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Getting to the Core: WEM, CXM, CEM, CMS, WCM

Date Posted: Wednesday, 13 February 2013 23:37
Posted By: Kerry Butters
Tags: wcxm cms wem wcms

For the average user, technology can be confusing at best, especially as it’s one of those industries that loves jargon. CMS is no different and often, users can find themselves becoming overwhelmed with the various acronyms around and what they mean. 

Web content management (WCM) is a well-known and used phrase/acronym and these days, it tends to be replaced with a few other terms, including: 

  • CMS – content management system
  • CXM – customer experience management
  • CEM – customer experience management
  • WEM – web experience management
  • WCMS – web content management system
  • WCXM – web customer experience management

As you can see, they all really mean the same thing, more or less, and this is why confusion reigns amongst those who aren’t in the CMS business. This is because the industry has been discussing ways to replace plain old WCM with something else and nobody has actually come up with one term to suit all, yet. 

To some extent this is because over time, functions have been added to CMS which go beyond basic web content management. More and more companies these days recognise the power of social, for example, and this has been incorporated into many CMS. 

Further to that, analytics are playing a part, sites tend to create more content as blog marketing and so on has been adopted and really, the terms CMS and WCM don’t provide an adequate enough description for all of the various features that management systems are now capable of carrying out. 

What is CXM? 

Simply put, CXM is an acronym used as part of a CMS, but the one that relates to the customer experience, such as search, recommendations, social engagement and even analytics. 

CXM is not so much a software solution or platform, as a term that encompasses everything that relates to the customer experience, both online and off. To further pin it down, this can include email, print marketing and call centres and can be a function of a CMS, as it allows these tasks to be automated. 

CXM can be used to describe a CMS which is capable of managing all aspects of the online experience including mobile, web and social media. However, this is something that some CMS have had the capability of for a good few years now, so it does seem a little like CMS is having something of an identity crisis, as Mike Johnston discusses in his blog

For the sake of the sanity of the user, it does seems that settling on one acronym to suit all would be the best way forward. However, the IT industry never seems to enjoy making things straightforward, as anyone who has stumbled across cloud computing terms will know. 

However, one thing to bear in mind is that when a vendor is discussing CMS and WCXM/CXM is that the term is also used to acquire, retain and turn customers into loyal advocates of your brand.


Image from Real Story Group Slideshow 

What does it mean to me when purchasing a CMS? 

That would depend on your requirements, but I would say rather than look for any solution that uses one of those terms (apart from CMS) on its own should delve a little deeper to ensure that the system has everything that they need. 

There are a lot of CMS vendors out there and they all have something for everyone, although some are more powerful and fully featured than others. A bespoke CMS that allows you to essentially build the system to suit your business is always going to be the best bet for larger enterprises, who need internal content management for intranet as well as web. 

Bearing that in mind, if you come across WCM, then ensure that it also has intranet capabilities if you need them. A custom built CMS ideally should allow you to add and remove certain modules that you do or don’t need. 

That’s really all that you need to know about the actual acronyms. There’s so much difference of opinion on what’s what these days that there is no one settled term that encompasses all aspects of a CMS – apart from perhaps CMS itself. 

However, knowing that the acronyms are out there and all mean pretty much the same thing should clear up a fair amount of confusion! 

The important distinction to make when it comes to CMS acronyms is that those that describe customer experience are talking about strategy, rather than management. CMS delivers and automates much of the content, whilst CXM relates to your brand and how customers are engaging with it. 

In an ideal world, it’s best to choose a reputable CMS vendor that can provide all of these and the management of them in one platform. This is nothing unusual to CMS, many modern packages allow for both, streamlining content delivery, marketing, SEO and analytics all from one program.

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