Why You Should Choose Headless over Traditional CMS

Content as a Service is emerging as a better investment

Joel Varty
Joel Varty
February 19, 2019
Choose Headless over Traditional CMS

Why Traditional CMS is Dead

There are some very clear and obvious benefits to the notion of Content Management. Those benefits have been lauded by traditional CMS vendors for years and helped to bring on the initial Web 2.0 revolution. That was a long time ago, and while the tools and methodologies that we use have undergone many stages of evolution and revolutions, the traditional CMS industry has not. Enter Headless CMS, once a scrappy upstart, now a mature offering from several well-established firms, including Agility.

We used to look at a website as one thing, and right through from the early stages of procurement, into development and onto deployment, getting a website built and running was very much a waterfall-type strategy. Get it done and paid for. Get the development team out of there and get the content team in. Set up a process for ongoing content entry and approvals. Done. Set it and forget it.

That process has held true for many several, and the CMS industry has added many features on top of that one-and-done process. Often times, in order to adopt these new features, a complete rebuild of the website would be needed, and many times this would coincide either with a new version of the CMS platform or choosing a new CMS platform.

As CMS vendors have added more and more features, they've become bloated. A new user just getting onboard one of these platforms has a steep learning curve in order to be productive. Add the complexity inherent in a large web property, and things get even more difficult to maintain and work with.

To recap the caveats of Traditional CMS:

  • Monolithic Website Architecture
  • Set-it and forget-it Content Processes
  • Bloated feature sets with a steep learning curve

Why Content as a Service is the obvious choice for your Digital Strategy

Having a Digital Strategy used to largely start and end with a website. Those days are gone - now our digital strategy needs to include creating content and processes for a plethora of platforms. Sure, we still have a website, but we also have apps, social platforms, IoT and smart devices, to name just a few. All of these outputs need to get their content from somewhere, and Content as a Service has evolved to fill that need.

Also known as Headless CMS, Content as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud-based approach to content with a highly configurable and sophisticated architecture. Your content team creates, approves and publishes content that could be used anywhere in your digital ecosystem - website, apps, social, etc. The idea here is that the content isn't intended for a single website page. Sure, some tools (like Agility) provide you with highly tuned optimizations for website-specific content, but the majority of the content could be used on ANY output.

Your CMS now becomes a hub for all that content, and it can feed any modern system to move that data around. That gives developers and data architects the freedom to use your content in their tools. This includes DevOps, which means the sophisticated process for bringing together and integrating all of the pieces that make up your digital properties. This is what has replaced the monolithic website build process. It means that these, tools, which by definition have to be highly interoperable to work in a DevOps pipeline, can be reused over and over in new ways as your digital strategy evolves.

CaaS is just one part of a digital ecosystem that includes many tools, most of which can be swapped out and replaced with new ones. This ability to evolve and grow allows the ROI on your content investment to increase as the scale of your strategy expands.

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