Open Interoperability in Your Choice of WCM Speeds Implementation

Erin Brodie
By Erin Brodie
May 26, 2015

Website implementation projects are often slowed by technology integration challenges. The lack of interoperability between systems in the marketing automation technology stack is clearly frustrating digital marketers. When surveyed, nearly half of marketers cite roadblocks created by I.T. challenges as a major barrier in our drive to improve digital experiences for customers. The whole implementation process simply takes too long and costs too much.

Every tough compromise that we marketers make to get our sites into production sooner limits the ability to deliver on our digital objectives – such as better lead conversion. Often our best data about customers, and the content needed to personalize their experiences, is locked in external systems. That’s why Forrester’s Anjali Yakkundi has stated that the future of digital experience technologies “will be an integration story, not a suite story”.

What most marketers don’t realize is that the real problem is the all-in-one approach taken by the proprietary WCM suites (e.g. Adobe, Sitecore, Acquia). These are closed systems that have been bloated by acquisitions in a vain attempt to provide everything to do with digital experience delivery. They advise customers to abandon their marketing technologies of choice and force a switch to their big, loosely “integrated” solutions suite.

Fact is these are legacy systems plagued by all the same integration challenges and limitations that have vexed I.T. for the past three decades. Every organization running a big WCM suite is still stuck struggling to solve the interoperability problem for themselves – even if they get everything working at launch.
(Note: Having the suite vendors host everything for you in a private cloud does little to solve these fundamental integration problems.)

 

When it comes to the software that runs your marketing, demand freedom of choice.

Shouldn’t you be able to preserve your existing marketing technology investments? Shouldn’t you instead require that your WCM platform integrate with your third-party solutions of choice? If your I.T. department needs to call in a systems integration firm to make your website’s personalization work, you know you’re in trouble. It’s the death knell for rapid project cycles.

Take integrating Adobe with Marketo as a prime example. Marketers rely on Marketo integration to improve website personalization with targeted content, but can integrate their own custom branded landing pages on the WCM front end. Using Adobe, however, this combination can add a couple months to the schedule as developers map each integration point, depending on the level of interoperability required. Add a few other back-end content and data sources to the mix and you could be looking at millions in budget to get it all to work together.

 

Lengthy technology integration cycles impact more than your budget.

The human productivity costs of poor interoperability are even higher. According to a study completed by Forrester:

  • Poor integration is the #1 barrier to digital experience delivery. 78% of marketers cite improper integration as their top impediment to delivering successful digital experience initiatives.
  • Technology components are often left unintegrated in content and data silos, hampering process and consistency. 72% of those surveyed report an excess of content repositories as an impediment.

These problems impact your team’s ability to remain agile and respond to changing market conditions. It impacts the ability of teams to cross-collaborate across geographies or agencies. Time is of the essence – the days of waiting weeks for a lengthy technical implementation are over.

It isn’t just marketing productivity that suffers. Many I.T. development teams are forced to write custom integrations themselves. Then every time the environment changes or the product on one side or the other changes, the integration can break. Connections between these systems need to be actively monitored and managed with every upgrade. Thinking of how much time and effort custom integration will require (or not require) over the lifespan of any one of your websites should be a key technical consideration when evaluating WCM solutions.

 

Bottom line: WCM platforms need to be open and interoperable.

Truly open, interoperable cloud services can largely fix the integration problem. When integration APIs are deployed as cloud services, they just work – weathering maintenance and upgrades and other changes. Simple integrations may take only a couple of hours and a few lines of code. All WCM vendors offering a cloud deployment option should guarantee that back-end integration works for every customer, over time.

When evaluating hosted WCM, ask tough questions about whether the integrations you need are natively supported. The more that’s provided “out of the box”, the less work your development team or systems integrator will have to worry about. This allows web/mobile marketers the freedom to focus on creating great experiences, because integrations are faster and more affordable than traditional WCM approaches.

Open integration is our mission at Crownpeak. We have a native integration with Dropbox for example that allows any customer with a simple interface to enter their account credentials, access their assets there, and pull them into our platform. Other document integrations we support include content pulled from Sharepoint, Box, Marketo, Eloqua, Alfresco and many others.

 

Watch our 3-minute Document Management Integrations demo video:

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