Content may be king on the Web today, but managing content in the fast-paced Web environment is equally crucial. However, current software tools fail to provide complete solutions, and there is little awareness of the "big picture" among vendors. So says Ovum Research, a Boston-based independent research and consulting company, in a recently released report, "Web Content Management: Strategies, Technologies, and Markets."
"As more and more businesses turn to the Web, it is extremely important for them to develop a content management strategy," says Christopher Harris-Jones, lead author of the new report. "It is not just about what's on a company's Web site, but how the content attracts and maintains visitors. This requires management and tools that can automate this task in a manner that reflects the organization's business processes."
Immaturity of products combined with diversity of content, and the various types of sites found on the Web, creates a market with complex end user requirements. But vendors are more interested in putting the right "spin" on their marketing than in delivering the solutions required.
|Core tasks of Web content management |
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Managing the creation of the structure for the content and the Web site
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Managing the content components through techniques, such as versioning, configuration, automated linking, and searching
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Publishing the content to the live Web site
|Source: Ovum Research|
Vendors, from the established software provider to the up-and-coming start-up, need to develop product strategies that incorporate their core competencies while addressing user needs, says Ovum.
"Web content management is a point solution," adds Harris-Jones. "Vendors from document management tools, to e-commerce, to infrastructure software providers need to be clear about what they offer. They have to reduce the market confusion by addressing the business issues, not just the technology. Their solutions need to be more intelligent, and companies will need to develop partnerships to offer the functionality end users want."
As the market matures, vendors will not be able to rely on their past successes, thereby creating the need for enhanced customer support and services, the report adds.
For the user, Web content management involves a multi-faceted approach that involves understanding technology requirements and organizing their own internal organizational culture. "Web content management tools are not the answer to everything," says Harris-Jones. "Users need to understand their content and the effort involved long before selecting a vendor, keeping in mind that not all tool requirements come out of the same box."
This creates integration issues that both software vendors and end users need to address at the strategy level, before moving on to implementation that may require expertise not found within either organization. Thus, Ovum sees an increasing opportunity found in the services sector. Ovum also finds that the service market for Web content management tools will grow to $8 billion in 2004. This represents one and a half times the market for software and creates opportunity for everyone involved.
"The service sector will grow rapidly as organizations realize that it is not simply a matter of 'getting the technology going,' " concludes Harris-Jones. "Understanding business infrastructure and managing cultural elements will require a realization of such issues, especially in the business-to-business environment." About the report
Web Content Management: Strategies, Technologies, and Markets, authored by Ovum analysts Chris Harris-Jones, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, and Clive Burrows, is available from Ovum now and costs $2695, #1595, EUR2555, and A$3795.
The report provides a model for addressing Web content management, and offers both end users and vendors with market overviews, development scenarios, technology trend analysis, and detailed case studies. It also includes profiles of leading vendors, including BroadVision/Interleaf, Documentum, Interwoven, and IBM, and provides forecasts on how the market and associated technologies will develop over the next five years.
For further product information call Ovum at 800-642-OVUM or visit http://www.ovum.com
Want higher profits? Andersen Consulting says pay higher salaries. Research also quantifies the financial impact of a broad range of customer-focused initiatives. Investing to attract and retain top sales, marketing, and customer service professionals can add upwards of $40 million to the bottom line of a typical $1 billion business unit, according to a recently released comprehensive, cross-industry Andersen Consulting study. The study quantifies the impact of initiatives designed to foster improved customer relationships and provides CEOs a roadmap for investing in the most profit-generating programs. The study -"How Much are Customer Relationship Management Capabilities Really Worth? What Every CEO Should Know"- pegs the potential payback for providing financial rewards and incentives at $13 million. Other investments related to creating a high-performing organization could add another $27 million, including, for example: attracting and retaining "stars" ($10 million), and building selling and service skills ($9.5 million). Above industry average sales and marketing compensation is highly correlated with higher profit in every industry Andersen Consulting studied.
|The biggest bottom-line payoffs |
Source: Andersen Consulting
|Financial rewards and incentives, including higher salaries and bonuses ||$13 million |
|Improved customer service ||$13 million |
|Turning customer information into insight ||$12 million |
|Attracting and retaining "stars" ||$10 million |
|Building selling and service skills ||$9.5 million |
|Investing eCustomer Relationship Management (eCRM) products and technologies ||$8 million |
The survey sampled the views of approximately 500 executives from more than 250 companies in industries that included chemicals, communications, electronics and high technology, forest products, pharmaceuticals, and retailing.
Andersen Consulting studied more than 50 individual marketing, sales, and service capabilities common across most industries. Of those, the research revealed that fewer than half have dramatic impact upon financial performance. For the 21 capabilities that have particularly high impact on company profit across industries, it was determined that even moderate improvements could result in additional pretax profits of $40 to $50 million a year for a typical $1 billion business unit. A full-fledged, multi-pronged approach to driving world-class performance around these same 21 capabilities could boost pretax profits $120-140 million a year.
Technology-related skills ranked among or near the top value-adding skills in every industry studied. Many capabilities fueled by technology help companies gain knowledge about customers, convert that information into insight, and implement programs based on that insight. Technology, the study concludes, influences approximately 40% of customer relationship management's impact.
The importance of technology as a key to success in managing customer relationships has accelerated with the rapid growth of eCommerce. The research highlights that, despite its relative infancy, eCRM--what Andersen Consulting describes as using electronic channels to market to, sell to, and serve customers, both directly and with channel partners--is already in the top third of the most profit-adding capabilities identified in the research, with the potential to contribute $8 million in pretax profits per year, for a typical $1 billion business unit. eCRM came out ahead of more traditional drivers of value, such as segmentation and channel management.
"Previous to this study, companies knew they had to become more customer-driven, but weren't sure precisely how to get there," said Dale Renner, global managing partner of Andersen Consulting's Customer Relationship Management practice. "This research takes the guesswork out of where CEOs should put their investment dollars. It starts and finishes with people and the technology that enables them to better understand their customers and to convert that knowledge to tangible results."
Of the top 21 capabilities, five produce the highest impact on financial performance, with three of those five being directly related to people. Motivating and rewarding employees topped the list with a $13 million impact, followed by customer service ($13 million), turning customer information into insight ($12 million), attracting and retaining personnel ($10 million), and building selling and service skills ($9.5 million).
The impact of technology can best be felt in the area of customer insight--or the ability to take transactional data and other information companies capture about their customers and use it to understand customer needs, expectations, and the potential value added by tailoring customer offers and interactions. Leveraging that insight quickly and profitably is even more critical in the Internet economy, where speed alone often determines who will succeed or fail in a given market. The research found that using technology to collect and analyze data, then share the insights of that analysis with everyone in the organization, could add another $12 million to the bottom line.
"Our research clearly found that the highest performing companies give frontline employees quick and easy access to critical customer data. And top performers even share information with channel partners outside their organizations," said Mark Wolfe, lead Strategy partner for the Customer Relationship Management practice at Andersen Consulting. "Technology is critical to ensuring both the collection and flow of information across all channels that ultimately impact the customer." Methodology
The research surveyed how well companies execute various CRM capabilities by asking over 400 questions covering a range of strategy, process, technology, and human performance issues in three sections: marketing, sales, and service. Nearly 500 executives representing over 250 companies and six major industries (chemicals, communications, electronics and high technology, retail, forest products, and pharmaceuticals) participated in the research. Statistical techniques allowed the research team to calculate the impact of improving performance of CRM capabilities on a company's return on sales (ROS). Survey questions were correlated to the business unit's self-reported ROS for three years. Advanced statistical analysis methods were used to identify how much ROS variation across survey respondents is explained by the CRM capability scores of business units.
Better communications key to better partner relationship management Front Line Solutions releases "ePartner2000 Best Practices" report Front Line Solutions, a Burlingame, Calif. consulting and research firm for Partner Relationship Management (PRM), has released a new report, "ePartner2000 Best Practices." The report offers guidelines for success from early adopters of Internet-based applications used to improve Channel partner relationships. The study's scope included a wide variety of Internet-based solutions including PRM, eCRM, eMarketing, B2B portals, and internally developed custom applications. The research team conducted in-depth interviews with project managers and business executives from 35 companies, mostly large technology firms with thousands of channel partners worldwide. Research findings reveal that successful ePartner projects need executive leadership, thorough planning, effective staffing, and a realistic implementation approach. Appropriate technology solutions, backed by responsive vendors, was also viewed as a critical requirement. The individuals interviewed ranked communicating with their indirect sales channels as the number one challenge. To resolve communications issues, increase sales productivity, and enhance partner loyalty, business executives invested in the following technology solutions: partner profiling with channel management functions; personalized and targeted partner communications; sales process automation programs; and order management and eCommerce. The main conclusion of the "ePartner2000 Best Practices" study is that "executives must focus not just on implementing the right technology, but also on following the best practices discovered by ePartner pioneers," noted Bob Thompson, founder and president of Front Line Solutions. "Most of the lessons learned were about business issues and people, not technology." The ePartner2000 Best Practices report includes the detailed findings and analysis from extensive interviews of 35 companies, as well as 15 real-world case studies from companies who have implemented Internet-based solutions for managing partner relationships. Priced at $295, the report can be purchased directly from Front Line Solutions. A free executive summary and ordering details are available at http://www.frontlinehq.com/ep2000/. For further information contact Bob Thompson at email@example.com or 650-343-8529.
Need for supply chain management services is growing New IDC report maps out the competitive landscape. To stay alive and competitive, organizations will increasingly face the need to integrate their supply chains, according to International Data Corp. (IDC), Framingham, Mass. As a result, supply chain management (SCM), which used to be an optional way for companies to improve their performance, is now becoming mandatory at many companies. "In the past, supply chain management projects were undertaken by companies that wanted to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and achieve operational excellence," said Nelly Zaharinov, senior research analyst with IDC's Supply Chain Services research program. "Today, however, these projects are becoming a necessity for many of the big, middle-market and dot- com organizations due to their growing need for collaboration and integration." SCM is the continuous process of integrating suppliers and trading partners into an organization's operations to optimize resources and streamline the flow of information, goods, and services from the point of origination to the point of sale. According to IDC, current market conditions are creating lucrative opportunities for firms that provide supply chain consulting, implementation, operations management, training support, and e-supply chain services. "The increasing complexity and variety of the available software solutions, the demands of the new e-business paradigm, and the need for ever-shortening implementation time frames are just some of the factors causing companies to seek the help of supply chain management service vendors in strategizing, planning, enhancing, integrating, and even managing their supply chains," Zaharinov said. Players from a variety of backgrounds are all vying to get in on the SCM opportunity, including consulting firms, systems integrators, systems vendors, and business process outsourcers. "The supply chain management market is emerging as one of the most important opportunities for service providers to capture the increasingly important business-to-business projects that will enable both new and old economy firms with advanced Web-based supply chain capability," Zaharinov said. About the report IDC's new report, "Supply Chain Innovators: Market Analysis and Competitive Review of the Top 10 Service Providers" (IDC #B22123), analyzes the supply chain services market and the Internet's impact on it. The report discusses opportunities and challenges facing vendors that deliver consulting, implementations, operations management, training, support, and e-supply chain services. It includes recommendations for vendors and end users positioning and deploying supply chain service initiatives. The report also outlines the leading vendors' strategies, portfolio offerings, and delivery models, and profiles Andersen Consulting, Arthur Andersen, Cap Gemini, CSC, Deloitte Consulting, EDS, Ernst & Young, IBM Global Services, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. To order a copy of the report, contact Cheryl Toffel at 800-343-4952, ext. 4389, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.