This is a small rant I was on lately. If you’re not so much into “Content Management”, not sure this will speak to you… you might want to pass. This is of course only my personal opinion, and it is quite not about eZ itself (the company I work for) or about our products, it is more about our small industry, the ‘Content Management’ industry.
I hear some colleagues and friends in our industry, saying things like “eZ changed (again) positioning to move to Experience Management”, I also hear some people saying things like “I can’t stand this people calling WordPress a CMS” (to not only take eZ as an example). I hear some saying, “These guys are in the Portal industry, not in the CMS”. Actually I often hear myself explaining how our company, eZ, is moving from a pure Content Management platform to a more global “Experience Management” platform.
Come on! Truth to be said, this is somehow wrong. Just noise, or sometime may be trying to surf the good waves. Experience is for sure the word of 2013, the word to use and Experience Management the spot to be on! It is THE thing to do – fair enough (just learned from analysts today this might have to be adjusted to DX when speaking about acronyms, stands for Digital Experience… uh, what about when we do print business?).
But honestly this is just about our jargon. Is there really, beyond the words, any big change? I don’t think so, we just try to do things better. I think it seems to be a big change only if you are looking at software and at products from a wrong, short-sided view: the features and only the features.
Yes eZ Publish is in the Experience Management. Yes WordPress is a CMS, and in the Experience Management as well. They both have been for years now. And this stands for many others who jumped from one box to another, whether it is Portal, CMS, e-commerce, Blogging platform, Wiki…
To illustrate my thought I like to make a reference to this article of Harvard Business Review called “Marketing myopia” which introduced the famous question “what business are you really in?”. It uses the example of the railway industry in the US, who lost the transportation battle because it was too narrow-minded, considering itself in the “railway business” instead of being in the “transportation business”. Saying it in an other way, it was focusing on the product and the feature, not on the business objective.
Well, eZ has always been in the “Experience Management” business. So does WordPress. CMS has always come second. Content Management might be a process, it is more than anything a list of features that I don’t want to list here. I remember, I was then not yet working for eZ but using eZ Publish. The folks at eZ were hesitating between different appellations: e-commerce? portal? CMS? … this was because eZ had to give it a name and a position. I am pretty sure the goal was indeed, already, to create a platform for Experience Management!
What changed in between? Well, the ‘Digital Experiences’ our customer need to build have quite significantly evolved. 10 years ago it was still mostly about creating a website for communication and information purposes and simple way for the user to reach it, now it is just much more!
I predict a dark future on the mid-term to the people who are thinking they should stick to ‘Content Management’ feature set and certainly not touch other functional domains… I think they will miss the same train the railway industry missed!
Changing positioning as in the 2 examples that I gave above (eZ and WordPress) should not be seen as a sign of uncertainty, I believe it should more be recognized as a sign of lucidity in which business we are and how it is evolving!
And of course, at eZ, I will keep highlighting our changes to a bigger CXM / DX / UXP platform, but more to explain our vision on how Experience Management has evolved. Why it doesn’t ask for the same things yesterday, today and tomorrow and why we constantly innovate to try to provide these features – whether they are in the CMS box, in the BI box or in any other! Surely focus is required to be successful, but looking at the solutions from one single feature lens is not what I would call the right focus.