Technology does not replace the need for good management. Without such management, technology can create more problems than it solves.It's hard to resist the easy option. Buy this customer relationship management (CRM) software, and you will efficiently and cost-effectively be able to manage your customer relationships. Buy this content management software, and you will be able to efficiently and cost-effectively manage your content.
Software does not manage. People manage. Software is a tool that can help you manage better, but it is not a manager. It is not strategic. Before you can manage customer relationships, you have to have relationships with your customers.
A person recently told me that their CRM software was great for sending lots to email offers and other marketing material to their customers. To them, this was what CRM was all about: cost-effectively deluging (spamming) their customers with marketing and sales pitches.
It amazes me the amount of organizations out there that still believe that to create a better intranet or public website, all they need to do is choose the right content management software. These organizations are not thinking about the quality and effectiveness of the content. They'll employ junior people to put up this content, and then a couple of years later they'll wonder where it all went wrong.
I've yet to meet an organization that has successfully implemented personalization either for their intranet or their public website. This is not because the concept of personalization is wrong. Properly implemented, it is a very sophisticated and powerful way to give customers what they want.
There are many reasons it fails miserably, however. One of them is that organizations feel that all they need to do is install this fancy software, turn it on, and, hey presto, a wonderful website emerges. No need to worry about the quality of the content. No need to worry about how well it is structured and organized. The magic software looks after all that.
I once spoke with a consultant who told me about working with the British military. Years ago, if you were becoming an officer, you were sent on a course about managing your office. Part of the course involved learning how to manage your filing cabinet.
Then computers came along and the course was scrapped. Think about it. A computer has at least 100 "filing cabinets". You need training in managing content far more if you have a computer. But you don't get it because of this irrational exuberance about what technology can do.
Modern organizations are not professionally managing their content. Senior management often abdicate responsibility. They think that the Web is a technology challenge that they can hand over to IT.
Content management will become one of the key management skills of the 21st century. That's because we live in a content-driven world.
Technology can support strategy. It can support managers as they do their jobs. But technology is not a strategy, and it is certainly not management.
Gerry McGovern, a content management author and consultant
, has spoken, written and consulted extensively on writing for the web and web content management issues since 1994.