Digital Ambition Requires Ambitious Technology

Stefan Schinkel

Digital is the norm when it comes to running your business. However, whether you are optimizing or transforming your business, it’s unavoidable that some parts of your technology stack will last for several years. In the ‘rat race’ of digital transformation, technology teams are exposed to a plethora of cool, new technologies. Vendors excite the technology teams with the future rewards and benefits of their products, while showing off their latest time-saving, ease-of-use gadget to business teams.

But when it comes to managing customer experiences, the approach is usually no different and with ‘speed as the new currency’, it’s important to step back for a moment and look at what’s truly important when it comes to choosing the technology your digital experience runs on, primarily, your Content Management System (CMS). What’s even more important, it choosing your CMS from both a technology perspective as well as keeping the business users in mind - after all, you’re all on the same team, right?

The fact of the matter is, every business has an existing application landscape and parts of this legacy cannot merely be replaced all at once and should continue to work when new technology is deployed, all while maintaining the highest business continuity. Since today’s business teams rely heavily on technology, they now have a say in the requirements and in some cases they (partially) fund it. Moreover, business users, like developers, want to use the cool and enticing applications available that will make their daily lives easier. These factors (and more) make the decision process for enterprises more complicated with regards to new technology. This situation certainly applies to CMSs, since they are almost always deeply embedded in the technology stack that makes up the enterprise’s digital experience platform. When it comes to the content foundation of a digital experience platform, critical capabilities are reasonably straightforward. There are only four, really - since security, scalability and containerization are a given in dotCMS - so let’s dive into the top four critical capabilities for your digital ambition’s content foundation:

#1 API-first

Building digital experience platforms means a high level of integration. Integration with adjacent technologies and business applications that business users like and have proven themselves for a particular business function. Everything is content in dotCMS, and content is exposed and accessible (including permissions and relationships) over APIs, including REST and GraphQL support. Using (LowCode) API Tooling to build endpoints, integrations become smooth, seamless and low effort, enriching the experience.

Developers like it because it makes integrations fun, and it provides them the freedom to build API-driven applications such as Single Page Apps (SPA), Multi-Page Apps (MPA), and Progressive Web Applications (PWA) with the modern frameworks of their liking such as React, Angular, Node, Vue, etc. No need for scarce expertise, like Java.

Business likes it too because they can (continue to) work with the best-in-class adjacent applications (such as the Marketing Automation, CRM, analytics, and commerce engine of their liking) to create and manage customer experiences, rather than get stuck in a suite solution that doesn’t have the depth and breadth from a capability perspective. The API-first approach allows them to make engaging and more personalized experiences by leveraging external content and data in adjacent systems. Also, it allows them to create experiences on the fly, like building a dedicated authoring experiences for field staff using mobile devices.    

#2 Hybrid

Monolithic point solutions should retire - thank you for your service! It’s time to move on with hybrid solutions that provide maximum flexibility from a technology perspective. It’s important to have zero restrictions when it comes to the deployment of your CMS (on-premise, private cloud, public cloud, or a combination) and of course, containerization is a given. Thank you de-coupled architecture. With regards to publishing content, there are still essential use cases for specific industries (pharmaceutical, financial services) to publish content statically in addition to having dynamically rendered content - which should all be handled from a single CMS solution. The most notable and advantageous aspect of hybrid is being able to expose content in any shape or form, anywhere and everywhere, regardless of device. Operating natively (owning the glass) or headless to feed IoT devices, legacy or modern applications is all possible with hybrid. Alternatively, running both headless and traditional at the same time from a single CMS instance or cluster is the definition of a true Hybrid CMS. We’ll share more insights on this topic soon.   

Developers like it because they have more flexibility when it comes to their technology stack as well as their deployment infrastructure. Efficient resource utilization (Total Cost of Ownership) with auto-scaling infrastructure impacts the bottom line. No longer are they confined to proprietary frameworks that restrict them when it comes to delivering fast and furious to support the business teams and their enterprise as a whole.

Business likes it too because they get to work with the tools they find valuable and they see that technology teams are not only supporting the business now, but are getting ahead of the curve with accelerated innovation. The whole team wins!

#3 Edit Mode Anywhere

In today’s day and age, brands are executing on an omnichannel strategy to support their customer journeys and drive the experiences for each phase of this journey across every touchpoint. It’s not just a single desktop website anymore. The multitude of possibilities to engage with prospects and customers has increased tremendously. To deliver a consistent and hyper-personalized brand experience, it’s vital that technology teams can accommodate every touchpoint, so marketing teams focus on building the experience. Edit Mode Anywhere takes away the barrier for both sides and drives innovation for technology teams with a consistent editor experience for the business teams.

Developers like it because they can choose any framework to build engaging applications (such as SPAs, MPAs and PWAs) and, at the same time, they can sustain legacy technology for as long as needed. This accelerates innovation and their ability to modernize the application landscape in a controlled and secure fashion.

Business likes it too because they have a consistent editor experience. It doesn’t matter where and how the content is being exposed: IoT devices, web applications, websites, etc. Edit Mode Anywhere provides full access to preview, inline editing, drag & drop, personalization, page composition, and page layout editing and delivers a uniform editor experience.

#4 NoCode

CMS solutions have come a long way. It’s exciting to see that the level of NoCode becomes a key evaluation aspect for CMS. No longer should developers be involved in creating new content types and complex relationships, page templates, page layouts, complex multi-step content approval workflows, and business rules that drive content targeting and personalization. NoCode is the new norm here.

Developers like it because they are not involved in day-to-day operations of creating and managing content and digital experience. They can now focus on building enticing applications and integrations with the platform and drive innovation for the enterprise.

Business likes it too because they are more self-sufficient and can execute on their digital ambition without having to rely on the technology teams. The business is in the driver’s seat and has the tools to create, manage and deploy the customer experience they want, everywhere and anytime.

RELATED READING: Digital Marketing with dotCMS [User’s Guide]

As you can see, a digital ambition is only as good at the platform that supports it. When you’re looking for technology that fits into your current tech stack, works for both developers and business users, keep in mind these four critical considerations and you’ll be able to narrow down a technology as ambitious as your goals. Hope this helps when making this critical decision for your enterprise!

Stefan Schinkel
Chief Revenue Officer
April 21, 2019

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