Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The future of Enterprise Content Management?

Enterprise Content Management 365 logo
I usually scan over the Penton email newsletter about Content Management because James Brown is an entertaining writer and Content Management is one of my continuing interests (passions?). In his last email, James announced a new series of articles on Penton Europe's CM365 site, the first of which was entitled "The future of Web Content Management", by Adrian Kershaw, Fatwire Software's General Manager for Northern Europe.

I read the article and was surprised that, while mentioning personalization and news, it did not mention Weblogs, RSS and aggregation. I left a comment to that effect, as the web site invited readers to "Add a comment to this article" and hoped to engage Adrian and others into a conversation about how RSS might impact ECM.

Unfortunately, it looks like comments are a one way street at CM365. Four days later, my comment still hasn't turned up on the site.
So we might well ask:

  • Why give customers the ability to leave comments when they don't show up on the site?
  • What do Enterprise Content Management vendors think about Weblogs and RSS?
  • What are they afraid of?

We are left with the impression that Content Management Vendors are not looking to learn from the Weblog/RSS phenomenon. They no longer call themselves CMS (Content Management Systems) vendors and have re-branded themselves as being in the "Enterprise Content Management" business. And of course there is a whole industry which is supported by the ECM market: the Analysts, the "Journalists" and the Trade Show organizers. Needed, because customers are confused by the bewildering array of vendors and price points. And in some cases, customers are coming to realize that the Emperor has few clothes and that they're very expensive.

There are millions of users of Personal Content Management Systems (a name which ECM vendors might prefer over "blogs"). Sure, blogging tools are in many cases, crude and unpolished. Users put up with the rough edges because the tools serve their purpose, they allow them to communicate in a way that they couldn't before. It is "Comments, RSS and Aggregators" that lets them turn one-way communication into a conversation with whoever they imagine their readers to be.

That's not to say that there aren't interesting problems to be solved when managing large amounts of content or that it isn't useful having a predictable framework to build a web site, but one would think that Enterprises would want to communicate as well as manage their content.

Weblogging is disrupting the CMS market and vendors will ignore it at their peril . The Innovator's Dilemma and Solution by Clayton Christensen (not to mention the Cluetrain Manifesto) should be required reading for ECM vendors.

Oh… and Adrian, I feel you describe the past of Web Content Management, rather than its future, no matter what Rupert Murdoch or Forrester might have said. Like you, they have a particular perspective which is not be shared by literally millions of bloggers.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for not getting the comment up on the site sooner, but I've been away in Barcelona attending an industry conference to gather more new material for ECM365.

Having come back and checked things out, I found out that the posting has been blocked by a technical fault in our CMS, which our development team has just finished fixing.

I've also been in contact with Adrian to ask him to post a reply.

Thanks very much for the nice comments about the newsletter.

James Brown
Online News Editor
ECM365

9:04 pm  
Blogger Marius Coomans said...

Thanks for that, James. It's good to hear there is a flesh and blood human behind the site after all! Let's hope we can promote a healthy discussion about where (E)CMS is headed.

Marius

9:26 pm  
Blogger Marius Coomans said...

James,
I checked, and the comments are "back" now, but they are still moderated and you conveniently "moderated-out" one of my comments which linked back to this post. Unfortunately also, comments are separated from the article by a couple of screens full of sponsored listings. It is no wonder that the site has few comments from "readers". Your virtual tradeshow feels like it is full of spruikers with loud hailers while any attendees have their mouths sealed with tape before entering.

6:45 am  
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7:50 am  
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6:42 pm  

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