How will new technologies affect your business in 2018? It’s no secret that integrating the right ones is critical to maximizing your bottom line and staying current. When it comes to choosing a content management system, it’s a true balancing act between solving your biggest business challenges and catering to the multiple stakeholders who create your content. The decision-making process can feel confusing and overwhelming, especially since a silver bullet solution doesn’t actually exist. Each CMS has its own benefits and disadvantages.
There’s a wide scale of content management solutions to consider; from Traditional page-based systems designed for editors, to Headless products built for developers and distributing content across channels; and ultimately, Hybrid systems, which can offer the best of both worlds, as well as connect and share data between channels.
As you evaluate your options and wade through all of the tech jargon, here’s a brief guide to help you choose the best CMS for your website.
A Traditional CMS is Designed for Editors
A Traditional CMS is design-centered to empower marketing editors with the greatest usability. It offers a highly visual interface with built-in templates, modules, and control pages. Any content editor can create a website without knowing a word of code. You can preview content and see how it interacts with design, by simply using prebuilt components. Editors can quickly and simply build on the CMS solution, without any need for development or developers.
While this kind of CMS is built for easily managing web pages, it tends to be too rigid for creating more complex designs and integrating your content with other types of data.
A Headless CMS is Built for Developers
Compared to the rigidity of page-based Traditional systems, a Headless system offers the freedom to publish content, independent of presentation or design layers, and also connect it to other channels. Content is stored centrally, typically on a cloud-based platform, and provided “as a service” to any application through APIs.
Built around the developer’s needs, a Headless CMS is ideal for complex designs and multiple integrations. Developers have full control to build and customize workflows from any platform (kiosks, apps, etc.), program language, or device, using their own styles and favourite frameworks. They can rapidly prototype content management features, tailoring aspects like user interface and modules.
IDC Futurescapes predicts that by 2019, the top mechanism for connecting data across digital chains will be APIs (flexible application programming interfaces). As a fully API driven system, Headless is designed to manage data as a web application, sending and receiving content and data across customer touchpoints.
The downside of Headless is that it’s just not as sophisticated as its Traditional predecessors. Marketing editors have to publish content without a presentation layer or preview option (which can feel like writing in the dark). And while storing content separately from its presentation provides the flexibility to integrate with new channels, developers still have to build separate data pipelines for every touchpoint that they add. This may not be too complex for building mobile apps and web applications, but connecting to the rest of your marketing stack might mean creating and maintaining multiple and individual integration points.
A Hybrid Cloud CMS is Built to Connect Experiences
A Hybrid Cloud solution combines a Traditional presentation layer with Headless architecture. By delivering page driven content and offering modern integrations, a Hybrid system empowers both editors and developers.
It distributes “content-as-a-service” from a central platform, to manage, personalize, and analyze content. A Hybrid Cloud CMS supports content editors, by enabling them to create a cohesive marketing strategy and share content, assets, and data across all digital channels. Serving all content and content types in real-time, it also provides developers with the freedom to apply new interfaces and experiment with touchpoints.
Cloud-first and API based, a Hybrid solution leverages all of the speed and scalability of the cloud for multi-channel scenarios. While Headless can distribute content across channels, Hybrid can also seamlessly connect and share that content between marketing and sales pipelines, from customer touchpoints to ecommerce and transactional platforms, as well as marketing applications (like CRM, Salesforce, Flask, Microsoft Flow etc).The key benefit of a Hybrid solution is that it can integrate seamlessly into existing web channels, as well as with other CMS systems. Whether you implement it on its own or integrate it as a point solution, a Hybrid CMS is designed to manage multi-channel content.
The agility of seamless integrations not only drives faster innovation, but enables you to apply analytics and user data across channels to improve customer targeting and personalization. And what’s more, with fewer integration challenges across your entire digital landscape, the customer’s overall experience becomes more consistent.
A Hybrid Cloud Success Story
A Canadian entertainment company was successful in using a Hybrid Cloud CMS to redesign their websites and integrate them with new technologies (like responsive and mobile), without having to rebuild their backend. A Hybrid system offered them one singular responsive solution to change and enhance their digital properties, entirely through their front-end design.
It also enabled them to structure content, in a way that supported their developers and editors, and created a workflow for both teams to work together. While developers had the freedom to implement format-neutral content, editors could manage content from a page perspective and distribute it to other platforms and feeds.They were also able to seamlessly integrate content with their circle of other marketing platforms, from apps and feeds, to movie databases, an online store, and an enhanced ticketing system.
With a Hybrid Cloud CMS, the Canadian entertainment company was able to deliver page-driven content across channels and distribute it through APIs. And since they were able to implement all of these changes without rebuilding from the ground up, they could invest the time and money they saved into the actual growth of their business. By supporting cross-channel agility and cross-team collaboration, a Hybrid system provided them with a powerful foundation for growth and innovation.
Your Brand’s Future Depends on the Right CMS
One of the biggest challenges for CMOs today is finding cost-effective ways to adapt to the continual changes of content channels. When you start weighing the pros and cons of Traditional, Headless, and Hybrid, it’s integral to think about how the solution you choose will evolve with your business over time. Make sure that you choose a product that is ready to grow at the speed and scale that your business demands. Your brand’s future depends on it.