The sweet spot for WCM services

Web content management services graph

Web content management implementations require a careful blend of skills to succeed. But what should you look for in an external WCM services provider? We see three core disciplines necessary for success — User experience strategy, marketing enablement and enterprise IT.

What’s more, the sweet spot for a good partner lies in the intersection of these three areas.

We’re seeing it increasingly difficult to bring together multiple vendors or rely on a software vendor’s professional services group. Even if you have in-house capabilities, a partner well versed in all three areas can make or break success.

So what are the core disciplines?

User experience strategy
Your WCM services partner needs some serious UX chops that go far beyond visual design. Information architecture, content strategy, user research and social business design all drive web content management success. Taxonomy and meta data are business-critical planning processes, not just WCM product features.  And don’t forget the ability to apply that same user-centered rigor to your internal stakeholders in designing workflow and editorial processes. This means a dedicated UX practice, not a creative that happens to do information architecture.

Marketing enablement
Organizations need a marketing-smart WCM services provider. Period. Focus on enabling marketing by looking for partners with a deep understanding of how the WCM supports the entire marketing ecosystem. SEO, e-mail, analytics, PPC, campaign management, lead generation, personalization and social networks all factor in here. And don’t think all marketing-savvy partners get it. These skills are often so siloed they end up at an arm’s length from the core implementation.

Enterprise IT
Even mid-market WCM solutions have significant technical complexity with many internal and external integration points. A good services partner needs to go beyond having core competency in the WCM software and fit the implementation into a larger IT ecosystem. As WCM becomes the hub for your overall web infrastructure, it becomes about much more than putting a few good developers on a project. Think platform, not product. UX focused partners can have a hard time in this area.

About the Author
Jeff Cram

Jeff Cram is Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design), a digital agency based in Portland, OR and Boston, MA. As the Managing Editor of the CMS Myth, Jeff is passionate about all topics related to content management, digital strategy and experience design.

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