Whither goes WCM?
Posted by dguarnaccia on March 22, 2009
Where are we all going? I ask myself that a lot. And the “we” I’m referring to is the WCM industry in general. I’ve been saying for years now that it’s not about editing content anymore. It’s pretty clear to me that everyone has figured out how to build a pretty usable interface. Heck, even the oldest of vendors have finally gotten on that bandwagon. Nope, that’s just blocking and tackling. So what’s next? Where do we go as a market? If you ask me, as a category, we’re in jeopordy of following the word processor marketplace if we’re not careful. I mean really, how many more features can Microsoft put into Word? And still, that application does not really help me be more effective in my work. It doesn’t make it easier to get buisness done.
It’s still pretty much a tool. A screwdriver, a hammer, a wrench.
So what’s next for us? Some would say personalization, or put a fancy name on it like “experience management”. I’ve been there before, when that wave started to take off, and even helped launch one of the first products that drove that message into the WCM market. But again, that’s just another tool at best, or perhaps just a fancy attachment for my screwdriver. No, that is not the answer either.
So lets take a page out of Home Depot’s playbook. Home Depot wanted to sell more tools, building supplies, etc. What did they do? They started teaching people how to acheive their goals. Helped them demystify home improvement projects. In essense, they helped people understand how the tools Home Depot sold can achieve the goals they had for themselves. And an interesting thing happened, the sold more stuff of course, but on top of that, they spawned demand for things even they didn’t realized they needed to sell. Due to this new approach, they drove demand for all sorts of products that enhanced home living. And they sold a lot more stuff.
So what can we learn from all of this? Most of the Enterprise WCM companies already solution sell. But the real question is, are our products really as far along that solution path as they should be. Sure, many of my competitors our there have huge armies of Professional services that can make their products do anything. The proverbial ball of clay. But is that good enough?
I say it is not good enough. Our products need to evolve to the place where they are built to enable companies to execute their web strategies faster. In fact, I think over time, WCM technology should be configurable to embrace those web strategies…Out Of the Box. Pretty words, I know, but I think that is where we all need to go. That is the course we are charting for ourselves as a WCM vendor. Enough of the toolset mentality. We will not become a glorified word processor for the web. We all need to evolve to allow our customers to start treating their websites as the business applications that they are.
So, like any good business applications, our websites should have ROI’s associated with them. I was chatting with one of my colleagues the other day and the concept of a “Taxonomy of ROI” for websites came up. It was one of those things that just came out while I was on a roll. Maybe I was playing buzzword bingo, who knows..but it’s a great idea none-the-less. The concept is simple. I’d like to build up a taxonomy or hierarchy of the types of ROI you can get from your website. These are the measurement points where you can demonstrate business impact as a direct result of an organizations website. I’m going to give this a shot so here goes:
Increase lead flow
Increase conversion rate / increase look to book ratio
Lower cost of sales via shorter sales cycle time
Increase lead quality (improved opportunity conversion)
Increase in average transation value
Increases Customer Lifetime Value via increase customer satisfaction and incremental sales
Increases sales due to improvement in competitive advantage as a result of superior web user experiece
Reduce call center traffic
Reduce customer service requests
Reduced operations cost due to customer self service (e-statements, e-billpay, etc)
Lower operations costs through lower servicing /statup costs from reduced customer turnover
Comply with regulatory statutes reduces fines and penalties
Faster product development / launch cycle time
Improved products via collaboration and online customer interaction (community)
Reduction in redundant work due to better information management and collaboration
Faster response times due to better information access allows employees to service more customers
Reduce employee attrition and turnover
Shorten new employee startup time and time to productivity (TTP)
Reduce new employee drag on coworkers by improving self service and better information access
Hower risk from legal discovery via better retention management and disposition
Lower risk of mistakes employees using out of date or incorrect information or policies