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Tessa Roberts

May 27, 2019

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

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.

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)?

The traditional CMS (sometimes referred to as a “coupled CMS”) is perhaps the simplest in terms of layout and general functionality. In a traditional CMS stack, your backend and frontend are tightly coupled together; there is no API in between to handle the communication. 

Content as a Service (sometimes reffered to as "Headless CMS") differs from traditional CMS in how content is manages, stored and delivered.  

Content as a Service allows content to be created and stored within the CMS, and then channeled to any platform via APIs  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

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.

content-as-a-service caas

 

Why Use Content as a Service?

We’re entering an era of immersive interaction that takes us beyond screens. It’s important to start thinking beyond multiple screens - content will flow to the user in ways we don’t even know about yet.

At the same time, users will start playing a much bigger role, interacting with content in new ways and providing the content creators with more feedback.

That’s why traditional CMS won’t be enough for many companies in the near future. It’ll pay off prepare for this now by adopting advanced technology.

CaaS is a good first step in helping to ensure that messaging is consistent across devices with the least amount of rework or duplication.


Characteristics of Content as a Service 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 Content as a Service

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. This is a classic win-win situation for both marketers and developers.

📌 Read this next: What is Omnichannel Commerce? Definition, Benefits and Trends [blog]
 

 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. Apps are just the start - non-web content is likely to explode over the next few years.

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

 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.

 

 Personalization: Given that content is delivered dynamically, personalization can be applied as needed. A CaaS system would only manage personalization rules and these rules can be channel specific or apply to multiple channels. The best CMS vendors have included the ability to personalize content into their solution to create personalized experiences on any channel.

📌 Read this next: How Global Manufacturer HellermannTyton Leverages Data and Personalization to Drive Its Digital Strategy [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 Content as a Service

Ultimately, the decision whether or not to use CaaS solution depends a lot on what you aim to achieve with your content and merchandising strategy.

As content is being consumed through an increasing number of channels and content strategies become more complex, more and more companies would benefit from a CaaS solution.

 

About Bloomreach Experience Manager

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]

If you’re ready to give CaaS solution a try, Let’s chat!  We’d be happy to answer any questions you have on capabilities, technical requirements, resources, and other FAQ.

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

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