Is maintaining legacy systems slowing down your digital product delivery?

Three reasons why investing in a modern stack is worth it

Customers expect digital content to be part of every brand experience. Whether a purchase takes place in person or online, that customer has more than likely spent time on websites, apps and social media pages researching products, price and more. After the purchase, customers expect digital support, remote access to products and services via apps and other digital interactions.

It’s becoming increasingly impossible to keep up with this demand for digital products and experiences using legacy systems. Software packages are sold as an all-in-one solution with pre-selected applications and features packed into one giant, expensive bundle.

Customizations or integrations outside of these pre-determined capabilities require time-consuming hacks, constant workarounds and repairs. All of this adds time and technical debt to digital product development, and burdens developers with maintaining platforms that are stretched beyond their limits.

Architecture that worked for enterprises ten years ago simply can’t keep up with increasing digital expectations. Immediate and up-to-date access to information across a wide variety of digital channels is now the norm. Legacy systems were rigidly designed for a singular purpose. Teams have to work longer and harder to customize systems to solve problems that they simply weren’t designed to solve.

Legacy systems slow brands down

Outdated CMSes can be particularly frustrating for businesses that are trying to expand their digital presence or accelerate speed to market. With a legacy CMS, every new digital product (like a website) is treated as a massive engineering project with set budgets, timelines and launch dates. Teams follow “waterfall” workflows where each team’s task must be completed before another can begin, slowing down product development and increasing handoffs. Any integrations with other tools, like CRM or personalization, require significant customizations by the developer team.

New digital content is created or copied from other CMSes and forced into rigid templates made specifically for that project. When content and presentation are coded together, each piece of content’s usability across channels is limited.

Then the project goes into maintenance mode until the next major site refresh. Instead of creating new digital products and experiences, teams become caught in a cycle of trying to keep their growing list of digital properties up to date. From a user perspective, this sporadic updating leads to issues with outdated content and content that is not synchronized across digital properties, hurting a brand’s reputation. To build a strong digital connection with customers, brands must be able to continuously deliver new content and manage that content seamlessly across channels.

The modern stack: A smarter (and faster) alternative to the CMS bundle

Instead of legacy tools and megasuites, modern enterprises favor modular, extensible, API-first, purpose-built tools that work well together in custom stacks. With this microservices architecture approach, teams can assemble a stack of preferred tools that fit their business and meet the digital expectations of customers across all branded channels.

Choosing a content layer that is front-end agnostic helps enterprises speed up digital product delivery across all channels. An extensible content platform integrates with the rest of the tools in your tech stack to streamline operations. Content affects every team across every stage of the customer lifecycle. Streamlining digital content creation, management and delivery can increase speed and productivity across teams.

Contentful’s content platform provides both a central hub for creating, editing, and managing your content, and the tools to ship it to every digital product. It’s highly customizable and flexible, with the proven ability to meet the needs of fast-growing start-ups like Glossier and established enterprises. Investing in a modern microservices stack anchored by a customizable content platform will allow you to create and deliver digital products faster.

#1: Unified content supports parallel workflows and streamlines operations. A CMS that can deliver to any digital channel from one central command hub empowers enterprises to unify content, streamlining content operations and supporting parallel workflows. Free from the CMS monolith, developers can build or customize workflows that empower editors to create and ship content themselves. Editors can make ad hoc updates and create new pages using modular components without assistance from developers.

Read about how The British Museum uses Contentful to organize and unify their enormous content database across all digital channels.

#2: Structured content enables quick publishing across channels. Digital teams can create and access content faster and have the freedom to build new things quickly — all thanks to a structured content model. When content is structured, every team can leverage the content components they need without delay or duplicating efforts. A custom content model breaks down all existing and future content into individual components (headline, images, copy, etc) that can be quickly repurposed and published on any digital channel. Investing time in a structured content model is essential for the consistency and scalability of all digital products. Look at it like building a livable, world-class city — it’s essential not just to have aesthetic architecture and functioning infrastructure, but also a solid plan on how those link together.

TELUS is using a structured content model to deliver amazing customer support experiences.

#3: When digital tools integrate seamlessly, developers are empowered to do their jobs well. Contentful’s API-first approach enables it to integrate easily with other tools — a developer’s dream. With a front-end agnostic CMS, enterprises can select best-of-breed service providers to meet all digital product development needs. Rather than build everything from scratch, developers can build a microservices stack from highly specialized and reusable modular components or microservices. All of this frees up developers to work on developing new digital products that drive your business forward. Continuous delivery tools and methodologies enable teams to easily iterate, test and deploy code changes.

Learn how Optimizely builds experimentation into their content creation process with the help of content infrastructure.