few systems go beyond the basic functionality and features that derive insights for social media activity. Only a little over half  of respondents (54%) said their systems enable them to add social plug-ins such as social login and content sharing buttons, and only a third say they manage user-generated content.

6. Marketing v IT

All this leads to a final point that needs to be discussed in enterprises, if not taken on board. That is marketing departments need to take ownership of customer-facing technologies . In this survey, when asked about who takes ownership of these kind of technologies, 26% said marketing and 27% said IT.

In the past, vendors have been mostly IT focused with the result that content management systems were rarely considered in the context of wider content optimization. That, in turn, meant that in the majority of cases, IT department were responsible for the procurement process without involving the marketing team.

Historically, this arose from the fact that before investing, enterprises needed to know how difficult it would be to deploy the technology. While this is indeed a criterion in the selection process, it shouldn’t supersede marketing requirements.

Ironically, the research shows that it is the marketing team that is responsible for most of the content management activity in the enterprise, with only 25% saying IT departments were responsible for it.

The obvious conclusion here is that marketing departments should be given a lot more control over purchasing decisions when it comes to content management with IT taking a less important role.

These are only some of the findings of this extensive report. If you are interested in reading the full, paid-for report you can find it here.

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