At the recent Brightspot global user conference, Dion Hinchcliffe, VP & Principal Analyst with Constellation Research, outlined the potential of a new way of working with content.
Just a few years back, the content management and enterprise content management sectors seemed to be at an end-state of maturity. But today, an exciting new wave of advanced content management is emerging that promises to revolutionize the sector.
That was the central theme of Dion Hinchcliffe's presentation, in which he detailed the "explosion of innovation and energy in the content management space" that has turned it from a static industry sector into, “one of the most exciting tech industries of them all."
While content management may be less glamorous than other tech, it is an increasingly central part of modern business, and enterprises are using a growing number of content management systems to manage their content needs. One issue for organizations is that individual systems can turn into content silos, rather than integrating with each other.
Dion and Constellation Research believe that digitization have driven the need for new content management systems with the capability to support a rich digital experience, to enable role-based collaboration, and to offer advanced channel flexibility so that enterprises can publish quickly and easily to any destination.
A key enabler of this shift has been the introduction of what is known as "headless" and "federated" approaches to content management. Dion’s message is that users should not be deterred by these terms, and instead should concentrate on practical benefits they offer.
In short, he says they provide, "one place where I manage my content, no matter how many downstream CMSs I have."
He believes a headless CMS model delivers very sophisticated editorial workflows, plus easy integration with existing content management systems. For Dion, it’s just a front end that can talk to any other content management platform, whether or not it’s from the same vendor.
Another big benefit is that headless systems come with more and more pre-baked templates and options. These include use-case libraries that are there to help you with everything from trying to publish a medical journal to running a broadcast TV studio.
Developing his theme, Dion explores some of the other main features he feels make advanced content management systems so attractive, and these are outlined under the following headings.
Contextual asset management and adaptive experience creation
Digital experience is the boundary across which we deliver value to our stakeholders. It can be done inside or outside our company and encompasses many functions from marketing to sales, fulfillment, service insights retention and even advocacy.
Dion explains that an advanced content management platform doesn't just sell the product, it also enables sales teams to work with multiple stakeholders and gives them the capability to handle their entire workflows from end-to-end.
As Dion says: "This is functionality we just haven’t had before."
Great support for role-based collaboration
If you’re trying to use your CMS to run a TV channel, you must be able to support the teams and destinations producing and landing your content, from producers and journalists to the web and mobile.
"We have to control that process, and we might want to put subscriptions around it," says Dion. "An advanced content management platform has built-in user roles, so you can take an off-the-shelf set of workflows, and then kind of tweak it to suit how your organization wants to work."
Again, this is in sharp contrast to previous generations of content engines, which forced users to juggle many different systems and somehow make them all cohere.
Not many people appreciate the potential richness and variety of modular content, which has to work seamlessly in so many channels, be that your webpage, a downloadable PDF in an email, a LinkedIn or Google ad, or a notification for a smart watch.
Systems like Brightspot CMS are leading the charge here, says Dion, with its content card tool that makes it easy to deploy content in any place needed downstream.
"That means I can go into my digital asset manager and pull out content with confidence that it can be applied to any channel I need to," he says. "That creates the real confidence and flexibility that's needed for today's sophisticated content management operations."
Interoperability as standard
An advanced content management system doesn't assume that it's a system of itself, Dion contends. It assumes it has to work with all the other things you might have to work with for you to even be able to adopt it.
In technical terms, advanced content management consists of modular content connected to a headless user experience where APIs are used to talk to other headless CMSs downstream, with integrations to advertising and analytics. Then there’s DAM (digital asset management) and federated search to tie into it, as well as marketing and payment mechanisms.
"Wouldn’t it be great if there were hundreds, maybe thousands of templates for anything that you needed to do with content, in any channel. We see that becoming standard, so you don’t have to do much—you just need the content," says Dion. "You get the site architecture and information architecture out of the box with best practice built-ready, and this results in a hyper-velocity delivery model."
There are also productivity gains for using advanced content management systems. Constellation Research user case experience studies suggest a 10:1 reduction in not just development costs, but also operational costs, with this approach.
Dion explains: "Advanced content management lets you work ten-times faster and do ten-times more things than if you're using the old legacy systems, where you're importing and exporting content, publishing and un-publishing content, migrating content and having to build all the templates, as well as having to integrate your workflows and build new workflows from scratch."
"And when you don't have to do all of that, you can really focus on your business; advanced content management tools get that friction out of the way."
In terms of next steps with advanced content management, Dion predicts one-to-one content personalization where artificial intelligence customizes the user experience very seamlessly, offers automated and event-based content recycling, provides real time engagement via chatbots, and includes the ability to search inside videos with voice commands. Some vendors are already thinking about how to work with content in the metaverse.
Summing up, Dion advises that the future must be about moving to this way of working with content.
"Advanced content management is designed for our complex heterogeneous world, where everything has to work together. It understands there's content and systems out there already, and lots of them, that it has to work with.
"Even better, advanced content management can be adopted incrementally—it's not pull out everything you have and replace it with an advanced content management system; you can start slowly."
"Advanced content management really can both future-proof and propel organizations to a new level of maturity."
And for those keen to adopt an advanced content management system, Dion concludes: "While there are others, Brightspot is best in class."
Speaker 1: Hello. My name is Diane Hinchcliffe VP. And principal analyst with constellation Research. I also write a column preceding that and I'm an executive fellow of the tuck school of business um C. I. A. Roundtable and today we're gonna talk about research that I've been doing about the evolution of content management, what I call the new content management revolution. And it's how content management systems, enterprise content management and a tremendous explosion of innovation and energy and the content management space has really brought it back from kind of a not a very exciting industry sector to one of the most exciting uh industries that we have in the tech world. Uh And all of this is leading to what I'm now calling Advanced Content Manager. So if you're using, you know lego legacy platforms like Wordpress or documentum which are prosecuted platforms, they don't necessarily qualify as you see when I actually unbox what advanced content management is. There really is a difference a an important qualitative and quantitative difference in how these new advanced content management solutions work. So that further ado I'll jump in and I will take questions if I'm able at the end of this session. So In the 2010's content management and enterprise content management seemed to be at an end state maturity. There wasn't that much happening, I was getting much more popular and more people were adopting them but the digital world moved on and it got much bigger and it get importantly more complicated. So content was in everything and content management systems are increasingly turning into silos but now a new generation of content management Tools, really, platforms have appeared to address a lot of the advances in the technology world over the last 10 years. And they build on all these lessons learned and especially large scale evolutions. A lot of content management operations now run our businesses. They are global, they are multi lingual, they have to connect to a lot of other systems. And so the result is that out of market need, there is a new combination of best in class content management in SCM systems, um but it's much more than that and I've actually explored most of everything that's going to be in this presentation in a research report that bright spots actually made available and there's a short U r L C O n R dot live future of cm. You can download a complimentary copy of the report that really gets into these issues and a lot more detail this is worth worth K. So, so let's get right to it, what's in advanced content management and and it's an evolving category. So these are the things that I'm seeing, your experience might be a little bit different in terms of what your needs and what's evolving. But this is a pretty good summary and there are some new things happening at the end of the session. I'll actually go into what's next because it's it's changing rapidly. And so we see a robust support for digital experience, role based collaboration, um just really um advanced channel flexibility. Being able to publish anything is really important. Headless and Federated content architectures. If I've heard the word headless, I'm gonna explain what it means if you're not really familiar with it because people seem uncomfortable with, it seems technical technological, but it's not really, it's just about where content flows and who has control. Uh and it with when there's multiple content management systems, uh there's, we see these mixed content ecosystems, very uh sophisticated editorial workflows. We'll talk about workflow, lots of integrations to existing uh content management systems that you're what you're using today. Um often you're not completely replacing it. You're gonna put something next to it to support something new that you're doing and then you're gonna have to get it all to work together. Use case libraries that say, hey, if you're, you know, you're trying to publish a medical journal or a newspaper or you know, running a broadcast tv studio. Those are very different things that there's already, it's already set up to do that. You can find go to the use case library and say, here, I, you know, I want to create a new, a new scientific journal in 15 languages that's published, You know, in 20 countries. And the temple is already there contextual asset management and adaptive experience creation. There's more out and and we'll go through the tail end of this list towards the end of the presentation, but let's go through some of the most important advances that we're talking about here. Um support for digital experience. This whole experience has become the concept that describes the boundary across which we deliver value to our stakeholders, the inside our company or outside the company. And we understand it's, you know, it encompasses many functions from marketing to sales, fulfillment, service insights, retention, even advocacy. And an advanced content management platform. Doesn't just work in one area. Might, you know, it doesn't just sell the product right? It doesn't just conduct the transaction to actually uh you know, people buy that product but also provides support. It provides, enables sales teams to work with whoever they have to work with. It's the end to end process of digital experience and advanced content management platform can handle the entire flow from end to end. And that's relatively new. Uh really good support for role based collaboration, saying, I know if I'm trying to use a content management system to run my tv program, my tv channel, I know you know that there's producers and their journalists and and we have to we have to push this out to the web and to mobile uh and we have to control that process and we might want to put subscriptions around it and all of that. So, advanced content management platform has built in and user changeable so that you can take a take an off the shelf uh set of roles workflows and then kind of tweak it for how your organization actually works. And the magic in advanced content management systems is that anybody can do that adjustment to that customization. That's really new. In fact, we don't see in most traditional content management systems, very much of this at all. You have to cobble something together with your existing work coordination or workflow management system and they don't fit together. Advanced content management systems have this kind of capability and these templates that are user changeable right out of the box. So we need to look for it. Modular content is something that most people understand readily, but I don't think um there's full appreciation for the richness and variety. Modular content has to work on basically every type of channel. So whether that's a web page, whether that is a textural report or pdf that somebody's downloading from your site, whether it's an email, what even a linkedin ad, um you know, google ad, a smart watch, anything. Um and we'll talk about some new channels that are coming online and and the the, you know, like plastic Bright Spot are really good examples of advanced content management platforms. They have things like content cards that say, all right, I know how to, here's all the things that I need to provide. So this content can be used anywhere downstream in any channel downstream. And so I can go into my digital asset manager, pull out content with confidence that it can be applied to any channel downstream that I need to, that creates real confidence and flexibility, um that's really needed for today's um sophisticated content management operations. Headless and you know, this is a advance that these are scary acronyms like a P I. S and we really can kind of just ignore that. We can just say, hey, can I have one place where I manage my content, no matter how many downstream CMS as I have and if I do something there, it comes back to me. If I go downstream I have to do something or I have a team down there doing something on the other side of the world. Everything kind of comes back and so uh we're using the what you're using essentially is you have this this this headless front end that you can talk to any other content management system downstream and it can be from the same vendor or different vendors. Doesn't matter. And often to support all the channels you need to get to, it's going to be different vendors or you might have legacy vendors or whatever. And so Headless is really the foundational enabling um capability of a lot of these scenarios. So we're gonna, we're gonna round out in this in this session today. But the key is to be really comfortable with head lists, make sure your your solution, has it been a bright spot is is best in class in that regard just as an example. Um but there are others um in addition you you got to work with your the whole ecosystem of content you have out there a whole bunch of digital asset tools, you have everything from google image search to whatever dams you have um google drive and all those types of things that you need to get out and get things to. You have to be able to search all that content. Um you need to analyze things and get you know, indexed for search engines. You have to enable authoring, you know, you want that offering to be modular and you want that to be super easy and then you want people who can exert editorial control over the entire site or sites anywhere in the world from one place, you want to publish that to all the different channels. You want to engage with those users, maybe sell them something in the process and then you want to really, really manage all of that you wanna and and in this diagram is his assessment but you really want to get your arms around managing and governing the entire continuous flow. Right? So the administrator and you know, whoever the chief Content Manager has to have tools in the dashboard, it gives them control over everything. That's what that's really important is interoperability and easy coexistence with an entire ecosystem and advanced content management system doesn't assume that it's a system of itself. It assumes it has to work inside this this this circle diagram contains all the other things at your advanced content management platform might work, I might have to work for you to even be able to adopt it. We also see off the shelf and very easy Greenfield integration. So um if you look at that green box on this diagram, this is what this is what the whole full advanced content management system looks like modular content on the left and back in headless user experience in the middle. A P I is to talk to all the Headless CMS is downstream and then integrations to advertising analytics and damn and Federated search and marketing payment. Probably all those things that are so off the shelf or if it's some kind of new or proprietary system that it's very easy to to bring in. A advanced content management solution is very comfortable working with what you have and even if you if you built it yourself and it's a it's a one off system. Many large organizations that they had to build things because there were no advanced content management solutions available. And so that's some of those things, those legacy things don't have to work. So coming back up for a minute to really talk about um those capabilities against, we touched on some of these just now so we can see that there are these these intertwined threads between content management and E C. M. But we also see um massive, universal template libraries. So you don't, if you're if you're trying to do something quite a micro site, let's say a sales micro site or support micro site and you you need a bunch of special features. You don't want to try and build that yourself, wouldn't it be great if there was hundreds, maybe thousands of templates for anything that you needed to do with content in any channel. And so we see that's becoming standard now, is to say, you know, you have to do very little. You really just need the content, the ideal of its modular and these temporal libraries can do all of the the site architecture and information architecture out of the box with best practice, don't read it. And You see this, this results in a hyper velocity delivery model. People who use advanced content management can do things 10 times faster and 10 times more things. And if you're using the old legacy systems that don't have all this in your your your the manual um gear inside all of us, you're importing and exporting content and you're publishing and in publishing and migrating content and you're having to build all the templates and you have to integrate the workflow and build the workflows from scratch when you don't have to do all of that, you can really focus on your business. And so the advanced content management tools, get that friction out of the way, you know, all the things you have to do is on this list is all the things we learned that we needed to have. Well we're gonna have to build it ourselves and we just had to buy plug ins and hire consultants. Um well we know what that is. It's pretty consistent across organization after organization. So advanced content management tools take that maturity, they bake it into the platform And it's a 10-1 reduction and Deb cost potentially, but especially operational costs, that's, that's real, that's consistent. Uh And and I've looked at this increasingly inside organizations to verify this in my research. So a typical example, I actually was retained to do an independent case study of bright spot for a leading defense intelligence and analysis firm, one of the household then. And they had all the things we're talking about here, a very complicated legacy content structure with very sophisticated publishing and review processes and language translation and everything. And they had to work on a lot of different touchpoints, especially some proprietary. And so they went with an advanced content management solution, They were able to integrate the other legacy content uh and with some very specialized needs in the end of the day and integrate some, some purpose built systems. They had, they only existed in their organization, went anywhere else and they were able to do it quite quickly. Um and the result was there there it was at light speed difference in how fast it ran, So 12 times dispatch and big difference in reliability. So the old creaky legacy system. Um this couldn't completely zero downtime. No, occasionally checked. Still have you had any downtime? They've had zero downtime since implementing. Um and they're really happy with this, the operational adaptability. And so we see all of this if we look at the different, you know, the load times, the accessibility, by the way, they're very they're people who actually produce the content canal had an amazing options in terms of how they can finally get content authored and put it in the system and make it so. Mhm. But it was the modern architecture, you know, they really had to have this coexist with everything that they had, you know, decades of systems that they had brought in and custom built software that they had built. Uh and they had a deep and high quality and reliable legacy integration and they really do that very quick, you know, and even with very specialized so and we see we see examples like this all the time. Advanced content management systems have faster time to value more reliability and really focus on your business. It means a lot. So what's coming next? We see 1-1 content personalization. It's coming, it's not here yet, but that's that's the Holy Grail where a content experience is designed on the fly using an artificial intelligence capability built into your advanced content management platform and and customize that experience for you in a very seamless way, automated and event based content recycling. Some organizations are increasingly getting a lot of really good content. A lot of this general purpose can be used. It doesn't have a temporal value, doesn't age out, but it doesn't get used because it takes somebody digging through everything and finding it out. So what if you can automate that process that's coming real time engagement gambled and that's coming with things like chat box where you tap the user on the shoulder, but it's got to be meaningful. It has to be context, It's getting better and it's gonna get a lot better is what I see in my research, you're also gonna get features that help thrive in a calculus future which is coming and if it's not already here for you. Um in some cases we're also seeing that the entire, especially if you're in the e commerce or sales or marketing business, getting the universal products in a rich content experience out to your full ecosystem is difficult and it's a new category. I'm calling product to consumer management. I've written some reports and research on this. It's a big deal, but it's a natural, has the natural home and advanced content management um, to some degree. So that's that is coming voice and video search. Maybe not as important as some of these above, but the ability to search within inside videos to do voice searching right on the website, it's very nice to have and you'll see a lot of system cheers and then finally the metaverse and I'm on the fence of when this is going to happen, there's no question that it's here in a, in a primitive form, the content has to be, has to be put out there. Everything we have, it's gonna be a new form of modular content uh and we'll and we'll need an automated way to update our content cards and all of that that is definitely coming in various forms. So you have to get ready for that and you will get increasingly requests to publish a certain native verses that are out. So what do you walk away from this session? I hope you find as usual to really be useful to really get a bird's eye view about where platforms like bright spots are taking you. So they're they're breakthroughs in speed and scale and I would say complexity like to do things and focus on your business like never before Headless is the foundational capability, we need a robust headless two way um, system that that that can integrate with anything and really all, all of this is What we discovered we needed over the last 10 years. And so the next generation of vendors is adding this in, we don't see legacy vendors there, they're not in the, in the, in the height of their innovation investment cycle. So they're not, they're just doing maintenance, They're not making big moves like you see here and it can really be adopted incrementally, it's not something it's not like pull out everything you have and replace it with an advanced content management system. It starts great side by side, it's designed for that complex heterogeneous world where everything has to work together. I understand there's content and systems out there already lots of them that it has to work and so this really can both future proof and propel organizations to a new level of maturity. So I hope you found this useful whirlwind overview of the new content management and where platforms um advanced county management platforms where they're taking you. Um and I'm I'm always available to take questions. Um Both and the Q. And A coming up as well as online. Thank you very much. That's diane, That's awesome as usual. Um Super informative and educational and um really, you know, gives me a sense of the challenges ahead of us as a provider and all the customers that we have. Um and when you when you look at, you know, and we interact with people in all these different stages, lifecycle stages, you know, how do they tackle this problem? Because, you know, a lot of people just aren't. Yeah, but that's natural. Right? I don't have all the technology to get me to the next 10 years? Do I just bite off piece parts of it or do I take a step back and try to architect, you know, the future? Like how how how do you think about that problem? Since you know, there's obviously never enough time never enough money to get it all done tomorrow, know. Exactly. Well, I mean I think that if you want to use advanced content management platform as an entry point, I mean you can you can you can start at one specific problem. I mean that's that's often where you have to start anywhere. You have an urgent problem, you have to solve it but you don't want to boil the ocean. So uh finding that problem and and moving something in that is built to work side by side to understand it's part of a larger system and it isn't the world unto itself, that's that's the key. And what that lets you do is start where you where you have that problem typically, you know, not always, but generally you can start to solve that problem then you can expand, expand to the sides and start replacing or upgrading or connecting systems that that you need to as you need to. So the as I said on the last slide, you know, advanced content management systems are designed for heterogeneous environments. They play nice with others and they integrate well. And so that means you can you can start with your problem as opposed to replacing everything Great that the the other question that you know has come up is just the whole, you know, and you see this a lot, it's like people are focused on the word headless and uh you know, typically they think that means a new front end experience or having to do something, you know, with a plan, like a platform like react um versus just generally thinking about, you know, syndication or the fact that I gotta get my content wherever it needs to be, you know, how do you look at that word Headless? You know, you talked about what it means, but how do you look at the word Headless as far as when do I make that decision? And I mean am I even using the right word as I'm thinking about my project? And you know when I say headless, I've actually literally had somebody recently we got on a call with a big company and they said I've got to do Headless, I'm not even sure what that means, literally was what the opening line of the meeting was. Yeah, well I think uh you know, not everybody needs headless out of the gate. What you want to do is make sure that your platform can do it well not just be, you know, at the receiving end or the or the or the master's side that can can play on either side of the headless relationship um when you need it. So I think it's a foundational capability as you mature and you get more touch points, you're going to need Headless to connect all these, all these different areas where you have content, you need to edit content or synchronized content. Um It gives you the versatility and so I'm an enterprise architect by background and you know, we have a famous saying, if you know what we're really trying to do at the end of the day is put off irreversible decisions until the last responsible moment. That's really the job. And as we have to do with technology is we need versatility and to preserve our options to do the most number of things in the future with the least amount of work. Headless is the door that takes you through that um with content management she wanted. Um but you know, it's often a misnomer, you know, in the first place. Um so I think it's I think it's really important. I also think having a robust modular content model as early as you can. So you have as much content that's in modular format as possible, that gives you the options. That's also really, really important, regenerating your content in these new models that have the most flexibility. So flexibility, flexibility and versatility is the name of the game when it comes to content in a fast changing digital world, we don't know tomorrow where you're going to have to publish. So you have you need a platform that keeps your options open. I think modules are content does it? I think Headless does it and some of the other things, but those two module and Headless I think are foundational, I totally agree. There's actually one question in the group, I want to come back from modular content one in a second, but I don't want to lose, you know, we have limited time, so I wanted to kind of get um you know, somebody asked if you could share your insights on the cookie list future um and I think it's a great general question for a pretty big, a pretty big area of, you know privacy and personalized delivery. So how do you how do you see that space? So we're seeing real financial impact on digital business models that depend on cookies, you know, apples blown a big hole through it um and it's going to happen google's, you know, has it gave a stay of execution but it's coming uh and so you're going to need to find ways to solve that problem and I think the best way is to solve that at the platform level and David as the industry finds solutions, I'm expecting you to bake something like that into the right spot. I hope I'm actually working because it's such a critical issue for advising a number of very large companies on how to how to get through how to survive, you know, the curriculum future. So in my research we see there are solutions that will emerge that not 100% resolve the problem, but really, you know, start to address it, so everybody is happy and everyone's privacy is respected yet we still can provide value through these digital business models. I think that'll be so it'll be solved by companies that have platforms that can do that. I think bright spot uh qualifies as one of those where it can be done. So we don't know what's going to happen, but but I think it's gonna be mostly resolved over the next three or four years through a variety of of complicated but workable solutions. I think, you know, from my perspective, I think that's right and hopefully we're in the middle of that. It does all sort of, it does come back to modular content segmentation and how you actually structure and organize your content and you know, just for the listeners, you know viewers, how do you when you when you think about that, um you know, people do look at that as somewhat of a daunting process. We we've always believed in that it's in fact by the platform came to be in the first place was that you have to be modular to actually integrate with all the different ecosystems that are out there. And you've got to make sure search and your different front ends can work even before these devices and things were around. So I've always had that view that was important. But when you do you do you look at modularity is something that actually helps you breaks you free and allows you to move forward. Or do you think it requires a lot of thoughtful time on the architecture up front um, before you get moving on that because that's like that, you know that that can either be a freeing or paralyzed moment. The minute you think about modularity of content, how do you, how do you generally do that well? And I think you want to avoid analysis paralysis. So people who are in different industries, they kind of know they're the trends in their industry and the things that are happening. I mean I think you need to do a pass that doesn't take forever to set some time aside and look at what's coming in your industry and make sure that your modular content model has address some of those if they're really different than what you're supporting today. Right? So, um, I think you need to do a sanity check. Um, you know, but I think that's not something you should spend a year trying to figure out. That's something you should spend a week trying to figure out and then revisit that occasionally. So you make sure that your content stays up to date. Um, so yeah, I think, I think modularity is an enormous tool and as long as we don't use it as an obstacle in our path, one of our customers. And I love this question actually. Um, there are a lot of CMS companies and competitors. What do you see as unique and better with rice pie versus competitors. Love that question. Yeah, that's a good question. And I have spent some time thinking about it. Um, so bright spot uh, stands apart as, as exhibiting almost all that things ahead on that big arrow slide that showed all of those things. You know, David, what I've seen you do and your, your, your, your team do is look at the common friction points and the common, uh, barriers and obstacles and problems that people actually run into and keep evolving the content management industry and you're, and you're putting these things in that continually accelerate. Uh, get rid of the friction points, get rid of the effort. Um, uh, and, and you know, whether it's integrating systems together or saying, you know, hey, I, you know, I already know how your workflow probably works. Maybe just pouring the differences and get back to work. And so I think you guys are a poster child for this advanced content management concept because really leaving the old guard and the dust, they're not keeping up. Um, you know, and it's great to see what what you guys are doing, right? Well, I, I think we have used your time up wisely. It's, you always inspire me to get back to work after I've talked with you. So I appreciate the time and, and uh, you know, looking forward to working with you again and thanks for everything today. Really appreciate Absolutely, really appreciate you having me take care. Have a great event. Everyone. Thanks everybody. Bye bye.