Future-Proof Your Content Authoring with a Component Content Management System


If your current content tends to have a “telephone game” effect, you’re in the right place.

In this case, we’re referencing the “telephone game” effect to describe content that’s supposed to be the same wherever it’s represented, but instead differs from instance to instance. And this occurs for oddly similar reasons that telephone games go awry—the original information is hard to find or it has been manually updated but not everywhere.

It’s a common growing pain that almost every company hits with a standard CMS at one point or another. This might sound odd, but it’s worth looking at these growing pains as a positive.

You may have out-scaled your CMS, but that just means you’re ready to branch into a new land of opportunity with a CCMS. Let’s dig deeper into what sets a CCMS apart and how to tell if it makes sense for you to implement one.

How does a CCMS work?

CCMS stands for Component Content Management System. Its function, no surprise, is true to its name. A component CMS breaks down site content into small, repurposable components, like single buttons, lists, words, paragraphs, sentences, images, or videos.

CCMS software uses content created in a topic-based DITA XML format. This format enables the content you author to be modular across pages, channels, sites, etc. 

Technical writers most often use DITA XML for ease of documentation consistency. However, it also has outstanding applications for all businesses that need a reusable database of componentized content. 

Let’s explore how CCMS fits into the category of software typically used to manage online content: various CMSs. The image below illustrates that the primary distinction is in content delivery.

The alternative to a CCMS, which you may already be using, is a document-level CMS, which allows you to create and templatize whole pages of content. But that’s normally as modular as this type of CMS gets, and making updates to document-level pages is much more time-consuming.

Something we appreciate about working with a CCMS is the consistency when implementing and updating content. With one tool, we get to eliminate copy-paste duplicity and enable flexible content usage by establishing a single source of truth where all reusable content pieces live. 

We also save a huge amount of time when updating content because changes to one component can be linked to any instance where the component appears. So, if you need to update a header that mentions a specific sale, you won’t have to go digging for every place you implemented that content.
The most effective and efficient CCMS options on the market today strive to use the latest technology to further streamline content authoring. That said, we’ll dive into one of our top picks for this a bit later.

Scenarios where CCMS adoption makes sense

It wouldn’t be bold of us to say that any business could benefit from a CCMS. Every business, after all, needs faster time to market for content and more stable consistency, especially as they look toward a scalable future.

That said, we know that a CCMS is not necessarily an investment every business can justify making at present. There are certainly some clear signs when a CCMS is especially warranted, which we’ll shine a light on here.

Content volume is high, and reuse is needed

There are a number of reasons why a business would need to reuse content, some of which you’ve likely already experienced. Typically, we see a fast-growing need for repurposable content in businesses that have:

  • Multiple products and multiple pages on which these products and their related content need to appear.
  • Large and/or diverse teams collaborating toward the same content independently of each other.

The component-based structure of a CCMS effectively lets your teams mix and match pieces of modular content wherever they need it, rather than forcing you to repurpose and modify an entire page of content (which will take significantly more time and open a window for more errors).

This gives every team the power to create a page that’s a completely new composition while maintaining the integrity of each original modular component. 

Given enough time with a CCMS…your authors might even forget the copy-paste command altogether. (We’re kidding around, but seriously, they won’t be needing it to transpose content anymore.)

Consistency and accuracy issues persist widespread across content

Consistency is key to your digital experience—in fact, these days, consumers demand it. If your brand or product content says different things depending on where you’re at on the site, customers can easily become confused, frustrated, and leave.

A CCMS’s modular content architecture is highly effective at reinforcing consistency for a few reasons:

  • It creates a single, searchable database that acts as a source of truth for all content and all teams. This stops teams from duplicating or recreating content that already exists simply because they can’t locate the original version.
  • Updates to one instance of a content component can be applied to all components, which not only implements changes more quickly, but also ensures that the updates occur everywhere they’re supposed to.

Difficulties adhering to regulations that require document trails

CCMS applications specialize in versioning because it’s one of the core features that ensure everyone sees the most up-to-date content.

Old versions of content are replaced with new versions across devices for all users but normally retain a history of version changes that you can refer back to. Not only is this useful for your teams to immediately know where content is now and where it’s been—it’s also essential for businesses that need to keep tabs on the content they’ve run for auditing purposes.

Multi-channel publishing is an enormous time investment

Managing content across multiple channels can become complicated if you’re attempting to do so manually. Multiply your number of channels by the number of individual content pieces you need to reuse, and you’ll probably get a number that you’d rather not look at.

Trying to publish multi-channel content this way is a huge time expenditure and a stressor on your teams. But it’s one that can be cut entirely from the workflow with a CCMS’s component-based structure.

As expected, components can also be reused and updated cross-channel, which only expedites your content changes on all fronts and ensures that all channels are locked down to the same level of accuracy.

Teams toil separately on multiple frontends

Inevitably, different teams working on separate frontends can spell a recipe for content disaster if you don’t have a central source of truth on which they all operate. And it can be all too easy for separate teams to operate independently of what the other is doing (especially in a remote corporate world).

As your single source of truth, a CCMS provides the very same up-to-date content repository to all teams, keeping their efforts consistent. It also enables them to pull the same components for reuse in their respective frontends.

Advantages of AEM CCMS for enterprises

Now, we acknowledge that there are plenty of options out there for CCMS platforms. Yet while all of these CCMS options promise a similar core benefit—i.e. component-based content that shortens your time to market—not all of these platforms do so in quite the same way.

Inevitably, enterprises need CCMS solutions that bring more than that core benefit to the table. They need a CCMS that can scale with them into the foreseeable future—one that’s a worthy, long-term investment. Moreover, they need an intuitive platform that prioritizes ease of use and speed of workflow with perpetually state-of-the-art technology.

In our experience, businesses that invest in AEM CCMS (AKA Experience Manager Guides) see these long-term benefits come through tenfold. And it’s not only because AEM is a powerful and customizable platform in its own right. It also brings world-class technology to the table that other CCMS solutions don’t, like the features below.

AI-powered content management

Crafting thoroughly navigable and dynamic content databases is tedious and time-consuming, which is one of the reasons why CMS platforms sometimes become tangled and difficult to use. With a million other things on our plates, we quickly run out of time to organize our large cache of assets.

AEM CCMS, however, uses Adobe Sensei’s AI technology to step in and create a navigable and repurposable content database for you without all the extra work.
Smart tagging evaluates your content and applies relevant tags based on what the content contains. Your team can then search these tags to pull up the content they need without having to sift through a sea of assets.

Additionally, AEM CCMS also uses Adobe Sensei for its Smart Crop feature, which quickly creates alternate sizes of your content to accommodate responsive design needs.

Direct publishing of DITA and XML

One extra link in the chain of work for many authors is translating content in DITA or XML formats to a format ingestible by your existing CMS, whether that’s HTML, JSON, etc. And while this isn’t the end of the world, an extra step in a busy day only adds to our load and delays our time to market.

Adobe CCMS, unlike other CMS and CCMS solutions, has the built-in capability to publish DITA and XML content formats straight to AEM Sites, eliminating the need for a transformation engine to play the middleman.

Built-in content format conversion

Now, if your initial content has its origins in another format outside of DITA XML—let’s say it lives in Microsoft Word—that’s not an issue. 

One of the great strengths of AEM CCMS is that it enables you to author where you’re comfortable and bridges the gap between your authoring format and your publishing format. It does so by auto-migrating your content into DITA XML, making it ready for publication faster.

Simple integrations with powerful Adobe tools

As a member of the Adobe family of products, AEM CCMS features seamless integrations with other Adobe products to enhance your content creation. 
If you’re already using Adobe products like Adobe Analytics or Adobe Target, for instance, integrating these tools with AEM CCMS for enhanced content insights only makes sense. And if you’re not using other Adobe tools now, AEM CCMS also features customizable integrations with a wide range of third-party platforms.

Wrapping things up

Looking back, using a CCMS for content management might feel like a large leap from the CMS you currently author within, but the distance isn’t too large. 

Most companies stand to benefit from the reusability and consistency a CCMS offers. And AEM CCMS specifically makes it exceptionally easy to author in the format you prefer and transform those content documents into DITA XML for publishing.

That said, we know that while AEM is a prime candidate for a future-proof CCMS, implementation isn’t an easy DIY affair, and it’s not a process all businesses feel prepared to tackle.

But your teams don’t need to be prepared to tackle it on their own—you can lean on us for backup. Our AEM implementation veterans are ready to help you achieve a fully integrated AEM CCMS instance in less time and without added burden on your teams.

Want to talk shop about the AEM CCMS implementation process? So do we! Drop us a line.

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