The Importance of the Content-as-a-Service Mindset
If you work in a large organization that publishes lots of content online, you may find it hard to keep everything in sync. Content teams in large organizations need to manage many details and often rely on many different tools to run their operations. Faced with this situation, everyone is eager for a fresh approach to managing all their content. Content as a Service, or “CaaS”, offers organizations a way to end the spiraling complexity of large-scale content operations so they can act strategically with their content.
Why Are Conventional Approaches Limited?
The conventional approach, focusing on specific deliverables that are published on specific websites, is fine when an organization has a single website and there is no need to create different variations in their content. But as soon as an organization wants to produce a range of overlapping content—customized for different products and audiences—and wants to deliver that to different websites, apps, and other channels, the conventional approach to content breaks down. Different content teams begin to work separately on similar content destined for different websites and content operations fracture into separate silos. There's often much duplication of effort—and duplication of content. Ultimately, content becomes inconsistent as different teams do similar work using different CMSs.
What Does CaaS Bring to the Table?
CaaS is a new paradigm for managing content. It provides a full range of services, so large organizations can be in charge of their content at every step. They don't have to decide, select, and buy different tiers of functionality that might be required at some point to support their goals. As part of the subscription, they have access to all the services needed to manage their content. CaaS supports their entire content operations, from planning and creation to delivery, optimization, and assessment, using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, which means that updates and upgrades happen automatically and continually.
Moreover, CaaS takes care of the numerous details that get in the way of creating and delivering content. CaaS allows content teams to focus on creating value, instead of spending energy pushing content through a complicated process. Simply put, embracing a services approach gives control back to content teams.
In many organizations, content teams plan and create each item of content individually, which takes a lot of effort and slows down what they can deliver to audiences. Because each content item is distinct, teams often don't have good insights into why some content performs better than other items.
How Can CaaS Deliver Such Flexibility and Agility?
Organizations want the ability to publish anything and have the content available anywhere it is needed. They should be able to deliver content quickly and must deal with diversity (different kinds of content that's destined for different channels). In short, they need the ability to produce anything, anytime, for any channel. CaaS allows them to do that by providing a unified environment that everyone in an organization can use to create, manage, and deliver content.
|The Conventional Approach||The CaaS Mindset|
|Create each deliverable one at a time||Build a library of reusable content pieces to use in different content items|
|Create content for a specific destination||Create content that can be delivered to many destinations|
|Design a new website, then create content for it||Create content first: the content is flexible, so the designs can be changed later|
How Does It Work?
With CaaS, all of an enterprise's content is available in a central content hub that can hold any kind of content. That content is planned and created by identifying common elements used across different content items. These elements could be explanations, calls-to-action, marketing messages, notices, or other content that is used widely and needs to be consistent. When an element is frequently repeated, teams only have to create that piece once. Teams can build a library of high-value content pieces that might be used in many places by different people in their organization, instead of creating one-off deliverables that have limited use.
While ensuring that the content created is consistent and reusable, CaaS provides the structure to plan and deliver a diverse range of content. This structure, based on what's known as a content model, makes the content flexible: ready for different purposes now and in the future. Teams can swap out parts, change the design later, or even deliver to a new channel if they want, without the worry of complex redesign and maintenance issues. And the structure also helps give teams better insights into why audiences like their content. By harnessing the structure, teams can create different variations, and see which is most effective.
What Are the Key Features of CaaS?
With the CaaS approach, all content is pooled together in one unified environment. All content, no matter who created it or what kind of content it is, can be provided on-demand to the entire organization as a service. Whenever someone anywhere in the organization needs specific content, they can access it from the common cloud-based repository. If certain details aren't already included in the repository, content teams only need to create the part that's missing. With CaaS, content teams focus on high-value activities. They can add new content that's needed, improve existing content items, and at the same time avoid redoing, duplicating, and reformatting old content.
CaaS is based on several key features that give it distinct advantages:
- Content is structured using a content model that allows content to be reusable and flexible
- The content is delivered by an API (a way to specify and deliver the exact content required) so it can be available to any channel
- The system managing the content is a cloud-based service, so publishers don't have to worry about installation, upgrades, and availability
CaaS builds upon a technical approach known as “headless,” where content is managed independently of the design layout. Headless makes it easier for technical teams to connect content to marketing tools, and it provides greater freedom to offer new digital experiences for customers.
However, CaaS is far more than a purely technical approach. In contrast to purely technical solutions based on a headless approach, CaaS offers end-to-end services to support a full range of authoring and business needs for the entire content lifecycle. So, not only does CaaS make content easier to manage, it also helps content teams understand the performance of their content more precisely.
In conclusion, Content as a Service represents a new, more holistic mindset about how to create, manage, track, and deliver content and also how it can be improved over time. Content across the enterprise is unified and tasks are integrated within a central content hub. CaaS brings a new way of thinking about content operations, so content teams can move more quickly and get better at creating and delivering content that audiences want.
In the next blog post, we'll look at the differences between CaaS and conventional web content management.