CMSish

where web content management and user experience collide

Hey everybody, let’s #fixwcm right now!

So Jon Marks had the idea of crowdsourcing material for his panel discussion at the J. Boye conference, by asking for tweets with the hashtag #fixwcm. It would be an uncharitable soul who’d suggest this was mere laziness – but whatever! It provoked a strong reaction, with hundreds of well-made points and passionate opinions (and no doubt more to come). I’d like to pick out a few tweets to comment on here in a little more than 140 characters.

justincormack First off too many vendors cannot be sustainable

Probably true, though it’s been probably true for a long time. Somehow the great winnowing never quite seems to happen. I think this is largely because WCM is such a big, fuzzy domain that covers a huge range of different scenarios.

@HammerToe: WCM vendors add features to justify license fee; Lather, rinse, repeat. Need to break cycle. OSS breaks that cycle.

Afraid not. Open-source developers have to buy attention and mindshare to boost adoption, and they sell features to do that. New features get attention, whether or not money changes hands. Take a look at CMSWire for many examples.

tednyberg Implementer should be selected based on chosen CMS, not the other way around. Vendors: stay away from implementing! 🙂

A few people offered vendors this advice. I sort of agree that the vendor is not necessarily the right party to do implementation. The fly in the ointment is that product designers need to be close to end users, if we’re really going to solve WCM’s endemic usability problems. But as Peter Monks points out, having your vendor do implementations doesn’t necessarily make that happen, especially if there’s a sales/services team sitting between the product devs and the customer.

benmorrisuk We need fewer tick-box style RFPs that fail to prioritise requirements and encourage boiler-plate functionality from vendors

sliewehr … the RFP checklist paradigm is a *result* of the #WCM vendors’ sales process. Live by sword, die by it

I don’t think vendors can take the blame for mind-numbing checklists. If you’re parachuted into the “select a new CMS” job at your business, the easy/lazy thing to do is is download an RFP from somewhere and chop it around a bit. Much easier than doing real analysis of your business needs, and at least it will help you winnow out some vendors from that very large pool of possibles. How about if agencies and vendors boycotted the damn things? I’ll do it if everybody else does…

adrianmateljan Are the likes of @cmswatch diverting us from the real implementation issues? Perhaps #agencywatch would be more appropriate?

I’m sure Adrian knows CMS Watch are on the ball with analysing needs rather than software. But I’d certainly agree that resolving these issues is more a job for agencies than vendors: agencies are building solutions; vendors are selling tools to implement those solutions. Come on, agency guys! Do your bit!

sliewehr @HammerToe Ah, the $1m question…A: Stop selling features / function and start selling value. Make the selling process educational.

“Make the selling process educational”, that’s a useful thought. Without consciously setting out to do it, I’ve generally found customers very receptive to some element of education (in a non-electrode kind of way) during the sales process.

s2d_jamesr I would like CMS vendors to spend a few days with actual authors using their product, to really understand needs

You mean “understand pain” really, don’t you? But more than a few days! Vendors need to see how actual authors use their product continuously. Somehow. The advent of better user experience monitoring tools might be part of the answer here.

scroisier IS WCM all about (intelligent?) aggregation and rendering of content or should it also covers Social Collaboration tools

Good question. Your best advocates aren’t even on your payroll, they’re your customers and partners, and the content they generate can be some of the most valuable. Plus everybody is anyway generating content in other apps (like Twitter or WordPress, eg. for this discussion). So federating all that looks like an increasingly important part of the puzzle.

One thing does seem clear from this exercise: a lot of people who work in this industry think WCM is broken and needs fixing. Which brings us back to Justin’s point: there are too many vendors because it seems like there is (still!) opportunity in this market to (finally!) do it right.

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One Response

  1. Janus Boye says:

    Hey, can we agree on using #fixwcm for our great conversation

    Thanks!

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