Web content management (WCM) has long served as the core technology for delivering content.

"But now it's central to delivering great experiences,” said David Aponovich, senior director of digital experience at Boston-based Acquia. “It’s powering the next generation of digital experience.”  

Aponovich delivered this message in the CMSWire webinar, “Top 5 Criteria You’re Overlooking in WCM Selection.”

Companies want to “retain customers in the new era of digital.” WCM becomes the most important technology selection that enables a strong digital experience. That’s why you can’t ignore some important factors as you select, upgrade or simply manage your WCM.

No. 1: Make Them Love It

Create a "lovable WCM authoring environment": an authoring experience that’s fast, easy and effective. This is perhaps the most common struggle with Web CMS selections. And it’s also the place where organizations can gain credibility and efficiency.

“We’re seeing a pent-up demand for better authoring tools,” Aponovich said. “For so long, the author has been ignored when a CMS is built and delivered to the market. Authors are the last in line to get what they need, which is a smooth, easy-to-use, convenient tool with familiar interfaces.”

Aponovich said the good news is platforms tend to be leaning toward ensuring authors are being thought of in a way they haven’t before.

“It should be easy, fast and fun,” Aponovich said.

No. 2: Support Integration

A WCM without solid integration capabilities within your organization’s technology ecosystem is like pizza without cheese. Integration with WCM has been happening for a long time, Aponovich said. Now, however, it’s more important with the rise of so many tools.

“You’re not going to have it standalone,” Aponovich said. “You need your WCM to deliver great experiences by leveraging best of breed solutions. You have to ask how well does your WCM integrate? What does it integrate with? How long does it take to integrate?”

No. 3: WCM Is ‘Not a Suite-in-a-Box’

Acquia provides web hosting for the open-source content management system Drupal via its Acquia Cloud.

Aponovich said the all-encompassing marketing suite promises — or marketing clouds — may claim to be all things to all people.

The reality, Aponovich said, is best of breed approaches are winning over the large marketing suites because they provide greater flexibility.

“You need flexibility to plug in and plug out to deliver the best possible experiences,” Aponovich said. “Are you buying a WCM solution or a marketing cloud or suite?”

The marketing cloud notions are predicated on building marketing sites.

“But,” Aponovich said, “in a digital-first enterprise, you’re thinking beyond just marketing and you're digitizing all business processes. That takes a platform that is flexible and can be extended to all areas.”

No. 4: Cloudy Days Ahead

CIOs may have shuttered at this in the past, but organizations are moving to the cloud for good, valid reasons, Aponovich said.

The cloud has proven to be an “effective, fast and innovative platform” for digital experience delivery. "Acquia’s had a cloud-first model for the past eight years. This is reality: enterprises worldwide are making cloud their first choice.”

Organizations can innovate at enterprise scale and manage challenging infrastructure that supports WCM so they can focus on front-end experiences, he said.

No. 5: Get Personalized

acquia

Personalization is a disruptive innovation, requiring new organizational structure and planning and technology investments, Aponovich said. These changes take time and energy to implement, but pay massive dividends for the customer and the business.

“To personalize digital content, organizations first must gather deeper insights into what their customers want and need,” he added. “Then comes delivery — ensuring that personalized content is sent to the right channel or device. ... Speaking to an audience en masse through a static web presence is no longer an option. Visitors have higher expectations for their digital experiences, and businesses must invest in solutions which enable them to meet those expectations.”

Still, Aponovich said he sees organizations with websites that lack technology to personalize experiences.

“These capabilities in a WCM directly impact your ability to create a content experience that’s personalized for your visitors,” Aponovich said. “How well does your content respond in a personalization environment? It’s all about in-context delivery.”