Friday, October 12, 2007

WCM in Roma

I am writing this on a flight back from Rome where I have just led a 2 day seminar on Web Content Management. I had to step in at the last minute to cover for Tony Byrne, so its been a crazy few days.

Crazy but interesting (and Rome is not the worst place to suddenly find yourself!) - the real stress for me was working through 165 slides that I had never seen before, on a topic that I haven't covered closely in quite some time.

Hence it was a relief to find out how little things in the WCM world had changed over the past few years. Not all that surprising I guess - WCM hit the market and exploded around 2000. Seven years on seems about the right time for it to be looking for new horizons - and from what I observed over those few days in Rome, change may be just around the corner.
The major WCM tools are looking dated, and in need of not just a revamp, but a major overhaul in some cases. Though I am not the real expert on this topic (Tony is) my 2 cents is that they (the vendors) are already behind the curve and have a a different set of priorities in mind to their customer base.

Frankly I don't think high value, high end WCM buyers and users care less about ECM - but WCM vendors have been bitten hard by the ECM virus - a virus that can result in a potentially deadly condition that leaves you with delusions of grandeur.

Btw: First time I have changed planes at Madrid Airport - impressive place! Though I do not recommend the potato omelet sandwiches - a little on the heavy side I found.....


tw said...

Hi Alan --
Next time you and Tony can't do an event in Rome, just give me a call ;=)

You're right about the siren song of ECM, but then the analysts (present company excepted, perhaps) made up a good part of the chorus. The major US firms folded WCM into their ECM coverage, which meant that certain WCM-centric vendors (ahem) disappeared from from the reports altogether for a few years. And not that long ago, one big analyst firm was predicting that WCM would disappear as a distinct software category by 2007!

Happily, this didn't happen. (One of my analyst presentations around 2005 was entitled "Inconveniently not dying.") And the reasons it didn't happen were, I'll bet, a key topic at your event in Rome: In short, the revolutionary shift from product- or company-centric sites to customer- and constituent-centric sites means that the web experience is at least as important (usually much more so) than just the efficient management of content. (I stress "just," since CM is certainly still very important.) While ECM was getting reasonably good at the back end work of repository management, end-user demands are forcing the W back into CM.

Tim Walters,
FatWire Software

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Hey Tim great comments for a vendor ;-)

To be honest I was probably one of the first analysts to bundle the two together whilst at Ovum around 99 - big mistake!

I was wrong - WCM and ECM are separate :-)