Benefits of Headless for Government Entities

Partners Agata Kędzia Agata Kędzia
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The emergence of new technology devices, technical development, and a general shift in how society consumes information require government entities to find new ways to keep all the web-related processes agile and tailored to remain current. What is more, as the growing importance of the term ‘digital experience’ gains in strength, creating multi-dimensional, functional, and intuitive digital platforms is crucial for public organizations to fulfill their role to the best of their ability. How to create an exceptional DXP in public sectors' platform? Working with complicated infrastructure might be a real challenge, but access to the right tools and solutions can contribute to success in delivering state-of-art websites.

Government entities are constantly delivering new information that needs to be shared publicly, within different target groups and are highly accountable for delivered data. Therefore, choosing a content management system (CMS) is in this case, a matter of responsibility, trust, and creating a reliable and safe place for wide groups of citizens. Moreover, residents want to get relevant information fast, wherever they are and on any device they choose. With this in mind, we know that finding a perfect CMS for a government entity might be a real challenge. Let us guide you through the journey that a public organization should go through when responsibly looking for an ideal government CMS and find out if it should go Headless.

Or, a better question would be: Why should a government agency definitely go Headless?

Storyblok editing capabilities

What to consider when selecting the right software for Government Entities?

It’s essential to understand what kind of concerns related to building a government platform need to be addressed in order to establish an organization’s requirements for a CMS. Public entities are likely to have different operational scopes and areas, and hence, different concerns need to be taken into consideration. Working closely with public organizations has shown us that the following common challenges need to be addressed:

  • Security issues

  • Data hosting and storage

  • Information relevance and structuring

  • Monetary terms

  • Streamlining bureaucratic processes

  • Integrations interchangeability

  • Platform interactivity

  • User Experience (UX) challenges

A CMS for the public sector must fulfill rigorous requirements for compliance standards since being in charge of data distribution on a large scale is a significant responsibility. The most notable aspect of government organizations is the high-profile and sensitive nature of the information being handled. This opens the need for the highest security levels in terms of data protection, especially in the context of cybersecurity. On the other hand, public entities are also looking for ways to manage and deliver content in customized and commonly accessible ways. Here emerges another concern for data publishing: Through which channels should it be distributed? As today’s data touch points are not only websites but also mobile devices, tablets, smart watches, and more, a multichannel approach is a must to actively and transparently communicate with the recipients. Additionally, rising audience expectations for services and content quality require organizations’ content creators to have structuring abilities and creativity. If we were to compress all these challenges into one sentence, it definitely can be stated that everything comes down to creating a multidimensional platform that serves as a bridge between government entities and target audiences. Having that said, let’s take a look at how these challenges can be faced by opting for a Headless CMS.

Security first

Handling government data and documentation such as gated materials, passwords, logins or correspondence requires a strict data protection regime. Tech development opens many doors to process digitalization, but at the same time, it increases the opportunities for potential cyber-attacks or data breaches. At the core of a headless CMS is the back-end and the front-end layers separation, which from a security standpoint means that risk is mitigated as a threat on one ‘side’ of the layer's border doesn’t impact the other one. The risk is also minimized in terms of integrations, where individual parts of the solution are not bound to each other, therefore, interfering with one functionality will not disrupt the whole system. Additionally, the most modern content management systems can provide your organization with the highest data protection standards, and we at Storyblok pay especially close attention to them. You don’t have to take our word for it, as we are proud to be distinguished as a ISO 27001 certified CMS provider, which demonstrates our compliance with the highest standards of international security. We use https protocols, data encryption, two factor authentication and backups.

Here are a couple of main security aspects you can expect when opting for Storyblok:

  • Threat detection

  • Monitoring and reporting

  • Incident security management

  • Data encryption

  • Security code reviews

  • User Experience (UX) challenge

Have a look at our dedicated Trust Center page to find out more information related to hosting and security topics.

It’s also worth mentioning that Storyblok provides a 99.9% Uptime SLA Guarantee for all Enterprise spaces (and even 99.99% for Enterprise Plus). This means that you can have certainty that our services are available at a rate of 99.9% of the annual average. You can learn more about hosting your data here.

Your organization data’s home

The most common concern when looking for a government CMS provider is: Where and how will my data be stored? By where we mean the data hosting provider and location. It’s one of the core criteria for public organizations’ software vendor choice. Modern headless CMS providers compete in terms of data hosting security and dependability, and we at Storyblok want to live up to these requirements on the highest level: Our services are stored on Amazon AWS, which assures data hosting security in accordance with the highest compliance standards on the market. The hosting environment is protected by a WAF (Web Application Firewall), which secures APIs and web applications from threads, exploits, and cyber abuses. Moreover, our Enterprise partners can choose the hosting location - Europe or the United States (at an additional cost) depending on operational areas. There is also an option for separated infrastructure in Mainland China.

Worth mentioning is also the situation when government data needs to be kept in certified environments. Let’s take a look at an example of Australia where in essence, data sovereignty regulations require government data to be held on shore. Depending on the security requirements of the data, there may also be a requirement for the data to be held in an IRAP (Information Registered Assessors Program) certified repository. There are only a handful of such certified providers, which in turn can become a hard obstacle to overcome. Storyblok has indicated that it’s possible to build a dedicated instance of data repository onshore, which will make it easier for Government and even Banking use cases to take advantage of our CMS.

Perfectly supported deployment

Efficiently performed implementation of a CMS for a government entity is crucial with persevering operational stability. Operating with high-profile data requires uncluttered and smooth software deployment. Moreover, it's crucial to remember that particular organizations' team members might have different levels of technical abilities. That’s why it is also important to keep the deployment process and related training user-friendly with constant support available. Best-in-class headless CMSs can guarantee smooth data transition as well as support during the process. We at Storyblok love to be here for you from the very beginning of any project you want to build with us. That’s why we offer you our support center and dedicated partner managers who will guide you through this journey step by step so that your organization can concentrate on the important things. We offer your organization special introduction sessions where you can learn how to start out with a project, what the data transition looks like, demos for your developers, and much more. Our special extended support packages will also make your organization’s data maximally curated. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Annual in-depth check of your implementation with Storyblok and security audits

  • High-quality feedback on your processes from our experts

  • 24/7 Incident Management - very fast response time for maximum security

  • Developer Support within 48 hours

  • Advice on Content Structure Setup

  • Additional Data Centers at an additional cost

Headless savings

In the current economic and political climate, many public entities experience a general squeeze of their budgets when, at the same time, they are expected to retain the current operational workflow and drive innovation. In our opinion, the pay-as-you-go pricing model is in this case the best possible option as it lets your organization pay exactly for the features and functionalities that are being used. Perfect pricing should also be predictable to ensure maximum transparency in terms of government financial management and in other operational areas.

Headless CMS is also about indirect expenditure savings. For example, the costs connected to CMS maintenance can economize by delegating them to your software provider who is a highly experienced individual in security issues. Moreover, as all the additional integrations, plugins, and connected technologies are maintained in one central back-end hub, their maintenance costs are also reduced.

Unlimited project scalability

It’s vital for public organizations to adjust to current trends in terms of channels through which their data is consumed. A headless CMS comes with its API-first approach, which makes it possible to spread once created content through whatever channels needed. This ensures content consistency, which is crucial for transparency and reliability enhancement. Moreover, it’s also possible to display content through on onsite devices. API-first approach is also important in terms of project scalability. This can be useful in cases of initiatives starting with a small scale, which expand on larger regions or areas and need to be managed by one central public platform. Another use case of API functionality is microsite management, for example when new departments need to be integrated and handled by the same major entity. Choosing a headless CMS makes it possible to manage all of the organizations’ parties from one central hub, no matter how fast it scales.

Integrations for endless services extensions

Decoupling the front-end and back-end layers can be perceived as opening the doors for endless functionalities that a government entity needs to offer its citizens. Integrations such as payment solutions, facility reservations, registration services, event planning, bureaucracy management, statistics tools, incident management, mailing, and messaging applications can be put together in one hub, with a headless CMS at the center. We at Storyblok are proud to have launched our Technology Ecosystem, where you can choose between various tech solutions to be integrated within your platform and combined in any needed configuration.

With a focus on public organizations, let’s have a look at potential use cases explaining how you can you leverage Storyblok for your services:

Deployment:

It’s essential to build and implement public sector web integrations in the most agile, secure, and streamlined way. Functional deployment services are also worth considering when it comes to web extensions and application scalability. Moreover, a well-customized API management process helps organizations build websites with further functionality, without limitations. At Storyblok, we’ve joined forces with Netlify and Vercel. Such integrations make it possible for any public organization to develop a future-proof and highly-performant platform.

Personalization:

The hyper-personalization of data available on government platforms is crucial to retain users’ interest and engagement, offering residents accurate and valuable services. Personalization in this case should be perceived as not only data analysis but also data collection. The more information about residents a government possesses, the more tailored its services can become. Great examples of integrations that manage personalization concerns are our collaborations with Optimizely for a perfectly-personalized data collection and Ninetailed for real-time personalization experience creation.

Search integration

The effectiveness of a government website depends to a large extent on how fast and reliable information can be found by a visitor. Therefore, a foolproof search feature should be implemented as soon as possible. Our integration with Algolia enables finding search results in milliseconds with typo tolerance management, analytics tools, and keyword customization to name a few.

DAM (Digital Asset Management):

With Storyblok you can choose either our internal asset manager, or replace it with one of our integrations. A great example here is Cloudinary, to help unleash the full potential of your digital media. Its features include AI-based media manipulation and extensive editing tools. Cloudinary can enrich a visually-rich experience on your platform, which will make residents’ UX more engaging, personalized, and interactive. This integration can help manipulate images with a URL-based API, create cutting edge video experiences, and make websites and apps load better.

Localization

It can be the case that multiple languages are spoken within one country across different regions. Localization functionalities can benefit international projects that need to be adjusted to your country’s specific requirements. When using Storyblok, you can take advantage of our localization features, or integrate your platform with one of our localization partners, such as Crowdin, Lokalise, or Weglot. It’s worth exploring what advanced and innovative localization workflows these products offer.

If you’re interested in exploring all of our tech integrations, you can learn more here.

The UX challenge

Public organizations handle huge volumes of information, which requires efficient content strategy. Information and content structuring are important aspects of content publishing on public portals, because it determines if available information will be transparent and legible. Additionally, it must be easily findable to a user. The best method to achieve that is content first strategy, which assumes that a displayed message determines the project’s design and is effective on its own. Approaching a given project with content first strategy helps determine the user journey better. Another great concept of delivering exceptional UX is component-based design, which assumes building websites based on already-made components. Such segments are pre-programmed and designed, ready to be used as blocks on a website. Thanks to their modular nature, they can be easily stored and reused on all subpages. Creating content strategy in this way is likely to be well thought out and tailored to particular target groups, making the whole customer journey pleasant, intuitive, and effective. With this in mind, Storyblok as a headless CMS serves project managers and content creators with:

  • Predefined blocks with delegated usage purposes, for example, Richtext, Image section, Banner section, and many more

  • Reusable content components, which can be saved, tested and set in any combination

  • Visual Editor with real-time preview

See how much our Visual Editor feature can contribute to the success of creating content for your organization - read here.

Key Takeaways

Operating in the public sector, whether on a large or a smaller scale, is a demanding and responsible process for every single part of an organization. It’s really interesting to think about how many aspects are affected by the software choices of government entities and how going headless can improve their platform’s functionality.

We can’t think of any better tech solution that could cover all the areas that are handled by the public sector mentioned in this article in a more spectacular way. In our view, going headless for government entities goes far beyond an organization’s content management, by building secure, innovative, and future-proof platforms to serve particular regions and its residents.


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