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Why marketers looking for WCM should understand a bit of IT jargon

With the help of Forrester Research analyst, Mark Grannan, Dom Nicastro of CMSWire recently shared some interesting insights from both Mark and other industry analyst experts who predict that “PaaS and cloud-first is winning in WCM" in his article: “Forrester Analyst: PaaS a ‘Revolution’ for Web Content Management“.

As Grannan stated to CMSWire, “Platform-as-a-Service is truly a revolution in the way products themselves are built. And you pass those benefits on to the practitioners like marketers. They get access to capabilities sooner. They can rationalize a lot of their assets that might have been locked away in other repositories because they can stitch these together more seamlessly with cloud tools."

This is also reflected in his recently published report, The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017, where much emphasis was put on these capabilities for WCM technology providers. SDL was one of six vendors who Grannan states, “stand apart in a dynamic market" ¹ for web content management and is listed as a “Strong Performer" with its SDL Web 8 product.

Why is this important to SDL? First of all, SDL has been offering dedicated cloud options for SDL Web since 2013 (and is fully ISO27001 certified for its cloud operations). SDL Web’s modular architecture lends itself perfectly for various deployment models and with the introduction of Docker containers for content delivery, we have a first class cloud offering. SDL Web Cloud comes in 4 flavors, which build upon each other:

  • Content Management as a Service – the content management tools are in our cloud and the customer retains control of the DX delivery platform.
  • Content as a Service – on top of content management, we also host the REST microservices. In this scenario, customer applications (web, mobile, anything else) consume content from the web services that we host.
  • DX as a Service – beyond the previous two models, we also provision the application servers needed for the customer applications.
  • DX Plus as a Service– in this scenario ALL of the customer’s implementation is managed by SDL, including the web applications.

Similarly, as the CMSWire article points out, Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (where SDL was named a Challenger) shows that cloud services, and specifically microservices, will win in WCM. The MQ authors, Mick MacComascaigh and Jim Murphy state, “Microservices with a high level of interoperability will enable WCM elements to be coupled with different sets of third-party technologies, depending on the requirements of the current phase of the customer’s journey".

Componentization and microservices

Anticipating this trend, SDL Web (and with its most recent version SDL Web 8.5) has been architected around the concept of components (fully separating content, structure, design and application logic) with a strong microservices layer on top of it. SDL Web’s microservices architecture provides both content and context in a channel agnostic way through an oData API. It provides access for native mobile apps, mobile messaging, content syndication, social channels, print, kiosks, POS displays etc.

The Forrester Wave also confirms the benefit of being architected in this way, stating: “[SDL’s] product now has a modular, component-based architecture, content intelligence, and biggest of all, architecture to run easily in the cloud and operate headless." ¹

Grannan then also tells CMSWire that “APIs are hugely important for a lot of different reasons. Software developers will commonly build on microservices architecture if they’re starting with modern-day best practices. That enables faster integration on the backend. It enables repeatable use of content on the front end and allows for you to run things in environments with less customization. If you can containerize microservices, then you can run it in a hybrid cloud environment, on-premises or in the cloud as necessary — as it meets your needs."

The SDL Web Microservice API not only provides headless components but also component presentations. Furthermore, it enables various types of content queries (e.g. based on metadata) for 3rd party consumption and content syndication. These rules can easily be defined by the practitioner.

As a result, SDL Web is an ideal WCM platform for large global enterprises across a wide variety of industries who are looking to master DX complexity. Utilizing content components, instead of full pages (which is how many WCM systems are built), enables those companies to be more efficient and agile. Often times, the benefits for these companies grow exponentially as their content is translated into multiple languages and published across multiple channels and devices. Working in the old fashioned way by translating full pages into many languages is very costly. On the other hand, building on a componentized content approach where individual components are being translated, stored in translation memory and then repurposed by a variety of content consuming applications provides unprecedented cost savings, efficiency gains and content consistency. This is what attracts customers to SDL Web.

In summary, SDL is proud to be one of the first to market an enterprise strength WCM platform for both on-premise and cloud, based on a component-based microservices architecture. What’s even better is to see that the industry experts agree with this strategy, meaning customers and prospects can safely build their digital experiences on our platform in the knowledge they selected one of the best solutions in the market.

¹The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017, Forrester Research, Inc., January 24th, 2017.