From Headless to Legless? Choosing the Right Architecture to Support Omnichannel Experiences
Breaking free from the traditional content management approach by going headless was groundbreaking, but the landscape is evolving, and it’s time to take it a step further. Being legless needs to be a thing as well. Luckily, this doesn’t involve any acrobatics or limb removal. Instead, it’s all about seamless integration.
The folks at Real Story Group introduced the concept of being legless when speaking about The Future of Digital Engagement. Despite being a known feature in content management for quite some time now, many enterprises are still trying to come to grips with the concept of headless and how it can benefit them.
The ability to launch and orchestrate digital experiences on and across any channel is a crucial aspect for modern enterprises today. However, it shouldn’t be the only factor being considered when selecting a new CMS. The ability to be legless - breaking down the silos on the backend, and easing integration with best-of-stack backend tools - is emerging as something just as important for enterprises to be able to provide genuinely omnichannel experiences.
We’ll dive into what enterprises need to provide omnichannel experiences to their customers and how a combined headless and legless architecture can support them.
What It Means to Be Omnichannel Today
By definition, omnichannel is about unifying all digital channels so that the customer experience is consistent no matter where they interact with a brand—being omnichannel means that businesses can reach their customers at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey.
Headless architecture enables businesses to deliver content to multiple channels and support omnichannel initiatives. However, today content delivery on the front end is only one part of the omnichannel equation.
Companies need to be able to provide consistent messaging across channels and source data to help personalize content, provide recommendations, and support decision-making efforts.
As such, these enterprises also need to be able to connect the backend of one system to another, allowing them to share content and data effectively.
Why Enterprises Need a Truly Decoupled Architecture
Modern marketing technology stacks must be able to decouple core services from channels that silo them. They also need to support various complex enterprise-grade services on the backend and be un-opinionated about how they are combined. Enterprises need a truly decoupled architecture to do this and deliver on the premise of omnichannel.
Unfortunately, many enterprise systems remain monolithic. These systems are bulky, complex and make integrating with other tools challenging. While some monolithic solutions can provide a headless feature that supports omnichannel content delivery on the frontend, without an authentic decoupled architecture integrating best-of-stack services such as eCommerce, analytics, marketing automation, and others becomes problematic if they didn’t come out of the box with that specific system.
What Happens Without Decoupling
Without decoupling the backend as well as the frontend and making it unrestricted, enterprise teams can run into a host of issues. These problems affect not only those using monolithic suites but others relying on outdated legacy systems as well.
If a business wants to add a new tool to its tech stack, it must be integrated, often using glue code. However, these integrations can be painstaking for developers to complete and, in many cases, still not effective due to the incompatibility of architectures.
Without a seamless way to connect different tools within a system, not only headlessly but leglessly, silos can easily occur. In these situations, data is cut off from those that need it the most, and companies cannot use data from one system to help inform decisions about what to do in another.
No Comprehensive View
The problem caused by difficulty integrating other tools and the formation of silos is the lack of a comprehensive view of the business and the customer. As a result, teams create content without having access to data that can help them better understand their customers. This puts them at a disadvantage against the competition and harms the customer experience.
The Composable Solution
Instead of monolithic architectures that make integrations complex, businesses need the support of composable platforms that make selecting or modifying the tech stack to meet omnichannel requirements much easier.
Adopting a composable approach (which includes embracing legless architecture) gives enterprises the freedom and flexibility to select the best-of-stack tools that work for them. Each independent system can communicate with each other, providing a comprehensive view of the business and customer enterprises crave and the ability to scale to meet omnichannel demands.
How CrafterCMS Supports Headless (and Legless) Enterprise Initiatives
Not every content management solution is cut out to provide the architectural support modern enterprises. However, with CrafterCMS, enterprises can leverage an API-first headless platform to efficiently deliver content to multiple channels, as well as gain the advantages of a legless architecture and easily integrate with best-of-stack tools on the backend.
Separating the backend content repository from the frontend user interface, like many headless CMSs offer, does not qualify as a fully decoupled architecture. To achieve true decoupling, it is essential to separate the content authoring system from the content delivery engine, and both need to be API-first platforms that allow easy integrations on the frontend and backend.
With CrafterCMS, Crafter Studio’s content authoring tools are separated from Crafter Engine’s content delivery system. CrafterCMSs’ genuinely decoupled CMS architecture delivers this and additionally provides more reliability, scalability, and security.
With an API-first approach for both the content authoring experience (for content creators/editors) and the content delivery experience (for site visitors), CrafterCMS users benefit from easy composability of unique digital experience solutions. Whether through custom development of frontend or backend components needed to meet unique enterprise requirements, or leveraging over 60 pre-built plugins and packaged business capabilities (PBCs) in the CrafterCMS Marketplace, enterprises can seamlessly tailor a solution that precisely aligns with their needs.
Frontend Freedom and Backend Flexibility
Developers have the freedom to use any UI framework on the frontend, such as React.js, Vue, Angular, and Freemarker. On the backend, they get not only robust and comprehensive APIs (REST, GraphQL, Nodejs, etc.) but also the powerful capability to build their own APIs with Groovy scripting. In addition, they benefit from the numerous pre-built plugins and blueprints available in the Crafter Marketplace to save time, effort, and internal maintenance costs.
Learn more about how CrafterCMS supports all your content management needs, whether you need to go headless or legless or both, by reading one of our most popular blog posts: CrafterCMS: A Modern Content Platform Central to Composability.
The Future of CMS (and Overcoming Problems in Content Management)
What Is a Hybrid CMS? (The Solution For Marketers & Developers)
eCommerce Personalization: Strategies for Success
Composable CMS: The Key to Increased Agility and Flexibility