Tuesday, February 28, 2006
ECM + WCM = ?
It's confession time - I got it wrong. Big time. In the late 90's Chris Harris-Jones and I wrote the book Web Content Management - Strategies, Technologies & Markets together. A central assertion of it was that WCM should be a part of ECM (or IDM as it was often called then). That assertion was largelly due to me arguing till I was blue in the face with Chris, who was far from convinced!
Yet if we look around us today - WCM and ECM are not managed together. Though some ECM vendors have built perfectly good WCM tools (Documentum being a good example), they still tend to sell them quite separately, and they are almost always deployed standalone from each other.
At the end of the day Web Content must be subject to the same retention/compliancy/record management rules and procedures as any other content. Currently it is seldom managed this way, if ever. In additon Web Content should not duplicate content - if content sits in repositories within the enterprise, these should be accessed as seamlessly as possible. But there, for all practical purposes the connection ends.
Document management, is for the most part either a tight process driven activity (such as claims processing) and/or a collaborative activity. WCM is primarily however a publishing and/or trading activity. The skill sets and methods for managing both differ widely.
What is clearly happening (to state it for the 100th time) is that DM and Workflow functionality is being absorbed into the infrastructure. But WCM activity is not. Rather it can be (most portals have some WCM capability), but in general is not. It is almost as if WCM is seeing something of a rebirth after its asscendency in the dot.com - and so it should. Problem is so many of the WCM solutions out their are unwieldy, difficult to use and incredibly proprietory in nature....in addition we have the added confusion that WCM is such a catch all term. Though there are lots of WCM tools available there are so many ways to manage a website that it's almost too broad. Compare an Interwoven with a Plone, a Fatwire, an IBM Websphere Portal or a SharePoint....all can 'manage' websites.....
Clearly a post that needs more thought, but a new thought train for sure :-)