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State of the Union Address:<br> How Headless Fits Into the Enterprise Technology Landscape in 2019

If 2017 was the Year of Discovery for the headless CMS, 2018 would be the Year of Education. A quick Google Trends analysis of the search volume for “Headless CMS” since 2016 shows this trend nicely:

And, as brands learn about different applications and use cases for a headless CMS, 2019 will be the Year of Adoption. However, not one size fits all. Many headless CMSes are developer tools, built for flexibility and ease, but still not agile enough to solve problems for the enterprise marketing departments.

The Problem: Siloed Oceans of Content

As brands grow and scale, often times they sacrifice agility for their growth. Building large teams to support enterprises can be a good thing. However, it’s evident that as teams grow, so too do their problems. The problem of content is one that needs immediate attention in the enterprise space; especially when pressure for them to do more, with less, will continue to grow in 2019.

Teams that deal with content, whether they are marketing, product, or even IT and development teams, often have content replicated and siloed in different locations. For instance, a single product catalog needs to be on the website, in 2 mobile apps, a web app, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and external services or sites. However, for ease of use and the sake of removing bottlenecks, teams will replicate this content, and over time that grows immensely, resulting in siloed oceans of content.

The solution would be a single source of truth to manage that product catalog in one place that generates feeds of content updated instantaneously across those different endpoints.

To bring context to this example, this is just one use case. Enterprise needs often exceed a dozen different use cases for headless CMS, from dynamically generating advertisements, managing new channels for content marketing, and more.

Cue the Emergence of the Headless CMS

The good news is, the solution for these problems exists in a single package: the headless CMS. As teams educated themselves in 2018 on headless CMS and its capabilities, we’re learning that the use cases are vast and widely applicable, making the headless CMS an invaluable investment for any enterprise.

What is a headless CMS?

A headless CMS empowers a marketing team to leverage a number of competitive advantages, and enables organizations to:

  • Create and deploy web-based applications using the existing technology frameworks in place, and integrate with any codebase and preferred developer language

  • Make content changes without relying on IT, meaning marketing can easily create and modify campaign assets around the application's existing source code, without having to rebuild the application each time.

  • This frees up developers for higher-level development initiatives, rather than an ongoing task list of text and content changes

  • Simultaneously update content across websites and applications. As long as an API call can be made, the content can go anywhere it is required

  • Future-proof the content being produced so it can be used for applications and end-points that don’t even exist yet, allowing marketers to prepare for all emerging technologies

The headless solution is both revolutionary and simplistic. Simply separate the head and the body. In other words, allow the CMS to accomplish what it was designed for, to be the repository and management tool for the content you want to publish. Instead of relying on the CMS to serve up the content, you simply call its application-programming interface (API) to retrieve the content and application layout pre-determined display of a device. By transferring content through an API, a headless CMS delivers your content seamlessly to any device, in any context. You can read through articles in our Mindshare project that detail what a headless CMS is and the differences between a decoupled and headless CMS.

How a Headless CMS Delivers Content to Any Device through an API

Does Headless Mean Headaches for Enterprise Brands?

While Headless CMS is the solution, it can be a development-heavy and costly implementation. It can also be extremely difficult to move away from should strategies or infrastructure needs change.

Enterprises can also fall into the trap of using multiple headless CMS’ to solve different problems in different areas of the organization. When this happens, the value proposition of using a headless CMS diminishes exponentially. Brands need to have a coordinated effort in selecting one enterprise-ready headless CMS to solve their content headaches.

What do Enterprises Need in a Headless CMS?

  • Roles and Permissions: Depending on your organization, there will be dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of users who have access to the CMS. Many licenses to a headless CMS depends on the number of users, so have an idea of what your software will need to support as you start to evaluate vendors and if they’re ready for your enterprise. It’s also important to get an understanding of how costs will grow as your team expands. Not to mention, managing multiple users can become unruly quickly. Having tight user roles and permissions in the headless CMS are important to ensuring that content is accessible to the appropriate teams, that interns cannot delete the homepage, and other problems are impossible to have.

  • Authorization and Workflow tools: Workflow goes hand in hand with user roles and permissions. When inviting multiple users to any software, enterprises need authorization and workflow tools to ensure compliance and internal securities.

  • Internationalization/Multilingual support: Global brands need internationalization. Rather than setting up multiple sites for customers in different regions of the world, using internationalization baked into an enterprise headless CMS will ensure that content is accessible to all in the languages you need supported, without any extra bloat or management complications.

  • Web Engine Support: the website is still a crucial element to any marketing strategy. A headless CMS that has a web engine is key to enterprise success. As content marketing teams create content, they are able to preview the views in a headless CMS that also has a web engine, and that content is accessible wherever else it needs to go. It’s the best of both worlds, and a truly agile tool for enterprise brands.

  • “Head”: The great thing about Zesty.io compared to other headless CMS is that Zesty.io still provides the head. There is a presentation layer and interfaces available for non-technical users to be able to easily manage content and send it wherever it needs to go, without developer or IT’’s involvement in creating and updating the interface.

  • SEO Focus and Capabilities: Because of how JSON feeds are delivered, SEO with headless CMS can be extremely difficult to master. Enterprises need a headless CMS with the flexibility and built-in tools for SEO; otherwise, brands can lose all of the ranking they previously had built.

  • WAF: A Web application firewall (WAF) is a firewall that monitors, filters or blocks data packets as they travel to and from a Web application. With other headless CMS, this is something that has to be provisioned and monitored by the IT team. Enterprises should have a CMS that includes best-of-breed WAF technology; ours is provided by technology partner Fastly.

  • Versioning: It’s inevitable that both the content and development teams will make changes, publish them, and want to roll back to a previous version of the item or page. Enterprise headless CMS needs to have versioning both in code and content, as well as the ability to preview and roll back to previous versions.

  • White Labeling: Large agencies and enterprises should have the ability to white label or “skin” their technologies. API driven headless CMS interfaces should be able to be modified to be branded for ease of use for clients or internal users.

Not all Headless CMS are Created Equal

The state of the union is there’s enough headless CMS in the marketplace that are excellent developer tools, but we wanted to create something the developers can bring into their workplace to solve their problems faster. And, we didn’t forget about non-technical users. We don’t want to create more work for the marketing team. In fact, our tool was designed specifically to eliminate the dependency on IT, while other headless CMS’ increase that dependency. Because we have all of the distinctions above and more, Zesty.io is truly the headless CMS for enterprise brands.

So, if you’re looking for a future-proof enterprise CMS that will empower teams across the board, reach out to our team. Our specialists will listen to your goals and map out how we can best support your initiatives. We built our platform to help brands grow, as we have with enterprises such as Sony, Rocket League, and others - so let’s chat about how we can work together.

Speak with an Enterprise Specialist

By Randy Apuzzo

Randy has had a penchant for computer programming from an early age and started applying his skills to build business software in 2004. Randy's stack of skills range from programming, system architecture, business know-how, to typographic design; which lends to a truly customer-centric and business effective software design. He leads the Zesty.io team as CEO.

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