• March 9, 2021
  • By Adam Sturrock, vice president of product marketing, Amplience

Why Your Organization Needs an Agile CMS

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Disjointed content systems with redundant, old, or unsearchable content wreak havoc across enterprise organizations today, particularly as they are trying to engage with customers across multiple touchpoints and channels in a timely fashion.

The headless content management system (CMS) was designed to tackle these challenges but, in some ways, unfortunately made them worse. While the developer experience was addressed, separating the front-end experiences from the back-end content repository, it wasn’t enough and led to the marketing team losing control of the experience creation process due to newly introduced developer bottlenecks.

Fortunately, a new type of CMS is emerging that builds on top of, and removes the shortcomings of, the headless CMS. The “agile CMS,” as recently coined by Forrester Research, satisfies and aligns both IT teams and marketing practitioners with a common set of tools and shared purpose. “Agile” is now replacing the term “headless” when it comes to CMSs.

What Does Agile Mean?

The term agile is already well understood by software developers, having been promoted in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The values and principles underpin a range of software development frameworks, including Scrum and Kanban. An agile CMS shares many of the principles with agile software development.

An agile CMS is designed to be used by multiple teams across an organization and allows for rapid iteration to adapt to content management needs in order to drive seamless customer experiences across all channels. This is driven by quickly changing customer expectations and the requirement for internal tools that support and intensify the results of successful collaboration.

Four Elements of an Agile CMS

According to Forrester, an agile CMS should comprise the following four components:

The content hub. The content hub is a single repository for everyone who works with normalized content, such as marketers, campaign managers and content writers. This acts as the single location where your team can find and manage all content. The practitioner is no longer an afterthought, forced to adapt to workflows designed by developers. Instead, an agile CMS’s content hub is designed with end users—and the jobs they want to accomplish—in mind.

Collaboration and planning tools. Collaboration and communication is essential when adopting agile methodologies, and this extends into the makeup of an agile CMS. Leveraging an agile CMS capitalizes on the opportunities and best practices for feedback and communication between everyone involved, planning collaboratively for new content and experience projects. These flexible planning and collaboration tools along with structured workflows, built-in best practices, and standards accelerate time to market and improve ROI for a business.

Content services. An agile CMS adopts the fundamental principles of headless by providing API-first content services to create, manage, and track content at scale, powered by intelligence and governance. This flexible API layer connects the content hub repository to customer experiences across all channels. This isn’t just to provide content for experiences now but is also optimized to handle potential unknowns and future use cases.

The development platform. The agile CMS is still evolving, and with it is the need to provide flexibility in the front-end technology choices and extendibility of the content management interface for developers and marketers alike. An agile CMS is one that fits seamlessly into a company’s existing technology stack.

So what should your company keep in mind if it wants to consider an agile CMS?

  • Determine if the CMSs you are evaluating include all four components listed above.
  • Consider a single content hub that is designed to streamline content collaboration, planning, and workflows to reduce your time-to-market.
  • Confirm that the appropriate collaboration and planning tools are present to support smooth content production operations for your business.
  • Ensure the CMS is designed for—and caters to—both content practitioners and developers.

It can sometimes be hard to keep up with the changing terms and technologies in the CMS space, but since the need to reach your customers wherever they are—and whenever you desire—with compelling content will only continue to become more important for driving business and customer loyalty, you will need a CMS that can effectively support those efforts. An agile one is developed to do just that.

Adam Sturrock is vice president of product marketing at Amplience, a commerce experience platform provider for retailers and brands. Sturrock cofounded Moltin in 2013, one of the first headless e-commerce platforms.

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