The Future of Content Management, the follow up

The Future of Content Management is something that I have thought about for a while. But without a good conclusion and so I decided to open it to the floor of CMS Gurus. So I posted a few weeks ago and went on holiday. Not the ideal way to create a meme, but I could not wait to get started. On my holiday I did not have the chance nor the inclination to even think about it. However, a week back from holiday I owe you all a follow up post with at least the highlights.

Today, as I write this post, I am flying between Amsterdam and Chicago on my way to San Francisco. I did not take the direct flight – before anyone points that out – because of the time I have to be back. My flight this morning was overbooked but they guaranteed me a seat on the plane and told me that I would find out later where I will sit. As it turns out, I got an upgrade to business class. Moments before I found that out I heard an announcement about an option for people to upgrade to business class for 450 Euros. I tisked scornfully under my breath and mumbled something about being an idiot to take up the option. Moments later I was in business class for free and I suddenly felt allot more important. Now that is what I call value for money!

So in-between sipping my white wine and I shall have a look at what everyone wrote about the Future of Content Management…

Whilst many of you professed and inability to look into the future, it was clear you all have more than an idea on many aspects. Some of us have more of a dream than others… some of posted based upon your leaning from either ECM, WCM and commercial or open source. And some wrote their own rules to how they were going to respond. As my only rule was “there are no rules” I liked the spirit of doing something different.

I cannot really attempt to outline exactly what everyone said; it is just too much to take on in a way that would justify the meaning of each article. For that you need to read them for yourself and you will find the links at the bottom.

With the recent acquisitions and the general downturn it is likely that the face of vendors will change more that is already has done over the course of the next year. The recent Forrester and Gartner reports have re-asserted some companies positions and surprise people with how some of the reports view other companies. Those that do well will no doubt pick on the weak until we lose a few more vendors. Is Open Source the way? Well as Adriaan Bloem pointed out Open Source is just another license. If commercial software has trappings then Open Source does too, just different ones. I am not a believer that open source will over take commercial software, just that commercial software will leverage open source (and especially open connectivity) just as well as Open Source. In that the playing field will remain level for a long time to come.

I hope and pray monolithic vendors die a slow and painful death but I just know uncreative people will continue to advise customers to invest in such solutions.

“I’ve been in this WCM industry awhile, so lets put aside the crystal ball a minute and ask if we have yet delivered on the CMS promise of 10 years ago? ”

Judging by the thoughts from everyone the simple answer is NO.

Whilst Ian was talking about making the people have the power, the quote fits right in here too. We all grumbled about the lack of standards and the continuation of proprietary standards that rule our customers. There is CMIS but it lacks a really usable implementation and JCR just is not a standard. Yes, it is if you use java but not for the rest of the world.

Uniform repository access will definitely help but mostly it is going to help with being able to migrate systems and join multiple systems together. In the end if we cannot fix even the smallest of real world problems you can forget trying to get two different CMS systems to just “Plug and Talk” On the other hand it is good to know that Sense/Netbarely has any serious CMS vendor issues that have been upsetting customers throughout the years”, even if the list was not complete.

I spend allot of time thinking about this (well OK, a little bit of time) and it is something I like to hear people like Frank talk about. He has great views on what content is and how it should be used – but did not post on this topic (booo!). Challenges we have are how to use the content we have, how long should it exist and what even is content? Is the content that we produce going to live and die in a moment or does it have real life? Social media is perpetuating content that has a very limited life. When was the last time you looked for a Twitter post you had seen a while back? You do not, it has ceased to exist, it is an ex-piece of content. If anything Twitter is a discovery engine, you can discover what is going on, not where to buy a cheap car. This short life also means that some social content has a much more limited value and you can be more risky with it. However, most commercial CMS systems do not truly hand the power to the people, there is also limited tools to help employees create, manage and distribute content remotely or on the move which is something social media requires. For open source the picture gets better, but the most I can manage is Twitter from my iPhone.

That said, almost all vendors push social media connectivity as part of their products but as Ian points out “But, for all that, websites are still the destination – the majority of tweets are linking people with web content. “ So, do not only give us Twitter to tweet our content, give us the mobile application to write the content and then tweet it.

In the end the Twitter bubble will burst unless something happens to give it true value. If that happens the selling point of Content Management Systems will move to other new topics, and hopefully this will be a back to basics move on making content work powerfully rather than enhancing their offering with badly integrated applications that demo well.

The full list of articles is as follows:

There is still chance to contribute to the discussion by posting your view on the Future of Content Management. We did not hear from a great many people, if you post then do not forget to tag your post.

Hashtag: #CMSFuture
MD5 tag for your posts: 6f82f1d2683dc522545efe863e5d2b73, find more related posts

11 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Julian – I would suggest that you need another dimension to your outline above: consumers.

    The future of content management is not as much about the technology, standards, licenses or any of the vendor-sponsored hype – it’s about the consumer and delivering relevant and engaging content in the way they want to consume it.

    The future of Content Management is also in driving e-business. For too long WCM has been the cornerstone of press releases and lunch menus. It needs to get in front of the revenue side of the web site and play a stronger role.

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