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Why I love Contentful, and you should too

Chief Technology Officer, Martin Paton dives into the benefits of Contentful and how it can work for you as a CMS/CXM platform. 

Here are AmazeRealise, we're big fans of Contentful, the content infrastructure provider for modern digital experiences, and to get the shameless plug out of the way, we're immensely proud to be working with them and our clients as a leading partner with certified developers.

Contentful is an attempt to provide a cure for the "one size fits all" path that CMS/CXM vendors have travelled over the last 5 years, strip back to basics, and place the control back into the hands of the developers and content authors who are the primary "actors" in any such system, and well it does it rather well.

Here I attempt to break down how I see Contentful addresses some key challenges you may find with more traditional CMS platforms.

You can get started immediately

Contentful is a true self-service, SaaS product, with low number of moving parts that need any sort of configuration. Billing details and API key generation is about where it ends.

This means you can get started building and populating your content model in minutes. This has a significant positive impact to your overheads and time to value unlike other systems which claim to be SaaS, but in reality require days or even weeks of configuration by the vendor before you can begin.

As Contentful uses a standard JSON data model, developers can even begin mocking the data even before you have signed up and created the actual production model.

Laser sharp focus: Content creation and delivery

What very often happens when organisations procure a CMS/CXM system, is that a lot of domain functionality outside the core CMS is procured as part of the sales deal, but then ignored in favour of a much more specialist product, or one which the organisation has been using for some time - for example CRM, DAM, Personalisation, Search, Commerce, etc,

By focusing on creating and delivering content only through standards compliant APIs, and remaining integration-neutral, the freedom of choice of integrations to and from your core applications remains solely yours in the shape and style of your choice.

Some examples:

  • Pushing content to social channels
  • Generation of automated, personalised landing pages using VWO or Optimizely
  • Generate personalised newsletter content based on customer profile preferences from SalesForce
  • Pushing product details to an ERP such as SAP B1
  • Leveraging IBM Watson to automate and create content meta-tags

All the above would nearly always require the procurement of a third-party tool, additional licensing, significant specialist development resource with other platforms and may be akin to the sledgehammer/nut analogy. With Contentful, development is still required, but it is much more on-point to the use case.

Omni-channel is the default behaviour

The sole objective of Contentful is to allow you to use your content anywhere with as many obstacles removed from the process as possible. If you can think of a "channel" and it can consume an API, you can use it to deliver content from Contentful.

You are not constrained or locked-in by vendor proprietary technology

This is the big one for architects and developers.

Most CMS platforms impose some sort of specific architecture, deployment process, proprietary backend technology, ways of working that means you need extremely experienced, hard to find (read: costly contractors) people to run your projects - this creates budget challenges, creates vendor lock-in, and makes it difficult to leverage new technologies that can add value to your business and may lead to a large replatforming exercise down the line when the promised roadmap fails to materialise.

Contentful is almost 100% un-opinionated on how you develop your application, save that you can consume a JSON API.

  • Want to create a standard MVC website? Check.

  • Want to create a complex React, Redux driven SPA? Check.

  • Want to adopt the latest in static site generators using serverless technologies? Check.

  • Want to deploy a private iOS intranet application inside your firewall? Check.

  • Moving to a containerised application strategy with K8s? Check.

You get the picture.

Want to talk more about this? Want to hear how AmazeRealise has helped some of the leading organisations get back the freedom to innovate? Maybe you already have Contentful and and just want to chat about best practices? Get in touch below to start the conversation. 

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