Headless – or in the terminology of Gwyneth, decoupled – in the realm of content management systems describes the architecture of these systems.
And when it comes to deciding which content management system to select, it’s key for product managers to consider the needs going into the future as well as how the content management system is going to impact them.
When it comes to the more traditional content management systems, they were made with websites in mind. After all that’s all there was before smartphones reached a certain intelligence, which means despite their efforts to modernize and enforce more API-friendly aspects, they all too often fall behind competitors who come with API-first methods.
“We need a new container to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” according to Mark Grannan from Forrester Research. “Building from the architecture of headless CMS, Forrester believes that that new container is already taking shape: agile CMS.
“Forrester defines agile CMS as a solution for collaboratively curating, creating, and delivering content across channels and campaigns via iterative development and deployment processes.”
Why go headless?
We have gotten into a situation where businesses are using different CMSs for every channel. And this is a problem, because businesses are not organized around separate delivery channels.
Well, technology that is channel-centric is gradually being replaced by younger, more agile technology that is capable of building omnichannel experiences.
“Moving legacy technology barriers further out of the way will require de-emphasizing channel-centric technologies,” added Mark, “which are on the decline as businesses evolve their processes to be more agile.”
The fact is that the number of digital channels has exploded over the years, leavi
ng legacy content management systems not only to feel outdated but act as barriers to improvement.
Behind these forces of change are two principal causes: the frustration with the proliferation of CMS instances, where content managers have to copy and paste content from web to app to digital display, plus the desire to build better and faster content.
Is headless right for you?
It’s worth considering a few scenarios that we’re going to lay out now.
- You are using multiple content management systems. Then you’re likely cutting and pasting content from CMS to CMS, leading to inefficiency and inconsistency.
- You are dependent on devs to make changes and publish content. Here you are waiting for developers to either edit or publish content, creating unnecessary delays, and drive developers away from their core functions.
- Product launches hit content-related delays. Stacking complex demands on top of one another within a traditional CMS tends to lead to time-consuming workflows, as manual tasks compensate for the shortcomings of a CMS.
- Holding onto developers is getting more difficult. A traditional CMS that needs specific programming languages will limit your potential talent pool. So too will a CMS that is tedious for developers.
- The CMS is more a weight than an enabler. A traditional CMS often feels too rigid – in fact is too rigid to unleash your ideas into smooth content experiences.
If any of these scenarios trigger your business reality, or are unsettlingly close to your current situation, then it’s time you give some serious thought to headless content management systems such as Contentful and Strapi.