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The key to transitioning successfully


Move over CMS, there’s new sheriff in town, and his name is WEM.

Remember when iPhone and Android smartphones hit the market in 2007/08 and they were so much better than our old phones that we abandoned our contracts as soon as we possibly could? A shift on par with that one is happening right now. Businesses are trading in their content management system (CMS) for website experience management (WEM) software and their laguard competitors are going to be left in their dust.

Website experience management software is the next generation of CMS, and it is a key part of the digital transformation of business. Early adopters are up and running with it, but WEM isn’t yet a household name; in fact, lots of people don’t know the CMS on its way out, let alone how much a WEM could strengthen their business.


A CMS, also referred to as a web content management system (WCM), is the back-end of a website, which enables a business to relay content to customers. There are dozens of CMSs on the market, some of the most widely used ones are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla. They store text and images, have a WYSIWYG interface for editing and entering content, and allow users to manage their SEO.

WEM software has everything a CMS does, but it extends way beyond content management to user experience management. “WEM is an evolution, not a revolution,” writes Brice Dunwoodie in this article on WEM for CMS Wire. “We think we're entering a new phase now. Its mechanics are not the same—much of the technology and concepts have existed for some time. Now, in our opinion, web engagement management is about process and technology convergence. It's about managing content, conversations, conversions and relevance in mostly the same place and at almost the same time.”

As an aside, just to make this whole puzzle more complicated, WEM also has a synonym: web engagement management; thankfully they share an acronym: WEM.


Doing a feature and functionality comparison of these platforms is akin to comparing old flip phones to smartphones. It’s more useful to look at them in terms of the two major benefits a WEM will have for your business that a CMS can’t offer:

1. Create internal synergy and efficiency

Whereas your CMS is used predominantly by your marketing team to interact with the public, a WEM will connect the departments within your business and create organization-wide opportunities for improved communication, business process and dataflow.

2. Dramatically increase features & functionality

WEM is also a powerful tool for managing customer relationships and improving customer experiences. WEM boasts functionality previously only achieved by patching together several pieces of software; functionality including:

Interpreting advanced user behavior analytics to display personalized content and social search

  • Enterprise-quality portals
  • Rich media and video content management
  • Social collaboration and social marketing capabilities
  • Web analytics, testing and content monetization tools

The key to transitioning successfully

Your new WEM will be a powerful, complex tool that is a business asset—not simply a marketing tool, and so transitioning to WEM should involve the C-suite. Your investment in, and integration of WEM will heavily influence your success as a business in the future, so you’ll want to have “digital intelligence” to guide your company’s transition. The good news is digital intelligence can be acquired quickly. Here’s how:

1. Find a reliable digital company to partner with you on your WEM site

Whether or not you have an internal digital expert, you’ll benefit greatly from partnering with a digital company that initially consults with you to develop your approach to the digital transformation, including goals, software and rollout. This partner will offer you perspective and expertise to ensure you are making good investment. Over time, you will build, adjust and refine your site in order to make the most of your WEM, and keep apace with the ever-changing web, not to mention your own changing business needs. You will quickly see how invaluable it is to have a single, continuous partner who you can count on for guidance, hold accountable and manage your requirements whenever needed. Look for a partner with a depth of expertise and a proven track record of reliability and accountability, because it’s too costly to accept anything less.

2. Large companies will need to build a digital team

Call it what you will (a digital center of excellence, an innovation team, your digital circle), if you are a large company you need a cross-functional digital team who’ll shepherd your company into the new digital marketplace. Why? We are entering a whole new world—one most business leaders don’t have expertise on. Without digital leadership and collaboration, your otherwise healthy, prosperous business could falter and fail. People will balk at the cost of this investment, but the consequences of forgoing digital preparedness are too dire to dismiss.

For all businesses, the digital transformation is seismic, and keeping pace with technological advances like WEM is difficult. Transitioning to this inevitable digital future is quite possibly the greatest challenge businesses face today because it is a new frontier, rapidly evolving, requiring an investment. If you defer the transition, you’ll find your business struggling to compete.
Many businesses have already clearly defined how to present their brands online and exactly what web experience they are providing to their customers. The shift from simple content management will be swift, so set your plan in motion to move to a WEM in 2017.





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