In order to stay relevant in a technology-driven landscape, with information available instantly and across every channel imaginable, B2C and B2B organizations must closely examine their content creation and delivery infrastructure. Web CMSes are not providing the capabilities digital teams need to win customers, expand into new channels and ship digital products quickly. Business leaders and digital teams are looking at alternatives to traditional CMSes, including headless content management systems and CMS as a service.
But even within the headless content management system category, there are key differences among various platforms. In this article, we’ll help you determine if a headless CMS solution is right for your business and provide some criteria for comparing different headless content management systems.
Forrester recently described the limitations of web CMSes and how new technology solutions are emerging to overcome those challenges in “It’s The End Of Web CMS As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” 1
“We need a new container to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Building from the architecture of headless CMS, Forrester believes that that new container is already taking shape: Agile CMS. Forrester defines Agile CMS as: A solution for collaboratively curating, creating, and delivering content across channels and campaigns via iterative development and deployment processes.”
The future of the CMS category belongs to platforms with agile CMS capabilities that empower them to:
The CMS landscape has become crowded and can be confusing, especially for less technical team members and those deploying a non-web-focused CMS for the first time. From web to headless, here is a quick breakdown of the various content solutions and how they work.
Is headless right for your business?
Entry-level, enterprise-grade features, open-source — headless CMS options run the gamut. Since it’s still a relatively new term, different platforms offer a wide range of features and service levels.
When evaluating which headless CMS might be a good fit for your business, consider the following elements:
Headless means that the content repository and the frontend where content is displayed are decoupled. How the content repository is structured and how content is delivered varies by platform. This affects the level of freedom and functionality developers, product managers and editors experience.
Many headless providers focus on how content is delivered to different digital products, but decision makers should also look at how content is managed within the CMS. Some headless CMSes still use a page-centric approach with rigid templates that tie headlines, body copy and images together into specific layouts. Another approach is content infrastructure, which organizes content into reusable chunks using a content model to organize types of content and define how each type relates to another. This creates a flexible model that can be molded to fit any digital container.
Traditional CMSes fall short when it comes to supporting digital teams that need to deliver content to multiple channels, but they have many features that teams like. These include friendly editorial interfaces, preview screens and roles and permissions for simpler governance. When evaluating headless options, look for the CMS features your team likes and make sure the headless CMS also has features that make it more agile. These include:
APIs and extensibility
Beyond the basic content delivery API, advanced APIs and extensions help the CMS integrate with the other tools you use (PIM, personalization, automation, etc.), making the CMS more responsive to the way you want to work. API-first headless CMSes (like Contentful) offer even more flexibility and integration possibilities.
Content infrastructure is backed by a content-first philosophy, meaning you can define your content strategy based on customer and business needs and build the entire system from there. Developers are free to create digital products for any platform quickly and easily and immediately begin deploying existing content from one central hub to that product with no delay.
It’s a solution that is suited to meet the needs of businesses no matter where they are in their content journey. The platform is flexible and scalable, and can be integrated without disrupting current workflows. If your organization needs agile solutions, then consider content infrastructure.
1 Grannan, Mark; Forrester Research, Inc, “It’s The End Of Web CMS As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”; 15 November 2018.