IT and the Shared Service vs. SaaS Web Content Management

Jim Howard
By Jim Howard
July 10, 2012

Enterprise IT organizations and/or eBusiness groups have created and run many of the most impressive Web Content Management (WCM) projects ever seen. These WCM shared services span hundreds of sites, integrate dozens of custom and 3rd party functions, and support entire global organizations. Nonetheless, even the best of these WCM shared services have come to the end of their useful lives. The problems in these services have grown because the products they were based on – Vignette, Adobe, Interwoven, Tridion, SharePoint, and Adobe/Day – weren’t architected to run a shared service.

The reason I say the last-generation approach is at end-of-life is that the business outcomes are mediocre and the costs are far too high. Digital marketing teams are inhibited by the shared platform. Half a year or more to get a new project live is common. Months to get a template change or new function released into the live environment is the norm. Such delays are actively preventing the marketer from being successful. And the cost to set-up, manage and maintain this shared platform reliably and securely in a 24/7 global environment is very high. Worse still, valuable technical resources end up wasting time baby-sitting a platform when they should be launching new projects and developing new e-business applications that are truly core to their business.

I’m not saying that anybody made mistakes here. When last-generation systems were put into place, they were the state of the art. But today, there is a better option.

I’d like to compare a shared service run on a last-generation product to Crownpeak. Crownpeak delivers hundreds or thousands of times more sites, end-users and integrations than any internally managed WCM platform. But we also enable rapid changes, rapid site rollouts, plug-and-play integrations and function additions. And we deliver our service at a much lower cost and higher level of performance than an internally managed service can.

I will make this critical point in a later post, but the change to a SaaS as the shared services platform doesn’t mean that the shared services team or valuable IT development resources go away. The skills in that team are critical for the organization. When the IT team runs the shared service on Crownpeak, projects can be rolled out and changed much more quickly. Valuable skills like developer and DBA can be focused on new business functions rather than on maintaining a platform. And most importantly, digital marketing and eBusiness outcomes are likely to improve dramatically.

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