Who should #fixwcm?

It started with an intention to solve the world’s WCM problems at Aarhus09.

Analysts felt that there is something broken in WCM that needs to be fixed. To figure out what exactly is broken they all jumped on Twitter under #fixwcm hashtag and started tweeting it with a whole lot of questions, comments, concerns, advice, and inputs.

What motivated me to write this post was the fact that most of the tweets were just raising the issues and none of the Analysts tried to address the way they would want to fix a particular issue. Then the tweets took a bizarre turn and the blame game started. Fingers were raised against Customer’s Business Team, Customer’s IT staff, Vendors, SI’s, Architecture, a mix of all these and whatnot.

Sitting at my office, I was wondering if anything was perfect. Well, there is always room for improvement, keeping this in mind I start by saying that WCM is not weak and down and does not need an instant hotfix to have it up and running. However, we need to identify the problems and fix them.

I could not restrict myself to 140 characters, so here is my take-

WCM Market/Vendors: It is a mature market with a high level of healthy competition with quality offerings. Vendors have gone beyond providing workflow, publishing, multilingual, multi-site capabilities. Competition among vendors is high and those who provide innovative solutions out of the box, easy to implement utilities at a lower cost, usually take the pie. They keep their product abreast with Web2.0, integrations with LDAP, Content delivery on the portal environment, or adhering to open standards and the list goes on.

#fix: Every platform/product has limitations, therefore, Customers need to identify which vendor suits best for their requirements. Customers should take help from analysts firms or consultants and include their IT staff to identify if the offerings from the vendors are technically correct.

Roadmap and Objective: OK, so you want to implement a WCM for your enterprise. Good…btw what are you going to do with it? What are the purpose and the business objective? Will it be a profit center or a cost center? Who is the target audience? Is it for internal employees, customers, partners, microsite, or a website? Where do you see the WCM implementation after 3 years?

Primarily, figure out your business objectives. It is important to align business objectives with the WCM solution. You should have a clear roadmap and your profit objectives must be aligned to your WCM investments. Profit not just in terms of $$$ but maybe in terms of relationship with your customers, partners, suppliers, etc etc. You should also keep a track of the returns on your investments. You might need to revisit your objectives and the implementation if you are not getting the expected returns.

#fix: Change your ideology. Use WCM as a tool that will give you some profit. Do not invest just for the sake of implementing a technology or a product. Have a business justification for the investments you are going to make. Associate each of your high-level needs with some measurable CTS (critical to success) parameters and keep measuring/refining until you get the expected results.



System Integrators (SIs): These folks contribute a lot to a WCM project’s success and failure. Know your SI, make sure they have enough expertise and experience in the solution design, implementation, and delivery. Ask for proof of concept, not in the content authoring, workflow, publishing, archiving part but specific to your implementation standpoint. Check what they have to do for the integration points. SI’s on the other hand must refrain from being biased towards a particular vendor and influence the customer

#fix: Customer should communicate their business and technical requirements to the SI’s to get what they need. Do not hide anything to save cost, this might lead to an adverse effect in near future. Do not go ahead with any WCM vendor/SI if you have only 20% of the requirement. SI’s at the same time should tie the solution around customer’s present and future requirements around WCM products. System Integrator should educate the customer if a single product or a mix of few can fulfill the requirement. SI’s should also educate/advise the customer on how to leverage the best of WCM by integrating it with the Customer’s existing infrastructure (If, in case).

End Users: You have to know your audience- People accessing CMS directly or indirectly, from the internet or intranet, be it partner, customer, supplier, website visitor, personalized content visitor, etc. You need to know who is invited to your party. Are you giving them the attention they require? Are you serving the right content at the right time when they need it? Are they party-goers/ regular visitors?

Investments in Web Analytics might be a bad idea for few companies during a recession, but I think they act as a guide to know your WCM implementation better. Try to factor in Analytics while budgeting for WCM, this is going to help you to find the source of your profit.

#fix: No fix required, add sugar to make your coffee sweet. Try playing “Roller Coaster Tycoon 2” (Part of my #sixsigma project these days) and analyze your customer’s view/take on your park and try to co-relate with your WCM objective.

Yes, the stats of WCM project failures are bad. We can’t blame a single entity in the WCM ecosystem. If vendors are involving themselves in CMIS or JCRs, why can’t analysts develop WCM  benchmarks, models, evaluation criteria and then trace it to see who needs a #fix 🙂

6 thoughts on “Who should #fixwcm?

Add yours

  1. I would say that setting the compelling vision is the most important, which is similar to what you’re saying about objective/roadmap. But I also think it’s important that everyone involved in the implementation shares this vision (so it might be more simplified than the full roadmap).

    In general, I believe that CMS implementation success has a lot more to do with setting vision and having a good process in place, always product managing the implementation as you go forward. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this recently and would love to hear about your thoughts on the approach I’m suggesting — see http://hobbsontech.com/content/web-site-migration-implementation-or-redesign-five-steps and http://hobbsontech.com/content/priorities-successful-web-site-cms-implementation for example.

  2. I think that WCM products in market as mature enough and doesn’t really need a fix. What requires a fix is our approach of understanding the product and using it in context of the business. Also, one important aspect is that business needs to be taught what WCM is; setting strainght guidelines else we always keep patching up WCM in some or the other way 🙂

  3. Thanks for your valuable comments.
    I personally will not blame the “WCM product” unless the vendor promises for something which they don’t offer.
    I think SI’s should morally be more responsible and act as a bridge between the vendor and customer, product and outcome, feature and functionality.
    @David – Very informative posts.
    @Shishank – I agree. Business should be educated and that’s what we are paid for 😉 isn’t it?

    1. Lokesh I think the responsibility lies with actual product vendors and analysts to present the right picture and not just selling pitch. SI’s, in most cases, comes in when the product is already finalized and requirements are in place based on what the vendor projected about the product, without much say 🙂

  4. I will not blame product vendor or even the “sales” folks, because that’s part of their job of getting the sales coming in whichever way it comes (right or wrong). As I previously wrote the #fix being –
    “Customer should take help from analysts firms or consultants and include their IT staff to identify if the offerings from the vendors are technically correct”.

    I agree, most of the time SI pitch-in when the “product” is already finalized. Even in that case, I(as SI) will think of revisiting the requirements and mapping them with the tools/functionality/API/methods the vendor is supposed to or have given/promised to the customer.

    For the cases where SI is also responsible for proposing a product and solutioning around the product, then SI should be responsible for the outcome. [Some agreement or may be an aggressive SOW might work here]

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