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State of the Word 2023: Takeaways for Enterprise

WordPress Co-founder Matt Mullenweg just presented the 2023 State of the Word on-stage in Madrid. Joined by WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden and Lead WordPress Architect Matias Ventura, together they highlighted this year’s achievements and looked ahead to what’s coming in 2024 and beyond.

I was fortunate to be able to join friends from across the community and attend in-person; let’s have a look at my takeaways for WordPress as an enterprise platform.

Gutenberg: Blocks and the future of WordPress

Since its introduction in WordPress 5.0, in just five years Gutenberg has revolutionised WordPress.  With its powerful core concepts, incredible flexibility, and powerful functionality, it sets the standard for content production on the web. 

That core block-based writing experience continues to be refined and polished and is in an excellent place, pairing impressive power and flexibility with unrivalled performance, delivered through a genuinely delightful user experience.

The core content experience continues to be a huge draw for enterprise users, enabling marketers, journalists, editors, PR and comms professionals to create and publish their content quickly and confidently. It empowers these teams to create richer and more compelling experiences for their audiences right within the CMS.

A lot of the focus in 2023 has been on “Phase 2” of the Gutenberg project, expanding the power of blocks beyond content to the rest of your site. We’ll see a lot of innovation around this in enterprise in 2024, continuing the trend to give teams more control over their sites. 

As this builds on the core concepts of the block editor we’ve all been using for content, it’s immediately familiar, but it’s also been built with the depth of customisability enterprise customers rely on. Enabling fine-grain control over which parts of the site can be managed, and by whom, it even allows for granular control of layout and design whilst giving content teams the flexibility to tweak content as needed through Synced Patterns.

Phase 3 is up next, and the 2024 focus is “Collaboration”. This will bring real-time collaborative editing to the block editor, enabling multiple edit content, pages, and whole site sections at the same time. 

Perhaps even more exciting for enterprises are plans to radically improve and expand the power and flexibility of the full WordPress publishing flow. Including rich content workflows like inline editorial notes, pre-publish checklists and task management, more powerful content drafting and scheduling, and complex multi-step workflows that include signoff, review, and multi-author flows, it’s definitely going to cause some buzz.

With so many important areas of the core content management experience leaping forward, I believe this will be an incredibly exciting year for enterprise customers.

For a deeper dive on what’s planned , see WordPress Lead Architect Matias Ventura’s full breakdown of Phase 3.

Data Liberation: powerful migrations from all major platforms

In a sign of its maturity and the confidence the WordPress core team has in its ability to ship innovation at pace, Matt also introduced a new focus area for 2024: Data Liberation.

Enterprise customers love that WordPress is a fully open platform, with none of the lock-in, proprietary data, or onerous terms that are common across the rest of the market. In 2024, we plan to really lean into this strength: imagine much more powerful and streamlined migration paths from all the other major platforms. 

Migrating from WordPress to WordPress will get much more powerful too, with big upgrades planned. By the end of 2024, WordPress’ industry-leading openness will be even further ahead, and will never have been easier to make the move from.

AI, AI, and more AI

2023 has of course been the year of AI, and there is incredible experimentation and innovation happening across the WordPress space. 

In 2024, we’ll see more Enterprise WordPress users integrating AI into their daily work, as well as using AI to achieve things that weren’t previously reasonably possible. We’ll also see AI pairing powerfully with the Collaboration and Data Liberation focuses for 2024, and Matt demo’d early looks at using generative AI to set up whole new WordPress sites using natural language.

Pace of innovation

By my estimation, no other CMS platform is innovating at the pace of WordPress, and in 2024, the pace will only increase. 

The investments made in the core block editor experience through the past five years are paying dividends, and the full vision for the next era of WordPress as the most powerful, flexible, and delightful content platform in the world is coming into view. What an exciting time to be here.

If you missed it, you can catch up with the State of the Word 2023 on Youtube.

Matt Mullenweg: State of the Word 2023