So I’ve said that that WordPress isn’t a Content Management System (CMS). My point was more than semantics as it isn’t a Web CMS (WCMS) either. That said, I have never said that WordPress is anything but a great tool.
So the question remains, if WordPress isn’t a WCMS, what is it? Maybe we need a new term….how about “Website Management System”?
So let’s look back in time. When WCMS started in the late 90s, all the systems were clearly in the CMS camp. Over time, new ways of solving the website management issue came about. After all, not everyone needs full-blown WCMS when a simpler blogging tool would suffice.
So when people started using these more streamlined tools to stand-up websites, the tools were quickly tagged with the CMS label. This was hasty and incorrect, but it was understandable. For many, the sole purpose of a CMS was to publish information to the web. This is incorrect, but we in the ECM side of the house ignored the situation, so it happened.
The fact is that managing a website and publishing content and data to said website is different than managing content. In many ways it can be more complex. The two tasks aren’t mutually exclusive, but you can easily do one without being able to do the other. I wouldn’t use OnBase to manage my website just like I wouldn’t use WordPress to manage my Correspondence or any records.
Some WMS solutions ALSO manage content well. This intersection of a CMS and WMS is the more traditional WCMS category.
Remember, there are good and bad tools in all three spaces.
So how would this look? Throwing a Venn diagram together gives us this…
Not looking to categorize the world here, just illustrate. The size of the circles and amount of overlap are not indicative of anything. I also want to state that I wasn’t placing names in such a manner that the position within any circle matters.
A system may be in one area by definition, but it doesn’t mean that there are not areas of gray. In reality, systems are going to be along a spectrum based upon how well they support WMS and CMS requirements.
Remember the Goal
The goal here is to help us to better understand what the capabilities of each system and what problems they are best at solving. It isn’t to say that that any system stinks (at least not today).
Look at it from this perspective. I would not use Documentum to manage a website. Conversely, I would not use WordPress to manage my company’s documents. Systems in the middle, I could use for both, though that is a far cry from saying that it would be a smart thing.
Remember, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should do something.
As we try and define what it means to be a Content Management professional, being able to categorize and define the tools and problems we work with is critical.