Edit Mode Anywhere: Shaping the Hybrid CMS Landscape - A Fireside Chat with dotCMS & DEPT

It’s official, the headless CMS landscape has become another buzzword and acronym minefield.

From API-first to decoupled to hybrid headless, the landscape has become cluttered with varying definitions and tweaked architectures, each one claiming to be the true champion of the headless CMS world.

To sift through the fluff and address the true needs and wants of today’s enterprises, dotCMS's Stefan Schinkel and Will Ezell sat down with DEPT’s Principle Architect Daniel Paterson, for a fireside chat about Hybrid CMS.

In particular, the three experts discussed dotCMS 5.1’s Edit Mode Anywhere feature, which is redefining the way we see headless content management. Plus, they chatted about the driving factors behind the increasing adoption of headless CMSs, and they even touched on what they view to be the next big trend in the WCM space.

If you prefer reading instead of watching, we’ve extracted the key points from the discussion below.

What Does Edit Mode Anywhere Mean For Brands?

Paterson stated that the new dotCMS feature, Edit Mode Anywhere, will positively impact industries in two ways.

The first focuses on the ability to select a new technology stack. Users will face little or no compromise or limitation in terms of choosing any JavaScript framework, library or server-side technology like Java and .NET they can use. It opens up accessibility to dotCMS users in a really big way.

While dotCMS provides the capability to integrate with these technologies via API, Edit Mode Anywhere goes a step further by eradicating the issue of duplicate effort. For instance, previously, you would have a .NET app consuming an API but you would still need to support the editorial experience natively and not within the CMS. But with Edit Mode Anywhere, you can modify the .NET app within dotCMS.

Essentially, Edit Mode Anywhere brings back control to where it belongs: the business. And that’s a huge step forward.

Ezell demonstrated how Edit Mode Anywhere works in a recent webinar.

Plus, from a business and marketing perspective, Edit Mode Anywhere allows users to let the technology work for them. And along with dotCMS’s NoCode user interface, marketers can do what they need to do and see the technology as a key asset that brings value, rather than a constant implementation cycle of changes that need to be built into a large, complex system.

Another benefit, which also relates to the first point, is integration. With Edit Mode Anywhere, users no longer face a scenario where the CMS integration and website are synonymous. Integrations are more lightweight and it is much easier to integrate a Digital Asset Management (DAM), Product Information Management (PIM), or any other external system.

The second way how Edit Mode Anywhere can positively impact industries, and this is beneficial for developers, is how it can provide greater control over CI/CD processes. Edit Mode Anywhere removes all the barriers associated with CI/CD by easily enabling them, this includes Jenkins or TeamCity for continuous integrations and Azure Office Deploy for content delivery.

But besides Edit Mode Anywhere, dotCMS 5.1 comes with a Scripted API, which allows users to easily introduce different processes into the pipeline.

What is Driving the Demand for Headless Capabilities?

Content is becoming extremely valuable for brands and customers. And along with the rapid rise of IoT adoption, a headless CMS possesses the ability to frame that content in any way possible, whether it's for digital signage, kiosks, web applications or mobile applications. A headless CMS can provide a consistent experience which can be targeted and analyzed through a lightweight performance API. dotCMS provides this seamlessly thanks to its feature-rich and mature API.

However, Ezell noted that without the frontend capabilities, which users will come to quickly realize in a pure headless solution, marketers have found themselves back to where they were 20 years ago, where they need to open an IT support ticket to make changes to the content on their app. This not only slows time-to-market but increases their total cost of ownership and workload for IT teams, who have other commitments.

This is the reason why hybrid CMS solutions are fast becoming the more desired option for headless content management. In fact, both Gartner and Forrester have predicted that hybrid CMS solutions will become a long-term solution for brands to deliver headless content management.

A hybrid CMS brings significant advantages to all aspects of the business. You get an editorial experience, which is something that is not present in a pure headless, and an API-first platform that allows you to distribute content to literally any device, channel or touchpoint.

With dotCMS, every effort has been made to empower both business users and marketers. dotCMS features one of the most user-friendly interfaces on the market. It comes with an intuitive WYSIWYG editor, inline editing, and drag and drop. And thanks to Edit Mode Anywhere, these features can be extended to various frameworks for SPAs, PWAs, and more.

Additionally, dotCMS supports multilingual strategies as well as having the ability to create customized workflows for better managing content throughout its lifecycle.

What is the Next Biggest Trend to Emerge in the CMS Space?

One of the key features many enterprises are looking for is the ability to deliver personalized and engaging customer experiences at scale. A report by Dynamic Yield entitled “The State of Personalization Maturity” stated that 96 percent of marketers believe in the value of personalization.

The key technologies that are assisting brands to deliver personalization at scale are machine learning and AI technologies.

Over the years, personalization has become more than just adding a couple of rules to update a banner. It’s about gaining in-depth insight and analytics in real-time and using this information to deliver highly relevant and personalized experiences which comes in line with the latest trends and consumer behavior. And AI and machine learning make this possible by tracking user activity and automatically delivering content that is based on the user’s interaction.

In the future, it is envisioned that both AI and machine learning will become smarter, allowing AI-driven personalization to become more subtle.

Schinkel shared that both AI and machine learning are main areas of focus on dotCMS’s product roadmap.

A Sneak Peek at Future dotCMS Features

Schinkel stated the dotCMS product is “never done” since it continuously strives to be one of the most user-friendly and accessible hybrid CMS on the market.

As a long time user of the dotCMS platform, Paterson, would like to see two improvements. One is from a product point of view, and the other from a technical standpoint.

Paterson would like to see further improvements being made to customer insights and personalization experience, to come in line with the emerging trend of being able to deliver personalization at scale. While dotCMS already offers all the APIs users will ever need, the ability to leverage data more efficiently along with the available APIs will allow dotCMS to deliver a “seriously slick experience”.

And as Schinkel mentioned earlier in the fireside chat, dotCMS has already added this to their product roadmap.

From a technical perspective, Paterson requested to have more predefined SDKs and libraries in dotCMS. This will really accelerate people’s ability to develop and build applications. In response, Schinkel stated that dotCMS will be working with DEPT to bring this into the market.

dotCMS Continues to Lead in the Hybrid Headless Space

The introduction of Edit Mode Anywhere in dotCMS 5.1 represents a significant milestone in the history of hybrid headless content management. It further empowers non-technical users by extending dotCMS’s feature-rich UI to external developments, thus effectively nullifying the need to rely on IT teams to make any necessary change to the content, design and layout.

Furthermore, the future looks even brighter for dotCMS users, who can expect improvements to customer insights and personalization, as well as more predefined SDKs and libraries.

Listen to the full fireside chat here.

May 15, 2019

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