How to Choose a Hybrid CMS (To Please Your CMO and CTO)
May 06, 2019
By: Stefan Schinkel
The need for headless content management is continuing to rise, but the split between CMO and CTO isn’t budging.
But both parties have a common problem. With certain IoT device markets, such as smart speakers and smart wearables, predicted to rise at an exponential level in the next few years, consumer behavior is set to change along with it.
Let me illustrate that with some of the latest research reports. Allied Market Research forecasted that the smart speaker market will be worth $23.3 billion by 2025, and according to CCS Insights, the smart wearable market is set to become a $27 billion industry by 2022.
And let’s not forget about single page applications (SPAs), which more brands are turning to in order to provide a faster and superior experience compared to traditional multi-page applications.
Traditional CMS platforms are not cut out for delivering content to these kinds of devices and applications. But where traditional CMS prevail in empowering marketers with user-friendly interfaces and editors that allow them to create customer experiences with little or no technical assistance, a headless CMS comes with no frontend editor and only comes as a backend-only solution out-of-the-box.
So while a headless CMS allows organizations to deliver to various IoT devices and SPAs, marketers actually lose their autonomy and their ability to create experiences on their own. This is a drag for the CMO and the CTO, as the former must rely on the latter, while the latter bears the burden of success for both teams.
What is a Hybrid CMS, And Why Is It Needed?
Since marketers are not able to create experiences on their own in a pure headless CMS, they are left with no alternative but to rely on IT to craft customer experiences. The only alternative is to integrate with third-party MarTech—which also requires CTO buy-in.
With the former, IT already have a lot on their plate, and by giving them additional responsibilities for looking after and updating various digital marketing channels on request, it increases the total cost of ownership and significantly slows down the time-to-market.
As for the latter, marketers would end up using multiple software solutions to deliver experiences across multiple channels. They would use separate software for digital signage, landing pages, websites, smart speakers and so on. This would lead to a “platform bloat”, creating siloed content distribution channels, where the content would have to be duplicated multiple times. This increases the workload for marketers and puts the organization at risk of delivering an inconsistent message.
A hybrid CMS provides the best of both worlds. A hybrid CMS is essentially a headless CMS but comes with the frontend tools and templates that enable non-technical users to create experiences independently.
Choosing a Hybrid CMS: Key Features to Look For
There are many hybrid CMS vendors on the market, and most enterprise contenders will tick many of the boxes, but how can you ensure your CMS will enable your company to go the extra mile—all while satisfying the needs of both your CMO and CTO? Here are three key features to put on your radar:
To ensure your hybrid CMS allows for headless content delivery, you need to first check that it is API-first. Working with an API-driven content management system means that content can be accessed and exposed over API, whether this is a Java API or REST API, and deliver to any device or touchpoint. Not only does dotCMS 5.1 support these APIs, but it also supports GraphQL, which enables users to extract the specific content fragments via the backend interface.
The platform should include permissions to cater for security and compliance as well as two-way data exchange.
For developers, there some clear advantages to working with an API-first platform. It gives them the freedom to innovate and they are not restricted to the built-in technologies that are provided by the CMS.
Developers can now leverage any modern frontend framework such as Angular, React and Vue to build SPAs, multi-page applications, and even progressive web applications (PWAs) and integrate it into the CMS via API.
From a marketing perspective, an API-first platform also enables best of breeds. Users can integrate their favorite tools in CRM, marketing automation, eCommerce and analytics. Allowing them to develop their own unique digital experience platform (DXP).
2. LowCode and NoCode Environments
At dotCMS, we are very passionate about NoCode, and it is one of the key pillars of our product vision and roadmap.
NoCode means that marketers and business teams can run their digital agenda with little or no IT involvement. And, conversely, technology teams can focus on innovation and discovering cutting edge technology that will positively impact business outcomes. Essentially, technology teams have zero involvement in the day to day operation of creating content and experiences, that’s left to the marketers - the people who want full control in this area.
As a result, NoCode allows everybody to win. Marketers can deliver their experiences faster, the business can lower their cost of ownership, and developers can focus on what they do best - innovating.
dotCMS delivers on this NoCode philosophy by striving to become the most user-friendly hybrid CMS on the market. The latest version comes with an intuitive user interface that features a WYSIWYG editor, inline editing, and drag and drop.
3. Edit Mode Anywhere
While both NoCode and API-First provide many advantages to both marketers and developers for delivering experiences that go beyond the humble website, there is some level of dependency towards IT. For instance, to update content or the layout on a SPA, that is built in either Angular or Vue, marketers would have to liaise with IT who then proceed to make the relevant changes by updating the JSON file or manually adjusting the template via the development framework.
In further empowering marketers, dotCMS 5.1 has introduced Edit Mode Anywhere: A unique feature that enables users to edit experiences such as landing pages, SPAs and PWAs directly within dotCMS. Users no longer have to access separate editors, instead, Edit Mode Anywhere provides a centralized and undisrupted editing experience.
Edit Mode Anywhere makes it possible for developers to use their desired agile framework to develop the frontend and integrate into dotCMS so they can take advantage of dotCMS’ intuitive editor to manage how the content is presented on a variety of different devices.
Users can easily modify their experience via dotCMS to update the content, adjust the layout via drag and drop, and add new content, including images and online videos. Once the changes have been made, users can click “Save and Publish” and dotCMS will automatically update it.
dotCMS CTO Will Ezell and I provided an in-depth look into dotCMS’ Edit Mode Anywhere in a recent on-demand webinar that you can watch for free.
dotCMS Harmonizes Marketing and IT In a Headless CMS Environment
The Hybrid CMS will become the defacto choice for brands wanting to go headless in the coming years. It provides the tools that marketers love, and it also gives developers more freedom to innovate and use their preferred tools and programming language.
dotCMS 5.1 takes the Hybrid CMS to the next level by introducing Edit Mode Anywhere that allows users to edit and manage externally developed experiences via dotCMS’ intuitive user-interface which comes in line with the NoCode philosophy.
With Edit Mode Anywhere, you can say goodbye to disrupted and siloed editing experiences and be able to manage your content seamlessly via a single platform.