The internet loves acronyms: PHP, HTML, CSS - it's a neverending assault that's no doubt giving Google a fair amount of hits. When it comes to the web content management industry, it's not enough to simply have one acronym for one thing. Vendors are always coming up with the hot new buzzword to describe a product that does exactly the same thing as it did when it was labelled something else last year.

Because there's so much confusion out there about exactly all these terms mean, we thought we'd break it down for you, Squiz-style.

CMS - Content Management System. At its core, this is software that manages content, traditionally used within the enterprise for document management. Today, this term is used interchangeably with the term WCM or WCMS, meaning Web Content Management System.

WCMS - Web Content Management System. This is a CMS that publishes content to a website or intranet - it's takes the words or images or documents and translates them through design templates into the web pages you see on your browser or device. This is what most people are referring to when they say "CMS".

Read more: In Depth Guide to Web Technology Platforms

WEM/WXM - Web Experience Management. This is really just a fancy term for an evolved web CMS. WEM was an attempt by a group of different vendors to explain that CMS has become something different when you add dynamic content. Really, it's just an early version of UXP.

ECM - Enterprise Content Management. While the other terms are all variations on each other, ECM is a truly different kettle of fish. ECM refers to the storing and management of content within a large enterprise, such as document management, business process management and data capture. Don't get this confused with the term 'Enterprise-class CMS' - which means a web CMS that's built specifically for enterprise-scale businesses with large volumes of content and a high degree of complexity in their environment.

Read more: What is a CMS?

UXP - User eXperience Platform. This is the newest one of the bunch and it's the most promising when it comes to turning words into technology. A UXP is like a CMS on steroids - it's a platform that enables organisations to bring various systems - like CRM and Marketing Automation - into one platform that manages the entire user experience. Also referred to as a Web Technology Platform, a UXP is there to unify the marketing ecosystem and empower marketers to create a consistent customer experience through all channels.

While there are plenty more acronyms floating around the industry, if you've got these down pat you can nod knowingly the next time someone throws one at you.


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