Navigating Web CMS and Customer Experience

Acquia. Adobe. Alfresco. Clickability. CoreMedia. Crafter Software. Drupal. Ektron. Hippo. HP Autonomy. Joomla. Kentico. WordPress. 

It's a web content management world after all, isn't it?

Digital Clarity Group (DCG), the research-based advisory firm focused on that WCM world above and customer experience management, released today the North American edition of its Guide to Service Providers for Web Content and Customer Experience Management. It's a report that covers the North American landscape of systems integrators and digital agencies.

'Tall Order'

Jill Finger Gibson, principal analyst at Digital Clarity Group, told CMSWire there's a recognition that acquiring and serving customers today has become extremely complex.

Customers, she said, search for information and make buying decisions in a variety of combinations: social channels, search engines, traditional and new media like newspapers, blogs and private communities (e.g. enterprise social networks within organizations on platforms like Yammer).

"It is a tall order for any company, large or small, to be able to do all this internally and at the same time keep up with the most important developments in their field and acquire the people and infrastructure they would need to support it," Finger Gibson said.

So what does this guide do? Other guides and reports that cover digital agencies are for the most part sponsored by vendors or put together by advertising journalists, Finger Gibson said.

"Those guides can be useful, but they don't address many of the issues that we as WCM/CEM analysts and practitioners have found to be of the most concern for the people at organizations actually grappling with these problems," Finger Gibson said. "How does this partner approach projects? What vendor partnerships do they have in place? What is their breadth of expertise in integrating complex legacy architectures? Can they help us with content marketing and strategy, or are they more strictly a design or IT consultancy shop?"


Digital Clarity Group released this update because officials say it has observed through conversations with companies and their partners that the market is moving fast and players rapidly shift their strategies and positions.

"What has surprised me is the degree to which many of the companies have grown even in the last eight months," Finger Gibson said. "A large number of the companies we covered have added additional staff and reported increased revenues, and several have opened new offices in additional cities to support this growth."

In the "not surprising" department, there has been increased consolidation of larger global conglomerates and agencies buying smaller ones, Finger Gibson noted.

"This consolidation has been driven by the acquirers' desire to either gain new capabilities such as analytics, or new geographic coverage," she said.

Do We Have Best in Breed?

What are the best Web CMS providers doing/providing? Finger Gibson said she wouldn't use the term "best" because "our belief is that different providers meet different customer needs."

"A small systems integrator in Canada," she said, "would not be necessarily 'better' than a global digital agency, because they address different market segments and meet different types of needs."

So what are the first steps to finding the right partner or platform?

"Technology is secondary to partner selection," Finger Gibson said. "Make sure you take the time to find the right partner. And discussions with past or existing clients are imperative. Reference clients are the only reliable source of insight into how the service provider performs 'in the wild.'"