IT looks to merge Web content with other apps: Report

Web content management continues to be a priority for IT shops as enterprises look to integrate WCM with other business applications, according to a new Forrester Research Inc. report.


The research firm surveyed 225 IT and knowledge management workers, most from large enterprises in North America and Europe. Forrester said 75 per cent of respondents planned to increase their use and deployment of WCM, with customer experience, brand consistency, and lead management topping the list of motivating factors.


Stephen Powers, a principal analyst covering enterprise content management and the report’s author, said the finding was expected, as 72 per cent expressed the same sentiment during last year’s survey, which was conducted during the recession.


But where this report differs a bit from expectations is in the high number of respondents who expressed a need to tightly integrate WCM with other enterprise apps. This trend is being driven by the fact that customer data now lives in various places throughout the business, including the customer relationship management system, social networking applications, and analytics software.


Powers said that 48 per cent of respondents wanted to see improved integration between WCM and analytics software, which underscores the idea that companies no longer want to shovel content to the Web without sound reasoning and logic.


“This can’t be a disconnected process anymore, where you have an authoring team over here and an analytics team over there that aren’t communicating with each other,” he said.


The biggest challenge companies will face in this effort, he said, is that a lot of this integration is not going to come packaged.


“There may not be a connector available for every integration you want to do, so you’re going to have to customize it,” Powers said. “And whenever you’re doing customization, that adds overhead, adds costs, and makes upgrades more difficult.”


As WCM silos break down, Powers said, groups from across the enterprise — including corporate marketers, enterprise architects, and e-business specialists — will have to work with IT to break down organizational barriers.


“IT’s not going to be able to sit in their silos anymore,” he said. “The various IT teams are going to have to work together as opposed to just working on one single application.”


Powers advised IT organizations to take a “piecemeal” approach to these initiatives. After IT leaders find out who’s responsible for the various Web content the company produces, he said, they will be in a good position to determine what integrations will be easy and effective to implement.


This is especially crucial, Powers said, if IT doesn’t have strong executive sponsorship for the WCM integration project to being with.


Other findings from the Forrester report include 36 per cent of responding firms who want to see more integration between WCM and social networking apps, and 21 per cent of respondents who want to leverage WCM-based content in their e-mail marketing campaigns.

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