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The Connected Web

Phil Wainewright

Content Management Moves to the Cloud

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Listen to my interview with Jeff Freund, founder and CEO of Clickability, which has today announced BMC Software as the latest customer to adopt its on-demand web content management platform.

In this podcast, learn how the evolution of the Web is forcing corporate websites to develop more real-time functionality, and find out why companies like BMC are turning to SaaS to manage website content.

Listen to or download the 8:24 minute podcast below:

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PW: Jeff, Clickability, I know, got started in web content management, working with media and entertainment companies. But I think it's now getting customers from other industries, and I guess that's an indication of the fact that businesses are having to do a lot more with their websites these days than they used to.

JF: Absolutely. To remain competitive these days, marketers are really looking for a new type of web content management platform, one that really bridges to other platforms, other marketing systems, and is able to deliver a true holistic web experience to their constituents. One of the things that we've identified is that, across a customer's entire customer lifecycle — so beginning with lead, through sale, through support, through account management — there's typically one single, consistent element across all those areas, and it is the website.


So what corporate marketers are looking for right now is the ability to deliver a consistent holistic experience across that entire customer lifecycle.

So Jeff, when you say the entire customer lifecycle, what you're saying is that — whereas the website used to be an online brochure that people might go to when they were thinking of working for the company, or becoming a customer or something, but not very much otherwise visited — now, there are lots of other reasons why customers will need to come to the website as part of their interaction, on a day-to-day basis.

That's right. And the opportunity there is to take the website, allow it to interact with other platforms — so like a CRM platform or marketing automation platform, or a sales force automation platform — and really turn the website into something that delivers real core business value beyond just delivering essentially static content through a brochureware website. So, something that presents the marketing team with new opportunities to create and nurture leads, something that presents the sales team with new opportunities to engage and work with prospects online — ultimately, with the goal of accelerating sales and creating true business value in a new way.

Right. And I guess providing customer service as well. So in effect, the website becomes the public face of the internal business systems of the organization. And that's something that traditional web content management products have been very much more a stovepipe approach, which doesn't interact very well with those other systems — and I suppose therefore it's quite a challenge to adapt to the new demands of this more web-connected world that we're in these days.

Yes, that is true. And what you see is web content management platforms, like the Clickability platform, adapting to meet those new demands. So it's by really focusing on keeping the core content management capabilities — and really empowering the non-technical users to own that component of things — at the same time creating the economical ways to integrate with other platforms. So one of the problems with traditional web content management products is that they're extremely expensive to integrate across a set of other systems. In today's world, with so much shifting to the cloud, and the adoption of standards for integration, that becomes a much more palatable proposition to start to tie all these things together through the single web experience.

Right. So what sorts of feature sets are we seeing included in web content management nowadays that hasn't been included in the past?

Sure. So it's the toolkits for rapid integrations. It's more out-of-the-box functionality. So you're seeing more web content management platforms having tools and having features for something, say, like landing-page management. So something right out-of-the-box that, in previous generations, was probably left to the customer to develop that themselves. So these more rapid ways to create, either the integration points or the actual results and features themselves, are what we're seeing in the marketplace right now in terms of new feature sets being driven by the WCM providers.

Yeah, and this whole environment is moving pretty fast now isn't it? There seems to be new stuff on the Web everyday, and new innovations of how people can innovate on their websites in the way they interact with customers. And that, of course, has got to be one of the big challenges for a traditional software model where actually rolling out upgrades for all of these capabilities must be quite a challenge.

Absolutely. There is a true competitive advantage that we have being a software-as-a-service provider in that our model allows us to innovate much more quickly. This is really important when you're dealing with something like the Internet, like with the Web, which is itself evolving very quickly and will continue to evolve quickly. The only way to truly be able to keep up with that is to be able to innovate quickly as a technology provider. And doing it as a SaaS provider is really the only opportunity to do that now — to do it tied into the legacy operating models of installed software, it just doesn't work with the rate of change that we're seeing.

And one of the customers that you've brought onboard recently, I think you're announcing today, is BMC Software, which obviously is a big company. And it's interesting that a company that size and nature has decided to go with the SaaS model for web content management.

Sure. And we're thrilled to have BMC as a customer and thrilled to have them on the Clickability platform. When you look at why they chose to move to the cloud for their web content management, it goes back to the same value propositions we've already touched on today. So it's about the empowerment of their non-technical users, while at the same time having a rich environment to create the integration points to their other platforms and really drive towards this idea of the unified web experience for their customers, their prospects, their constituents.

And it's also about the aspect of innovation, about the idea that the web is evolving rapidly and the way to keep up with this is by using platforms that can evolve rapidly as well. And what they've already seen as a customer is that, by using a SaaS web content management system — and by actually using other SaaS and other cloud offerings as well — they're already creating the new opportunities for their marketing team there to support their sales team, for them to grow their pipeline faster — and [they're] already achieving some of those core business values that this new type of website can deliver.

Yes, and of course, that's another advantage of the SaaS model, that you do get to see the results more quickly. Although I suppose with web content management you've still got to build the site before you can go live with it, but you can shortcut that process.

Absolutely. We see integration times anywhere from a quarter to a tenth of the experience of using one of the installed, traditional web content management platforms.

And then, the final piece of this too — and it certainly can't be ignored — is that there is a total cost of ownership argument as well for the SaaS model, and that there are true cost savings by moving WCMS outside of the firewall and into the cloud.

Right. And along what sort of lines are the cost savings — where do they most take effect?

Sure. A lot of it comes down to the operational efficiencies of running in the cloud. The Clickability platform's underlying infrastructure and the scale of operations can deliver a high-performance, a secure, a scaleable environment, at a fraction of the cost that customers would typically incur running the same sort of infrastructure internally.

Phil Wainewright blogs about how businesses are using the Web to get better plugged into today's fast-moving, digital economy.

Phil Wainewright

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