Can Your WCM Platform Also Be a Portal?

Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) vs. Enterprise Portal technology has  always been an interesting debate, mostly because the two technologies can overlap in the areas of content services (like workflow) and experience capabilities (like personalization). For a long time at RSG subscribers would inquire about using their Portal as a CMS, but now the shoe is more commonly on the other foot: when can you use a CMS as an enterprise portal?

Some Convergence

Many WCM tools now offer some “portalesque” functionality. This means they allow you to deploy portlet-like widgets to compose pages, carry out lightweight integration with other systems, personalize these components, and so forth — capabilities standard in any portal tool.

Figure: There's also some overlap between WCM (blue) and Portal (green) vendors, but they target vastly different use cases.

So Should You Use Your WCM as a Portal?

The answer is, of course, it depends. But just because you can, doesn't always mean you should.

With the portal-type features mentioned above, you are using it in the context of the WCM tool. For example, the page framework or other capabilities offered by the WCM tool are really suitable for creating a presentation layer for a digital property that's primarily driven by content from that WCM tool.

But the scope of most portal projects goes well beyond that. A portal often sits astride multiple enterprise applications. You need sophisticated integration and aggregation plus user management and segmentation at the application level rather than content level.

There are also technical and architectural considerations. As an example, a WCM typically has different caching requirements from a portal and using the same tool to perform both management and delivery can have performance and security implications.

How to Decide

In summary, you can often use your WCM platform as a kind of portal — if your portal is primarily content- driven and the WCM is the primary backend, with integration happening mostly at the repository level.

But if you have multiple WCM tools or you want to have a unified presentation for multiple enterprise applications, using your WCM may not be your best choice as a front end.

As always, RSG can tailor more detailed guidance to your specific needs. You can check out this webinar or our recently released WCM evaluations — where we evaluate this dimension in detail for each of the vendors that we cover.


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