Multi-Channel WCM Projects: Making Them Work


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Presented by Vern Imrich at the CM Pros Fall 2007 Summit on Web Content Management, November 26, 2007.

Web Content Management (WCM) is back, but now it’s multi-channel WCM. Multi-channel requirements add new success factors, and unexpected hazards that must be understood and overcome. In this workshop, led by Percussion Software CTO Vern Imrich, you will learn how to identify and address these factors, including detailed analysis of field examples covering usability issues for content authoring; the potential and limitations of content reuse; business process and lifecycle; impact on content modeling and template design; and overall architectural issues. You will emerge from this workshop with the lessons others have learned and with a formula for successful multi-channel WCM projects.

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Multi-Channel WCM Projects: Making Them Work

  1. 1. Compelling Content Experiences Multi-Channel WCM Projects: Making Them Work Vern Imrich CTO Percussion Software CM Pros Fall 2007
  2. 2. Today’s Agenda  Introduction to Multi-channel WCM  Usability  Content Reuse  Business Process and Lifecycle  Modeling and Template Design  Emerging Architecture Trends  Summary
  3. 3. Multi-channel WCM  Multi-channel content management • Multi-media describes types of content Rich media, structured vs. unstructured, files, data, etc. • • Multi-channel describes types of content delivery Web, online vs. offline, your site vs. other site, mobile, etc. • • Most channels may consume and deliver ALL types of content  Why multi-channel WCM • WCM is about “customer facing” content Brand, customer experience, loyalty, outreach, leads, etc. • • “it’s a multichannel world, united by content” – Forrester 2006
  4. 4. Perspectives on Multi-channel Initiatives “Enterprises that expect an increase in customer interactions across multiple channels face the daunting task of providing a consistent customer experience. Many have spent the last few years experimenting with treating each channel independently, compounded recently by the use of blogs, RSS, and wikis to both capture and publish content. This has led to duplication of content, inconsistent content usage, redundant processes, and frustrated employees. Providing a consistent customer experience across channels, and improving those processes, now pushes many organizations to manage their content centrally and deliver it through the right channel.” – Forrester 2006 “The market will be positioned toward the marketing buyer, not IT departments. But fast growth in this fragmented market will require IT involvement early and often, because there are many platforms, delivery models and integration points to reconcile.” – Gartner 2007
  5. 5. Usability Challenges  Content contributors expect to work in “the” channel  Task flow dependent on “the” channel • Pick a page design (template), fill it in, save the page  Purpose of content elements based on “the” channel • Q: “What is a promo blurb?” • A: “the piece of text that shows up over here”  Quality of content based on “the” channel • Is this title “too long?”  (need to add examples and screen shots of each)
  6. 6. Customer example
  7. 7. Usability examples
  8. 8. Addressing Usability for Multichannel  Refocus users on the business task, rather than the channel task • Integrate channel communications with core business activities • Example: Create an Event, not an Event Page • Example: Launch a new branch office, not a new branch office site or area  Content Purpose and Quality ARE channel specific • Embrace working in the context of a channel • Leverage channel experts at steps in the process Enable multiple users to touch the same content in the • context of the channel(s) they are familiar with Do not force users to guess about channels they never see •
  9. 9. Content Reuse Challenges  Consistency versus practicality  Form factor issues are real • Text: too long, too short • Rich media: aspect ratios, sizing, thumbnails  Content type effectiveness varies across channels • Example: True Podcasts vs. “reading articles”  Usage paradigms in channels are different • Content optimization diverges • Example: Email/RSS subject line vs. link or title text in a page Spam filters vs. SEO •
  10. 10. Customer examples
  11. 11. Reuse examples
  12. 12. Content Reuse for Multichannel  Consistency through “aggregation rather than integration” of channels • Similar themes, messages done distinctly for each channel  “Derivative reuse” critical • Content is “translated” for each channel Copies are made specific to form factor, media type • Special fields/elements created for each channel • Linkage back to originals is maintained • Process allows all to be maintained in unison • • Consistency of phrase, color, “brand”
  13. 13. Business Process and Lifecycle Challenges  Workflow • Approvals/permissions, usage restrictions, business rules can be channel specific • Example: Special promotion available only from Web site • Example: Syndicated article may not allow use of graphic  Publishing modes • Not all channels allow all modes: update/edit, remove/unpublish • Example: Newsletter cannot be corrected after sent  Lifecycle (Time) issues • Channels set different times for: launch, expire, embargo, archive, restore • Example: “Expired” vs. “old” vs. “no longer accurate”
  14. 14. Customer examples
  15. 15. Process Examples
  16. 16. Business Process for Multichannel  Mix of manual vs. automated processes • Add additional approval steps for use in channels, over and above steps for content approval • Leverage channel experts as “down stream” editorial control • Allow editors to “override” time issues not relevant to channel Example: Continue to promote old articles •  Distinct publishing processes • Separate “approved” from “live” (public vs. published) • Group publishing activities by channels Use channel-specific date-time triggers •
  17. 17. Modeling and Template Design Challenges  WCM: separation of content from format So channels should be easy, right? •  Channels are NOT just formats!  Aggregation modes are different Example: Multiple “snippets” on a page vs. focused landing page for • email campaign  Navigation modes are different Example: RSS short linear time-sorted lists vs. relevancy and click- • path driven web site links • Example: Link text vs. rich media links (embedded into Flash etc.)  Preview What does it mean to preview a Feed, Newsletter, Syndicated article? • • Preview the “whole” or the “parts?” • Example: preview the article fragment or where/how it appears in the feed?
  18. 18. Customer examples
  19. 19. Template examples
  20. 20. Modeling and Template Design for Multichannel  Nested “levels” of templates (template reusability) • Innermost templates deal with format of channel What is a title, subject, subtitle, link text, etc. • Adopt heavy use of CSS to maximize reusability • • Outer templates manage aggregation, navigational differences Can also apply channel-specific business rules • Example: sort by relevancy to target vs. sort by date •  Multichannel requires multi-preview • Users need to switch from one template to the next Reuse models drive this • Example: different test used for “title” showing in channels •
  21. 21. Emerging Architecture for Multichannel  WCM: Separation of content from format Reuse content elements across many formats •  Multichannel WCM: Separation of “customer targeting” logic from “channel presentation” logic Reuse customer segments and targeting rules across all applicable • channels • Centralize the “customer experience” to maximize consistency • Example: segment content based on customer demographics, reuse aggregation in email campaigns, or when they visit Web site independently of email. • Example: Promote an event or product across channels  Cross channel feedback Use Web site based usage analysis to drive other channels • • Example: Web site A/B Test results drives better newsletter • Example: RSS/blog traffic drives visitors to internal cross promotions
  22. 22. Architecture examples
  23. 23. Summary  Multichannel is NOT simply multi-format  Usability Embrace both “content centric” AND “channel centric” •  Content Reuse Derivative content reuse is critical, channels managed like “locales” •  Process Use process to iterate between content and channel experts • Key enable to marry reuse and usability modes •  Templates Separate aggregations from individual content elements •  Architecture Separate “customer” from “channel” to maximize consistency •
  24. 24. Compelling Content Experiences Multi-Channel WCM Projects: Making Them Work Vern Imrich CTO Percussion Software CM Pros Fall 2007