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Developing a Blueprint for Your Headless CMS Strategy
March 03 2021

Let’s say you have fully explored your Content Management System (CMS) options for building a new or upgrading an existing business website and you’ve decided to integrate a Headless Content Management System (HCMS). You’ve likely determined that it’s what your business needs – either because you’ve experienced a lot of growth and you want to deliver a seamless website experience for your teams, buyers, and vendors; you’ve been coping for a while with an outdated system and the time to update is urgent, or you fully anticipate and want to be prepared for a wave of new online business. There may be other reasons, of course, but whatever drove you to this point, you may feel ready to promote this idea to your employees, relevant teams, and/or boss. As you arrive at this conclusion, you’ve probably also realized how many people need to be involved in the decision-making process, from the people overseeing the project budget to the people extracting and assessing the data that is collected and stored.

Budget

Let’s start with the budget. Headless CMS frameworks are not cheap to build. You need experts to architect a reliable, secure, effective, and accessible HCMS. Depending on the backend and frontend frameworks preferred for your site, the business applications you run – like IDP (Identity Provider), CRMs, video content, and ecommerce software – and the levels of access you will provide to teams, customers, and partners, you are likely looking at HCMS design-build minimums of $100,000 – and that’s a low estimate. That’s why this is the kind of business expense your company’s CFO or accountant might like to know about in advance so they can accommodate it in the budget and, perhaps, have a say in approving it. It all depends on the structure of your company, but if there’s someone overseeing these expenditures, you would be wise to bring them into the process early on.

Users and Decision-Makers

Who will be using the new Headless Content Management System to input, collect and evaluate customer/client and vendor data? Your sales or business development team? The marketing staff? People running programs or training? Supply chain managers? What software applications do they currently use? What software applications would they like to use that a HCMS can offer them? Before you break ground on new HCMS website architecture, you will need to take inventory of who your users and stakeholders are and how they will use your Headless system, so it’s designed and built to meet their needs and expectations. Of course, this also means engaging the decision-makers of those teams early in the planning phase of system development. It’s unwise to leave it up to your technical team, without your sales and marketing teams’ input, when deciding on what features and applications to build into the HCMS architecture – and vice versa. Make sure your tech team is consulted too. Save yourself time, money and angst by getting all of the key people involved from the start, including any vendors, partners, investors, and data scientists who may be inputting, accessing or evaluating system data.

Maintenance

It’s important that you have people on your technology team who can manage basic maintenance of a Headless CMS. It’s also essential to have access to HCMS experts you can count on to handle the more complex issues, like adding new or modifying existing business applications running on your HCMS frameworks. You may already be thinking that this is a bigger project than you initially imagined. It is weighty, but for engineers who work in this space every day, we understand how to keep things running smoothly so users may enjoy seamless experiences. If you don’t have a HCMS pro on your team, be sure to contract with a capable company, like Culture Foundry, to keep everything running efficiently.

Communicating the Value

Now that you have an idea who to involve in this process, how do you communicate to them the value of going with a Headless Content Management System? There is a lot of technical and practical material available with a simple Google search that will either inform you or overwhelm you with information. If your role is to convince your company to adopt a Headless CMS, it should be your goal to convey its value for each stakeholder. I suggest you consider the unique perspective of each stakeholder when you structure your HCMS pitch to them. For example, the sales and marketing teams may be very excited to learn about the lead generation possibilities a HCMS could offer, while the accounting department may want to know how this endeavor can save money in developer time later on down the road. Meanwhile, your tech team will be relieved to know that HCMS enabled website architectures offer more stability and greater website security. Let them know what’s in it for them. If you need some ideas, check out some of my other articles on this topic below.

One of the most valuable things we offer our clients at Culture Foundry is our Wayfinding Workshop. At these workshops we put all of the stakeholders and decision-makers together with our project managers, designers and HCMS developers to work through the process until we come up with an actionable blueprint for your project. We don’t just do this for Headless CMS projects, but those projects undeniably benefit from these workshops because of their inherent complexities. Even if we’re not the team your company hires to build or upgrade your company’s HCMS-enabled website, engaging us for the Wayfinding Workshop will give you the blueprint to help get you there. Want to know more about these workshops? Give us a call or send us a message.

To learn more about Headless Content Management Systems, you may also want to read:

What Is a Headless Content Management System (HCMS)?

Is a Headless Content Management System Right for My Company?

What are the Pros and Cons of a Headless CMS Versus a Traditional CMS?

What Is the Field of Headless CMS Options?

Deep Dive into Headless CMS Back-End Options

Deep Dive into Headless CMS Front-End Options

Culture Foundry is a next-level digital agency that helps you thrive in digital. We build, evolve and support websites and applications for clients who are graduating to the next level of complexity in their digital ventures. Our uncommon strengths are headless CMS architectures, design systems and 24/7 support. If you're not thriving in digital, you can be: Contact us to learn more.

(Psst! We also happen to be a great place to work.)

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