Change can be hard. Most people avoid it. But technology and industry trends demand new ways of publishing web and marketing content. To effectively support omnichannel delivery, content management system (CMS) vendors are offering a variety of options, including decoupled and headless systems.
But if you’ve invested significantly in a traditional CMS—especially if your setup is particularly complicated—then the headless approach might not be right for you. How do you know if you—or your clients—are ready for a change of CMS?
We’ve discussed some of the determining factors in previous posts. Whether you’re satisfied with your CMS vendor, how collaborative your workflow is, and other aspects of your current content management plan will influence your decision. But if wading through all that seems overwhelming, asking your team and your clients a few specific questions can yield insight into whether you need to start exploring or planning the switch to a headless CMS.
Start with just three questions, then dig deeper. Tune in to our free, on-demand webinar
Delivering Content in an Omnichannel World.
Question 1: How dynamic is your content?
A main advantage of headless CMS is better and easier integration with mobile and other apps. And whereas traditional CMS platforms use static content in one place for one purpose, headless options enable you to create a centralized content hub that you can repurpose in numerous ways and channels via a variety of APIs.
If omnichannel delivery is part of your content plan, or if you aim to increase your reuse of content, then a headless platform provides an excellent foundation for a content-first approach. A cloud-based headless platform can serve as a content hub, from which you can retrieve content from sources such as third-party providers, multiple websites, ERP systems, or other applications.
However, if omnichannel isn’t on your radar, you’re interested only in website publication, and you don’t intend to reuse content, a traditional CMS is likely sufficient. This is especially true if your site will be fairly static.
Question 2: How savvy are your CMS users?
Transitioning to a decoupled or headless CMS can be an adjustment for content creators, as a headless back end lacks the WYSIWYG interface they’re used to. Shifting from a web-first to a content-first mindset can be a challenge.
Also consider whether your company or client has the necessary developmental support for a headless CMS. Developers might need to modify or create functionality to work with the new platform. Or they might use your traditional CMS as a development platform.
For teams that want more flexibility but aren’t ready to give up a traditional CMS, digital experience management (DXM) systems enable greater personalization but maintain the connection between back and front ends.
Meanwhile, platforms like Kentico are developing “head-optional” approaches, which maintain a more traditional front end for certain channels, giving marketers more control over the presentation. Other teams realize benefits from using a headless platform as a content hub while continuing to use a traditional CMS for website work.
Question 3: Where do you store content?
Are you embracing the use of cloud storage? Headless CMS operates as Software as a Service (SaaS), enabling greater agility at a more reasonable cost. Web, database, and recovery server maintenance is a thing of the past, and you can rest assured that you’ll always have the most recent version of the CMS platform. Security and scalability are also easier than in traditional scenarios.
If your preference is to host your CMS in-house or on a proprietary cloud server, you’ll likely want to stick with a traditional CMS.
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