Now Live: A Strategic Technology Selection Guide For Content Management Systems (CMSes) And The Content Management Systems Landscape, Q2 2023

Through innovations in “headless” experience delivery capabilities over the last several years, CMSes have undergone a renaissance with their role and capabilities in digital experience delivery for enterprises. Demand and investment in content management technology continues to stay strong, however, demonstrating that businesses continue to derive value from CMSes. In Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2023, 61% of global B2B marketing decision-makers said that they plan to increase spend of their marketing technology budget on CMSes. Similarly, 59% of global B2C marketing decision-makers plan to increase their marketing investment in content management and personalization technology.

Businesses gain competitive advantage by reaching consumers faster and on more digital touchpoints through “headless” CMSes. Through the pandemic, CMSes were forced to deliver more experiences to an array of channels and devices to reach customers. All evaluated vendors were pushed to expand their experience delivery capabilities. Simultaneously, content teams became heavily burdened with ensuring that information was disseminated accurately, consistently, and timely. This forced new collaborative features to also reach enterprise-level maturity quickly. In the report Reduce Technical Debt By Understanding CMS Capabilities Before RFP, we help leaders better understand the enhanced capabilities of today’s CMSes while also shining a light on emerging features such as low-code tools.

The CMS Market Landscape Today

In Forrester’s evaluation of the vendor landscape, we validated that essentially all CMS platforms are now delivering new business value through API-based experience delivery and emerging features (e.g., low-code tools) at varying levels of fidelity. The Content Management Systems Landscape, Q2 2023 reveals the following three broad themes across this mature market:

  1. Experience delivery through APIs. Separating the content model from the experience delivery layer has given marketing and technology teams worldwide a new level of agility, freedom, and, most importantly, competitive advantage. Front-end frameworks continue to evolve and provide freedom in the translation of experience design to digital experiences. Essentially, all CMSes offer API experience delivery. Some offer a “hybrid” offering of both API- and template-based experience delivery. Others are “pure headless” CMSes with API experience delivery as the only option. A monolithic CMS, one that renders the interface, content, data, and also users in a single package, is a thing of the past.
  2. Content orchestration. Through the evolution of digital marketing, enterprises are laser-focused on establishing new digital business lines to reach new audiences while retaining their current customers. New intent data sources, customer relationship management platforms, content engagement solutions, and customer data platforms have enabled enterprises to begin orchestrating personalized experiences through modular content, combined with a deep understanding of customer behavior. Ultimately, the CMS serves as the orchestrator of these experiences. Therefore, there is significant opportunity for growth in this capability area.
  3. SaaS deployment and low-code tools. Modern CMSes simplify the way that enterprise software is deployed via the cloud, as well as content managed by global teams. This allows teams to maintain and manage content better and faster.

After The Renaissance: The Next Generation Of The CMS Takes Shape

Generative AI will impact content teams and pipelines with the ability to create new content: copy and images. Competitive advantage for businesses, however, lies more in orchestration and delivery of these experiences, rather than copywriting. Copy generation through AI is only part of the puzzle, reducing content team workload in content generation but increasing it in content reviews and delivery. Data and technology will continue to serve this last mile through APIs and front-end frameworks and a whole host of other systems.

New roles are about to emerge in organizations to support revised areas of attention in enterprise content teams. As an example, content engineers will collaborate with developers and strategists to activate content in various technologies. They will ensure that data scientists can integrate and analyze the results for the next best action. CMSes have been preparing for this shift to “intelligent orchestration.” The foundational building blocks, such as experience delivery, are now in place. Welcome to the beginning of the next generation of CMSes.

Strategically Align Technology To Value Before Evaluating The Landscape

Strategic technology selection guides focus on moving your business toward a value-aligned tech stack through five foundational principles: 1) building the right business case through a holistic review and selection of business value drivers; 2) understanding the available technology capabilities and emerging features of solutions in the market; 3) understanding the differences in category vs. embedded solutions; 4) conducting a value-based capability gap analysis; and 5) developing a plan to facilitate key activities before moving toward a formal request for proposal or project kickoff.

The Landscape report helps our clients understand, identify, and short-list the vendors that align with their most critical business technology issues. A Landscape features a market’s definition, value proposition, top use cases, and top vendors.

Forrester clients can read:

As you embark on evaluating new CMS capabilities and emerging features in reviewing the landscape of vendors, schedule an inquiry with me to talk about how to strategically derive business value from a CMS.