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WCM - what it will become

CMS with hybrid architecture

At the end of 2019, Gartner surprised us with the news that, in 2020, there will be no new Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Web Content Management (WCM). According to Gartner, this does not however signal the end of the product category WCM. Is WCM really still important for our target customers in the retail omnichannel and similar sectors?

A WCMS manages websites

Let’s start with the definition. A Web Content Management System is a product for managing websites. And as we all know, every organization today has a website. So, why no longer a need for WCM? Put simply, a website is no longer enough. 

Today, users expect many other digital channels to be offered alongside a website. All these channels need content and a separate content studio for each channel – will this work?

According to Wikipedia:

web content management system (WCM or WCMS) is a software content management system (CMS) specifically for web content. It provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools that help users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages create and manage website content.
A WCMS provides the foundation for collaboration, providing users the ability to manage documents and output for multiple author editing and participation. Most systems use a content repository or a database to store page content, metadata, and other information assets the system needs.

The users will decide

A few years ago, we discussed in the CMS expert group whether one can infer the user’s intention from the device used, and thus offer different content on different devices. From this idea was born special solutions for mobile websites, often with a significantly reduced amount of content.

Today, however, users would find this condescending and irritating. People use the device that is closest to hand. Nevertheless, they expect a uniform brand image. Therefore, the customer approach should be consistent across all channels and any information should be accessible via every channel.

A CMS manages content

In order to orchestrate such an ‘omnichannel experience’, many different systems would lead to an unmanageable workload in the editorial teams, not least because of the amount of coordination required between the different teams. It would therefore be better to have a central content studio covering all of the different channels. This minimizes the workload and improves the results.

However, such a CMS cannot be page-based; it should actually manage content. In other words, compiling the same content in different ways to suit the respective touchpoint.

A call-to-action button may work in an online shop, but not on a billboard


Ideally, a future-proof CMS should pursue a hybrid architectural approach, supporting both the active pushing of processed content by publishing it in consuming channels (for example, an HTML template for newsletter marketing or a classic website), as well as supplying it to systems that actively ‘pull’ specific content (for example, content for a single-page application or progressive web apps). If content push is definitely not relevant, then a ‘pure headless CMS’ may be sufficient.

The CMS as a central content hub for all channels is therefore an important component for any digital experience platform (DXP).

More information about DXP to follow in the next blog report!


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