Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WCM and the promise of Web 2.0

This week was Web Content Management (WCM) week in Boston, with a kick-off on Monday at the CM Pros conference, followed by two days of the Gilbane Conference & technology showcase. The general tenor of the event made for great networking and included interesting keynotes, lively vendor discussion and industry expert sessions. All of which included a healthy dose of forward-looking statements.

The widespread impact of Web 2.0, from both an end-user and user-contributor perspective, was a recurring theme throughout the conference. I took it upon myself to dig beyond the 2.0 buzz to determine the practical influence that new technologies will have on the user’s experience and the way content is delivered. Here is what I came up with…

  • Alerting – certainly a familiar technology today, which will increasingly be used in new and innovative ways. Take for example Facebook’s Beacon. A failed attempt, but nonetheless a feature that uses events as triggers to automate notification. Retailers are adopting alerts as merchandising tactics and we can only expect to see more as consumers are looking for a push of relevant information.

  • Community – the dependence on social networks is strengthening daily as users spend more time using the tools and features within their social arenas. Communities are important as social networks, but will also begin to permeate the workforce as collaboration tools. With a distributed workforce becoming the norm and growing familiarity with social networking tools, it’s not long before employees are asking for Facebook-style tools for internal collaboration. Organizations will be forced to embrace these technologies and build solutions around them – or risk losing their talent to those who do.

  • Open APIs – Google maps is certainly the most utilized API, since geography helps us to attach relevance to everything we do. Services like Zillow have brought the mash-up to new levels of usability and “coolness”, with a high functionality after bite. With mash-ups as a hot topic in many discussions at the conference, we can expect to see more of them. Yet, “openness” is a concept that 2.0 functionality is built upon and will maintain a key role in the ongoing development of cutting edge technology.

  • Relevance – don’t give me everything, just give me what I need – and hurry up. I don’t know about you, but my world is full of too much unwanted information. I’m willing to provide some details about my personal preferences in order to place filters on the information that comes my way. Web Content Management systems are doing their part by enabling dynamic content powered by behavioral targeting, analytics and community influences. While governance remains a critical component to my privacy (thanks Amazon for not giving up our purchase histories), predictive analysis and relevance will severely impact the way that we interact with the web.

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