The Web CMS fills a critical gap in delivering secure content. Portals lack the editorial and content creation requirements to manage secure websites. Social business, community and other “social CRM” solutions lack governance, application delivery and the capability to manage the entire customer web experience. The Web CMS provides the entire solution, from content creation to delivery to user management, and will become the primary system for delivering secure and collaborative websites.

Most of the significant CMS projects in 2013 will focus on managing the user profile (customer, partner or employee). The Web CMS will be the system of record for capturing and storing user data, with the traditional CRM continuing as the ultimate back-office system of record. Syncing between CRM and Web CMS will become a required feature.

Too Big to Succeed

Conventional wisdom is that “no one ever gets fired for buying IBM”: the bigger the software vendor, the safer the investment. This no longer makes sense. HP’s six billion dollar write-down of Autonomy, the problematic consolidation of established CMS vendors with portfolio software companies, and lack of innovation from large CMS vendors have turned that logic on its head.

In 2013 Web CMS buyers will understand that the safe investment is the independent, best of breed CMS vendor. These vendors make the best software, update software with the most frequency, and provide the highest level of support. Many large portfolio CMS vendors have become too big to succeed. 

SaaS Based Web CMS on the Rise

In 2013, marketing organizations will think cloud first when selecting a new Web CMS. Every other marketing tool in their quiver, from CRM systems like to email and marketing automation systems to advertising managers are already cloud-based and purchased under a monthly SaaS subscription.

Why should a CMS application require heavy IT investments and expensive up front licensing? It’s very ironic that most Web CMS software, an application whose sole task is managing the Web, is still deployed on-premises.

SaaS lowers the management overhead of a CMS, provides greater scalability, and lowers total cost of ownership. In 2013 marketing teams should look to vendors with proven success delivering web CMS as a service.

That’s a Wrap

The future is bright for the Web CMS industry in 2013. While many of these trends will be challenging for vendors and customers alike, the opportunities and benefits far outweigh the costs.

We are finally entering a new age. The decade-old mouse driven paradigm from interacting with content and applications is evolving into a universal, multi-touch web experience, information can be intelligently delivered to any device, customer experiences are personalized and secure content is easily shared. Web CMS applications are joining the ranks of other “marketing cloud” solutions with true software-as-a-service delivery and agile web marketing tools.

2013 will be a very exciting year.

Editor's Note: To see how David did with his 2012 predictions, go no further: David Hillis' Predictions for Web Content Management in 2012