Ease the Pains of Legacy Tech One Step at a Time
Legacy technology, systems, and tools that require outdated methods are nearly impossible to avoid. Digital business is evolving so quickly that a technology purchased just a few years ago might already be considered “legacy.” It’s no surprise that 64% of IT leaders say a top factor in their budget is a need to upgrade outdated infrastructure.
Legacy tools are not just frustrating to work with, they slow business down. In a 2019 survey, two-thirds of developers said that maintenance of a legacy system and technical debt hinder improved productivity. The catch-22 is that removing these legacy systems, and detangling the spider web of dependencies and customizations that have been built around them, can feel like even more effort than maintaining them.
Of course, the custom workarounds needed to keep legacy tools running also add up, making the barrier to change larger. As Tom Morgan, Director of Digital at The Spectator, put it, “In terms of ability to innovate, everything had a cost associated with it, which put us off doing anything risky. That meant our technology was stagnating — as was our ability to serve customers.”
Morgan and his team at The Spectator tackled this problem head-on by completely modernizing their architecture (full story in the newly published enterprise architecture ebook). Still, many enterprise companies need a way to embrace new tools without a significant infrastructure project.
Businesses need a way to modernize their digital experience, safely step off legacy technologies over time, and create a framework that doesn’t require a “rip-and-replace” process to evolve in the future.
The Emperor Has No APIs (but MACH Tools Do)
Luckily, businesses looking for new solutions have a good pool to choose from because enterprise software is having a hot moment right now. The rise of customer expectations, the expectations of employees familiar with modern consumer technologies, and the rapid advancements in programming and cloud computing have led to advanced software designed for the speed, scale, and flexibility needed by today’s digital business.
The need for software to help businesses grow quickly, exponentially, and in multiple ways — also known as being “future-proof” — has found its way into the messaging of many vendors. They know that if they aren’t omnichannel and integration friendly, their tool is obsolete. For some vendors, the solution was to “modernize” their existing software by wrapping it in APIs.
But merely having an API doesn’t make a solution ready for modern business. If the software still requires manual updates, only integrates with a limited selection of other tools, or has a monolithic structure behind those APIs — there’s a good chance it’s a legacy tool in disguise.
Enter MACH tools, a growing trend of software designed with the principles of microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless. These tools are API-first, not API-added. From the ground up, MACH technologies are built to be modular, pluggable, scalable, and support continuous development.
Thanks to their modularity, MACH tools are a solution for enterprises that need to quickly alleviate the pains of an outdated experience while gradually stepping off legacy tools.
Stop Vendor Lock-In
It makes business sense for software vendors to have their customers (you) use their product for the majority of the digital experience. The more you rely on their software, the less likely you are to replace it. Back when “digital business” meant merely having a website, this also made sense for the enterprise - one vendor and one contract to cover all your digital needs.
But as digital needs expanded and became unique to individual businesses, the “all-in-one” platform became more of a burden than a benefit.
For example, say there is a platform that is top of the line in commerce, but the content and search capabilities are subpar. If their goal is to be your “core” platform, chances are they aren’t going to make it easy to integrate with other content and search tools. Choosing the platform for its best feature means being locked into its not so great ones.
Designed with the understanding that an enterprise’s digital needs are too complex for a singular “all-in-one” platform, MACH tools support a composable enterprise, where businesses have the freedom to select, integrate, and replace any tool down to the level of individual functionality.
For instance, while Contentstack’s full-text query search can work for smaller sites, it wouldn’t be the best option for sites with thousands of content items that need dynamic search. So Contentstack recommends integrating with leading search platforms and provides guides on how to do so. We focus on delivering the best-in-class headless CMS and integrating easily with everything else.
This focus on integration helps alleviate a second way that businesses get locked in by software, when it’s not just features they are stuck with but the broader solution ecosystem.
With their more monolithic architecture, legacy tools require custom code, plug-ins, or workarounds to support new initiatives. Over time this becomes a hairball architecture, with dependencies, created one at a time, sometimes by people who don’t work at the company anymore. Trying something new feels like it might trigger a domino effect of errors across these dependencies, and untangling the ball would take too much time. Your experience is locked into what is already there because innovation feels like too much time and risk.
MACH technologies are relatively standardized. Every functionality is accessible through an API — so there are no plug-ins or workarounds needed. Additionally, their microservice design keeps functionalities tightly coupled to one another, so if there is an issue in one functionality, there is no risk of a cascade of errors. Another powerful functionality is using an event model that includes webhooks that enable intercepting events and taking custom actions. Adding new functionality, or trying new initiatives, can be done quickly with minimal risk.
Overall, this makes MACH solutions less “sticky.” Meaning you keep them in your ecosystem as long as they are still the best fit, not because they are too hard to remove.
End the Replatforming Cycle
The modularity of MACH tools means that reorganizing your solution ecosystem is less “ripping” and more “clicking.” Simply put, these tools benefit from being designed after APIs and microservices became a widespread design practice instead of having to retrofit a monolithic codebase into a modular world. MACH technologies are API-first, not API-added.
Because they are created from a foundation of microservices and exist natively in the cloud, these tools can be offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This means that you subscribe to only the resource you use and you can autoscale these resources up and down. Upgrades to the services happen automatically and continuously — no manual versioning is required. While upgrading to a new version may not be the same as replatforming, if the latest version of a software loses backward compatibility, it can require nearly as much effort.
A services model also means that you can modularly implement MACH tools. Because MACH tools are composed of individual services, you can start on any corner of the experience with any MACH tool (even with specific functionalities) and be sure that as you expand the experience those services will be compatible with future additions and changes. As-a-service products let you break away from the “stop-rebuild-restart” pattern of monolithic tools.
Step Off Gradually
While the ease of upgrading architecture once MACH tools are in place is excellent, the first replatforming pain to tackle is how to remove the current legacy system without disrupting business.
Because MACH solutions can be added service by service, businesses can start decoupling their architecture without entirely ripping out their legacy tools. Key functionalities can be up and running quickly, so teams can go ahead and start making improvements to the experience, and businesses can gradually untangle legacy dependencies one functionality at a time.
In our latest ebook, we interviewed enterprise technology directors and solution consultants who moved from monolith to MACH. They shared advice on first steps, evaluating vendors, and what they learned about transitioning to a modern architecture. If you’re curious to learn more, we recommend reading: Break the Replatform Cycle with MACH Enterprise Architecture.
Headless CMS: Advantages and challenges for digital enterprises
Highlights A headless content management system has advantages and challenges: Advantages: Greater Flexibility: Headless CMS provides the ability to send content to multiple channels, enhancing your brand's reach. Enhanced Security: Decoupling content from presentation improves security measures. Content Reusability: The separation allows for the same content to be used across various platforms. Quick Development & Cost Saving: It enables faster development cycles and can lead to lower maintenance costs. Challenges: Learning Curve: While some find it easier to learn, others might face difficulties in adapting. Dependence on APIs: A headless CMS relies heavily on APIs, which requires skilled front-end developers. Keep reading to learn more! The evolution of CMS has gone from static HTML websites to dynamic CMS platforms and now to a headless approach. CMS evolution shows that organizational needs continue to change. And the rise of omnichannel content delivery also demands a new perspective on CMS architecture. Understanding headless CMS A headless CMS is front-end agnostic and API-driven. The content repository works separately from the presentation layer. Or, simply put, the headless architecture separates the back end from the front end. That decoupled system allows creators to create and organize content to publish across many channels without being tied to a specific platform or programming language. Why use a headless CMS instead of a traditional CMS? In a traditional CMS, the front and back end work together. That setup limits flexibility and restricts multi-channel digital experience delivery. The headless CMS does not have such limitations. It delivers content to multiple channels. It also eases things for developers - the decoupled front and back end allows them to deploy any programming language or framework of choice. Unlike traditional CMS, the headless CMS is not restrictive. Yet, like every technology, the headless CMS has its limitations. These include cost considerations, setup complexity, and extra overhead costs for marketers. Rise of headless CMS in response to omnichannel delivery Unlike before, consumers now access information through many channels like websites, mobile apps, wearables, and IoT devices. So, organizations are adapting to enable them to deliver personalized experiences and consistent content across these digital touchpoints. Going headless enables businesses to push content across digital channels using APIs. That approach also ensures consistency regardless of the receiving platform or device. The headless architecture also makes it easy to integrate new technology. The rise of omnichannel delivery has encouraged the growth of headless CMSes, as headless allows for smooth and consistent multi-channel delivery. Pros and cons of headless CMS Pros Enhanced performance and speed: Work speed increases with content creation and delivery as separate entities. Omnichannel delivery and flexibility: It pushes content to any device or platform with the help of APIs. That ensures a consistent user experience across the board. Scalability: The design allows it to adapt to new demands. Better customization and developer experience: Developers can work with any programming language for front-end development. That saves them time, increases their productivity and allows them to customize. Future-proofing: Headless CMSes are also flexible, which enables them to adapt to new technology. That ensures they will be a viable option as new technology emerges. Cons Initial setup complexity: Setting up a headless CMS requires technical expertise. And it can be more complex than a traditional CMS setup. Integration with other systems and tools: Compatibility issues may arise when integrating headless CMSes with third-party services or existing systems. Cost Considerations: Although there is no doubt about the long-term benefits of going headless, initial set-up, development and maintenance costs can be high. A steep learning curve for marketers: Content creators already used to a traditional CMS may need time to learn the architecture of a headless CMS. More work for developers: Web developers will spend more time creating custom solutions for the front end. Aside from being time-consuming, this could also require more resources. Headless CMS success stories Many digital enterprises are choosing the freedom of a headless CMS. For instance, Chronodrive transformed its web and mobile publishing through Contentstack's composable DXP. Chronodrive Chronodrive is one of the biggest family supermarket chains in France. They processed all modifications via FTP and used an off-site system. That led to file and data losses, affecting their SEO and reducing their online visibility. They built a custom application for their omnichannel and managed it through a secondary tool. It was inefficient and cost them time and money. They needed something new that would give them more freedom and control. They implemented the Contentstack digital experience platform in 2022. That move improved the coordination between their creative, sales, and marketing teams. Their mobile app traffic went up by 16.41%. They reduced banner change time from three hours to one hour. And finally, they reduced the time required to run commercial campaigns from three days to one and a half days. Céline Nabais Vicente, Business Process Owner, said: "The way Contentstack has transformed our organization is spectacular. Can you imagine that before, our team had to be in the office - every day - at 6 am to ensure that content could be published and available to customers by 8:30 am? Today, the work is strategically planned and can be easily adapted to customers according to their region, for example, for targeted promotional operations. The platform is agile and responsive, enabling us to react quickly to unexpected circumstances." Read more about how Chronodrive transforms web and mobile content publishing with Contentstack. The Miami Heat The Miami Heat is a successful and well-known basketball franchise. They were using SDL Tridion to manage their content. However, the product's licensing, integration, and customization were costly. The SDL Tridion was also unable to help them scale their operations. The Miami Heat management team knew they could use a scalable content management system. Migrating to the Contentstack digital experience platform allowed them to adapt to growing customer demands. It also helped them improve efficiency and deliver value to their fans. Matthew Jafarian, Executive VP, Business Strategy, stated, "This project is not just something that's exciting to our IT organization. This is what our president (Eric Woolworth) is exulting about in front of his peers. What we're powering with Contentstack today represents one of the most important initiatives for the Miami HEAT." By working with Contentstack, Miami Heat increased internal adoption by 30% and mobile app open rate by 100%. They have also reduced development costs and time by 50%. Read more about how the Miami Heat delivers real-time personalized digital experiences with a headless CMS. Technical deep dive APIs make the difference. The headless CMS system has two main ones: RESTful and GraphQL APIs. When using GraphQL, clients request data through queries. For REST APIs, clients do it through HTTP and receive an HTTP response. While GraphQL is more standardized, REST APIs are more flexible. That's why most headless CMS platforms offer support for both. Also, headless CMS offers data protection, such as encryption. And the decoupled nature of it adds an extra layer of security. How does a headless CMS integrate with existing technologies? A headless CMS provides various API endpoints. These are URLs that enable developers to interact with the content management system. Through the APIs, the CMS can integrate existing technologies. The APIs also provide content, which allows omnichannel delivery. Security features and implications for using a headless CMS A headless CMS secures your website through its decoupled architecture and API security. It also has roles and permissions that give you control over who can access data or perform specific tasks. These layers of security make it difficult for malicious attacks to get through the system. Scaling for large enterprises A headless CMS is suitable for large organizations that want to scale. Its architecture makes it easy to adapt to new demands and technology without disrupting workflow or compromising performance. Choosing a Headless CMS There are several essential features to consider when choosing a headless CMS, such as ease of use, core functions, API capabilities, and scalability. You also want to check the set-up and maintenance costs. It would also be best to prioritize a platform with good security features and analytics integration. Here's our headless CMS buyer's guide to help you through the process. Best Practices for Implementation Implementing a new headless CMS throws challenges, but you can manage it well with good planning. Follow this checklist to ensure you do it right. Audit your content: Look at your current contact and see if or how the content structure, inventory and metadata fit into the new system. Define your content strategy: Create a plan to guide your implementation. To do that, identify your target audience, personalization options, and preferred content delivery channels. A headless CMS enables you to focus on an API-first content strategy. Choose a suitable headless CMS: Compare the cost, features, API capabilities, and ability to scale. Choose the platforms that best suit you on those factors. Develop your implementation plan: Develop a plan for implementing the system and assigning roles to your team. Also, consider time and financial requirements. Consider integration strategies for modern development workflows: consider how the CMS will integrate with current development workflows like CI/CD and DevOps. Test and improve: Testing any new system to know if it works is critical. If it doesn't, you can make adjustments. And if everything looks good, you can then avail it to your team. FAQs Is a headless CMS more expensive than a traditional CMS? It is not always the case, but many headless CMSes are costlier than conventional CMSes because of their complexity. It has two separate layers that connect via APIs, which hikes the initial setup cost. But it has long-term benefits that offset the cost. Can a headless CMS support e-commerce platforms effectively? Absolutely. That is where the headless commerce architecture comes in. It harmonizes content across digital channels, making it suitable for e-commerce. How does a headless CMS affect content marketing strategies? Content creators must wait for developers to update the front-end platform before publishing using a traditional CMS. It is different in a headless CMS. With its separate front and back end, content creators can create and publish content without waiting for the developer. Learn more More organizations are implementing a headless CMS at an expected annual growth rate of 22%. A headless CMS can boost brand visibility by enabling content distribution across various channels. It separates content from the presentation, enhancing security and promoting content reusability. Furthermore, it quickens development cycles and potentially decreases maintenance costs. Schedule a free demo to see how our headless CMS can accelerate your organization's competitive advantage.
Headless CMS for enhanced digital content management
Highlights Here's a preview of how a headless CMS enhances digital content. Scalability: As businesses expand, a headless CMS provides scalable solutions to adapt and manage changes, ensuring the uninterrupted creation of personalized digital experiences. Flexibility: With a headless CMS, every aspect of the user interface can be fine-tuned for immersive experiences. Content teams can create dynamic content, with developers customizing the back and front ends as needed. Omnichannel Delivery: A headless CMS enables publishing content on any digital platform in the correct format, eliminating the need for content duplication or manual reformatting, thus maintaining message consistency. Future-Proofing: A headless CMS's technological freedom and front-end agnostic nature make it future-proof. Developers can use the latest technologies and coding frameworks without back-end integration concerns, speeding up development cycles, easing iteration, and fostering innovation. Keep reading to learn more! Content is king! How you manage the content can differentiate between a thriving online presence and a stagnant one. This article examines the benefits of implementing a headless content management system for your website. Traditional and headless CMSes dominate website development. The conventional CMS works with a coupled system where the content and presentation layers dovetail. The headless architecture separates these layers, which leads to many advantages. That flexibility is one of the many benefits of going headless, along with its scalability and ease of use for content creators and editors. What is a headless CMS? A headless CMS is a content management system that allows you to create, manage, and distribute digital content without restriction to a specific presentation layer. The headless architecture separates the user interface (front end) from the application logic (back end). It then uses APIs to distribute content across platforms like IoT devices, wearables, websites, and mobile apps. That decoupled system creates more flexibility for websites and content management systems. It also allows developers the flexibility to scale different independent technology stacks. The way headless CMSes work is in contrast with traditional content management systems. While headless uses a decoupled architecture, a conventional CMS's front and back end layers work together. APIs make the difference in a headless CMS architecture. But what do they do? The role of APIs in headless CMS First, APIs allow developers to retrieve content from the headless CMS and deliver it to front-end channels. A developer can fetch content pieces through API calls and render them in any format. APIs also allow organizations to distribute content simultaneously. Aside from that, it also enables them to tailor content and optimize it for different devices and platforms. That way, they can personalize the user experience and achieve multi-channel consistency. APIs also enable organizations to integrate the headless CMS with other systems. It helps them increase the pace of work. For instance, content creators can update content on the go. Developers can also push or pull content and distribute it across many platforms without impacting system performance. Finally, with developer-friendly and well-documented APIs, headless CMS platforms can build extensions. They can also develop plugins and integrations that enhance the CMS's capabilities. Primary benefits of headless CMS There are many headless CMS benefits, but here are the most important ones. Scalability As businesses grow and customer demands change, headless CMSes offer scalable solutions that help them adapt to and manage these changes. That enables them to continue to create more personalized digital experiences without fear of system disruption. Flexibility With a headless CMS, you can fine-tune every aspect of the user interface to create immersive experiences for your audience. Content teams can also generate dynamic and engaging content, and developers can customize the back and front end as they see fit. Omnichannel delivery A headless CMS lets you publish content on any digital channel in the correct format. Content creators do not need to duplicate or manually reformat content for different interfaces. The headless system takes care of that. Thus ensuring organizations maintain consistency in their messaging. Future-proofing A headless CMS is future-proof because of its technological freedom for developers and front-end agnostic nature. Developers can use the latest technologies and coding frameworks without worrying about back-end integration. That fastens development cycles, eases iteration and encourages innovation. Enhancing digital content delivery A headless CMS improves the speed and performance of your website and content delivery. For instance, after deploying the Contentstack headless CMS, LADbible achieved a five times faster editorial process and scaled content operations. Going headless also allows organizations to personalize user experience in real time. According to research by Epsilon, 80% of customers will likely purchase a product or service when brands personalize their experience. Aside from that, going headless also facilitates content syndicating — which eases multi-channel content sharing. The versatility of a headless architecture can improve a site's SEO performance. And that makes your content more discoverable. User experience and headless CMS What's a sound content management system without a smooth user experience? A headless CMS enables front-end developers to deploy any framework they prefer. Its drag-and-drop tools also simplify things for content creators and editors. Aside from these, it optimizes content for mobile and other devices, ensuring your content is accessible in the correct format on all devices. Technical insights for developers The decoupled architecture of a headless CMS eases the work of web developers. It streamlines content management for creators and allows developers to integrate various technology stacks. Decoupled architecture: The decoupled nature of a headless CMS gives developers greater control over the front end. They can use any tool, technology stack or framework of their choice. It also fastens development cycle time as they can make changes without disrupting other system parts. Managing content: A headless CMS streamlines content creation and publishing and leads to faster work cycles for developers, which helps them save time. Building with a technology stack: Aside from allowing seamless integrations with various frameworks, developers can also use any technology stack they believe suits the job. Case studies Many businesses continue to benefit from deploying a headless CMS. Here are some instances. RetailMeNot Before opting for Contentstack, RetailMeNot could not update its digital experience without significant engineering services. On top of that, they managed different content in different ways using various tools and technology stacks. The process lacked consistency. They needed a system that would enable them to modify content without disrupting or changing codes. One that would integrate with other systems to deliver a desirable customer experience. Gary Newcomb, principal engineer at RetailMeNot, stated, "We wanted to make sure we had that level of decoupling from the beginning so that we could make lots of choices, make changes, and be more agile," said Gary Newcomb, principal engineer at RetailMeNot." Switching to Contentstack's headless CMS platform helped them overcome their challenges. They were able to deliver changes faster and reduce the need for maintenance with reusable integrations. Gary Newcomb stated further, "Contentstack has definitely helped us to get experiences out faster. It's now easier to get changes made, previewed and delivered." Read the entire case study of how RetailMeNot creates omnichannel content at lightning speed with headless CMS. Berlitz Before going headless, Berlitz struggled with disjointed messaging from its regional offices. Having all those systems working separately became a financial burden. It also disrupted their SEO performance. They knew they needed a centralized system to harmonize their operations. "We wanted to build under a single domain but have different locales available under that," Gorman, VP of Product Technology for Marketing, said. The team at Berlitz reviewed different CMS providers but decided to choose Contentstack. They were convinced that Contentstack's digital experience platform offered them the best chance at achieving their digital objectives. By working with Contentstack, Berlitz was able to customize workflows and user experience without administrative bottlenecks. They also built several locales on top of the main single domain. These are some of the extra benefits they enjoyed as a result of implementing Contentstack’s headless CMS: The page load speed of their website went up by 133%. They launched 16 times more websites via the Contentstack front-end hosting. Also, they can now manage around 76 of their international websites in different languages. "Being headless, we've been able to build really fast websites, and our Web Vitals are really good," Gorman explained. Read the entire case study on how Berlitz solved the pains of over 145 years of expansion. FAQs Why is a headless CMS considered 'future-proof'? There are several reasons why it is considered future-proof. For instance, it delivers similar content irrespective of the platform. So, whether a user is accessing content via a website, wearable device, or mobile app, headless CMS delivers it in a consistent format. That means even if a new technology emerges, the consistency of content delivery will remain. Developers can also add custom features. So, when your customers need change in the future, you can adapt. That ability to deliver consistent content and adapt to changing customer needs and new technology makes it future-proof. Can a headless CMS improve my site's SEO? Headless CMS platforms provide content management features that improve your SEO, such as customizable URLs and structured data support. It also increases your website’s load speed. These factors can improve your SEO performance. How does content delivery work in a headless CMS? In a headless CMS, the content is in the back end. With the help of APIs, you can retrieve and deliver it to the front end for display on various devices, like websites, mobile apps, wearables, Etc. What are the cost implications of switching to a headless CMS? Switching to a headless CMS may be more expensive at first. But it introduces more flexibility and better user experience to your business, outweighing the cost over time. What is a headless CMS? It is a front-end agnostic content management system with separate back and front-end layers. The back end is for content creation, while the front is for multichannel content delivery. How does a headless CMS differ from a traditional CMS? The main difference is the architecture. While a traditional CMS architecture is rigid and works with specific frameworks, a headless CMS is more flexible. For instance, a traditional CMS's back and front end work together. But in a headless CMS, they are separated or decoupled, allowing developers to deploy customized frameworks to the front end. What are the main benefits of using a headless CMS? It helps you deliver omnichannel content to your users. It also increases how fast your content creators and developers can complete their tasks. You also enjoy extra control and security. Is a headless CMS suitable for all types of businesses? Yes. It is suitable for any business. How does a headless CMS integrate with existing technology stacks? A headless CMS uses APIs to communicate among systems. That means your current system can work with it through API calls. Learn more The case studies of RetailMeNot, LADbible, and Berlitz show what is possible with a headless CMS content management system. Headless CMSes, unlike conventional systems, separate content and presentation layers, providing flexibility, scalability, and ease of use. Key benefits of headless CMSes include scalability to adapt to business growth and changing customer demands, flexibility to fine-tune user interfaces, omnichannel delivery for consistency across all channels, and future-proofing by allowing developers to use the latest technologies without worrying about back-end integration. Schedule a demo to explore the potential of headless CMS for your business today for a more flexible, scalable, and future-proof digital presence.
Headless CMS uncovered: Drive digital experiences across all channels
Discover the power of a headless CMS With its unique architecture and flexible approach, a headless CMS offers numerous benefits for businesses seeking to stay ahead in the digital landscape. Here are some key points you'll learn from the article below: Flexibility and Agility: A headless CMS separates content storage from its presentation, allowing you to organize and deploy your content to any digital channel. Enhanced Security: With a headless CMS, security is prioritized. Scalability: Reusing content across channels becomes seamless with a headless CMS. Better User Experience: The independent nature of the front end in a headless CMS reduces server load and increases website speed, resulting in a better user experience. SEO Capabilities: Some headless CMS platforms offer built-in SEO capabilities, empowering businesses to optimize content and increase online visibility. Brand Consistency: With a headless CMS, content can be reused and shared across multiple platforms without the need to recreate it from scratch. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of a headless CMS and unlock its potential for your business. Understanding headless CMS A headless content management system is a CMS that separates the content storage location from its presentation location. It allows you to organize content in one place and deploy it to any digital channel. A headless CMS accesses content via APIs for display on any device. That makes it easier for businesses to increase flexibility and agility. Due to its advanced and flexible options, it is a departure from the traditional CMS architecture. The dynamic nature of the digital space is forcing businesses to seek CMS options that offer: Flexibility Scalability Agility in content management. With a headless CMS, organizations can respond to the changing digital landscape and new customer demands. With its decoupled architecture, a headless CMS offers the flexibility that conventional CMSes lack. The anatomy of headless content management system A headless content management system has three main components: The content repository is where you create, store and manage content. The API layer is the interface that shares content with other digital systems. The Presentation layer or the front-end system renders the content in the desired format and presents it to an end-user. Creating content in a headless CMS is straightforward. You focus on content creation, and the API delivers it anywhere. So, a content creator and developer can decide where and how the content appears. Advantages of headless CMS Content editors and creators can benefit from a headless CMS in many ways. The WYSIWYG editor supports intuitive content creation. It also offers seamless content delivery across many platforms. Here are the main benefits of choosing a headless CMS for content management. Security With a headless CMS, DDoS and other malicious cyberattacks are less likely because the front end is independent from the back end. You also get an extra layer of security because the content from an API is frequently "read-only." Scalability A headless CMS allows you to reuse content across channels because it is not restricted to any particular front-end framework. You can also integrate a new tech stack without experiencing downtime, ensuring you can leverage growth opportunities. Better user experience The front end works independently from its back end. That reduces the server load and increases website speed. With that, you can deliver content at pace. A headless CMS also has a responsive design that adapts your content to any screen size or device. SEO Some headless CMSes also offer SEO capabilities that allow you to optimize your content and increase your online visibility. Brand consistency A headless CMS allows you to reuse and share content across many platforms without creating from scratch. That ensures you maintain consistent messaging irrespective of their device. These advantages allow content editors and creators to deliver content across multiple channels. A headless CMS also offers smooth omnichannel content delivery. You can use the API-driven approach to create a process workflow as a content editor. And anytime you introduce new content, an API delivers it to your chosen channels or platforms. As digital channels continue to evolve, businesses are prioritizing content management systems that are flexible, agile, scalable and easy to use. Headless CMS vs. traditional CMS: A comparative analysis Headless CMS and traditional CMS couldn't be more different both in terms of functionality and architecture. Here are some of the main differences. System updates The vendor does the heavy lifting and delivers updates; you do not have to worry about themes, plugins, or updates. But with traditional CMS, you must update your themes, plugins, and software. Security The APIs are their only access point. Hence, they have a smaller surface area for attacks. That differs from traditional CMS as they rely on a database, making them more vulnerable to malicious cyber attacks. Integration By design, a traditional content management system often integrates with other systems and tools like marketing automation software or e-commerce platforms. However, a headless CMS is more flexible and makes it easier to integrate third-party services. Architecture The backend of a traditional CMS houses a database that manages content and combines it with the front end to display the content on your website. A headless CMS does not work with a front end. The backend handles content management, and an API connects it to any application frontend for content transmission to any device. Content delivery While traditional CMS adopts a one-to-one system to deliver content to a website, a headless CMS takes a one-to-many approach, delivering content to many connected devices. Omnichannel flexibility It lets you decide where and how to deliver your content. It allows for omnichannel delivery anywhere, like websites, smartwatches, mobile devices, AR/VR, etc. A conventional CMS restricts content delivery to the channels it supports. Deciding if a headless CMS is suitable for your organization Is a headless CMS the right choice for your business? If your marketing team currently manages several content management systems, you may consider it. Also, if omnichannel publishing is critical to your marketing efforts, a headless content management system will save you time. Also, consider ease of use. One problem with traditional CMS is that only developers or technically astute persons can operate them. So, consider a headless CMS to avoid that bottleneck and grant your content team autonomy. Finally, a flexible headless CMS is the way to go if you want to prioritize real-time content, interactive digital experiences, and intelligent e-commerce. The technical side: How headless CMS works The headless CMS operates through API-driven content management. It is a front-end agnostic system, which means it does not have a defined presentation layer. This approach enables flawless integration with front-end frameworks and static site generators. Content creators use the WYSIWYG editor to create and distribute it through an API call. With a headless CMS, you can deliver omnichannel content at pace. It allows you to organize content. Then, your developer writes the code in the front-end development framework. You can then use your static site generators to combine the content and code and deliver it to your static site via your content delivery network. A practical guide to using headless CMS Setting up a headless CMS is straightforward, even if it involves several steps. After you have chosen a suitable headless platform, here are the steps to get it up and running. 1. Start by creating an account. Then, follow the instructions to set up your content repository. 2. Follow the guidelines to integrate with front-end frameworks and static site generators. 3. Invite team members and assign roles for content creation and editing. 4. Use the WYSIWYG editor to create, edit, and publish content through the API layer. 5. Track your performance to ensure it aligns with your business goals. Headless CMS for omnichannel strategy Because of its API-driven architecture, a headless CMS enables businesses to develop multi-channel content delivery. It allows organizations to integrate other technologies, speed up campaigns, and serve multiple digital channels. A headless CMS also enables businesses to create personalized digital customer experiences. As creators and editors can store and reuse content, it allows them to maintain consistency across publishing platforms. As the business grows, it also helps them scale their operations and adapt to new technologies. Case studies: Success with headless CMS Several businesses continue to enjoy the benefits of a headless content management system. These success stories highlight how these organizations improved digital experiences and increased customer engagement after adopting Contentstack's digital experience platform. Burberry Burberry is a British luxury fashion house. They struggled with extensive translation requirements and multiple collections. They also needed to deliver high-performing experiences to their customers. It was apparent their monolithic CMS could not handle these challenges. They switched to a headless CMS with Contentstack, and here are the results: They reduced developer tickets from 40 a week to one and Increased publishing speed by 80%, enhancing landing page style and design flexibility. “Contentstack helps our engineers to move fast and concentrate on business requirements by reducing proprietary platform inconveniences,” said Sonia Latoracca, digital commerce content manager at Burberry. “Adding new consumers has never been such an easy and pleasant journey for everyone.” Read their success story to learn how Burberry chose headless CMS to enable speed and agility. Dawn Foods Dawn Foods is an American company specializing in wholesale manufacturing and distributing baked goods, beads, and mixes. Before 2019, they handled orders manually. As the business grew, it needed a scalable online platform and improved user experience. They also required a developer-friendly content management system. They based their decision to choose Contentstack on three things: Digital infrastructure Ease of use MACH (microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless). Since choosing Contentstack as their digital experience platform, they can boast of the following improvements: Elevate marketing team capabilities to manage personalized omnichannel experiences for customers. Publish six significant releases in six months. Improve e-commerce platform speed to be 80% faster than those using monolith platforms. Boost agility to edit content and publish in minutes. Gireesh Sahukar, the Vice President of Digital, stated, “We know that we have made a really good decision choosing Contentstack. We’re extremely happy with our partnership. The kind of flexibility that Contentstack offers, not just to us, but also to the ecosystem partners we want to work with, is pretty fantastic.” Read more about how Contentstack helped Dawn Foods find the recipe for online success. Choosing your headless CMS platform Choosing the right content management platform can take time and effort. However, it is critical to understand your business needs and objectives. Research each platform to know how they fit into your long-term strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. One critical factor to consider is scalability. As your business grows, your content management needs will change. You want a content management system to adjust without compromising performance and user experience. It would help if you also considered flexibility. A headless CMS can work with any front-end application. It offers you the freedom to customize the user interface as you wish. Finally, you also want to consider ease of use for non-technical users like creators and editors. A good headless CMS should be intuitive and user-friendly. That way, content creators can navigate the platform's WYSIWYG editor for content creation without advanced technical knowledge. Future trends: The evolution of content management systems As AI adoption increases, we will likely see more innovation in content management systems. Headless CMS platforms will be instrumental in helping businesses keep up with these changes. Its smooth integration, flexibility, and optimized multi-channel content delivery will shape how organizations interact with customers. FAQ section What is a headless CMS, and how does it differ from traditional CMS? By design, it separates the backend from the presentation layer. Unlike traditional CMS, it can publish content to any platform or device via APIs. While conventional CMS works with a front and back end, headless only focuses on managing your content in a central repository. It also supports omnichannel content delivery, while traditional CMS does not. What are the primary benefits of using a headless CMS? It is easy to set up and use, even for non-technical persons. Developers can also customize them as they wish. When businesses grow and face new customer demands, it can adjust without compromising performance and user experience. Finally, the front-end agnostic design adds a layer of security to protect users against malicious cyberattacks. Can a headless CMS integrate with my existing website or mobile app? Yes. A headless content management system can integrate with any static site generator or front-end framework. You can use your existing mobile app or website to connect to it through APIs. How does a headless CMS improve content delivery to multiple platforms? It improves content delivery through WYSIWYG editors and real-time previews, enabling content creators to tailor their content for each platform. It also supports content reuse, meaning you only need to create new content sometimes. That helps businesses to maintain consistency. The API-centric approach of a headless content management system also allows it to deliver content to many platforms at pace. What does API-driven content management mean for non-technical users? An application program interface (API) protocol enables communication between two or more computer programs. An API-driven content management is a backend framework for managing your CMS needs. It relies on the API protocol to interact with third-party services and systems. A headless content management system is API-driven, so it can access your data in the backend and publish it on multiple digital channels. Learn more Headless CMS is changing how businesses organize and manage content. The front-end agnostic architecture allows for content delivery at pace. It also supports omni channels that let organizations reach customers on multiple platforms. As technology and customers' needs change, businesses will rely on flexible and scalable content management systems. Headless CMS solutions offer an agile, flexible, and scalable approach to content management that will serve the needs of businesses going forward. Empower your content creators, enhance security, improve scalability, deliver better user experiences, optimize for SEO, and maintain brand consistency. Embrace the power of a headless CMS and stay ahead in the digital game. Take your digital experiences to the next level - schedule a demo today!
Introduction to headless CMS: Futureproof your content management
Highlights Here's a preview how a headless CMS can futureproof your content management: Enhances digital experiences and enables multi-channel content delivery Streamlines content management across devices and platforms Enables personalized digital experiences across channels and ensures scalability Architecture decouples the content management backend from the front end, providing greater flexibility Separation of the content repository and presentation layer improves performance, scalability, and future-proofing Front-end developers can use their preferred technologies and frameworks, delivering consistent user experiences Any front-end application can work with a headless CMS through APIs, enabling multi-channel content delivery Keep reading to learn more! As the digital landscape evolves, more businesses see the value of efficient content management. Traditional content management systems (CMS) have held sway for a while. Yet, modern web development requires a more advanced solution with new technology springing up and customer needs changing by the minute. Hence, the emergence of headless CMS is crucial. It is empowering businesses to meet the growing demands of their online presence. An architecture that decouples the content management backend from the front end helps organizations achieve greater flexibility. The headless CMS architecture also stands out for its scalability and ability to deliver personalized digital experiences across channels. What is a headless CMS? A headless CMS is a back-end-only content management system. It acts as a content repository that makes content accessible via an API for display on any device without a presentation layer. It is front-end agnostic, which eases content access and publishing on any digital device via an API. The evolution of content management As the complexity of digital experiences increased, organizations sought more flexible options. With conventional CMS unable to handle the technology shift, headless systems started becoming prominent. According to Future market insights, the headless CMS market topped $751.6 million in 2022 and will exceed $5.5 billion by 2032. The growth of platforms like websites, mobile apps and IoT devices is also driving the transition to headless CMS. Organizations that opted for a headless CMS architecture have eased content management across these platforms. And that has helped them improve efficiency and deliver better user experience. What makes headless CMS different? What makes the headless CMS unique is its decoupled architecture. In a traditional CMS, the content repository and presentation layer are intertwined. In a headless CMS, these components work independently. That separation enables creators and developers to deliver content at pace. And they also do it with ease across channels. This improves customer experience and ensures that the brand's messaging remains consistent. Organizations can adapt to new technology trends and consumer demands with a headless CMS. The role of the content repository in headless CMS The content repository stores, manages and organizes digital content. That makes it easier for organizations to create, edit and publish content without limitations. Also, headless CMSes come with a WYSIWYG that allows non-technical users to create content. How does a headless CMS manage content A headless CMS uses a content hub for content management. The content hub houses all digital assets. It is also the place where developers and creators manage content. The centralized approach guarantees consistent brand messaging and design across all channels. It also ensures that businesses keep content and maintain quality. The front-end freedom with headless CMS Headless CMS does not prescribe how you present content. Any front end can work with a headless CMS, allowing developers to use their preferred technologies and frameworks. The presentation layer or front end is the user-facing part of an application, website, or device. It includes all the visual elements and interfaces that make it easy for users to interact with digital content. In the traditional CMS system, they are closely connected. But the headless CMS decouples them. Hence, developers can present content in any format they choose. They can also create and deploy customized and scalable solutions. Benefits of using headless CMS for front-end developers Front-end developers like the front-end agnostic nature of headless CMS platforms. Here are other benefits for developers. It allows them to use preferred technologies, frameworks, and design patterns. It helps them scale future projects or features with ease. They can customize solutions to meet project requirements. It enables them to deliver consistent user experiences across various channels. Can any front-end work with a headless CMS Any front-end application can work with a headless CMS because headless CMSes provide content through APIs. Developers can integrate the APIs with any front-end technology of their choice. That ensures organizations can deliver multi-channel content without investing in extra development resources. Benefits of headless CMS for content editors and creators A headless CMS streamlines content creation. It does so by separating the front-end presentation from the back-end functionality. This allows editors and creators to manage content across different devices and platforms. It also enables them to scale. The WYSIWYG editor integrates with a headless CMS through APIs. That triggers a smooth connection between the presentation layer and the content repository. Its interface makes it easy for non-technical users to create, edit and publish content. Here are more advantages of headless CMS for content production: Separation of concerns: Having a separate content repository and presentation layer improves performance. Scalability: A headless CMS can adapt to changing business needs without compromising performance. Future-proofing: The architecture of a headless CMS can adapt to new technologies. Enhanced digital experiences: The API-driven system enables quality omnichannel delivery. Multi-channel delivery: A headless CMS allows content delivery across channels. Delivering Content Across Multiple Channels Whether your audience is accessing information on a tablet, smartphone, or smartwatch, they can expect to receive engaging and high-quality content. A headless CMS relies on an API to deliver content across channels. That ensures consistency on all platforms. It also enables organizations to tailor their content to the needs of customers. Headless CMS offers and solutions As headless CMS adoption gathers pace, many headless content management platforms exist today. There are many options to choose from. Consider your objectives, requirements, and constraints to select the best for your organization. Review your team. Focus on factors like ease of use, developer-friendliness, integration capabilities, scalability, and flexibility. Evaluating these factors will ensure you make an informed decision. Integrating headless CMS with modern web development Static site generators enable you to create static, HTML-based websites without an external data source. Most static site generators do not have workflow capabilities or a WYSIWYG editor. That means they are unsuitable for creating and managing content. A headless CMS provides these capabilities. That enables you to integrate front-end frameworks with a compatible static site generator. That ensures you do not need to learn new customization and theme integrations. Case studies: Successful integrations with web and mobile apps Many organizations rely on Contentstack's digital experience platform, and for good reason. Here are some success stories. Icelandair Icelandair launched Digital Labs in 2015. They tasked the new business development unit with introducing a digital culture. Having adopted VYRE Unify before, they migrated to dotCMS as their web management platform. It soon became apparent that those platforms were no longer viable for them. Icelandair needed a new website that could support its modular approach to content design. Migrating to Contenstack's digital experience platform enabled them to integrate headless CMS with modern web development. Here are the results. The improved delivery rate for translations by 70% Slashed promotions push out time by 90% They aligned creative and technical teams to work in sync. Enhanced content team to manage 12 languages for 16 locations without leaving the CMS Hallur ﬁór Halldórsson, UX Writer and Content Designer at Icelandair, said this. "I don't have to depend on the developers to do everything. I can go in and make the changes instead of them having to do all the work. Simplicity in the UI for content editors and technically savvy people has helped us." Read how Icelandair improved automation, workflows, and localization with Contentstack with headless CMS integrations. K2 Sports K2 is an American company and a pioneer snowboard and ski brand. They faced challenges with managing eight websites on two CMSes. The solutions relied on developers, which slowed down the speed at which marketers could deliver content. Switching to Contentstack's composable architecture and extensible APIs allowed K2 to build unique integrations. Here are some other results: Improved their content publishing speed by 90%. Boosted productivity by 50% Increased website speed by 75% faster “Since migrating to Contentstack, updating content has gotten 90% faster; furthermore, it has allowed K2 to launch eight websites in less than six months,” said Nicole Fugere, director of Web Services. Read more about how K2 created websites 7% faster with Contentstack's headless CMS. Content as a Service (CaaS) and digital experience platforms Content as a Service (CaaS) is an approach to storing and serving content that builds on the headless CMS concept. It delivers content through APIs, enabling omnichannel distribution across various devices and platforms. Aside from simplifying content management, it also improves the user's digital experience. CaaS decouples content from its presentation. That enables organizations to personalize content to meet the needs of their audience. That drives engagement and satisfaction. As more digital platforms adopt CaaS, organizations can create immersive experiences for their audience across all channels. Headless CMS: The future of content management The pace of headless CMS adoption means it will be pivotal in shaping content strategies in the future. As technology continues to impact the digital landscape, organizations will focus on content management systems that can integrate across many platforms. That will help them future-proof their content strategy. A headless CMS will enhance how organizations deliver personalized omnichannel experiences. The flexibility of headless CMS architecture allows businesses to adapt to emerging technologies and respond to growing customer expectations. Opting for a headless CMS platform is not merely a trend. It is a forward-thinking approach that enhances brand agility and empowers them to stay ahead of the curve. FAQs What is the difference between headless CMS and traditional CMS? Traditional content management systems integrate content storage and presentation. In contrast, a headless CMS decouples these components, making it more flexible and customizable. How do content creators benefit from headless CMS? A Headless CMS streamlines content creation. With the help of the WYSIWYG editor, creators can modify and view content changes in an intuitive interface in real-time. What does "API-driven content management" mean for my business? API-driven content management empowers you to deliver content with ease across channels. By leveraging APIs, you can maintain consistent brand messaging. You can also boost engagement, adapt to new customer demands, and enjoy the benefits of content management for your business. How can a headless CMS improve my website's or app's performance? A headless CMS improves your website's load speed. It reduces website workload by separating the content repository from the presentation layer. Also, developers in your team can use whatever tools or frameworks they prefer. The independent content management and delivery systems also allow you to streamline workflows. And that helps in delivering personalized digital experiences to your audience. What should I consider when implementing a headless CMS? Access your needs and business requirements. Also, consider your limitations when making decisions about your project. Consider the skills of your development team and the requirements of your target audience. Evaluating these factors will guarantee that you make an informed decision. Learn more The headless CMS architecture is revolutionizing content management for organizations. Businesses now recognize the importance of efficient content management. Traditional CMS systems no longer meet the demands of modern web development. The emergence of headless CMS offers a more advanced solution by decoupling the backend from the front end, providing greater flexibility and scalability. Front-end developers benefit from the freedom to use their preferred technologies and frameworks with headless CMS, enabling customized and scalable solutions. Content editors and creators also experience advantages with headless CMS as it streamlines content creation and management across different devices and platforms. Take the next step towards delivering exceptional digital experiences across multiple channels. Unlock the full potential of headless CMS and revolutionize your content management strategy. Schedule a demo today, or contact us for further information.
History of content management systems and rise of headless CMS