How to Choose a Truly Agile CMS

Victoria Burt

Agility and adaptability are crucial capabilities in any enterprise software tool. Organizations are constantly looking for ways to become, such is the value that can be created when you’re able to move quickly in challenging environments. 

According to McKinsey, agile organizations gain a competitive advantage in a number of areas. In fact, “highly successful agile transformations typically delivered around 30 percent gains in efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and operational performance.

However, when it comes to content management, it may be even more critical given the omnichannel content production needs that companies face. An agile content management system (CMS) can be the answer businesses are looking for. Let us walk you through a brief introduction to agile CMS and how to choose one.

What Is an Agile CMS?

An agile CMS is a headless CMS that focuses on collaborative content creation, transparent project planning, and flexible content delivery. The agile approach to content management incorporates iterations and feedback to deliver customer-approved digital experiences incrementally.

Agile software development was an innovative step towards a flexible and collaborative environment. It broke down complex tasks into simpler iterations that incrementally improved and adapted to the changing client requirements.

Developers essentially adopted an innovative approach to separating a CMS’s front and back end which resulted in the pure headless CMS. However, this system failed to include business users in the equation and does not fit the modern demand for companies to be forward-thinking. 

This need for delivering quality experiences to marketers and developers alike resulted in the materialization of an agile CMS. Although agility in content management systems cannot be categorized as a new type of CMS, it is a refreshing approach to build on the shortcomings of pure headless systems. 

Features of an Agile CMS

An agile CMS is characterized by its agile methodology that enables businesses to incrementally enhance their content creation and deployment. To foster a collaborative business culture, an agile CMS has the following key characteristics that differentiate it from other content management systems:

Content Hub

A content hub is an integral part of any CMS. It is where all the company’s content is centered. However, while a pure headless CMS appeals more to developers, an agile CMS brings a twist to traditional back-end hubs with its user-centered view of the content. An agile CMS includes all business users, marketers, content creators, and managers. All teams can access the content in a content hub and make meaningful contributions to the same content that is constantly updated to accommodate changes.

An agile CMS is equipped with a user-friendly interface that enables all business users to access and manage content in one place. The content hub designed for end users is a vital characteristic of an agile CMS that centralizes all organizational content and updates it in real time. The content hub consistently delivers the latest content across all digital channels.

Flexible Deployment Options

Another unique feature of agile content management systems is the flexibility of their deployment options. This feature specifically caters to the modern demands of businesses to create digital experiences and deploy them across multiple channels. Meaning that content can be distributed in a traditional manner or headlessly with the use of modern frontend frameworks. 

Collaborative Features

In addition to agile content management and delivery, another important set of features that characterize an agile CMS includes its digital solutions enabling constant collaboration. These solutions can be in the form of built-in collaboration features or options for integrating with third-party tools. Collaborative features give business teams a transparent view of the project’s progress. By adopting an agile methodology, businesses can use their CMS to efficiently plan and manage their projects based on continuous collaboration and feedback.

Advantages of an Agile CMS

Like the way agile methods revolutionized software development, headless content management systems can also significantly benefit from agile features. In addition to improving on the existing shortcomings of a pure headless CMS, an agile CMS comes with many more advantages. Some of them include the following:

Omnichannel Content Delivery

Content options have exploded with the rapid increase in personal devices and digital channels. An agile content management system is a blessing for these businesses to deliver content efficiently to multiple channels and devices. All content is centralized in the CMS, allowing consistent and up-to-date content to be distributed across all channels with a single click.

Smooth Collaboration

The content hub of an agile CMS is the foundation of a smooth collaboration among all business stakeholders. An equal contribution by creatives and technical experts of a business can remarkably enhance content management strategies, allowing companies to reach critical goals.

Future-proof Business

With an agile CMS, the scalable content modules are used for multichannel delivery today and stored in a way that makes the content deployable in any future setup as your business requires. This future-proofing separates the content from its channel and medium and enables your business to grow without worrying about developing content for a specific medium each time.

Faster Time to Market 

Agile processes reduce the time it takes for every team member to understand and participate in content management tasks from creation to delivery. An agile CMS uses these practices to enable business users to quickly create digital experiences accorded to market changes. Businesses using an agile CMS can significantly reduce time-to-market with consistent content delivery to multiple channels.


An agile CMS notably improves an already modular headless content management system. It builds on top of a headless approach to remove the possibilities of vendor lock-in. An agile CMS is adaptable to your existing development stack and allows you to choose the tools that best fit your specific development needs. This flexibility and adaptability enable your business to deliver guaranteed experiences to satisfy your customers.

Things to Look For In an Agile CMS

With the increasing requirement for businesses to be collaborative and inclusive of their marketers, more and more companies are looking to jump on the agile CMS bandwagon. These are some of the critical characteristics you should look for when choosing an agile CMS for your business:

Headless Architecture

A headless architecture is the foundation of an agile CMS. The separated front and back bodies of content enable businesses to create reusable chunks of applications. Your CMS can only be considered agile with a modular headless approach to empower your agile strategies like omnichannel delivery, scalability, and more.

Fully-Fledged Content Hub

A fully-fledged and accessible content hub is an essential feature to look for in an agile CMS. The hub serves as a single source of the latest content available for all your business stakeholders to transparently access, organize, and manage content. Realizing the benefits of a content hub is also why headless architecture should be a key component of any agile CMS.

A traditional CMS can only store and deliver content to one channel like a website, thus limiting the capabilities of a content hub. With a pure headless CMS it lacks the visual interface required for marketers to navigate the hub accordingly. Whereas with a hybrid CMS, content can be delivered to numerous channels while marketers are given a user-friendly interface to create, edit and otherwise manage content. 

Content Modeling 

Content modeling is an excellent way to keep your marketers in the loop when deciding how to set up the content. An agile CMS should enable you to create content models based on the kind of content you need and how you want to structure it. This content model allows easy circulation and management of content across all your digital platforms.

Workflows and Collaboration

A CMS that claims to be agile should be flexible with its workflows. The workflows should not be set-in-stone and should be customizable for businesses to personalize their workflows to fit their content and integration touchpoints. 


Our increased dependency on cloud-native technologies and company-wide content access has rendered our data vulnerable to numerous data security threats. An agile CMS’s security relies on access control and cloud data security practices. In addition to a complete set of agile features, an agile CMS needs to ensure that its content hub is secured with user roles and permissions. Moreover, the CMS should have a cloud that implements the best security measures to protect content and comply with security standards. 


You cannot talk about modern content management systems without mentioning the cloud. As a result of the increasing data volumes, SaaS products are rapidly adopting the cloud for its quick and automated hosting and storage services. All these services form the basis of content management and reusability. An agile CMS should be a cloud-native content management solution that leverages the cloud to store or deploy content with the agility and speed required by modern businesses. 

Extensibility and Interoperability

The flexibility to build on top of the core CMS software brings forth endless possibilities for businesses to explore and expand. In addition to its smooth collaborations, an agile CMS needs to be extensible. 

At times certain specific business use cases arise that require customized solutions. To cater to these particular use cases, an agile CMS should enable you to create digital experiences at scale by reusing content modules.  

Visual Editor/Marketer-Friendliness

A no-code marketer-friendly interface can significantly impact a CMS’s usability and agility. An agile CMS should come with an interactive interface that simplifies content creation and publishing workflows without being affected by the changing website requirements. 

Features like drag-and-drop, preview modes, and inline block editing make content access and strategizing a smoother experience for marketers, resulting in a faster time to market for an expanding brand.

dotCMS: The Most Agile and Scalable CMS 

Agile is the new norm for delivering blazing-fast digital experiences across multiple channels and devices. 

dotCMS is an open-source content management system that is a one-stop solution for managing and delivering content-driven applications at scale. It is designed for enterprise content, image, and asset management and their delivery to a channel of your choice. From creating single-page applications (SPAs) to entire networks of websites, dotCMS is equipped to handle it all.

Some of the capabilities that characterize dotCMS as an agile and scalable CMS include the following:

Hybrid Content Management: dotCMS provides the efficiency of a traditional CMS, and the flexibility of a headless CMS rolled into one.

Seamless Integrations: dotCMS is based on a robust API-first architecture with no API-rate limit, enabling you to integrate with and leverage the best-of-breed technologies of your choice.

No-Code: dotCMS provides the highest level of no-code functionality in the industry, including no-code content modeling, permissioning, workflows, page layout, block editing, drag-and-drop page building, visual previews, and more. 

Custom Permissions and Workflows: With granular user roles and permissions, dotCMS gives you control over who can create, edit, and publish content. The workflow engine with four-eyes approval allows you to define and enforce content approval processes, ensuring that content is reviewed and approved by the appropriate individuals before it is published.

Availability: dotCMS runs all applications on its containerized infrastructure with a 99.98% uptime and 24x7 support for ensuring asset availability anywhere, at all times.

Content Delivery Network: dotCMS enables you to deliver your content to your users at lightning-fast speeds with its own content delivery network-dotCDN. dotCDN uses routing optimization and caching to ensure globally scalable deliveries without sacrificing website performance.

Want to learn more about dotCMS’ agile and flexible content management? Read our whitepaper: How dotCMS Enables Interoperability & Extensibility.

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