Traditional CMS can simply no longer keep up with the pace that digital experiences demand and consumers of content expect.
A few years back, I co-founded Contentstack based on my observation that the pace of digital technology, particularly in content management, was transforming and accelerating. So much of that world was anchored to just two content interfaces; websites and mobile apps. I was convinced that a new generation of content management tools would be required to survive. It was clear that the rapid evolution of information consumption, both source and destination, created a perfect storm for most companies trying to become or stay relevant in the midst of all of this change.
From a technology perspective, this pace of change makes it exceptionally hard to attach infrastructure too firmly in any one system, or systems that limit future choices.
The Mobile Problem
Not that long ago, a web browser was the primary target for digital content distribution and consumption. With the introduction of iPhone, mobile quickly established itself as the new, dominant content channel. Incredible amounts of energy have since been expended and high levels of frustration experienced as mobility challenged the status quo in a powerful way, forcing organizations to reboot their thinking about information and its creation, curation, and presentation.
Apps were the early solution, but almost as quickly as that anchor seemed secure, we’re already realizing that we’re headed for a post-app world. This was summed up perfectly in a recent Medium piece:
“How is it that in 2015 we need to decide how to communicate and then search for the person? Or try to remember what platform they are on before opening an app.”
This is hardly specific to social apps. The same problem exists when looking for a flight or trying to find a consumer good. The problem of having content locked into a platform becomes more apparent with every new presentation layer we add to our world – from the smartwatch, to the heads up display, to the kiosk, to the jumbotron.
As with all technology, ultimately this problem will be solved in a way that makes our lives easier and reverses the platform-centric model. Such change will once again scramble the IT infrastructures we’ve grown dependent on and choices from a short time ago will once again seem shortsighted. The one thing we do know is that content can’t be tied to its delivery, whether that’s a browser, an app, or whatever else comes next. The reality is that the possibilities for content delivery are endless in a digital world, and we need to prepare for that.
Making Everything Modular
The alternatives are already a hot topic of conversation. The first and perhaps the Holy Grail of technology is to make everything modular. Monolithic systems have always been expedient to build but end up in the fast lane to redundancy. Modular building of software and systems has been a goal for a long time, but the recent surge in popularity of APIs offers, for maybe the first time, the chance to reach that goal.
We created an entire digital business platform at Contentstack on this premise and with the goal of solving the problem of how to build high-performance systems for delivering content that’s agnostic to platform. We need to forget about anchors and provide the ability for content to be sourced anywhere, destined for anyplace. It’s time to think past the traditional CMS as your content source and beyond the website or mobility as your goal.