December 2010
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McBoof’s Predictions For Content Management In 2011

When all of your advisers heave their plastic
At your feet to convince you of your pain
Trying to prove that your conclusions should be more drastic
Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane?

Right, sheeple – it’s time to learn something from the Great McBoof. Normally you’d expect to pay somewhere between $5000 and $10000 for this kind of information in some top secret report. But here it is, completely free. Steal it all when your CIO demands your white paper on Trends for Next Year, or to impress your friends at your local #LastThursdayCMS. So, without further ado, I guess you McBoof’s Predictions For Content Management In 2011.

#1 – Names Remain Sacred: Ridiculous crapronyms like WEM and CEM will vanish. Those that invented them will scuttle back in shame, only to crawl back with some new ones. But the CMS twitterati are a wiley bunch, and aren’t easily fooled. I’ll try to write a blogpost later about why these crapronyms are so bad, but I’m currently surrounded by four babies with the norovirus (not pleasant), and this is a story that deserves to be told properly.

#2 – Return To Core Competencies: New highly-focussed kickass products will appear in areas into which the CMS vendors tried to encroach. The vendors will feel a bit stupid, stop building monoliths and focus on the stuff they’re good at. They’ll embrace integration again. The areas include analytics, MVT, search, image manipulation, transcoding and community. Most will be *aaS and easily integrated. Kiss your custom CMS tracking module, A/B testing module, forum module, twitter module, image resize module and full text search module goodbye. They’re going to look pretty shit compared to what’s coming.

#3 – Focus on APIs: The API will take centerstage in 2011. The next versions of most CMSs will be properly architected for them. A product will be judged by the quality of the API it exposes. The really good news is that this will properly re-establish the split between content management and content delivery. Portals will be portals again. And there will be much rejoicing. Vignette DPM will be unofficially axed. And there will be even more rejoicing. All APIs will become HTTP based. CMIS will play a relatively small role in 2011. The vendors will all claim their APIs are RESTful, although only a handful really will be. Note that there is nothing wrong with these slightly dirty, non-RESTful APIs. I’d rather have dirty than SOAP. And SOAP is going away. Can you believe the S stands for Simple.

#4 – Enemies Will Stop Sleeping Together: 2010 had a good few CMS aquisitions that didn’t make sense. Vendors that had many overlapping products acquired one another or merged. None of these were a good idea, so 2011 won’t repeat this. No chance of either the speculated Microsoft – Adobe or Interwoven – Open Text jokes happening. Note that yours truly does still think the Adobe – Day deal was smart, but they didn’t have overlapping products.

#5 – New Auth Protocols: FaceBook Connect is going to become important to the CMS vendors. It’ll be a checkbox on RFPs. Which sucks, but I’m sure Nostradamus didn’t like all his predictions either. OpenID and OAuth aren’t going to set the world alight in 2011.

#6 – RFPs Continue to Waste People’s Time: The CMS choir will continue to all sing that big fat RFPs are not the way to effectively select a product. And this will continue to fall on deaf ears and we’ll continue to see these dumbass, energy sapping, pointless documents arriving in our inboxes.

#7 – A Storm Cloud Brewing: Vendors start to properly understand the cloud. They’ll all architect their software for it. Amazon will be dominant. The smarter CMS vendors will provide EC2 instances all installed and ready to go. I must confess I only properly understood it early this year.

#8 – Real Multichannel Delivery: The success of the iPad (and, I predict, the Samsung Galaxy Tab) will mean vendors start thinking about multichannel again properly. 2011 will be the year Android becomes really important. Even Windows Phone 7 might start to matter a bit. In fact, we might get people saying “Digital Content Managament” instead of “Web Content Management”. Which would be yet another craproymn as that is what good old “Content Management” is.

#9 – And Multichannel Authoring: It won’t just be delivery to the tablets and smartphones. It’ll be authoring too. In 2011, half the vendors will write web apps while the other half will write native apps to show off their mobile authoring platforms. By 2012, 80% will be writing web apps.

#10 – The Crew Trumps The Product: The realisation will hit home about why the implementation is still more important than the product choice. There will be some attempts to start SI/Agency reviews or reports, but I don’t think they’ll take off until 2012.

Bonus CMS Prediction: 2011 Is Gonna Be Fun: The CMS Twitter community will continue to be insane and a good laugh. We’ll drink lots of beer together. @pmonks will not grow up, @irina_guseva will retain her title as CMS Queen, @piewords will remain the voice of reason, @justincormack will still write very well thought out posts not often enough. Those pesky analysts will continue to stir things up and keep us occupied. The well-meaning vendors will continue to sprout marketing bullshit. And I’ll continue to be completely wrong about absolutely everything.

Bonus Christmas Prediction: No new Christmas song will be released that will come even close to Fairytale of New York – by far and away the best Christmas song ever written. The lyrics are brilliant enough to bring tears to my eyes , the music Irish and folky and Shane MacGowan is the ugliest bastard you’re ever likely to see in a music video. Listen to THIS three times and I’ll buy you a beer if you aren’t in love with it.

As usual, comments and flames much appreciated. Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.

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29 comments to McBoof’s Predictions For Content Management In 2011

  • Puf

    Facebook announced in April that Facebook Connect will be retired in favor of the Graph API ( Which uses OAuth 2.0 for authentication (

    But given that many customers still ask for Web 2.0 or Social Web stuff, you might still be right about them asking for Facebook connect. ;-)

  • Mark my words, at some point in 2011 we’ll see a vendor marketing “Web 3.0″ support. It’s at that time that I’ll finally accept my true calling and open a bar on a tropical island somewhere.

  • Sadly, I can only find one prediction to disagree with: #6. The problem isn’t RFPs, it’s bad RFPs. Still the best way to get from a long short-list to a short short-list and to begin price negotiations. BTW, I’ve become a big believer in long short-lists after seeing some surprisingly successful selections in the past couple of years of products that didn’t make the customer’s “top five” but did make the “top ten.”

  • Nice to see you back and talking about content management, you are damn right about Fairy Tale in New York and that beer you are buying the newly converted better be Guinness.

    You’ve just tweeted me about #1 – I really look forward to the blog post. I’ve written about marketing stealing engagement so I can’t disagree that there are some snake oil salesman out there, but not everyone is trying to fool anyone. Like I say, look forward to your post – or maybe the next time we have a beer.

    I like #2, agree with the innovation that smaller will bring and it will be SaaS. I’ve been really attracted to that idea, loads of exciting stuff happening. Also to the idea that software buyers / marketers will navigate this tools market, between the content and the visitor with sufficient clarity to start making the distinction, what you describe as “looks pretty shit”. In reality I fear that this may not happen, but I’m with you. You may hate it, but it’s part of my agenda with web engagement to get these capabilities understood so people can choose.

    Now I’ve mentioned #1 and #2 I feel I should say something about the others… #3 API’s – nice, but not sure people are buying based on API’s – #4 onwards great stuff. As Shane says… I can see a better time When all our dreams come true

    Nice post mate – cheers!! Hope you have a great Christmas.



  • Yes, RFPs waste people’s time. No point in spending a million dollars on a CMS and issuing an RFP; it’s better just to guess or invite a whole bunch of vendors in for dog-and-pony shows and leave it to their salesmanship.

    • @Toby and @Tony – guilty as charged. It is *bad* RFPs that will continue to waste people’s time. By these I mean the huge matrix of features that need to be painstakingly filled in, and painstakingly evaluated. And these really are a waste of time – at least in the many evaluations I’ve been involved in.

      Step 1: Someone hires a consultant to generate the big matrix. This is normally cut-and-pasted from some previous procurement and contains many ridiculous features. We’ve all talked about this before.

      Step 2: The vendor (or implementation partner) pulls out the canned answers to all of these questions and copy-pastes the responses into the massive matrices. Everything is a “Y” or “Y with Customisation”. You hardly ever see a No, except from the more honest vendors/implementers.

      Step 3: If scored by the book, the honest vendors tend to get dropped. And the poor bastards who kept their answers brief also get droppped. Verbosity wins often.

      And that’s what I hate. Of course a diligent procurement process is required, but the Matrix isn’t it. Lots has been said about alternative approaches – especially by the likes of Tony and the Real Story Group.

  • “Listen to THIS three times and I’ll buy you a beer if you aren’t in love with it.”

    -> Do I have to lend you ten pounds first ? ;)

  • Tim

    FONY is a bit twee, who can not raise a smile and a beer to Here comes Santa Claus

  • Tim

    Oh, and Bob’s also not looking too smart himself these days…..

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