Six ways to future-proof your CMS, while elevating your tech teams

In today’s competitive business environment, delivering dynamic experiences across multiple digital channels is becoming increasingly important. In the past, a traditional monolithic CMS was the go-to solution for managing website content in bulk, offering a comprehensive approach with integrated front-end and back-end functionalities.

However, as the importance of web channels for media distribution grew, developers within larger enterprises recognized the limitations of monolithic solutions in managing complex, structured content or delivering unique frontend capabilities. This led to the rise of custom, internal CMS solutions. Performance and extensive customization were possible but at huge engineering costs and time pressure to plan, develop, and uphold these systems.

Since 2007, the rise in smart devices has welcomed a new era of content consumption across diverse channels. The move significantly burdened both monolithic CMS technology and content teams.

The need for a multi-channel content strategy and a modern tech stack made the limitations of traditional CMS more apparent. Even today, 8 in 10 tech leaders think their current CMS holds them back with inefficient developer or editorial experiences.

Elevating tech teams with CMS modernization

The heavy burden developers face with maintaining custom CMS platforms not only leads to burnout -- experienced by nearly 73 percent of developers at some point in their careers -- but also acts as a significant restriction. Consequently, organizations are increasingly looking to modernize their CMS to alleviate these pressures.

An in-house CMS requires ongoing maintenance, like keeping an orchestra in tune and ensuring all musicians play harmoniously. It’s also less scalable as it’s often built by a small group of people, so they are the only ones who can access and make changes to the system. Subsequently, it’s hard to manage as the project scales, and the small group of developers who built the solution will be stuck maintaining the code base. Modern headless CMS platforms can greatly enhance the capabilities and efficiency of tech teams, freeing them from the constraints of maintenance around custom platforms and empowering them to focus on driving innovation. There are many other benefits to consider, too:

  • Increased developer velocity: Accumulated technical debt from maintaining custom middleware can reduce developer velocity, slowing release cycles and hindering an organization's ability to maintain a continuous release schedule.
  • Improved app performance: Performance is a key indicator of your project's success. It's also closely connected to your business since you lose revenue when your performance is poor. A CMS failure can be detected by business metrics such as lost revenues, which are influenced by poor performance indicators such as slow page load speed and low core web vitals.
  • Stay current with the latest tech: The technology landscape is ever-evolving. Naturally, some of the latest technologies work better than outdated ones. The advantage of a headless CMS is that you can choose any technology you like and easily switch the front end without changing your CMS.
  • Future-proof technology strategy: A tech leader should choose IT vendors that can adapt quickly to an unknown future. A headless architecture with content federation puts data in one place so teams can scale the digital experience. Developers get all the flexibility of headless without having to build, host, secure, and ensure the performance of custom middleware.  
  • Talent acquisition: Legacy systems are hard to understand, making developers less productive and less attractive when recruiting new team members. It’s much easier to handle things in-house if everything needed to work with the CMS can be easily found in any tech stack.
  • Heightened security: Unlike a traditional CMS, a modern headless CMS decouples the backend content repository layer from the frontend presentation layer. This separation allows for greater security because the content management layer is isolated and can be protected independently.

Why headless is the way forward

Adopting a headless CMS with content federation can offer flexibility, scalability, and streamlined content distribution across multiple channels. Furthermore, by separating the frontend and backend, this approach lays the foundation for organizations to meet their technical and content requirements swiftly, allowing technology teams to develop with any technology for any platform.

At a time when content is king, your CMS needs to be a gateway to digital transformation rather than a barrier.

Image Credit: Eoseye /

Michael Lukaszczyk is the CEO and Co-Founder of Hygraph.

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