There are many different perspectives on what's big in web content management (WCM) this year, and where better to hear them then from the crow's nests of WCM vendors themselves? Following are a number of brief interviews we conducted at the recent Gartner PCC and Forrester Marketing Forum events.

Multi-Channel Engagement

Yes, WCM has evolved to be about much more than publishing content to websites, and most WCM vendors have recognized this evolution and adapted.

The Year of the Mobile User

When asked our question, Sitecore's (newssite) SVP Marketing, Darren Guarnaccia, said that they believe the number one driver to multi-channel engagement will be mobile. Supporting this channel will be tricky, Guarnacia said, because you have to re-think the entire experience, not just resize it. But mobile is just the start. Here is Darren explaining more:

Fatwire's (newssite) Partner Manager, Eric Atkinson, shares a similar view as Sitecore -- that engaging experiences are key and that mobile is a top priority this year.

Tracking & Managing the Experience

Bart Heilbron, CEO of GX Software (newssite) talks about tracking your customer in real-time across all your channels. The key here, in his view, is that organizations can use many different technologies to engage with customers (i.e., more than one Web CMS, multiple social networks, multiple devices, twitter, etc.), so they need to be able to track what customers are doing independent of the underlying technology.

GX Software is different from many other Web CMS vendors in that they have broken out their core web engagement and online marketing tools into a separate product called BlueConic (read more about BlueConic here).

Optimizing the Digital Experience

Bobby Caudill, Adobe System's (newssite) Experience Architect, identified three key trends for WCM this year:

  1. The explosion of multi-screen applications
  2. The need to optimize digital experiences
  3. The digital enterprise itself

All this means the need for a Customer Experience Management (CEM) strategy that enables organizations to create, deliver and optimize the customer experience. Stay tuned the next few days as we dig further into Adobe's new Customer Experience Platform, the fruit of the Omniture and Day Software acquisitions.

CoreMeida: Context -- Anytime, Any Device, Any Platform

The definition of the web has changed from static to a dynamic, two way, multi-touch, multi-device experience. Which means, according to Doug Heise, CoreMedia's (newssite) Product Marketing Director, that people are expecting to be able to access web content in a lot of different ways. Not only that, people expect a consistent, personalized experience. And the key element across it all? Context.

Learning Opportunities

Context will be critical, agrees Ektron's (newssite) Chief Marketing Officer, Tom Wentworth. He talks about how Web Content Management was all about improving productivity by empowering business users. And that's great. But now, according to Tom, content without context isn't enough to drive business outcomes.

Are We Really There Yet?

Anthony Milner, Elcom's (newssite) Product Manager makes a really great point. What WCM practitioners see as hot this year, is not necessarily what organizations see as reality in the trenches. Many are still working through the basics of web content management (working on things like integration and building their intranets). They aren't all ready to take on the entire customer experience. 

This theme is echoed in our recent reader poll: How Advanced are your engagement practices.

There's Much Work to Be Done

So what are the key takeaways? You need to be thinking about your customers and how they experience your brand across channels and devices, and how you can to effectively engage with them. It's about multi-channel, personalized, contextual experiences. It's also about feedback loops and optimization. You need to put in place the tactics and technologies that will provide the best experiences.

And finally, for all those WCM vendors listening. A strong focus on CEM/WEM is needed, but you can't forget about those customers that are still working on the basics.  Vendors building the next generation of Web infrastructure will be challenged this year to not only develop their WEM/CEM strategy, but to bridge the gap between their vision of the future and the actual maturity of their technology implementations.