Friday, January 15, 2010

2010 Predictions for Web Content Management and Sitecore

2010 = 2000
(but an easier and richer user experience)

In this new decade, which is kicked off by 2010, I’m predicting whatever it was we were predicting in 2000, or maybe even 1990, to be REALLY BIG this year.

I think it was Nicholas Negroponte of MIT, founder of their famed Media Lab, who said something to the effect …. What is surprising isn't our fast rate of technical innovation, instead it is the slow rate people are able to adopt it.
I am reminded of 1982, when I joined a start up in Silicon Valley, upon the recommendation of my MBA thesis advisor and the Dean of the Business School. I was a bright eyed and bushy tailed eagerbeaver, ready to sell the world on our two hot products- Email and Computer Conferencing. The efficiencies, the possibilities for instant global collaboration, a global paradigm shift!

In fact , all true! Only, we were off by a decade for email and maybe two decades for Conferencing (chat/webex/twitter/blogs). The reactions back then as we discussed email in organizations were almost comical today.

EagerBeaver: “VP Silliman, how would you like to be able to send a memo to all of your employees, and potentially many of your suppliers or customers just by typing it once on this (clunky) computer terminal and pushing the return button?”
VP Silliman : “Why would I do that when I can just Xerox the memo and drop them in the mail for just 20 cents each? Then I don’t have to buy all that complicated computer equipment and your software thingamajig!” ….Darn!

You think that was tough, imagine our computer conferencing product. Multiple computer terminals, all logged into a central server (Dec PDP 10 mainframe), able to simultaneously type and see each other’s messages simultaneously, like Facebook without the pictures.People looked at us like we were blue and had tails, and this was a long time before Avatar!

We did manage to convince one company that this was like having telex machines sending each other simultaneous faxes globally, with everyone seeing eachother’s faxes. Bechtel Construction, who had huge construction projects around the globe ‘got it’, and managed far flung global project far better than before…but they were innovators, really pre- early adopters. It took everyone else at least another decade.

So what will people be able to adopt in 2010 in the Web Content Management space?
Well, according to Interwoven’s Press releases from 2000 (the then market leader, now a much quieter subdivision of Autonomy) the big stories were:
-Major eCommerce solutions, both through integration partnerships and their own product
-Integrated Analytics and visitor and content tagging technology via acquisition, “to create a compelling and relevant Web experience”
- “ A framework for the Wireless Web, providing intelligent content management for wireless”.

The amazing irony about these top topics from 2000 is that these remain very big topics today, and with eCommerce established but still complex, analytics established but typically not well integrated into the actual web experience, and wireless /mobile here but not yet a compelling experience yet.
Sitecore has new capabilities, products and partnerships in all of these areas, and the major differences now versus 10 years ago is the complexity and cost of implementation is much lower. And the features now make the experience much richer. In a recent poll of over 100 of our Sitecore customers (we’ll be announcing that soon so I can’t leak much), over 70 % said they chose Sitecore because of the features built in and close second was its ease of use.

So I predict for 2010, now that Sitecore has the usability and complexity at a level engaging and suitable for widespread adoption, that eCommerce, Integrated Analytics and Wireless for the web will be big successes for us. We’re finally making the technology that fits our human comfort zones!

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