A content management system is a powerful tool for organizing, producing, and automating content. So what is a content management system or CMS? For starters, it’s a major category of content technology.

Here’s how Garter defines content management systems: “Content management systems comprise a set of templates, procedures and standard format software that enables marketers and their proxies (e.g., webmasters) to produce and manage text, graphics, pictures, audio and video for use in Web landing pages, blogs, document repositories, campaigns or any marketing activity requiring single or multimedia content.”

Today, content management systems go beyond supporting the management of content on a website. A CMS can now deliver personal, real-time digital experiences to customers across multiple devices and platforms to meet their content needs. 

Content Management Trends

Web content management is a cornerstone of a personalized digital experience for your customers, and the market for CMS products is  only expected to grow in the future. An array of CMS options from data storage to project management will continue to expand to meet organizations’ evolving demands.

Projected growth of the CMS industry appears limitless and is expected to nearly double over five years. Experts predict that the web content management market will grow from $4.91 billion in 2017 to $10.63 billion by 2022. — Research and Markets

Organizations turn to a wide variety of CMS options. Technologies used by participants in the Content Leadership and Operations Benchmark Study ranged from high-end enterprise content management platforms like Hyland OnBase or OpenText Suite, to collaborative development tools like GitHub and Sharepoint, to self-developed custom solutions. — Content Operations Study, Content Science

graph - CMS usage statistics

Web content management is the backbone of your digital experience. Web content management systems must deliver highly personal digital experiences on any device directly into a customer’s immediate context and moments of need. Forrester

There are many CMS options, but WordPress dominates. Among the top 10,000 websites 40% use WordPress. Other leading CMS choices include Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Squarespace, and Contentful. These represent a range of content management systems from open source to headless and proprietary content management suites.  — Built With

WP Engine (Built on WordPress)9419.41
Atlassian Cloud (Confluence ECM)7477.47
Adobe Experience Manager4114.11
Adobe CQ (Now called AEM)2922.92

CMSs enable companies to serve up more personalized content. While some CMSs provide out-of-the-box personalization capabilities, others integrate a third-party cloud service. Either way, it’s now easy to deliver customized content, which will continue to be essential to organizational success. — Content Science Review

Today’s CMS must go beyond supporting just your website. “The days of creating, managing and delivering digital experiences in a single channel are dying. This paves the way for a new era of web content management (Web CMS) technologies and strategies built on agile, open foundations that support digital experiences beyond the website. — CMS Wire

Challenges and Solutions

While emerging technologies offer a way to better manage and personalize content, streamlining your content management systems is crucial to delivering the right content at the right time.

Brands rely too heavily on a collection of disjointed content management systems. “The result of organizational and technological disconnects is poor, fragmented experiences and frustrated customers. At a time when customers are turning online dozens of times a day, that’s an enormous missed opportunity.” — Peggy Chen, Chief Marketing Officer, SDL

Find a CMS that supports workflow: Thirty-two percent of marketing/content teams say they have standard workflows for content and campaigns but don’t use them consistently. Another 21% say they have no such workflows. Upland Kapost, State of Content Operations 2020

Explore smart content platforms for a more evolved content supply chain. An intelligent, flexible, and AI-driven architecture applied to a content ecosystem will help companies automate tasks and reduce the cost involved in managing extreme amounts of content. — SDL and Forrester

Content automation and personalization through machine learning requires a lot of data, but what does your content delivery system look like? A digital content management platform needs to be able to use identification and behavioral data to deliver the right content to the right user at the right time. — Setting Yourself Up for Success With Machine Learning + Content Automation, Content Science Review

Companies are embracing machine learning. “By the end of 2020, 90 percent of large enterprises will be running pilot or production-level machine learning applications, very few will have fully implemented the technology within business processes or have a comprehensive AI strategy.” — CMS Wire

To personalize content, your CMS must create user profiles based on cohort analysis. Cohort analysis is a process by which your CMS breaks users into subgroups based on common characteristics or experiences. How you define these cohorts and profiles depends on the specific questions you want to answer, and the type of content you’re delivering. — Rise of the Machines: How Machine Learning Can Transform Your Content Delivery + Increase Content Effectiveness, Content Science Review

Four key pillars of CMS selection. When choosing a new CMS, look at support, vision, community, and stability and focus. — CMS Wire

CMS selection, especially at large organizations, will take time. “Be prepared for the paperwork to take some time, depending on the procurement process at your organization. It’s not uncommon for vendor vetting and due diligence at larger organizations to take 30 or 60 days. If the vendor has a binding expression of intent from you, they’ll likely let you get started pending final paperwork, but be sure you understand their policies and know when you can actually take possession of a license or account to get started on your project.” — The Web Project Guide: From Spark To Launch and Beyond

Bottom Line

A CMS can make or break a business’ success. Emerging content technology transforms basic CMS functions into a content lover’s dream with easy-to-use platforms and advanced publishing capabilities. The right CMS for your content needs can help save you time, money, and frustration throughout the entire content process. It also allows you to build sites, publish content, archive, edit inventory, view reports, and productsall essential for modern content professionals, no matter their industry. 

The Author

Content Science partners with the world’s leading organizations to close the content gap in digital business. We bring together the complete capabilities you need to transform or scale your content approach. Through proprietary data, smart strategy, expert consulting, creative production, and one-of-a-kind products like ContentWRX and Content Science Academy, we turn insight into impact. Don’t simply compete on content. Win.

Last Updated: December 1, 2019

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