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This webinar was recorded live for Tekom’s Technology Day, November 2022.

The content management system you choose can dramatically impact the business ROI, the success of the product, onboarding, and customer stickiness. It’s important to make a truly informed choice. We’ve been asked many times what the difference between a CMS and CCMS is, so we’re here to clear up some of the misconceptions out there, as well as tackle some of the most confusing terminology, separating the buzzwords from what matters.

In this webinar, we’ll explore:

  • What do we mean by “content management”
  • What you need out of “content management”
  • How to identify and align your requirements
  • Drive towards a healthy content ecosystem: maintain, scale, sustain, use


Jo Lam Solutions Engineer Paligo

Jo Lam
Solutions Engineer


Michael Hoven Solutions Engineer Paligo

Michael Hovan
Solutions Engineer

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Moderator: Good afternoon, dear participants. I would like to welcome you to the technology day at the Tekom and TC World Conference 2022. I would also like to welcome our speakers, Jo Lam and Mike Hovan from Paligo. We are glad to have you here today. They will be talking about Content Systems Clarified: How to Make the Right Choice.

My name is Daniela Straub. I’m from Tekom and I will be moderating this session. Please submit your questions using the question features only and the speakers will answer them after the end of the presentation. And now I will hand it over to the speakers. Thank you.

Jo Lam: Thank you very much.So can everybody see my screen? I think we can. Well, the technology says we can. So, first of all, thank you very much for coming today to see us. Now, I know Michael doesn’t have his face on camera. He seems to be having some technical difficulties, but I’m sure we can hear him. Mike, are you there?

Mike Hovan: Yes, I am. And good morning to you.

Jo Lam: Good morning and good afternoon to everyone else who’s on the other side of the planet. It’s really great to always come together globally. So let’s get started, shall we?

Now, as we are asked many times, about the difference between a CMS and a CCMS, Mike and I are here today to paint the lanes on the road for you. Now, the content management system that you might choose can dramatically impact your business in many different aspects. Anywhere that touches the content or gets touched by the content could be affected, such as your ROI, success of the product, onboarding, customer stickiness, and so on. Practically everything in the business is related to your content somehow. Therefore, it is really important to make a truly informed choice.

Now, we’ve been asked many times what the difference is, of course, between these two systems. So we’re here to clear up some misconceptions out there, tackle some of the confusing terminology, and separate the buzzwords from what actually matters.

But first off, let’s introduce ourselves. Hello, my name is Jo. I’m a solutions engineer at Paligo. I have extensive experience in information architecture and content automation. I am a past president of STC Toronto, as well as a member of Women in Tech, Women in STEM, Information for Women Consortium, and the Semantic Content Graph Guild. I’d also like to hand it over to my colleague Mike Hoven, to introduce himself.

Mike Hovan: Great. Thank you, Jo. And my apologies for not being able to join you via camera, but I’m very excited to be with you here for today’s chat. I’m also a solutions engineer here at Paligo, and similar to Jo, I have experience with information architecture and a great deal of experience tech writing for a number of different industries doing UX writing and research. And I’m just delighted to be here with you today.

And I’d also like to introduce Paligo, very briefly. Paligo is a CCMS. We’re going to talk about CMS versus CCMS and some of the differences there today. We are a company based out of Sweden and we do get the question quite frequently: what is the difference between a CMS and a CCMS? And we’re hoping to help you answer a number of questions today.

And we get a lot of questions about content management as a practice. And so as you see on this slide, this is sort of a nice summary of a lot of the questions that we answer, a lot of the issues that we help to address with people’s content practices.

We have a strong collaborative component within our system. We’re able to publish in a number of different channels in a number of different outputs. It’s a very structured authoring system, so all of your content is very organized and it’s in a future-proof format. And it can easily be transformed into a lot of different outputs and integrated with a lot of different systems. So it’s really an all-in-one solution for authoring and publishing. And translation is very important, too.

Here are some Paligo customers. We have some large customers, but we also have a great deal of smaller customers as well. The important point to note is that the names that you see on the screen here are in the same boat as you are, so to speak. They have worked to answer a lot of the big questions in terms of content management. And so you’re in very good company. And we hope in the coming discussion to help you work through some of your content questions, just like we have with these companies as well.

Jo Lam: Thank you very much, Mike. Now, at this point, usually, I ask for some interaction, a show of hands, a bunch of emails. But I realized that in this setting we may not be able to. We don’t really have the functionality here. So instead, I’m going to ask you all to think about it in your head, because I can’t really see you, and think about how many of you drive a car or are thinking about learning to drive. And as you do, think about what it’s like to learn and process all those different road signs for the very first time.

And while you’re still getting used to the steering wheel, and you’re already hurtling down that road, probably also in the wrong lane (yeah, I don’t drive for a very good reason). How many of you are experiencing that same confusion or anxiety while looking at all the different tools, while at the same time juggling all the operational tasks that you need to shift your organization’s content environment altogether?

It’s no wonder we have all of these kinds of things to look at. So yes, that confusion is always overwhelming at first. We can literally spend hours looking at all these tools on my slide, plus many more, not on the slide. All of which may have some aspect of authoring within them. But we are here at Tekom. We are looking for the best technical communication experience, which is why we are going to focus on just the CMS and CCMS because that’s where the authoring experience is for our industry here.

Now, even if you do zero in on the type of tool, there are so many CMS and CCMS’ out there. That is why it’s so hard when choosing a tool, because you’re not just choosing a tool; your organization is a system, the departments are a system, the processes are a system, the people are a system, and the tool itself is a system.

So essentially what’s happening is you’re trying to process all these different things hurtling down the road, getting used to the steering wheel. Oh, where’s the brakes? And we’re trying to swap out the engine at the very same time. And it’s really a matter of what affects the engine and what does the engine affect, and what happens when it’s out of there for a moment and what happens when you put one in?

It’s a lot going on, and your total decision is really just a small part of your entire process of shifting your ecosystem. But more often than not, it presents a titanic amount of headache. Information is a fantastic thing. Information drives innovation and progress, but too much information looks a little something like this word cloud we have here. So where do we even start? We need all the features you talked about earlier. We need buzzword A, we need buzzword B, plus, maybe buzzword C over here. Well, we want the best of everything for our organization, so we tend to look for tools that can accomplish every buzzword we come across.

But we also know that’s highly unrealistic. We can’t be everything, everywhere all at once. (By the way, that’s also the title of a movie. Fantastic movie. If you haven’t seen it, please go see it this weekend.) We also see Mike has joined us and you are very close to the camera. Hi, Mike. All right, moving on.

We want to talk about tools, but before we look at content management systems as tools, let’s talk about what content management actually is. Content management is defined as a set of processes and technologies that support the collection, managing and publishing of information in any form or medium.

Now, the process of content management and development is complex enough that various commercial software vendors, like us, offer content management software to control and automate significant aspects of that content lifecycle.

I want to just put it out there and ask how many of you know of Scott Abel? Scott calls himself The Content Wrangler. So he is one of the leading industry names. And the name he calls himself is “The Content Wrangler”, which I personally think is a very good indication of the efforts in our industry to control, wrangle and keep in order the immense amounts of content in our intricate systems. So the question is, what do we actually need out of content management? What do you want to accomplish with your content? I think that’s the more prudent question here.

So some of you might be thinking about looking at collaborative processes of creating and managing content. Maybe we want to support certain initiatives or certain company goals with the information we develop. Are we perhaps looking at enabling different content strategies or maybe growing or establishing that information governance? Are we thinking about sustainability, scalability? How are we supporting those content lifecycles and all the effective processes that connect to it?

Often, when we’re looking at moving our content into these kinds of systems, it is a large, inter-departmental collaboration. And it becomes extremely reliant on information, or the whole system, if you will. So how do we go about it? Well, we all want to get on the shortest route with the least amount of traffic. So to set our route, we have to choose the right destination.

Once again, this is where I usually ask for some interaction. And I was really hoping to see all of you. But since I can’t, I’m just going to ask you to think about it as I’m going through these different points. How many of you are thinking about the CMS side of things, because you’re looking for a more of a linear authoring environment and you want to control your content at a document level? Perhaps you are looking at copying and pasting because you’re not going to be duplicating much. So that’s the easier way.

Perhaps you’re looking to publish to just one place, like a website, and you’re looking at translating using different kinds of plug-ins. And on the flip side, maybe on the CCMS side, you’re thinking about how to move into structured authoring, or want to control the content at a more component level, maybe for purposes of content reuse? How about multi-channel publishing?

You might want to publish to many different places, print and digital, at the same time. Or maybe you’re looking at all these different integrations with TMS’ in order to really automate that kind of workflow. So, for those of you who feel more aligned with TMS, (and I hope you can write to a chat if I’m incorrect) typically we’re looking at an organization that wants to really author static documents for a single or few products and services. And that keeps the simplicity running among the entire operation of things. Maybe we’re looking at users that need a basic site editing tool that can change the images or to format directly in that published content. So typically this will be maybe blogs, maybe business websites, information that can benefit from built-in SEO tools, which are usually included in many CMS applications.

And for those of you who are thinking more towards the CCMS, maybe you are part of an organization that really needs to reuse those content components in many different publications. So what you would need is the components to be approved once, and then used multiple times to really reduce that content lifecycle – the time and the cost.

Maybe our users need a single point of reference for any of the components to maintain consistency across different formats, different channels. And maybe your translation teams are internally looking to work with built-in translation editors and integrated workflows. Maybe you have to manage many versions of related content for similar products, different audiences. Are you looking at archiving legacy content, or new iterations of continuous development?

As you’re thinking about whether each of those align with you, whether it’s CMS or CCMS, you’re moving towards the decision of what your destination will be. Now we have our destination, and now we’ve got to figure out all those pit stops and map them out, simplifying it to the fastest route towards that destination.

We really focus on features, all the bells and whistles, and overlook those core requirements. However, your workflow and processes must be supported by the tool, not the other way around. We turn the screwdriver. We don’t run around the screwdriver to make it turn, right? So how do we align all those requirements with content management solutions?

Well, first of all, we take a look at where the content ends up. Who are the users? How are they going to use it? And then we take a look at where the information flow starts. How does your content lifecycle start? Is it internally or externally? Maybe you have a feedback flow with your end users.

Then from point A to point B, we have to figure out that workflow. Where does the content need to make those pit stops, and who does something with the content at each stop? And what do they have to do? Once you map all of those, that’s where you really get a good picture of where the process is held up. Can you untangle it and make the journey better? You need to reroute it.

What parts of the journey are handled by tools versus the people in the process? So the former, the parts, are handled by tools. You use those to create the requirements and address them as you’re identifying what systems that you might need. And then, you have to feel the journey. What is the driving force that powers this journey? We need to make sure every decision and action at each pit stop aligns with that.

So typically you want to stay on your route to get your content into a state where you can really use it, maintain it, scale it, and sustain it (sounds like a new Daft Punk song) . You want to invest in that field because your content is the functional core. If information really is money and information drives innovation, information drives growth and success. And now I’d like to hand it back over to Mike to show you how we’re all actually going in the same direction.

Mike Hovan: Thank you, Jo. And I hope I didn’t throw things off too bad by turning my camera on and getting the Zoom level right. That was great. Thanks.

So, yes, we are going in the same direction here. Despite the size of your organization, despite the size of your team, we are on very similar paths. We’re trying to improve our content management approach to have better content management altogether. And so, we want to encourage you to be the driver, to really empower you to take ownership, and to make the changes that will really have a big shift in your processes and then your efficiencies. There’s great information out there to assist you.

We have a couple of case studies we’d like to share with you. Now, one case study is with a company called Moogsoft. They were in a situation where they were writing and managing a lot of their content with a combination of tools. They were using Confluence and Xylem to try and achieve the functionality they needed for their authoring and publishing. But it was a little bit cumbersome to manage in that manner.

They determined they had a few points they needed to address. They needed to have a really good user experience for their end product. The product that they produce is an AI platform. It’s a great platform. And so they needed content that would live up to that same standard of excellence. They also needed excellent support. They needed to be able to conditionalize content, produce it, mark it up, and produce different pieces of content for different audiences. They also needed to be able to use variables. As it turns out, Paligo was able to help them address this and resolve those issues, which is very nice to see.

The next case study was with ShipStation, and you might see a lot of similarities between what we’re discussing here with these two case studies and questions that you have, or challenges you have. ShipStation had a large body of content, over 600 articles in Zendesk, but they had no content management strategy in place. So they were sitting on top of all of this fantastic content, and they didn’t have the flexibility or the dynamism that they needed with this content. Nor was it fully future-proof in terms of efficiency, translation, and localization. They did not have that either.

So their requirements and some of their pain points were that they needed a system that would provide them with really good content management, really good opportunities for content reuse, topic reuse. They wanted a system where they could easily draw from one source of content, then once again filter it for different audiences. To use variables to be able to translate very efficiently and then push out to different formats as well. Once again, the Paligo CCMS was able to help them with this. So think about some of your old questions here and you might find some overlap between Moogsoft and ShipStation.

Jo Lam: Thank you very much, Mike. So the commonality between these use cases that Mike just talked about, and possibly yours as well, is that although your destinations may be different, the content really always ends up in a better place than where you started your journey. And that’s the key, isn’t it? Better does not necessarily mean best, but your tools and processes can always be upgraded. You can always get a better car to make your journey easier every time. As long as you know your destination and the route there, you’re good.

Now we at Paligo are a CCMS. So we really work at helping to shift the understanding of content as documents to content as a system, which really enables our users and the people to become more intelligent with the content they own. And it is a paradigm shift. Navigating it can be really hard. But hey, we got maps, we got GPS. Maybe we even have a great passenger with a fantastic sense of direction, like your consultants, for example. I’d like to hand it back to Mike to wrap things up here with us.

Mike Hovan: Thanks, Jo. Yes. We really hope that we have provided you with some good information to think about, to ponder. We will be in Stuttgart at TC World. So if you happen to be there, please come by and chat. If you have any questions about content management, content strategy, or anything else for that matter, we’d love to see you there. And it was a delight to be here with you this afternoon. Thank you.