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My Brush with a CMS Lynch Mob at the ASBPE Digital Symposium

November 07, 2009 | By Jeff Freund
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I spoke at the ASBPE (American Society of Business Publication Editors) Digital Symposium Friday afternoon.  I was in a session with two other speakers discussing CMS platforms and what Editors need to think about in selecting a platform.  We each had about 20 minutes and I was the third speaker.  This is how things unfolded:

Speaker One:  “All Content Management Systems suck.  The ‘S’ in CMS stands for ‘sucky’” -- and this was just the beginning of about 20 minutes of general CMS bashing!  This was not just some disgruntled IT professional either – this gentleman has been around the block at several prominent publishers, leading CMS efforts with platforms that included Vignette, Interwoven, Movable Type, Drupal, etc.   [Speaker One = Fredric Paul, publisher and editor-in-chief, bMighty.com ]

Speaker Two:  Another mildly uncomfortable 20 minutes as the Editorial Director of an online property strolled through your standard list of CMS woes that he had experienced in the last few years: the homegrown system that fell apart after the developer left, the CMS project that was 6 months late and 100% over budget, the ridiculous confines of an inflexible platform, the pain to publish new content, etc. [Speaker Two = Tyler Davidson, Editorial Director, Meetings Media ]

Speaker Three:  When I took the podium I was a bit fearful that the audience had been turned into an angry lynch mob against the token CMS vendor (aka me!) and were about to exact revenge for years and years of painful web publishing experiences!

I resisted the urge to dive into how the Clickability Platform solved all these problems, how we empowered our non-technical users, how we provided BOTH flexibility and control, and all the other wonderful things I wanted to say in defense of our CMS Platform, but I refrained.  Rather, I acknowledged that these pains were exactly why we decided to get into the Content Management business.  We knew CMS was broken and we knew that we could do something new, different and powerful through our SaaS model.  I then moved on to outline our vision for the next generation of websites and WCM.

At the end, it was Fred (aka. Speaker One) who asked me the best question.  His stated that he loved our future vision of Websites and WCM, but questioned how customers can move onto this sort of thing if they are still struggling with the basics?  This is indeed a great question.  With all of the exciting, innovative, and compelling things that you can do on the web right now, we must remember that the vast majority of website publishers are still struggling with the basics.  And these are problems that we solve on a day to day basis for our customers.

Overall, I am thankful that everyone left their rotten tomatoes, pitchforks, and torches at home yesterday, and hope that my fellow speakers and the rest of the audience will indeed take up my challenge: allowing me to prove that there is at least one compelling WCM offering on the market.



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