This Way to the Future Forward-Thinking Content Management Systems

Transitioning from one content management system (CMS) to another is never easy. So why would an enterprise make the switch? Simple: The market has evolved.

Content management systems are the backbone of an information publisher's digital presence, but the recent attention around content marketing has made publishers out of nearly every website owner, including ecommerce merchants and service providers. As such, many conventional content management systems don't provide everything modern marketers need to publish content, share content externally, and track performance and benefit from their distribution efforts - causing many enterprises to wonder if it's time to look for a new CMS.

This, according to Dennis Shiao, director of content marketing for DNN Corp., is just one of the major shifts in how the market has evolved. Content management systems have also evolved because of how consumers are accessing content. Mobile devices, according to the most recent Walker Sands Quarterly Mobile Traffic Report, account for 31 percent of all website traffic. Despite this, only 43 percent of marketers surveyed in Social Media Examiner's 2014 Social Media Marketing Report have a mobile-optimized blog. While blogging is just one aspect of content marketing in the enterprise today, both businesses and content management systems need to adapt to consumers' devices of choice or risk losing them to more digitally savvy competitors.

Fortunately, there are some rather progressive content management systems on the market that are not only mobile-first systems, but also address other market shifts, prepare for future ones, as well as make the difficulties of transitioning from one CMS to another worth it.

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Many companies think a CMS should be singular in focus and function according to Sitecore VP of Product Marketing Mark Floisand. Due to this misconception, CMS providers like Sitecore see requests for information that are very specific to managing a company's content. This proves that when enterprises are shopping for a new CMS, they aren't thinking about all the ways a CMS can provide a complete experience for both brands and end-users.

When enterprises shop for a traditional CMS that only has content editing and publishing features, they are short-changing themselves and not future-proofing their Web businesses. Leading many industry experts, like Coveo CEO Louis Tetu to half-joke, "Nobody wants to talk about content management systems anymore." Not only are there far more robust options that exist in single-connected platforms, but when marketers leverage a variety of different technology solutions to get all the functions they need to do their jobs effectively, they start to drown in tech. Managing the teams, campaigns, functions and vendors associated with each solution is time consuming and can be counterproductive.

Today's content management systems, however, are able to integrate or, in some cases, replace many of the acquisition, retention, analytics and optimization functions that disparate solutions provide marketers. Take Sitecore for example.

The Core of a Site

Sitecore offers a single-connected platform, which means all the different technologies marketers have for analysis, personalization and more, are included on one platform. For example, a car manufacturer using Sitecore would have access to customer relationship management-type data - like the websites a person has visited, the ads he did or did not click on and more. The customer service data might also indicate the frequency with which a driver takes his car into service. Based on that frequency, the content being delivered in the CMS would change when visited.

Couple that personalization with enterprise search solution Coveo for Sitecore, and a site's entire layout could change based on what a user is looking for on the site. That feature is a characteristic of Coveo's enterprise solution for Sitecore, but Coveo recently announced a free version that essentially allows partners and customers of Sitecore to implement significantly more advanced search user interface and relevance on Sitecore websites, according to Tetu.

The free version of Coveo for Sitecore was announced immediately after Sitecore announced version 8 of its platform. With the upgrades, its customers now have access to new automated test and optimization features that will automatically recommend content to implement, segments to target and optimal paths to conversion. All the users do is review and choose whether to ignore the data, go back to the previous version, etc.

Sitecore isn't the only company in the CMS space to make updates this fall. DNN (formerly DotNetNuke) has been a mainstay in the CMS industry for more than 10 years and will soon be launching new versions of both its Evoq Content Web CMS commercial offering and its open source solution.

CMS on the Move?

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DNN is addressing several major changes to the content landscape with its new Evoq Content version (scheduled for release in Nov. 2014). For starters, when DNN launched in the early 2000s, its primary end-user was the IT professional, but with the increasing use of content management systems across the enterprise, it will now make the user experience more marketer friendly - providing simpler navigation and making it easier for administrators to build a site from scratch, by utilizing drag-and-drop elements.

The dramatically improved user experience for non-developers will also include more access to analytics, which is what many traditional content management systems lack. The workaround for years has been to integrate with a third party such as Google Analytics, but DNN is building analytics capabilities directly into its solution so marketers can quickly access website performance data including page-specific metrics, such as page views, bounce rates, session length and more. What's particularly useful about page-specific analytics is that marketers or information publishers do not need to leave a specific article, for example, to analyze its performance.

Perhaps most noteworthy for marketers is that Evoq Content 8.0 will feature a set of integrations for customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, storage services (like Dropbox) and more. For the latter, many enterprises store a lot of assets on Dropbox for interdepartmental sharing or collaboration with freelance or remote workers or partners. With this storage integration, companies are able to build in creative assets in a very convenient way by accessing the materials directly on DNN's platform.

Another interesting integration is with marketing automation platform Marketo. With this integration, marketers will be able to connect their content to revenue. For example, DNN focuses on website and page analytics, while Marketo can monitor each individual customer's browsing and search activity to determine where the user is in her path to purchase and what problems she is trying to solve - automatically triggering a sales call or delivering relevant content or offers.

Solutions, Not Systems

The best-of-breed content management systems on the market today, are not just systems but more so solutions that address the current marketing landscape and work to stay ahead of new challenges and opportunities - making them worth the time and money it costs to transition to a new content management system (or solution).