When a digitally-heavy business takes on new distribution channels (and let’s remember that ‘channel’ in the modern sense means everything from retail shops to the web and then onwards to mobile, social media and even areas including Augmented Reality (AR) and wearables) then the content development for those channels hits a roadblock as the content creators often have to run everything through the developers and other software engineering professionals tasked with supporting this action.
What happens next is the developers end up focusing on mundane repetitive tasks that slow the whole process down and end up killing the impact of the content.
People (developers, DBAs and – actually – customer/users too) are unhappy.
This is a problem because businesses need to know what new channels will and which will not work for them – fast. Knowing which new channels work quicker than the competition is a huge advantage.
It is time to market. In a nutshell.
Discussing this engineering issue and thinking about what software application developers should keep in mind for the Computer Weekly Developer Network is Matthew Baier in his role as COO of Contentstack — a specialist in the headless content management system market, a technology designed to bring business and technology teams together to deliver what the industry likes to call ‘personalised omnichannel digital experiences’.
Baier writes as follows below…
This (above CMS headache predicament) is not the developer’s or engineer’s fault. The technology and process here ends up forcing them to become involved in something they don’t need to be.
The way to crack this is to remove the engineering and development teams out of the equation by addressing the technology that defines the content creation and publishing process – but again the question is how? The answer is – literally – by losing your head and divorcing the content creation from the content distribution/publishing.
This is at the core of headless content management systems.
A headless CMS is a back-end only content management system (CMS) built expressly as a repository that makes content accessible via an Application Programming Interface (API) connection for display on any device. The ‘head’ of any digital experience is the device it is experienced on – laptop, phone, VR or AR headset, watch, whatever.
The body is the back end of the content, usually held in a repository.
The two are different but linked.
Forcing them together forces the content creators and the tech teams together; but not in a collaborative way. It creates a monolithic, rigid system that demands tech guys are overworked as they are pulled in on every spelling change and creatives get impatient because their content cannot do what it was designed to.
By using APIs a business can deliver the content wherever it is needed – and this frees the CMS to focus on just storing and delivering content better and faster.
The net result is that a headless next-gen CMS enables these businesses to keep creatives creating effective content and engineers/developers focused on other areas.
Issues such as versioning, bulk releases across multiple channels, using new types of content and workflows disappear.
Contentstack doesn’t use the ‘nothing spooky’ line to explain how its headless CMS does what it does and how it can potentially, allegedly, arguably help developers in the conundrum thrown up by the proliferation of channels now spiralling out there, but it could… just remember where you heard it first right guys?