Web Content Management and eCommerce Platform Considerations

Are your marketing and eCommerce groups operating in silos? Do they have differing objectives, leading them to buy independent solutions for brand content and transactions?

App Dev and Delivery Professionals must understand whether they need to support marketing and business needs with a web content management (WCM) system, an eCommerce system, or both.

Leading WCM and eCommerce platforms also show some overlap in functionality making the choices difficult.

First, let’s keep in mind that Enterprise Content Management and Web Content Management are different.

Gartner defines Web Content Management (WCM) as:

“The process of controlling the content to be consumed over one or more online channels through the use of specific management tools based on a core repository. These may be procured as commercial products, open-source tools or hosted service offerings.

Product functionality goes beyond simply publishing Web pages to include:

• Content creation/authoring functions, such as templating, workflow and change    management

• WCM repositories that contain content and/or metadata about content

• Library services, such as check-in/check-out, version control and security

• Content deployment functions that deliver prepackaged or on-demand content to Web servers

• A high degree of interoperability with adjacent technologies, such as CRM (in particular, with marketing resource management and multichannel campaign management), digital asset management (DAM) and Web analytics “

• And more……Review the Gartner article for a complete list.

Some Enterprise Content Management systems have some overlap with WCM, however, the success of specialization due to the growth of online ebusiness requires analysts to offer a separate analysis.

The ECM focus will include document management; image processing applications; and workflow/BPM.

Leaders in the ECM space have included IBM, Microsoft, and EMC; while WCM leaders have included Adobe, SiteCore, and SDL. ECM leaders will offer a WCM capability built into their platforms that may not offer the capabilities of the specialists in WCM.

So, how does one go about choosing a WCM; an eCommerce platform; or a hybrid of the two?

Your choice will depend on a number of factors that include:

• Complexity of Product Taxonomy
• Content (Rich media vs. product-centric)
• Size of Product Catalog
• Site Ownership (Digital Experience vs. eBusiness)
• % of total revenues from online channels

When looking at combining eCommerce and WCM platforms: the WCM-led choice will be the most complex integration approach, leaving the eCommerce platform to act as a services layer (providing inventory, PIM, Pricing, cart/checkout services) that the WCM platform consumes.

The eCommerce-led choice leaves the WCM platform as a content repository which some retailers might favor, as such an approach helps enforce governance around rich media processes, and content creation. Manufacturers will be least likely to justify this approach given the cost of ownership.

Caveat: Avoid biting off more than you can chew. Only the largest enterprises with the deepest pockets and application development teams should consider integrating best-of-breed eCommerce and WCM platforms.

After reviewing your analyst’s reports, visit the vendor customer lists on their web sites to get more of an idea of what type of organizations might be using the platforms related to your organizations size and needs.

Visit my video on Linkedin for a presentation with more detail on the decision matrix.

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