Need CEM? The CMS Box is Big Enough

If you're an insider of the content management industry, you're well of aware of the recent claims by some that the content management system is dead. If you're still using CMS as part of your vocabulary, you must not be keeping up with the times because it's all about customer experience management (CEM or CXM).  This is what some want you to believe. It's wishful thinking by those that want to be at the cutting edge of something new and believe you do that by diminishing the value of what we know currently works. Every few years we go through this movement and every time history has shown that the demise of the CMS is exaggerated.

I wasn't going to enter this conversation, but I've had some people already misread my need to put some distance between me and CMS Report as a signal that I see a sinking ship on the horizon. From my perspective, the opposite is actually true with what is going on in the CMS industry. In the past few years, I've been busier than ever talking and doing "content management". Everyone from writer to CEO now understands that managing content is the key to reaching out to customers. Only those that see a CMS as "web pages" and not a vital asset to a company's information system seem to not recognize the value of content management. There isn't a vendor, developer, or business owner that I've talked to that said they can do without a content management system. 

Do I think CEM is a fad, marketing gimmick, and insignificant to the real content management industry? Absolutely not. CEM is real, important, and vital to keeping and growing your customer base. Customer experience management is a strategy that focuses the operations and processes of a business around the needs of the individual customer. Any strategy that fails to focus on individual customers in this day and age is doomed to fail. You would be foolish to think your CMS of yesterday doesn't need to adapt to today's need for CEM. So, I applaud every CEM guru out there that has made it their mission to shake the CMS industry's current thought process and demand more from CMS vendors.

However, here is where I and other experienced CMS folks differ from the "CMS is dead" crowd. We argue that the CEM is not a "stand alone" information system but instead an important mark in the evolution of content management. I don't see the relationship between CEM and a CMS any different than what Web Content Management (WCM), Enterprise Content Management (ECM), and Social Publishing Systems (SPS) are to a CMS. Each label is a milestone for how the CMS needed to change over time. The way we define a CMS has never been static and evolves with the needs of its users. If the past is any indication, the CEM isn't going to kill the CMS but instead give it new purpose.

The importance of CEM to the CMS can't be overstated. Today, there are real business and marketing needs for CEM. Over time, the CMS industry will learn how best to integrate the needs of better managing customer experience within the software. Betting against the CMS isn't in your favor. It's time to look at the big picture and realize that the CMS box is big enough to hold CEM and all the other "must haves" that tomorrow brings.