Only two days into 2014, the message was clear for Irina Guseva when it comes to Web Content Management Systems. Be simple. Get back to the basics, the now group product marketing manager at San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe Systems told us then.

More than a year later, did her message resonate? We caught up with her to find out in our continuing "2014 Action Item" series. Earlier this month, we also checked in on 2014 action items for B2B marketers becoming more agile and blogging smarter.

So how did Web CMS users do?

Catching Up

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CMSWire: You said last year that organizations "need to focus on usability and user friendliness. Everyone says they want an 'easy to use' CMS, but then buy or implement monsters." Did people get this concept or did you still see people buying CMS platforms for the wrong reasons?

Guseva: The process of organizational maturity takes time. It would be unrealistic to assume that within one year companies all of a sudden reach the highest levels of maturity in how they handle their digital experience management strategies and technologies.

While there were many developments in this arena, I think we’re still on the path of evolution. Both technology selection and strategy mistakes will be made, lessons will be learned and applied. Both usability and user-friendliness are not easy targets to hit -- for either customers, or WCM vendors. What I’ve been seeing, though, is progress is being made here. But we’ve not yet reached the nirvana.

CMSWire: You said last year, "All of us need some customizations, but following best practices in your particular CMS implementation are crucial in order to avoid implementing a 'monster.'" Did people get this part of it?

Guseva: In terms of implementing "monsters," I think we’ll never get away from this notion, unfortunately, simply due to sheer complexity of WEM/WCM projects. However, yet again, I can only advise that companies implementing a WCM system exercise due diligence in selecting not only the right software, but the right implementation partner. In the ideal world, you wouldn’t marry someone just for the looks, right? :) Same applies to selecting an implementation partner -- someone who not only looks good on the PowerPoint presentation, but has proven experience and knowledge about a particular CMS.

CMSWire: Getting as many people involved in the implementation/buying process was a theme of yours for 2014. Did organizations pull this off?

Guseva: In 2014, I’ve been impressed to see how many organizations are getting more and more educated in regards to the software-buying process. Many companies are indeed realizing that a WCM system affects many people and departments in the organization, and are looking to involve the right stakeholders to ensure success down the road.

CMSWire: You discussed last year people rejecting new CMSs because it doesn't fit their needs. Did you see more of this, or did organizations do a better job of buying CMSs that ALL in the organization can use?

Guseva: Lack of user adoption can happen to anyone and any time. Just like in PR, it is not only about planning, but also about crisis management. Again, selecting the right software and the right implementation partner, along with proper planning and strategizing with the right stakeholders involved should help avoid those unfortunate “I hate this CMS” situations.

CMSWire: What are your predictions for innovation in this space in 2015?

Guseva: I think there’s a lot of room for innovation in the WEM/WCM space -- despite the fact that this technology is 20 years old. It all revolves around your customer. Online, offline, on-screen, off-screen, any screen -- your customers need to be nurtured and provided value in all those environments.