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May 27, 2019

What Is Content-as-a-Service (CaaS)? Definition, Characteristics and Use Cases

With the explosion of customer touchpoints and expectation of a relevant experience at each one, managing content is a big challenge for most enterprise organizations.

And it’s not getting any easier.

The fragmentation of audiences, the rise of “owned media” (content marketing) and the sheer number of web properties the average enterprise has to oversee means that content management is becoming increasingly complex.

When you add the exploding number of format channels in which this content has to be displayed – from desktop to tablets, mobile, social, voice, chatbot, and all of them increasingly personalized and in different languages – it becomes clear why some CMOs are months or even years behind consumer’ expectations when it comes to providing, and accessing, relevant content.

So how do we ensure that every channel, device and app delivers relevant content? Answer: Content-as-a-Service (CaaS)

In a hurry? Here's a quick list of what you'll find in this article about Content-as-a-Service:

What Is Content-as-a-Service (CaaS)?

Before getting  into the details, Content-as-a-service (CaaS) or managed content as a service (MCaaS) is a service model which focuses on managing structured content into feeds that other applications and properties can consume and make use of the content according to particular needs.

Simultaneously a new term began to emerge in web content management circles – that of a “headless CMS”.

While certainly not a new idea, the notion is that the content management system of the future shouldn’t handle the display or the look and feel of the content it manages.

Instead, it should simply manage the raw, structured content in a unified repository.

The CMS then makes the content available as a “service” through an API and it is up to the developer to create and develop the “presentation tier”. This presentation tier might be a website, a mobile app, or a feed into a device’s interface


content-as-a-service caas

This separation between content itself and its presentation is at the core of the CaaS philosophy.

This separation means with RESTful APIs you can, for instance, deliver the same content that serves both your website to an iOS or Android app.

Characteristics of CaaS Solutions

There are several properties essential to Content-as-a-Service solutions. These include:

[Characteristics #1] Decoupled approach:

Decoupled approach keeps content and code separate, letting marketers and developers concentrate on what they do best.
Teams can work in parallel on creative copy, compelling visuals, beautiful design and expert integrations with one unified platform.

[Characteristics #2] Separation of content and presentation:

This is the essence of the headless CMS approach - agnosticism towards how content is presented. This frees developers to create highly custom front ends and apps since they get to define how the content is displayed.

📌 Read this next: The Complete Guide to Headless CMS [blog]

[Characteristics #3] Cloud setup:

The complete separation of the management of content from the way it is displayed enables organizations to move infrastructure between Cloud and hybrid, even at site level or project level. Some projects can be installed local, some can be Cloud depending on the business’ choices for optimization based on needs.

[Characteristics #4] Insights:

Centralized Content-as-a-Service allows businesses to examine content consumption across the digital landscape. Not only does the business avoid duplicating its efforts and content when posting to microsites, international sites or apps, it can also measure the use of that content by looking at the API connections used to deliver that content, and tracking where the content is going. Beyond the confines of the digital properties you manage yourself.

📔 Read this next: What Hybrid Content as a Service Really Means [whitepaper]

Use Cases of CaaS

Overall, these characteristics grant more freedom and flexibility to the content and developer team. With this added versatility, content can become more scalable and independent from the presentation.

Here are a few examples of this in action:

  Multi-channel publishing: A single content repository that separates content cleanly from its presentation so that authors can write once and use that asset across channels and campaigns.

 Mobile apps: Rather than re-using a mobile web version of content, the RESTful API can feed a mobile app with the same content as the website, but with a native experience.

 Integrating with existing services and software stacks: Getting content such as digital assets to be combined with content in one cohesive service and delivering that to any other platform in an agnostic manner.

 Custom UX: Let your front end developers excel in what they specialize in, without inflicting any formatting requirements, just the great content you already created and approved.

📔 Read this next: How Deutsche Telekom Delivers A Welcoming Experience To Their Mobile Customers [Customer Success Story]

Who is Content-as-a-Service for?

There are two main groups that benefit the most from this type of content delivery: developers and business users/content creators.

Developers: Get content over RESTful APIs, which allows them to stay flexible with the presentation of the content.

Business Users: Create content once and use it across multiple channels that both saves time and increases consistency.

How to Get Started with CaaS

Content-as-a-Service is one of the ways Bloomreach Experience Manager (brXM) can serve content - not only to traditional web channels, mobile apps and custom front ends but especially also to wearables, smart devices and in general the channels of the future.

📔 Read this next: Bloomreach Experience Manager Delivery Options [whitepaper]

But as with any solution, cloud or on premise, you do need to design a content model, define permissions for content exposure, and set up front ends to consume content services.

Also if you are looking to create relevant, consistent experiences across each touch-point in a consumer's multi-channel journey, you should consider solutions that go beyond content delivery, and empowers your team with the insights and agility to create consistent and personal multi-channel experiences.

Discover Bloomreach Experience Manager (brXM)

Content-as-a-Service is one of the ways Bloomreach Experience Manager (brXM) can serve content. 

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Discover Bloomreach Experience Manager (brXM)