WebCenter Sites | Wednesday, February 1, 2012

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 objectiv
e 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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