Last August I was lucky enough to spend a week in Munich, Germany at the recent DrupalCon conference. While there I heard a lot of stories about European and global companies assessing their web content management systems (Web CMS) and looking to move towards more comprehensive web experience management (WEM) strategy implementations.

When hearing those stories, it is important to consider how companies are perceiving and measuring the value of WEM implementations. Cost, simplicity and flexibility are particularly important to a successful rollout when a Web CMS is involved.

New Demands Force New Directions for Web CMS

To that point, I think the transition to a WEM view is pushing proprietary and open source Web CMS vendors to reinvent themselves in ways we haven’t seen before. This push by organizations to transform their Web CMS is also a result of limitations found in their past implementations. Some limitations included:

  • The brand builder (e.g. marketing) would be restricted by IT or the Web CMS
  • Integration with other systems would mean lengthy and risky customizations
  • Costly infrastructure was required to run dozens -- or even hundreds -- of websites on top of the Web CMS

Now, when vendors pitch their Web CMS (or the right Web CMS for that scenario) to organizations, they face a new and different scenario:

  • Marketing joins IT as a stakeholder, adding their voice and needs to the conversation
  • A complete mix of skill sets participating in the creation of the company’s sites, now including technical, social, content, mobile, cloud, commerce and management experts. The vendor is now faced with questions about all of these areas.
  • Decision makers are also consumers of the Web CMS's end user and administrative interfaces.

Pitch meetings are now more focused on a new set of requirements. These demands are outlined by the organization and are now demanded of the vendor, including:

  1. Flexibility to integrate with different toolsets
  2. Time to market
  3. Low cost websites development and maintenance
  4. Cloud hosting
  5. Freedom of Creativity versus Reusability versus Cost

The pursuit of Web CMS can offer the creation of websites that are simple from a functionality perspective, but powerfully designed. Organizations are now demanding these features from their Web CMS, but also expecting the resulting sites to be cost-effective, and able to be leveraged by different areas of the organization.

Looking Forward

The 2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web CMS was recently released. While it didn’t have many updates from 2011 on the leaders’ area, aside from some companies being acquired or products being bundled, it did show changes in the visionaries group. This shows how some Web CMS are really reinventing themselves and being able to tackle the new requirements listed above, and have a better understanding of the value expected of their solutions by adapting and quickly changing the way value is delivered.

This is a great start for the future of Web CMS. While it’s not yet that time of the year for predictions, 2013 is starting to shape up as a very interesting year for the Web CMS world, which will be marked by mature and very marketing-aligned solutions. It’s exciting to be part of this world and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2013 brings us.

Editor's Note: To read more by Felipe Rubim:

-- 5 Costly Mistakes Selecting & Implementing a Web Content Management System