Why traditional CMS are an innovation bottleneck and federated content platforms are the future [Q&A]

Traditional content management systems (CMS) developed at a time when all that was needed was to post some text and a few images. But as consumer and business needs have evolved they can prove to be a bottleneck when it comes to innovating and improving a web presence.

Michael Lukaszczyk, the CEO and co-founder of content platform Hygraph, argues that enterprises need a future-proof solution. We talked to him to find out more.

BN: How crucial is content in delivering modern customer experiences?

ML: Content is crucial for modern businesses. Not only do figures estimate that the global digital content creation market will reach $24 billion by 2027, but today’s customers are more demanding when it comes to wanting to receive connected digital experiences. Providing customers with basic text and images is not enough for businesses to thrive in the growing content economy. Businesses must increase their capabilities and ensure they are offering fast and personalized experiences, like Amazon and Netflix.

However, a lot of organizations are still unable to unlock full value from their content. This is due to the customization and integration challenges that are still slowing the creation of new or complex digital services at scale.

BN: Why is the traditional CMS approach no longer fit for purpose?

ML: Customer needs have evolved significantly over the last 20 years. The first generation of content management systems were based on a one-to-one relationship between an admin interface that managed the content and a website to present it. Following the explosion in the device ecosystem, such as smartphones, tablets and voice assistants, this relationship became one-to-many. As a result, we saw the emergence of the headless CMS which permits for platform-independent content distribution via APIs.

A headless CMS works precisely with the content being uploaded, and then puts it on display exactly where and when you want it via an API. This provides organizations far more flexibility in how they display -- and how their customers experience -- their content. Due to the rise of the headless CMS, organizations have needed to build and manage custom software to connect all these content sources and devices.

As the demand for connected digital services shows no sign of slowing down, organizations risk amassing significant 'technical debt' maintaining and building this custom software. Building everything custom is an innovation bottleneck. It's expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to do well. This means that back-end architects and developers become gatekeepers of the CMS architecture, much to the frustration of business teams.

BN: What does the rise of composable architectures mean for organizations?

ML: With composable architectures, businesses are no longer buying or building monolithic systems. Instead, they are taking a more modular approach.

Modern software architectures have a lot of moving parts and there are many different systems that contain data that could be used for new applications or customer experiences. However, connecting all these sources is complicated and adds a significant integration overhead.

With composable architectures on the rise, organizations are moving away from costly custom software development. They're now looking to the next-generation of content management -- content federation platforms.

BN: Why is a federated content approach the answer?

ML: In the same way that the headless CMS approach disrupted the space a decade ago, federated content platforms are the next generation of content management, allowing organizations to innovate faster and at lower cost.

Today, businesses need to serve content to multiple devices, and they also need to be able to serve the content that lives within their software stack. A federated content approach allows organizations to do this faster and at scale, while supporting the rapid growth we are seeing in the content economy. Businesses that are still stuck in the first monolithic CMS world will not be able to build the modern experiences that customers expect as standard.

With the next generation of CMS, organizations can federate content sources using a single universal content API. Therefore, developers that build web or mobile experiences only have to develop with one API to serve content from diversified back-end systems. By combining composability with a federated content approach, enterprises can future-proof their CMS investment and significantly reduce their integration costs.

Content and data don't reside in one source anymore, and a content federation is content management for our new reality. In an intense market, businesses must prioritize innovation and standing out against the competition. Traditional CMS approaches won't allow you build something like the next Netflix, but a federated content platform will.

Image credit: kume111000/depositphotos.com

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