Web content management software vendors are constantly working to differentiate themselves in the crowded marketplace. For buyers, one of the less helpful ways is when they introduce new terms to replace existing ones. At the moment the current buzzword is "experience management". Does this mean you now need to convince management about yet another term?
No, experience management is really just new marketing talk by proprietary and expensive vendors for a content management system. Experience management has been mentioned on and off for the past decade or so and is currently pushed strongly by several CMS vendors such as Day (soon Adobe), FatWire, Sitecore and Vignette (now Open Text). The problem with experience management, sometimes called web experience management or customer experience management, is that it really just describes the standard requirements for a system to power a website in 2010.
Experience management certainly describes nothing that you should not be able to expect from a Web CMS. Different vendors have put different angles on the buzzword, but I've yet to see a buyer who had a budget specifically for experience management or have issued a request for proposal for an experience management system. User experience covers most of it and is an established field and a recognized industry term, so why not use that instead?
A recent example of how the term has been used is from the Adobe acquisition of Day to quote Rob Tarkoff, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Enterprise Solutions, Adobe:
Adobe’s acquisition of Day represents a key milestone in our efforts toward delivering best-in-class customer experience management solutions to enterprises and governments worldwide
In an industry plagued by too many failed projects, we don't need new confusing terms to replace ones we already have. Every so often a discussion occurs among industry pundits around whether we need to change terms, mostly in attempts to get senior management to realize what they are missing out on. A recent example: It was suggested in 2009 to deprecate the term "intranet" as it carried to much "dead weight" . Terms such as personalisation and portal have also been hot or declared dead from time to time.
To my surprise, the term web experience management has actually made it onto Wikipedia. A quick look at the history page, reveals that the page was created by a FatWire employee. Perhaps no surprise, that the references on the page link to FatWire articles on the AIIM and KM World sites. Also, a search on Google for web experience management brings up Vignette, FatWire and Sitecore right after the Wikipedia page.
Vendors will always be pushing their own agenda and not necessarily in a language you understand. If you as a customer want to fix web content management, ask your vendor to use terms that you understand and generally focus more on executing projects and delivering quality software and less on coming up with new marketing terms.
As always, let me know if you agree or disagree. You can also add a comment on the "experience management" Wikipedia page, which I think has more industry impact and many more readers than this blog.