Most CMS products boast of multi channel delivery capabilities. What this essentially means is that you can manage content in the CMS repository and deliver that content to a web site, a mobile hand set, a PDA or whatever. However, since one of the important principles of Content Management is separation of content from presentation, multi-channel delivery in this form is straight forward – your content is stored in raw format and you apply appropriate presentation over it to deliver content to whatever device you want. This works if you have a simple web site and same content needs to be delivered to the handset. So your CMS publishes XML which is picked up by a delivery application which in turn applies a presentation to it and delivers to the mobile device – a sort of loosely coupled architecture. Alternatively, for a more dynamic scenario, the delivery application can query the CMS directly. The CMS in turn responds with XML which is then parsed and displayed on the mobile device.
However, in many cases, you need much more than simple content delivery. A mobile service provider typically aggregates content from multiple content providers and often delivers it in a personalized manner with a view to monetize. A traditional CMS templating system is not good enough here because of the huge number of available handsets. You need to adapt the template according to the device (device adaptation) along with the fact that all images and videos need to be encoded based on target device. Also there are additional challenges like management of content providers, integration with billing systems, integration with payment gateways (when you buy ring tones for example), location based content delivery (pizza hut based on where you are) and so on. In such cases, most traditional CMS products fall short and one needs to use specialized products like Drutt, Volantis or a mobile offering from some portal vendors. Most of these products have built-in content management capabilities like workflow, search etc.
So depending on your requirements, one could you use a CMS for mobile delivery, use one of the products mentioned above for mobile content management or a combination of both. In another post, I’ll try and post some points to consider while deciding which option to go for.