Here’s the one simple trick to agile CMS

Optimizely has achieved leadership in Agile CMS because we support you rather than forcing you into a rigid patterns of execution.

Headshot image of Deane Barker

Written by:

Deane Barker

  • Senior Director of Content Management Strategy
  • Episerver

Content management and delivery has the general reputation as being too rigid. Historically, the industry forced customers into arbitrary processes and patterns on both ends of the lifecycle – management and delivery – because that was easier for vendors.

Put another way, it was easier to force you to change than us.

But over the years, vendors in the DXP space have gotten much more flexible about how our tools duck and weave around the processes of creating your content and delivering it to your customers. Your processes and needs have matured and diverged so much that no two DXP customers are doing exactly the same thing.

Forrester Research codified this in 2017 by coining the term “Agile CMS,” which they define as technologies that reduce process rigidity through the entire content lifecycle. Content should be flexible in how it’s created, how it’s collaborated on, how it’s delivered, and how it’s optimized.

For 2021, Optimizely has been named a Leader in the Forrester Wave for Agile CMS. We’ve been placed in the very top echelon of technology providers in this space, recognized for the ability of our tools to adapt to our customers’ processes and their customers’ consumption habits.

If you indulge me a bit, here’s just a few reasons why I believe we are consistently recognized as leaders in our category.

  • The Optimizely Content Cloud DXP is based on a CMS core with deep roots in editorial workflow and content delivery. CMS is not an add-on – it’s the central functionality our entire product suite has been built around.
  • Optimizely Content Cloud’s architecture keeps content “pure” until the moment of delivery. We don’t force presentation-specific data into your content. You can store it as an conceptual ideal, then transform it and deliver it to whichever channel you need. You can run a website and an email campaign and a product catalog off the same repository.
  • Optimizely Content Cloud allows highly granular content modeling. You don’t need to compromise with vague and confusing descriptions of content – you can be as detailed, relational, and precise as you need.
  • Optimizely Content Cloud’s event-driven architecture allows you to deeply customize the product for your own software environment and toolset. In every instance, we’ve made a conscious decision to allow the freedom to modify or adjust the product and how it handles and manages content. There’s no nook or cranny or event you can’t capture, modify, or act on.
  • Optimizely Content Cloud was designed around team collaboration. Content changes can be grouped into Projects, and our discussion and notifications system allow your team to collaborate on individual objects or the project as a whole. “Pin drop” feedback and the ability to share previews with non-users make refining and reviewing content a team exercise.
  • Optimizely Content Cloud's personalization and experimentation tools allow you to deliver different content to different audiences. Gone are the days where you just threw a single version of content over the wall and hope it performed well. Today, when you publish content, you light the fuse on an entirely new toolset to optimize that content and maximize conversions – we’re unparalleled in the industry for this level of post-publish optimization.
  • Optimizely Content Cloud has a headless Content Delivery API which makes it easy to remotely retrieve content for external channels. Your website might be one place you connect with your customers. It’s easy to retrieve pure content data headlessly to re-use that content across your digital landscape.

Now I can talk about specific features all day, but all this really grows out of a specific principle and perspective on content management – the gestalt of it, if you will.

Quite simply: we’ve never made assumptions for you.

The antithesis of agility is rigidity, and the epitome of rigidity is a CMS that requires you to do things one way. We’ve just never, ever subscribed to this at Optimizely.

We’ll help you manage that content, deliver it, and optimize it, but we’re not going to force you to do that any specific way. We’re here to enable and empower you and your customers, not get in your way.

  • You can model content however you like (trust me on this – I wrote an entire book about it)
  • You can transform it into whatever form you want.
  • You can manipulate content as pure data.
  • You can deliver wildly different content depending on who is viewing it
  • You can use each visitors’ consumption patterns to lay down recommendations in real-time that move them steadily closer to a conversion.
  • You can experiment with your content by testing variations to find which combination of content reliably moves the customer down their personal conversion path.

And the list goes on.

The Optimizely DXP is here to serve your content, your processes, and ultimately your customers. It’s not here to rigidly force you into how we do things; rather, it’s agile enough (ahem) to wrap itself around you, providing support where you need it, and getting out of the way when you don’t.

Rigidity comes from a vendor imposing opinions on how you should manage your content. At Optimizely, we’ve never done that. We have lots of tools to help, but there’s no way we could force those tools on you and still be considered a Leader in Agile CMS.

And that’s the one simple trick to Agile CMS.