The Emergence Of CXM Solutions, And Why The Term “WCM” Lives On

There has been a great deal of talk over the past few years about what acronym will replace WCM (web content management). Web experience management? Web site management? Web engagement management? Web experience optimization? The list goes on and on.

Certainly, the evolution of the WCM term makes sense on paper, since traditional content management functionality now only makes up a portion of the products that WCM vendors now offer. WCM vendors are also in the content delivery/engagement business, and are even dipping their toes into web intelligence. However, Forrester clients still overwhelmingly ask about “WCM” and that term isn’t going away any time soon.

But even without changing the acronym, it is time to start thinking about WCM beyond just managing content or siloed websites or experiences. Instead, we need to think of how WCM will interact and integrate with other solutions – like search, recommendations, eCommerce, and analytics – in the customer experience management (CXM) ecosystem in order to enable businesses to manage experiences across customer touchpoints.

How are we handling this convergence at Forrester? Several of us who cover various CXM products – like Brian Walker (commerce), Bill Band (CRM), Joe Stanhope (web analytics), and myself (WCM) – teamed up to outline what our vision of CXM looks like, including process-based tools, delivery platforms, and customer intelligence. We've created two versions of the report: one written for Content & Collaboration professionals and one for eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals.

As Brian pointed out in his blog post, we’re very early in this CXM evolution. Customers won’t go out and buy CXM suites. First of all, no one vendor offers all the components, though some – like Adobe, IBM, and Oracle – are working on acquisitions. And even if a single vendor offered some magical CXM suite with all the components, I have yet to speak to a client that has the resources to rip out their already-installed CXM components in favor of a solution from a single vendor.

Instead, customers will need to think about the greater CXM picture when sourcing WCM, commerce, search, and the like. They may source multiple CXM components from one vendor, and then augment with best-of-breed solutions. Vendor integration strategies – between their own CXM products as well as those from third parties – will become more important than ever.

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.