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Web Content Management Explained in Plain English

06 Jun 2015

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[Updated 14th December 2018]

Web Content Management Systems (WCM or WCMS), are systems (usually web based) that facilitate the creation, management and delivery of information (content and documents), typically via corporate websites, portals, extranets or intranets.

Content Management Systems can be used for corporate websites, secure portals for trading partners or online communities and intranets. Content Management Systems in large organisations are often referred to as Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECMS). Web Content Management Systems are a subset of the Enterprise Content Management System.

The basic roles of a CMS include a content creator, reviewer and a publisher. This user security level enables the editor and reviewer to manage content via a web browser with the content stored in a database.

In it’s simplest form, the CMS (using a browser) will allow a content creator to use an editor to create and edit content with an authorised user to approve the content to be published in a live environment. All of this interaction is controlled through security, workflow and audit trails and all of this is stored and tracked in a database.

In the years pre and post the dot com boom, what is now described as Content Management Systems or CMS, were custom developed by internal programmers or external contractors.

Currently the trend is to purchase Content Management Software due to the following reasons (depending on the vendor):

  • Extensive pre-built features
  • Upgrade path
  • Scalability
  • More functionality
  • Increased security
  • Fewer software issues
  • Improved usability
  • Mature product
  • External support
  • Integration expertise
  • Resources to develop additional functionality
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Training availability
  • User and technical documentation
  • Application help
  • Problem knowledge base
  • Not reliant on employees with an organisation
  • Modularity
  • Product roadmap
  • Application Program Interface (API) available
  • Compliant with standards such as W3C

Content Management Systems are now being utilised to facilitate the following:

  • Online commerce
  • Knowledge management
  • Document management
  • Enterprise collaboration 
  • Information management and dissemination
  • Integration with accounting, distribution or business systems
  • Seamless login to the CMS from the network, such as Microsoft Active Directory
  • Moving business processes online
  • Business process engineering
  • Customer experience management
  • Digital workplace collaboration
  • Team workspaces
  • Interaction with community, whether staff, customers, suppliers or other trading partners
  • Self- service capability, providing a more effective and lower cost of service
  • Compliance

Further reading:

Elcom’s Content Management System is utilised by a range of clients including Small to Medium Enterprises, Large multi-nationals and numerous Government agencies.

Read more about Elcom’s offering for Web Content Management.

With so many CMS vendors out there selling their wares, how do you determine which ones have the right stuff? Read our free CMS Buyers guide here.

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