Following up on the recent revelation of the latest web content management 2010 Magic Quadrant from Gartner, let's take a look at what the analysts see as Web CMS market trends in 2010, starting off with the magical inclusion of "online experience” as a big must-have.

From Web Publishing to Customer Experience

Traditionally, in addition to assigning WCM vendors to the appropriate boxes of the Magic Quadrant (as they see fit), Gartner also outlines the key trends affecting the buying decisions for Web content management.

Although, as some industry watchers have expressed their disappointment, the latest report lacks the expected depth desired by consumers in some areas of coverage, while putting a lot of emphasis on others (e.g. marketing, revenue), let's see what Gartner has been pontificating about and put their thoughts into the light of what we have been witnessing lately in the web content management industry.

Long gone the days of mere web content management and one-way streets of web publishing. Organizations are now after two-way communications and customer engagement management (CEM).

We at CMSWire have been talking about Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Web Engagement Management (WEM) in long lengths. Gartner also thinks that it is important to consider the “overall experience delivered to users and not just the content."

When defining online experiences, Gartner says:

Online experiences encompass a range of approaches, including publishing information to rich Internet applications, or providing self-service portals or composite content applications (CCAs), such as case management and front-end access for field personnel to complex back-end applications.

Last year, Gartner predicted the following key trends for WCM:

  • Better product usability for non-techies
  • Growing open source CMS popularity, albeit occupying less than 4% of the market
  • Growing interest in SaaS CMS
  • Personalized, contextualized and targeted content delivery

This year's predictions are different.

What the Web CMS Vendors “Must” Do

Gartner, as some other analyst firms, sees WCM vendors recognize the importance of web engagement and adapt their offerings accordingly.

One might argue (and some have done that) whether we need yet another acronym -- WEM -- but the direction of engagement and experience management as the next step in Web CMS evolution is clear as skies on a good day.

According to Gartner, Web CMS vendors nowadays “must” provide the following sets of capabilities in addition to their classical content management feature sets:

  1. Access – multichannel web content delivery and content being accessible from various platforms, including smartphones and tablets.
  2. Experience – one of the elements of online strategy that should encourage web visitors to interact with enterprises using web 2.0 or other emerging tools.
  3. Optimization – this is when you lather, rinse and repeat the process of tracking, measuring and optimizing your web content via integrations with tools inside and outside the enterprise.

Gartner also cites usability, interoperability and consumability as some of the main capabilities that vendors are after in their quest to outshine competition.

If today Gartner doesn’t like a WCM vendor’s marketing practices, market penetration, revenue or product vision, you’ll see that as a direct correlation to where that WCM vendor is placed in the MQ.

Next year, those WCM vendors lacking in the main three broad areas specified above by Gartner may lose their dearly beloved position in the MQ.

What Should Web CMS Buyers Do?

The number of industry reports doesn't always mean fewer dazed and confused buyers...

As I usually say, a big part of your Web CMS procurement is doing the homework. Research and evaluation of WCM products is a big project on its own. Relying on just one report and glancing at magical quadrants will not suffice in the majority of cases.

While it won't hurt to have a quick look at the industry, more thorough research usually brings riper WCM fruit.

As far as WEM goes, it is probably premature (if at all necessary) to run vendor evaluations against this variable only. All Web CMS vendors should have some de facto web engagement management capabilities. The majority of Web CMSs we’ve covered recently express their love for WEM in one way, or the other.

But do evaluate holistically the entire package, as opposed to chasing that one sexy, leading, robust, easy-to-deploy, CMO’s-dreams-come-true feature(set).