Many are nor arguing that enterprise content management (ECM) is dead. Since Gartner research director Karen Hobert argued in a webinar that the next step in content management evolution after ECM is content services, there has been considerable speculation about the future of proprietary content management systems and what their future may be.

However, the alarm bells that were sounded across the industry in early 2017, when the "death" of content management was announced, were a little alarmist. Hobert was not arguing that content management software was no longer needed, but rather that ECM through content services needed to address a new set of problems that were being fed by the need to build superlative customer experiences.

Content Management Vs. Services

Content technology markets, Hobert explained, are evolving toward three areas: platforms, applications and components. This market addresses the next stage in enterprise content management (ECM), notably the content services platform (CSP) market.

A content services platform is a set of services and microservices, embodied either as an integrated product suite or as separate applications that share common APIs and repositories, to exploit diverse content types and to serve multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization. The crux of the problem is that organizations must rethink their strategies and the tools they buy — one size does not fit all. 

The notion that one monolithic solution can address all of an enterprise's content needs is no longer realistic. “I believe [what] Gartner means is that the previous approach employed by vendors to address ECM is dead and that customers are looking for newer, more modern solutions that better meet the needs of today’s enterprises,” shared Chris McLaughlin, chief marketing officer at Nuxeo, in a recent CMSWire interview.

The problem with legacy ECM systems is that is still difficult to break down silo walls and, consequently, difficult to access and use all content that is stored in the different siloes. The old ECMs are also difficult to integrate and are expensive in a modern, agile and cloud-driven environment.

Lazhar Ichir is the founder of UK-based TopicSeed, which uses natural language processing to create content marketing briefs. He pointed out that while content management systems have, for a very long time, been loved for their editing features, now that such writing and publishing flows are givens, content editors expect a lot more business-friendly features from their CMS. “Content management systems are where content lives. Beyond publishing, CMS must allow business owners and content marketers to extend the feature set using add-ons,” he said. 

So what should content management systems offer to workers?  According to the experts we interviewed here is a list of the must-haves for your CMS.

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1. Visually friendly

As a society we’re mostly visually stimulated, and for this reason, it's very important to have a platform that isn’t hard on the eyes, according to Nate Masterson of Maple Holistics. It needs to appear user-friendly and accessible. At the same time, it needs to have an appealing text and image layout.

2. Navigable

Along with an appealing interface, it must be easy to use, Masterson continued. There seems to always be room for improvement in this area. Think about it this way, the easier your platform is to use, the more people will come to rely on it. That means having a non-aggressive easy to use interface, while also being high performance and scalable.

Related Article: 11 Rules for Selecting the Right Content Management System (CMS)

3. Adding Modules

A module in ECM, or Web CMS, is a collection of code that adds a particular functionality to a website. The CMS system you need is a system that is scalable. “You need to be able to add new modules and elements overtime to transform your website into a real powerhouse. You don't want to find out that your CMS system isn't the right infrastructure for your business when it's too late. It could cost you lots of money,” he said.

CMS are not a goal in themselves — they must contribute to building the business, according to Gregory Golinski, digital marketing manager of UK based YourParkingSpace. The goal, he said, is to develop your business, and to do that, your website must be able to grow with it. 

4. Security

Resolute Technology Solutions is a Winnipeg, Canada-based provider of IT services to small, mid-sized and larger firms.  Colton De Vos, a marketing specialist at Resolute said enterprises should first and foremost have enough security best practices in place to truly protect all of the data stored on your site. In 2018, any enterprise CMS should have well documented security procedures about how they store and protect data that you can review when you're making your decision. 

  • Think about it strategically, what do you want to use your CMS for? 
  • Look for the right level of security support. 
  • Choose a CMS that can be securely and flawlessly integrated with your other enterprise software.

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Learning Opportunities

5. Guaranteed Support

Look for the right level of support. Each CMS will be supported differently and if you plan on custom coding or adding in any plugins, eventually something is going to break on you. Plan for it and make sure you have in-house support or that the CMS vendor will be able to fix issues that may arise.

6. Systems Integration

Choose a CMS that can be integrated with your other enterprise software. If you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM), marketing automation software, internal communication tools, email, or other software — see if you can integrate it with your CMS. That way you don't have to manually replicate changes in your other programs it will push out automatically.

7. Monitoring and Reporting Capabilities

Part of creating good content is knowing what's going on in your industry and keeping tabs on how your audience is responding to you. A good CMS  will have keyword monitoring and reporting capabilities so you can use one system to find content, stay up-to-date on the online conversation, and get performance analytics for your content.

8. Additional Integrations

For Anna Yates, content marketer for the Social Reach Agency there are integration features an enterprise of any size should be looking for when choosing a CMS. For example, only a few CMS currently support GoogleMyBusiness and Instagram Business profiles. But being active on these two platforms is important in today's online climate. 

Instagram is a no-brainer. Their ad revenue is predicted to double, reaching $10.87 billion by 2019 

GoogleMyBusiness boosts your website's SEO and traffic. You shouldn't ignore this platform. Finding a CMS that allows you to post to both of these platforms will make content publication a breeze. 

Blogs are a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry and get your content to the right people. A CMS that allows integration with your Wordpress, Blogspot, and Medium accounts will streamline and simplify the process. With the right CMS, you can write your blog and set SEO specifications before posting, then share your blog link on your social profiles — all from the same interface.

Social Design Integrations - Variety is good on your social profiles. You want to keep your audience engaged with videos, images, and graphics. So a CMS that allows you to create graphics and directly attach them to a post would be a curation dream come true! Certain CMS integrate with Canva and other design programs to allow you to make graphics and resize images directly from the CMS interface.