People and Processes are Central to Successful WEM Initiatives

Today, we have a guest post from Christie Flanagan. Christie joined Oracle as Principal Product Manager for WebCenter Sites as part of its acquisition of FatWire Software, where she directed the web experience management company’s marketing and analyst relations efforts.  She has nearly fifteen years of experience as a B2B marketer with special expertise in digital marketing, marketing automation and demand generation.  Christie is a graduate of Boston College.

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People and Processes are Central to Successful WEM Initiatives

by Christie Flanagan, Principal Product Manager, Oracle WebCenter Sites

Christie FlanaganSince this week’s WebCenter blog theme is best practices in Web Experience Management (WEM), let’s take a look at some of the key ingredients necessary for executing successful WEM initiatives. A lot of what you hear about WEM is focused on technology and emphasizes the features and functions that businesses require in order to deliver an engaging and relevant online experience. And while web content management, targeting, analytics, social and mobile capabilities are critically important aspects of WEM, let’s not forget the role that your organization’s people and processes play in driving these initiatives.

 As site visitors’ expectations for relevant, social and interactive online experiences have grown, delivering on these expectations has become an urgent business requirement. Marketers and other business users who rely on limited and often time constrained IT resources to execute their online initiatives may feel impeded in their ability to deliver the engaging online experiences that their customers and prospects demand due to process bottlenecks and delays. These kinds of process failures create friction between IT and marketing and may result in lost opportunities for the business. Stories abound of companies that have failed to capitalize on breaking news or lost revenue because their processes didn’t enable them to react quickly enough online. In situations like these, moving to a WEM solution that puts more control into the hands of marketers and other business users seems like an obvious answer, however, the underlying technology is only part of the solution. Understanding the pain points in your existing processes and aligning marketing and IT goals with business objectives are also critical to the successful adoption of WEM as an ongoing practice.

Another often cited objective of WEM is the creation of relevant and optimized online experiences that help drive customer acquisition and brand loyalty. While delivering online experiences that are tailored to the interests of users with like attributes or behavior can be accomplished with the right combination of WEM capabilities, organizations often encounter barriers to implementation that have nothing to do with the technology. Many times, you’ll hear organizations say that they aren’t delivering targeted experiences to their site visitors because they are not quite there yet when it comes to developing a segmentation strategy. Perhaps they haven’t settled on a segmentation methodology, feel they need to integrate various data sources to get a fuller picture of the customer first, or simply can’t get the necessary buy-in to support their efforts. In the meantime, the targeting and optimization tools of the WEM solution go unused. While there are certainly organizations that derive their online competitive advantage from sophisticated segmentation and targeting strategies, there’s really no need to wait for a grand and fully evolved strategy before setting the segmentation, targeting and analytics capabilities in your WEM solution to deriving value for your business. All that is required to get started are some common sense ideas on how your online experience might be improved and a willingness to experiment. Given a culture and appropriate processes that support ongoing testing and measurement, an organization will be well on its way toward realizing the benefits of delivering contextually relevant online experiences.

With visitors’ expectations for interactive online experiences on the rise, perhaps one of the most obvious areas in which people, processes and WEM technologies intersect is in the social sphere. Today, social capabilities are ubiquitous and site visitors expect to interact with your brand via comments, ratings, reviews and blogs. In enabling these kinds of social features across the online presence, organizations must realize that they are also raising visitors’ expectations for the level of interaction they will have with your brand. For example, by enabling commenting on your website, a customer with a complaint may expect your organization to respond promptly to their problem using the same channel. This creates both challenges and opportunities for the business. Organizations must take care to put the right processes and technologies in place to manage and moderate user-generated content in an efficient manner. Additionally, the business needs to empower employees to react, respond and interact with users in an appropriate and timely fashion. In doing so, what had initially been a customer complaint becomes an opportunity to deepen engagement and loyalty with that customer and to also demonstrate the company’s goodwill and responsiveness to others which in turn paves the way to future sales.

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Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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