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Agile CMS explained - 3 reasons to go agile

Marketing Olena Teselko Olena Teselko
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Content production in today’s modern environment needs to be as nimble as possible. A few years ago, companies may have been responsible for managing content on one or two channels, but those days are long gone.

An agile CMS (content management system) can be the answer many enterprises are searching for when it comes to solving the issues that crop up during multichannel content production. In this article, we’ll dive into an agile CMS definition before breaking down the benefits of using one.

What is an agile CMS?

An agile CMS enables enterprises to create, collaborate and deliver content to multiple channels through iterative processes. According to Forrester, an agile CMS allows organizations to reuse content across channels, be faster in content production, and improve team dynamics to deliver a better customer experience.

Contrastingly, the opposite of an agile CMS is a legacy CMS. A legacy CMS facilitates the creation and management of experiences for a single channel. For organizations that seek to integrate multiple channels to create a unified experience, the tightly coupled architecture can limit collaboration and create content silos, negatively impacting the customer experience. Here are some of the differences between a legacy CMS and an agile CMS.

Legacy CMS Agile CMS
Architecture Coupled architecture with linked backend database and frontend presentation layer. Decoupled architecture where the front-end presentation layer is separated from the backend database layer.
Channel Delivery Limited to one channel at a time due to a predefined technology and structure. New channel integrations require extensive customization. Connects to any frontend channel seamlessly with APIs that facilitate omnichannel content delivery.
Workflows Restrictive workflows that create content bottlenecks, prevent reuse across channels and lead to content silos. Facilitates collaboration and communication between teams for iterative development and deployment of content.
Integrations Integrations must be compatible with current architecture or require additional resources and custom builds. Flexibility to integrate with any technology needed to handle the job with the help of APIs.

What does it mean to be agile?

Agility relates to how well an organization can adapt to change, even amongst uncertainty. McKinsey states that enterprise agility is becoming essential for businesses’ success.

Agile as a concept rose to prominence as a software development methodology that focuses on cross-functional teams and close collaboration. The other key component of agile development surrounds iterations and being responsive to feedback.

In the waterfall approach to development, teams execute a project from beginning to end over a long time, only to run the risk of going back to the drawing board. On the other hand, agile methodologies favor incremental development in multiple phases.

A visualization of the waterfall vs agile methodology

Larger projects can be broken down into smaller chunks, and each piece is then released to the public. This allows the teams involved to iterate, test, and learn; creating a continuous loop that enables them to respond to feedback and improve the product.

The collaborative movement that agile fosters has found its way into marketing, enabling teams to create, measure impact, and then make incremental improvements to campaigns. An agile CMS provides the technology for teams to do this with content and enhance the digital experience.

Agile CMS vs traditional CMS vs headless CMS: What’s the difference?

A traditional or monolithic CMS tightly couples the back-end repository which houses content with the front-end layer, presenting content to a website or other digital channels. An example of a traditional CMS is WordPress which is great as a blogging platform and for/in building websites.

Traditional CMS architecture is ideal for delivering content to one channel. Its simple-to-use interface works well for marketers and developers if the end-goal is just a website. However, for enterprises with greater content demands, a traditional CMS can fall short.

Challenges occur when marketing teams want to do more rigorous content planning and personalization or when they want to deliver content to multiple channels. This doesn’t work well for the modern web environment where digital experiences frequently change and there are interactions across various digital touchpoints.

A headless CMS can fill the void of omnichannel delivery by removing the CMS’s front-end presentation layer and simply keeping the back-end content database. Connections can instead be made via APIs to different front-ends, giving developers the freedom to customize experiences to their liking.

This API-first approach that many headless CMSs utilize has allowed brands to create content once and then publish it anywhere. In this respect, the development of content and experiences with a headless CMS is agile, but being agile is about more than just posting content. The headless CMS approach is perfect for managing content for multiple digital touchpoints.

Storyblok provides its users with features that allow them to be truly agile. The Visual Editor enables content teams and other non-technical teams to create and edit content with real-time preview. Due to the composable system of components, users can build new pages without relying on developers’ help, while still having a set of tools for collaboration.

Storyblok, more than a headless CMS

Storyblok is a headless CMS that enables developers and marketers to deliver powerful content experiences on any digital platform, one block at a time.

Agile CMS benefits: 3 reasons to go agile

An agile content management system can provide solutions to the issues that plague a traditional CMS and the limitations of a headless CMS. Here’s how an agile CMS can overcome these challenges:

A visualization of agile content management

1. Multichannel publishing becomes attainable

Content is no longer siloed or meant for only one channel. Businesses today need to deliver content to mobile devices, tablets, digital kiosks, smartwatches, and a host of other IoT devices. Customers are demanding omnichannel content and brands need a way to manage content for every use case.

A headless approach to content management enables this by connecting to different front-ends and allowing brands to access data using REST APIs or GraphQL. Storyblok’s headless architecture facilitates this and includes a visual editor that lets marketers preview changes and launch faster campaigns.

2. Content production and workflow enhancements

In larger enterprises, the content production stage can be either a source of prosperity or an area littered with bottlenecks. When publishing content, a headless CMS can make it difficult for users to edit fields, change content type names or create new structures that help streamline production.

Storyblok features nestable content blocks that make content management easy by creating components and enabling developers to reuse those content blocks in other places. At the same time, marketers have the freedom and independence to develop the most valuable content and customize it to their needs with the help of Visual Editor.

When it comes to content management, the year 2022 and beyond will require brands to focus on workflows and efficiency. Some companies have multiple personnel on the content team, but they have difficulties collaborating. The reason is that each person wants to add something new to the website or other channel, but without a workflow, collaboration is non-existent, and there’s no formal way to make changes quickly.

Content workflows in Storyblok enable you to define stages in the workflow and set up approvals based on your content lifecycle. This prevents unwanted changes from being published and accelerates the approval process for others. With the activity log, changes can also be tracked, and user roles and permissions can be established, to prevent accidents from derailing your content.

Teams can also collaborate within the content system without starting a neverending loop of emails and Slack messages. In Storyblok, you can leave a comment on any content entry and start discussions with your team members.

3. Technology remains adaptable through integrations

With an agile CMS, no all-in-one suite approach prevents you from incrementally improving your technology stack. Instead, with a best-of-breed approach, you can integrate the best technology seamlessly into your existing architecture with complete freedom.

An agile CMS relies on a headless architecture that allows developers to choose the most appropriate programming language and frameworks to get the job done. This means that they can decide to build frontend experiences using popular JavaScript frameworks like React or Angular, depending on the nature of the project.

In addition, since an agile CMS uses APIs to connect to these various frontends and integrate with other technologies, it makes the CMS essentially future-proof. Rather than re-platform your CMS or create a customized application every time you want to add a new feature, your developers can easily integrate using APIs.

Storyblok’s app store also gives you the flexibility to add new features to the platform and extend your functionality.

Storyblok: Adapting to your evolving CMS needs

Agility and adaptability are paramount for modern enterprises looking to have an omnichannel presence and the CMS you choose can have a tremendous impact on that presence.

Small business financial platform Fundbox wanted to upgrade its CMS to provide the best experience for its internal teams and customers. After a recent upgrade to their website design, Fundbox found that their existing Django-based CMS wasn’t sufficient for their engineering teams and lacked the user-friendliness their marketing team required. It also didn’t provide the collaboration they needed.

Fundbox had just decided to move to Jamstack to provide their developers with more freedom and independence and needed a headless CMS to pair with Netlify. They eventually chose Storyblok because of its support for Jamstack, Vue, and Nuxt, the ability to preview content before publishing, fast content delivery and deployment, and easy workflows for the content team. 

Their developers now enjoy a hassle-free backend experience, and their marketers can rely on Storyblok’s visual editor to create content experiences with ease. Read more about Fundbox in our case study

An agile CMS provides you with the tools you need to navigate the multichannel digital environment enterprises face today. Learn more about being adaptable in eCommerce and discover how to choose your next platform here.

Content Management for eCommerce

Read our comprehensive marketer's guide to content management, complete with a free evaluation guide!

Resource Links
Headless CMS Headless CMS explained in 5 minutes
CMS for eCommerce The new era of eCommerce CMS
Headless stack or monolithic package Best-of-breed vs. all-in-one
A complete guide to eCommerce content management Content management for eCommerce

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