Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The curious case of the missing "management" in content management systems

In the past 20 years, a lot of Content Management Systems have seen the light of the world. No matter how you count them, pretty much everybody will agree that there are thousands of products that allow you to "manage content". Yet for all those CMSs, it is surprising how little management functionality actually exists in these systems.

If we talk about Content Management, we mainly mean the ability to create content and publish it to the web and other channels like mobile apps, POS, Google Glass or smart TVs. Your CMS will most likely also contain some form of sign-off workflow, although many of the simpler ones don't. For a CMS that can be used for global communication, some form of translation management might be included: the ability to write content in one language and eventually publish in others. (this typically includes workflow for a review process as well as some export/import functionality or calls to cloud APIs that handle the assignment to translation software and the humans – or machines – that perform the translation). But that is pretty much where the management part stops. So what else needs to be managed? Let's start by looking at what management means. Wikipedia tells us that
"Management in business and organizations is the function that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively"
Google simply states that 

For instance, these days there is ample talk about content strategy. Is any CMS able to manage your content strategy? Do you have a CMS that even allows you to define a strategy? How about managing the creation and lifecycle of content? A CMS that manages a publishing calendar? Automatically assigns content to be written to the next available resource? Or a CMS that, based on the analytics of existing content and the stated goals of your website (or app) automatically creates new tasks for content that needs to be written?

Editorial Calendar App in Magnolia 5
Editorial Calendar App in Magnolia 5

Imagine a CMS that detects how 3% of your visitors are looking for "management self help" on your site, but no article exists to satisfy their need. Shouldn't it create a new item in your task box, or in your editorial calendar to ask for it to be written?

How about a CMS that realizes that a particular article isn't accessible anymore? Or that a certain SEO-heavy landing page uses outdated terminology? Shouldn't it notify you?

As you can see, once you start thinking about what could be done, you realize that Content Management still has a long way to go. Luckily, some systems allow you to add functionality in the form of modules or apps onto an open platform. It will be exciting to see the kind of "content management apps" we'll see in the future. What is the "management" part you miss most in today's content or experience management systems? Feel free to leave a comment or come to the Magnolia Conference 2014 and discuss your ideas with us.

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