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Just not an option …

There are some things in life that while positioned as “options”, to the majority of people really aren’t; air conditioning in a car in a warm climate, wireless on a computer, apps for a smart phone, fries with a burger. Well the same can be said for certain capabilities within a web content management (WCM) system.

I had the pleasure of moderating a  recent webinar and conversation with Boris Kraft, co-founder and CTO of Magnolia, and Digital Clarity Group’s founder and President Scott Liewehr on what the five core capabilities all WCM technologies should offer out of the box. These five core capabilities are not optional or extras when you consider the complexities (channel explosion, global audience, content proliferation, social, and consumer expectations) of today’s online environment.

The first of the five WCM core capabilities Boris and Scott discuss is the separation of content from presentation. This is a foundational element, and is critical to addressing the concept of the splinternet, where content is/needs to be re-purposed across different delivery channels.

Scott goes on to the importance of content categorization, and how it is essential to meeting expectations of being able to logically group content to how people will access it. And how it helps to enforce things like brand consistency and common language. Tagging and taxonomy are elements of the concept of content categorization.

The remaining three core capabilities focus more on the content provider centered functionality; the elements of a WCM that make managing a site’s content simple, efficient and effective.

Facilitated editing and workflow are the cornerstones to removing the frustration barrier many people feel when assigned a content management role. These features, when designed and built with the end user in mind, can provide a near seamless process that aligns with many other common workday online interactions, and allow the right people within the organization to contribute to the online content needed without a deep technical aptitude.

Counter to what many think version control and versioning, the last of the five core elements Scott expanded upon, are not the same thing.  Version control allows more than one user to work on the same document at the same time without overwriting each other. Versioning is the tracking of the evolution of a document or piece of content, so that you can revert to an earlier version of the same piece. Both these elements are vital for efficient content management.

So to boil it down to a couple of pieces of sage advice:

  • Don’t forget about what you, as an organization, currently do well in the realm of content management when looking at a WCM’s capabilities, and
  • While organizations are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the right-fit WCM, buyers need to do their homework carefully because in a market filled with software that claims to do it all, their ability to effectively deliver on these core competencies is critical.

For more detail on each of the five core WCM components, and to hear some great dialogue between Boris and Scott on their perspectives on other WCM related topics such as what is hot and how to prepare to talk to/engage with a technology vendor, check out the full recording of the Why Core Capabilities are Key to Successful WCM Implementations webinar.


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