Salesforce launches Salesforce CMS to meld content, data across screens, enterprises

Salesforce CMS aims to meld content, data, personalization and an enterprise need to collapse multiple content systems lying around.

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Salesforce launched a content management system to meld data, content and personalization in a central location and then deliver it to multiple screens.

According to Salesforce, Salesforce CMS is a hybrid CMS that allows content creators to draft content and then syndicate to external systems as well as across Salesforce to hit commerce sites, mobile apps, desktops and other screens.

Anna Rosenmann, vice president of product marketing for Community Cloud, Commerce Cloud and Salesforce CMS, said Salesforce built its CMS based on customer feedback and complaints about managing legacy content systems. The aim for Salesforce is to connect content, data and customers.

"This is less about a CMS and more about what our customers are trying to do. Companies are trying to create a consistent customer journey and keep content moving," explained Rosenmann. In other words, content is in king within corporations. "Everyone is on a content team," she added.

The challenge is that businesses have multiple content management systems designed for individual use cases that reside in silos. For instance, many CMSes are custom built. Publishers choose a CMS that's home grown or buy something like Arc Publishing. Other companies stitch together multiple systems off the shelf. G2 lists a bevy of headless CMS software vendors including Contentful, Butter CMS, Agility and Contentstack as key players.

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Salesforce

What Salesforce CMS brings is drag and drop interfaces, headless APIs that can put content everywhere, connections to external and internal sites and apps and more importantly personalization based on data. What-you-see-is-what-you-get" (WYSIWYG) tools are also built in.

The Salesforce CMS can surface CRM and customer data and treat it as content and layout things like events. Salesforce CMS was in pilot and now generally available with 500 sites live.

In many respects, Salesforce's move to launch a CMS that will work with its various clouds and CRM data rhymes with the vision outlined by Adobe. Adobe is focused on the expanding market for creative pros, data and customer experiences

Living the CMS silo life

The idea that Salesforce would launch a content management system intrigues me on a few fronts. For starters, I've been involved with more CMS fiascos than I can count at almost every company I've worked for. These projects typically look good on the whiteboard before feature creep, multiple instances and general headaches kick in. I keep coming back to the same question: Why can't we just use WordPress?

Oh yeah that's right. I did have WordPress briefly and it was customized to the point it was proprietary. And then there are the WordPress security hiccups.

But perhaps Salesforce can address a market need. After all, every company is digital and every company is increasingly a content shop. Data and content need to be connected. That reality is why Adobe can expand its total addressable markets. We're all creative pros now. Salesforce obviously has the same idea and is likely to be on a collision course with Adobe on the customer experience meets content front.

What remains to be seen is whether the Salesforce CMS can truly be a multi-purpose tool that'll do well with content managers, marketers and sales and service people. A demo indicated that Salesforce CMS covers the bases with various layouts, content types and ease of use.

The data promise

The secret sauce for Salesforce and its CMS will revolve around not only articles, marketing and blog posts but presenting its CRM data as content.

Salesforce CMS will be offered free to all customers with a paid version likely to launch in February. It works best with Salesforce's Sales, Service, Commerce and Community Clouds.

Should Salesforce make its CMS an enterprise standard, it'll be due to the data integration with content. Enterprises have been struggling with content management for a while and have multiple systems.

And there's also the Salesforce unique spin to a CMS. There's data integration and the combination of customer data and content will be appealing to many companies pursuing digital transformation projects.

Here are a few screenshots of what the Salesforce CMS looks like under the hood.

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