WCM Can Learn From Google+

WCM Can Learn From Google+ The editing experience of Google Plus is fantastic.  They have achieved a degree of ease and granularity that WCM systems have been struggling and failing to achieve for years.

First, at its core, Google+ is WCM – web content management.  It is the place for you to build your personal brand and promote content and interaction (aka “engagement”) with the public and those in your circles.

Keeping your profile and other pages up to date and highlighting the best happenings, photos and events must be frictionless.  Our job isn’t to maintain our Google+ page, our Google+ page’s job is to showcase us in the best light.  So editing you pages should be, and is, quick and easy.  There are no popups, there is no confusing “edit mode” that shifts the entire look and feel of your page layout.  You simply click on what you wish to edit and start typing.  Click done and that’s it.

This approach to maintaining your online presence is far and away the best one I’ve experienced.  Google+ does not over complicate the experience with widgets, plugins or other “effects” that clutter most other WCM systems.  They have correctly identified their place in the flow of information from the user (me) to the world (folks in my circles).  They do not try to make me into a web admin or programmer.  They figure, if I want deep programming capabilities and effects I’ll be using a different system.

And it is precisely this targeted approach that is both driving adoption of apps like Instagram and sites like Pinterest while driving people away from all-in-one platforms like those provided by Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, OpenText and EMC.  The level of effort to create and display (and “like”, “re-use” and comment on) images in a Pinterest style board in an enterprise portal is huge compared to the level of effort it takes to set up a Pinterest account and start sharing images (that link back to primary web properties).

So WCM systems can stand to learn a thing or two from Google+  1) keep it simple for users 2) don’t over reach.  Other, better suited, systems will take up the feature gap.

UPDATE: Oracle’s FatWire Acquisition Round Up

Oracle Acquires FatWire

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This is a response to Laurence Hart’s commentary on Word of Pie blog that may be found here.

I think that the WEM and widget capabilities of FatWire complement (read: fill the gaps) the in the ECM / WebCenter stack.  Oracle’s story around how to do that natively was much more about building with the stack.  While possible, it wasn’t necessarily quick or easy.  Combined with other R&D priorities like combining BEA with WebCenter with Stellent with IPM with Apps and you’ve got an overloaded product management team with too many competing “good and necessary” priorities to fill in-house.  The alternatives are to look to partners to build necessary add-ons (take a look at their OVI program to see how they’re leveraging this model) and look for other technology to acquire – enter ATG, Fatwire, and undoubtedly others.

Look at Oracle’s trajectory – ECM continues to move into the background as a SOA enabled rich content store.  But they recognize that they need to keep up with WEM not just by allowing coders to code but also to build in or fold in capabilities that meet the needs right away.  Thus Fatwire.

Disclaimer: I’ve got absolutely no insider info on this and it is pure conjecture.  Educated conjecture, but conjecture nonetheless.

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You can be sure that there will be more coming out over then next weeks about Oracle’s acquisition of ECM company FatWire.  But here is a run down of some of the best sources at the end of day one.

Apoorv Durga from The Real Story Group has the customer perspective.

CMSWire notes that Oracle ECM has been lacking specific engagement management capabilities for a while that FatWire rounds out.

FierceECM says that the acquisition complements Oracle’s earlier acquisition of ATG.

ReadWriteWeb compares Oracle’s acquisition strategy to that of Adobe.

Oracle has released a letter that places the acquisition smack into their existing ECM & E20 platform.

The original press release.

Oracle’s FatWire acquisition page on their website

I applaud Kumar Vora, Oracle’s new SVP of Development for E20 (among other things) and his team for getting out ahead of the pundits and putting his name to the letter above.  This kind of transparency and leadership is a breath of fresh air from big Red.  It also gives some important hints as to what Oracle is likely to do with the technology and customers from FatWire.

While I have been out of Oracle since 2009, I can see how FatWire’s web engagement capabilities plug a badly leaking hole in the whole ECM/WCM stack.  Oracle may have simply gotten tired of getting beaten up by the analysts for having lack-luster features and capabilities in this area.  Campaign management – kind-of.  Analytics (tracker? really? still!?) – meh.  Personalization and mobility capabilities – well, to be sure, ECM and mobile ADF *could* do all of these and, sure, Real Time Decisions (coming out of Siebel) could stand in for a pretty good persuasive content strategy.  But at the end of the day these required much more work to wire together and even re-code than most folks were ready to do.

Now enter ATG with high-powered, highly curated, high-performance scripted e-commerce and combine it with the mature and WCM specific engagement widgets from FatWire and you’ve got the ingredients for an all-you-can-eat ECM buffet.  Oracle has proven repeatedly that they are adept at taking all those ingredients and baking them into nicely integrated single-source solutions.  The only down-side is that it often takes them longer than the market would like.

This is the risk that I see for Oracle with this acquisition.  The features needed to be part of the Oracle ECM / E20 stack *yesterday.  Waiting a year or more wont cut it unless there are no other options.  With the host of smaller and open-source players snapping at their heels and with user interaction paradigms changing Oracle will have to plug the WEM leak while evolving their E20 stack to keep apace of the industry, the market and the demands of people like you and me.

I wish them the very best of luck.

PS – to any of the FatWire folks reading – It’s just my opinion but you should really not fret about big scary Oracle.  Oracle invests in technology and people.  They will do a good job with you too.  You’re in good hands with Thomas, Hasan, Kumar, Andy and the team.