Enterprises don't lack for choices. In one of his final blog posts before leaving Forrester as an analyst, David Aponovich summed up the importance of web content management to creating digital customer experiences.
He wrote that “WCM has become an essential foundation for enabling successful digital experience efforts. And by doing so, it’s supporting one of the last things that corporations and brands can use to differentiate themselves.”
The article continues by looking at the expanding feature sets that are required of today’s new “sexy” (his words) tools such as visitor profiling, CRM, analytics, testing and cross channel reporting.
In almost all of these cases though, the enterprise isn’t starting from scratch. An existing WCM product will be replaced for one of these “sexy” new tools. So as marketers examine their needs and switch out to new solutions, they naturally start to wonder whether these types of products will meet all of the challenges they face. Will they enable them to create these experiences faster and more flexibly than ever before?
Unfortunately, it's still the case that when they turn to consultants or some of their more technically-minded colleagues for advice, the basic architecture or language of the solution gets in the way of viewing it as flexible and fast or not.
What these businesses need to realize is that it’s not what the product is written in -- it’s how it’s written that determines flexibility.
You Don't Have to Choose Between Scalable and Agile
When reviewing a new system, one of the key challenges that face large enterprises is speed. It’s almost universal now that marketing and communications groups want to move more quickly, and so a system that enables flexibility and agility is high on the requirements list. This is the point that the alleged (and I believe false) compromise is usually made. The enterprise has to choose whether to replace the existing enterprise-wide system with a series of lightweight Web CMSs or blogging tools that may not scale, or another enterprise system that may again slow things down.
This is where the language and architecture bias sets in. Opinions come racing in: “Choose a PHP based system -- it’s faster and more flexible.” Or it might be “choose a .NET system -- it’s built for developing enterprise-level solutions.” Or “choose a Java solution -- it’s more secure and scalable.”