How will collaboration, information and experience management change in 2012? Digital business in 2012 will see an evolution, rather than a revolution, meaning the biggest trends of the coming year have already entered the market and are just now gaining steam. 2012 will be a year in which adaptive device and content delivery, as well as business intelligence around big data, will be fine-tuned to finally provide users with the experience that they have been promised over the past decade. Also expect to see continued acquisitions of independent Web CMS companies by technology giants.

Adaptive Device & Content Delivery + Web Apps = Winning!

The long-held promise of a mobile internet is here, but what exactly does that mean? Consumers are using Siri on their iPhone to buy their significant other flowers, they are depositing checks into their savings account via their Android camera and they are staying connected with friends via social networks on their tablet.

This is great for the consumer, but trying to capitalize on the proliferation of possible customer touchpoints is proving overwhelming for enterprises. This challenge is only amplified by the rise of tablets, adding to the complexity and fragmentation of the market. Forrester Research predicts that in 2012, tablet sales will start to outpace notebooks -- making it critical that companies determine how to incorporate the tablet into their mobile strategy. Couple these devices with a plethora of operating systems, and it’s apparent: the mobile market necessitates the usage of an adaptive device delivery platform, which allows for the efficient delivery and optimization of web content on multiple channels.

In 2012, businesses that combine this strategy with a web app approach will be best positioned to capitalize on the business opportunities afforded by the mobile web. Web apps will see increased adoption in 2012, but this won’t be the year that they dominate the marketplace. It will take longer than one year for web apps to soundly defeat native apps, and it will be interesting to see how the popularity of app stores for consumers and enterprises alike will affect web app adoption.

Big Data Meets Business Intelligence

“Big data” has to be one of the most overused terms of 2011, and it will continue to be in 2012 – but that is not my prediction. My prediction is that big data and analytics tools will evolve and enable enterprises to better harness this data across the enterprise in real-time.

I’ve read about tools that clean, present and organize big data, but even with these advanced tools, companies are still drowning in a sea of data. The question remains -- how can companies harness big data to deliver business value? More specific to Web CMS, how can a website publisher use analytics and big data to refine their web presence? That’s the billion dollar question.

Big data tools will evolve in 2012 to provide actionable data, improving business processes. They will break down information silos, warehouses and applications across the enterprise to liberate data flow, empowering individuals to make business decisions in better alignment with the overall corporate strategy. The tools will also present data in a way where it can easily be analyzed by business users in real-time and be immediately incorporated into strategy, campaigns, etc., facilitating enterprise-wide collaboration.

In Web CMS, marketers will have access to actionable data at their fingertips, enabling them to create more unique context-based experiences for each user. Unlocking data such as buying history, touchpoint and profile information will help create better user experiences and drive engagement. It will also enable marketers to be move involved in the content creation process, bringing in the third heat to Web CMS more prominently than ever before. In the end, this will bring businesses one step closer to a truly collaborative and “social” business.

Learning Opportunities

This data will come from many sources, including customer behavior, social networks and other enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP and corporate intranets. In order for this to become actionable data, however, it must be accessible to the Web CMS system. This means that your Web CMS can’t be a black box; it must be a truly interoperable system. This integration will be another key requirement for 2012.

Web CMS Consolidation Continues, Validates Business Value

In 2010, Adobe acquired Day Software. In 2011, Oracle bought FatWire and Autonomy became part of HP. Web CMS used to be an industry where small independent companies drove innovation, but it looks like the tide has changed.

These acquisitions underscore the fact that some of the biggest names in the IT industry see Web CMS at the center of the content ecosystem and as a driver of business value. Best of breed Web CMS platforms pull data from across the enterprise and incorporate context into user experiences. They can create smart modules that can be assembled on-demand and provide unique experiences regardless of the touchpoint and can interoperate with all other technology solutions and scale with your company as its web presence grows.

Technology giants like Oracle and Adobe have realized this and have made it a priority to own a Web CMS solution that can be the hub of their content ecosystem. However, these acquisitions will impact the industry and raise questions regarding how vendors can support customers who seek to meet the growing demands and expectations of their online audiences. These organizations may have deep pockets, but do they have the focus and ability to continue to develop and support the platforms they have acquired? While the impact of these acquisitions remain unclear, expect Web CMS consolidation to continue in 2012 as other companies discover the business value of Web CMS.

Like everyone else, I will be interested to see how my predictions fare in the coming year. Regardless of how it all pans out, it’s an exciting time to be in Web CMS as businesses realize more and more that their Web CMS platform is critical to the success of the business. I would love to hear your thoughts on these, as well as any predictions that you think I may have missed.

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