Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Author: Rita Warren

CMS Challenges Survey Results

In December 2006, I conducted a mini survey of content management professionals to find out what they have experienced as the biggest challenges when implementing a CMS. I found the results to be pretty interesting and worthwhile sharing with the CM community at large.

To view the survey results, you can download the PDF from my site at Also checkout my related article on the CMS-Wire site titled “Things that Go Bump in Your CMS Project.

One Consulant’s Predictions for CM in 2007

This is the time of year when the experts come out with predictions, so how about for content management?

Here are 3 of my top predictions:

  1. Web 2.0 will continue to be big, but by the end of the year won’t be called that anymore, and much of the hoopla will be over.
  2. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (with it’s unfortunate nickname MOSS) will be much more widely implemented than expected, but not always for the right reasons.
  3. The era of “Customer-Centric Content Management’ as introduced by The Rockley Group will start to gain significant momentum. (As I’ve felt it should have a while ago, as alluded to in my Gilbane blog entry from Aug ’06 about CMS and CRM.)

What are your predictions? Love to see your comments!

Managing CM Projects: There must be a better way!

I know I’m not alone here when I say that content management projects are HARD to do right. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this subject – particularly around the project management aspect of it. All is rosy at the beginning when you put together a master project plan, but it seems that within a very short time, you’re heading towards scope creep, over budget, way over schedule, and stress! There must be a better way.

Over the span of my career (the last 15 years or so), a project manager has become standard fare for any corporate IT project. As I’m sure many of you recall, however, there was a time when having a person dedicated as a “Project Manager” was seen as an unnecessary frill. Thankfully, that’s changed (in most places).

When you embark on something as complex as a major content management initiative, not only do you need a dedicated project manager, you need a highly skilled and experienced project manager. That’s another issue.

The good news is that organizations like the Project Management Institute (PMI) have their PMP certification, which I believe sets a really good foundation for project managers. But even PMP certified individuals who have managed other types of system implementations or software development projects may struggle with a content project.

So what’s different about content management projects?

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A Marriage between CMS and CRM?

I try keep up with the latest trends in IT strategy. (Some of my favorite sites are Darwin and IT Business Edge.) You know, the topics that are of interest to CIOs and other top-level business and technology minds. And I have to say that content management comes up sometimes in the trades, but when it comes to major headlines, all the rage these days is CRM—Customer Relationship Management.

It is interesting to me that CMS and CRM seem to have followed similar paths in terms of starting out as not-well-understood concepts and growing into fairly well defined systems with a prescribed set of functionality.

What I haven’t seen a lot of, though, to my surprise, is many people making a connection between CM and CRM—what to me would seem like a perfect marriage.

If you look at the many facets of CRM, you’ll find that it’s often very intricately interwoven (no product plug intended) with content. Take, for example, these aspects of CRM:

  • Sales & Marketing Automation. A key task in the sales and marketing side of CRM is educating the customer (the well-targeted customer) about your products. How do you do that? You arm your sales staff, your Web site, e-mails, you call center teams, and your advertising channels with great content.
  • Customer Care. The support piece of CRM relies heavily upon the discipline that we refer to as knowledge management. Especially in the area of post-sales support or tech support, where organizations are pushing for more self-service. This is a no-brainer. If you’re going to empower the customer to help themselves, how do you do it? With content.
  • Personalization. I’ve long touted the fact that personalized communications with customers is a fabulous idea, but don’t even think about personalization until you have a solid content management foundation. I mean, seriously, it’s one thing to say, hey we’ve been able to divide our customers into these tiny demographic groups so we can send them messages that are right on target. But, guess what? Those targeted messages are content. Where should they live if not in a CMS?.

So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that there’s a potential new wave on the technology horizon. Maybe not tsunami size, but definitely good for surfing. It’s the vendors who start to recognize the powerful link between CMS and CRM.

In my crystal ball, the lines between knowledge management, content management, and customer relationship management will start to blur. As some already have, more CRM vendors will include document management (for things like managing contracts) in their suites. The Web plays a huge role in CRM. Will we see mergers of WCM and CRM companies?

Ironically, it almost seems that we’ve come full-circle back to the birthplace of CM (circa 1996) when Broadvision and Vignette dominated the CM marketplace and it was all about one-to-one customer communications. That (broad) vision was apparently too hard to realize back then! Maybe it’s possible now.

P.S. I’d love to hear your comments if you’ve been involved with any CMS/CRM integrations! Please add a comment or e-mail me at

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