I’m at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2012 (#gartnerpcc) in sunny Orlando, where several hundred (mostly) information technology professionals have gathered to talk shop. There are very few people here from the marcom side of the house, so it’s been interesting hearing Gartner analysts talk about the new imperatives IT must actively support.
A presentation on user experience platforms (or UXPs) by 30+ year technology expert Gene Phifer played to a full house. Meet the new boss: UXPs are the way large organizations will build websites and portals soon – maybe sooner than you think.
You know UXPs, even if you don’t know the acronym yet. This is a collection of tools, applications (including content management and search), widgets and other services that large and small tech vendors are rolling into platforms or suites to serve user-centric and customer-centric (and often marketing-driven) experiences on the web. This being a portal and content conference, the notion of personalized, scalable, cloud-capable, mobile-capable, widget supporting sites and portals is at center stage.
Companies like Oracle, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, even Cisco have been buying and building the piece parts to create UXPs, Phifer said. (See: Adobe buying Day Software for web content management.) But many smaller vendors are creating and offering UXPs as well. It feels a lot like the way enterprise content management (“all in one!”) did five or six years ago.
Phifer told all those people on the IT side of the house they’d better get aligned with marketing now. He calls it a mandate for success: IT needs to lead, or marketing will just go around you. To CIOs he says, “Your CMOs are already buying and using these technology and frameworks. You need to partner with them” to deliver customer centric experiences on the web.
And, it was without a hint of irony that he informed IT leaders about the changes that are roiling their world, but which are old hat to most marketers, designers and developers: HTML5 (“The best thing since sliced bread!”), creating personas, rapid prototyping, A/B testing, content targeting and more.
This follows that we’ve been watching for a number of years here at the CMS Myth – digital innovation is happening within the marketing group and even at the fringes of the organization with smaller groups and teams. It can start small with an accessible technology, gather steam, and sometimes overwhelm the non-technical marketers who’ve started the initiative, requiring some fast footwork from IT to help manage it.
I use the term Empowered Marketer because that’s exactly what marketers are today. No longer are CMOs and other marketing leaders confined to what IT serves up. Nor do they need to wait for IT to get to their pet project, or a critical campaign website. We’ve seen large-scale web content management projects driven to success at an enterprise scale by marketing/communications teams at multi-billion dollar corporations. The Web CMS vendors who sell into SMBs and even large enterprises are filling the need with customer experience suites and other toolsets that make marketing on the web easier, more efficient, more effective. Turnkey solutions, cloud and SAAS offerings can keep it out of the purview of IT more than ever before.
Yes, there were many heads nodding in agreement when the IT folks were advised to start building bridges with their marketing colleagues. We’ll be watching what happens in the coming year.
If you’re at the Gartner conference (and even if you’re not) please let us know what you’re doing to bridge the IT-marketing divide. What has worked? What advice can you offer others? If you’re an Empowered Marketer, in what ways have you been successful? Post in the comments section or email us directly.