A Bit of History: The Proprietary Past

November 17, 2014
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A profound change has happened to the Content Management World:

No business knows the value and pain of content management like the press, and there were a couple laughs at yesterday’s media briefing when I quoted Acquia’s Chief Marketing Officer, Tom Wentworth: “Everyone hates their CMS.”

History content management

The strategic value of a strong CMS is central to the success of any media operation: no industry was disrupted earlier and more profoundly than publishing. From the earliest days of web publishing, no technology held more hope and delivered more disappointment than content management . At Acquia, we want to disprove Tom’s insight earned over his decade spent in the commercial CMS industry.

Tom Burton from The Mandarin was at the briefing. Earlier this fall he wrote a line that struck a chord with me: “Organisation websites these days are fast becoming the pivot of most enterprise IT stacks.”

Web tools and technologies were once self-contained sideshows that drove the development of a corporate or government agency site – mainly as brochureware -- putting words, sounds and pictures on the glass with few if any linkages into the enterprise. Today’s technology strategists place the management and delivery of their organization’s digital experiences at the center of their IT strategy, knowing that they have to bridge the back office worlds of SAP and Oracle and big data with the front office -- the digital point of contact which any sane person would prefer over standing in a line (make that a “queue” Down Under) at the department of motor vehicles. Content management has morphed into digital experience delivery -- combining CMS and eCommerce and social community tools to do away with the human “modem” in customer service and allow us to transact our business, on our terms, with the assurance of secure transactions and respect for our time.

The cloud has utterly transformed the notion of hosting and capacity, removing the fear of every webmaster or data center manager of the dreaded phone call telling them the website is down. At Acquia we made that fear go away. Anyone who has lost a website when they need it most – when a news event or unexpected surprise sends a flood of traffic at your system knows there is no worse feeling that seeing your best moment turn into your worst nightmare.

The Power of the Distro

The concept of a distribution has transformed how vertical sectors from publishing to pharmaceuticals can efficiently and economically move from one-off solutions to quickly get going live on well-tested, industry-tailored comprehensive solutions with many contributors and a strong open source core. govCMS embodies the advantages of such distributions.

It achieves economies of scale by providing a single core solution that can be maintained, patched and upgraded centrally while granting local control over the “glass” to the experts at the ministry and agency level who can’t wait for a central “webmaster” to produce and prioritize their needs. As John Sheridan told the press, in the past it would take literally weeks to change a sentence on some government websites. govCMS grants control while maintaining central, managed control of the back end, freeing the experts at the frontlines to focus on the user experience with the assurance the back end is being taken care of and protected by Acquia from its Australian data center running on Amazon Web Services.

govCMS provides a framework of standards to ease compliance, access and other mandated levels of service. These are high stakes under a lot of scrutiny, and a vetted solution like govCMS eases the development and certification process for its users.

govCMS will offer a dynamic roadmap with the open flexibility to incorporate future improvements and enhancements as the needs of Australia’s citizens change and new functions are needed.

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