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WEM – marketing buzzword or WCM 2.0?

In the last few months WEM, or Web Experience (some also say Engagement) Management, has been THE buzzword in the WCM market. Not only has it sparked a lot of discussion, but a lot of the biggest players in the market have realigned their entire marketing efforts to fit with this new term. Products have even been renamed to make them appear to be designed for WEM.

The term was originally created by the CMS vendor FatWire to describe their products, but there is no commonly accepted definition of WEM. Wikipedia has a short page about WEM, including a definition: “...and can represent anything that facilitates loyalty, engagement and interaction on websites”. Not exactly the most concise definition I’ve read… CMS Wire has an article about WEM that is pretty good, but when you need to write a whole article to define a term, the term might be a bit too abstract IMO..

The WEM page at Wikipedia is clearly written by someone with an interest in the success of WEM. For example it contains this phrase:
“the concept of Web Experience Management is now seen by both vendors and analysts as a natural evolution of WCM”.
While quite a few vendors and some journalists have jumped on the WEM bandwagon, to insinuate that the whole WCM industry is behind it is just not true.

Janus Boye, a well-known industry personality, for example, blogged about it a month ago, and the title say it all: “Experience Management – Meaningless vendor jargon”.  According to Janus, “it really just describes the standard requirements for a system to power a website in 2010.” His blog post attracted comments from some of the companies that have chosen to stand behind WEM. As expected, none of them agrees with Janus.

One of the commenters said that "Publishing and managing a web page is a commodity". This is a notion we at Webnodes disagree strongly with. We see lots of opportunities to innovate and improve the core parts of a modern CMS, both in the UI parts, and in the core CMS engine with regards to semantic content technologies and ontologies. And it seems the Real Story Group agrees, as it warns buyers to be aware of the pitfalls of buying a WEM solution. One of their main points is the far from impressive content creation and publishing workflows in modern WCM solutions.

Apart from that, we at Webnodes are more or less in agreement with what Janus Boye is saying. We have more than enough jargon and technical terms in our industry as it is. Introducing new ones, and especially ones that are as abstract and hard to explain as WEM, will only help confuse WCM buyers. We’re finally at a stage where most people we talk to know what a CMS is.  

But even if we hope that WEM will disappear, we don’t think it will. There are too many big vendors that have started to use the term, and sales people in those organizations will use the new acronym for all it’s worth. Many of the features normally associated with WEM are the WCM features most suitable for demos. A CMS with powerful and solid content management functionality might not impress as much as a WEM focused solution in a demo. This could lead to other vendors also focusing on the upper layers of a WEM/WCM solution, and not the core content management parts, like Deane at Gadgetopia fears. We see the rapid adoption of WEM in the WCM market as a proof of the industry is becoming more mature. Vendors are becoming big enough to employ marketing departments, and many of the vendor strategies are now driven by the marketing departments and not engineering.  

What do you think? Is WEM here to stay?

UPDATE: The WEM entry on Wikipedia has been deleted! The reasons given:  "Unambiguous advertising or promotion: Multiple reasons"

9/7/2010
Posted by: Vidar Langberget
Categories: WEM  Webnodes.com 
  
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