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Inside the content management universe, there are vendors who promote their technologies, customers trying to pick just the right one and analysts who try to bridge the gap.

One of the most colorful analysts in the enterprise information management space is Irina Guseva, senior analyst for the Real Story Group and an occasional contributor to CMSWire.

Starting her career as a broadcast, print and online journalist, she later worked as a web CMS practitioner and industry consultant. In all, she has more than 15 years of experience with content technologies -- a very long time in an industry that evolves so rapidly.

In the first of a new feature for CMSWire, we asked Guseva five questions to take her pulse on the state of the industry.

'The Year of Nothing'

Murphy: What do you think is the most significant advance this year in content management?

Guseva: In the CMS industry, this was the year of nothing. That is, no significant advancements. I can't say the industry is in stagnation, but definitely it is in the process of soul-searching. The most common theme I've seen in the past months is cloud. Sometimes, that term means nothing more than a bunch of loosely integrated applications under the customer experience management (CXM) suite umbrella of some sorts, which you may be able to run as a VMWare image.

Murphy: Sometimes it seems like nobody is entirely happy with their CMS. Why is that? False expectations? Inadequate research? Something else?

Guseva: Human beings are hard to satisfy in general. Have you been on a commercial flight lately?

In the CMS industry, there are many happy campers, and as many depressed content management workers. Clearly, there's no one recipe to cure this plague of CMS dissatisfaction. In general, I'd say it's the complexity around this type of enterprise software that puts people off. In the enterprise search industry, folks expect every search engine to act like Google. In the CMS world, everyone wants their web CMS to be as easy as WordPress.

Murphy: What has surprised you most in the evolution of content management over the past few years?

Guseva: Is this the part where we talk about departures of prominent CMS professionals to join competing firms?

Seriously, being an analyst, I am a tough critic. I can't say I was truly surprised by anything in particular. I am a little sad — nostalgic — to see the former industry founding giants fade away, not being able to compete under the pressure of newer technologies. Darwinism, one might say.

Murphy: If you were tasked and given the budget to acquire a new CMS, would you do it now or wait?

Guseva: If you have a budget and still managing raw HTML (or sustaining a CMS that is no longer meeting your business goals), you don't wait to get a new CMS. You go into the procurement process if CMS is a business critical application for you.

Murphy: What's the most common mistake that buyers make in choosing a CMS?

Guseva: After under-buying and over-buying, the most common mistake I see in buying a CMS is looking at the wrong list of vendors. The WCM marketplace is saturated and hard to navigate, in truthfulness. Many organizations fall victims to this complexity and chose from completely wrong tools.

They think: "My uncle Bob's firm uses system X, it must be good" or "At my other company, we used system A, it must be a good enough choice for this company, too" or "Well, that system Z vendor took us out to a nice bar and paid for our fancy cocktails, they must be doing well as a company because their system is good." This type of thinking is a recipe for a CMS disaster.