GatherContent vs the CMS

One of the main reasons GatherContent exists is to fulfil what we see as a huge failing of Content Management Systems. We don't believe any form of CMS comes close to solving organisation-wide content operations.

GatherContent logo vs the cms logo

When we say "content operations" we are talking about the entire process of content production and management across an organisation. This includes the planning, drafting, approval (including compliance, legal, tone of voice and accessibility reviews), content modelling, collaborative editing, formatting, and structuring of content - all of which typically take place before the content is simply entered into the CMS. This is the reality for most organisations when we begin working with them.

And what about the governance and maintenance of these huge volumes of content we are now responsible for keeping up to date and accurate? Does your CMS handle any of this?

10% of the process

For most organisations, the CMS is only supporting the final 10% of the workload.

The CMS represents only 10% of the content operations workload. Word and Spreadsheets represent 90%.

We believe that in order to create truly great content, we need to consider the 100%.

Nobody likes their CMS

One of the most common themes we hear when we're speaking to our customers is that the majority of people in their organisation see their CMS as something that gets in their way.

There are a few reasons people have issues with their CMS:

  • A barrier to entry: Most organisations have to spend large amounts of time and money on CMS training
  • Too complex: Non-technical contributors find the system complicated - performing basic tasks is hard work
  • Not as good as Google docs: When authors finally get into the system, it lacks all the tools they are used to
  • Not maintained: "It was great 6 years ago" is something we hear a lot
  • Just another channel: The CMS is website specific, and so we end up different content production processes for each channel

Content Management Systems make it extremely difficult for non-technical authors and content creators to get involved in content management and publishing.

As a result of accelerated digital transformation, there are increasing numbers of non-technical people that have 'digital content creation' as part of their working responsibilities.

Particularly in recent months, digital transformation is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. In April 2020, Microsoft shared that they'd seen 2 years of digital transformation in 2 months. That may be even higher now. This is all as a direct outcome of COVID-19. Similarly, in May 2020 McKinsey reported that 'we have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks.' The final stat to really labour this point, in the Economic Times in August 2020 it was stated by the CEO of Genpact that COVID-19 has cut digital transformation timelines to 6-12 months from 4-5 years.

The majority of CMSs require an organisation to invest heavily in training, which is not a one-off cost. When authors do get into the system, they feel that is too complex, and they are missing most of the tools they are used to from Word and Google docs.

Our IT team used to offer training sessions on the CMS for anyone in the university but these have now been completely stopped, due to the use of GatherContent. Our digital team are now in control of authorising, and training new CMS editors, but this is very rarely needed. This saves us 3-4 hours every week!

Dominic Billington, Head of Marketing and Digital Experience at York St John University

Content authoring "basics", like live collaboration, commenting, shareable links, notifications, a simple editing interface, track changes, and any form of an approval workflow. These things are missing, and authors feel compromised.

When we look at many CMS implementations and review their usage in an organisation, the CMS is really just a channel, amidst hundreds of other channels that the organisation must publish content to. The average university in North America has 750 individual CMSs.

What's happening in terms of content management before all of these CMS? In this context, the CMS is just one of 750 channels, not to mention the other channels we now have to worry about.

The need for a Content Operations Platform

For a lot of organisations, their operations are not very mature and rely on outdated tools like Word documents or Google docs, which force us to then translate web-incompatible content blobs into structured HTML or markup (not a very fulfilling, or cost-effective task). We end up hacking project management tools, spreadsheets and emails to handle the review and production of content.

Content is managed in organisational silos, which make it extremely difficult to instigate any form of standards, or maintain a consistent tone of voice. Not to mention the challenge of security.

This opens up risk for human error, makes it hard to create consistent content across multiple channels, makes it near impossible to meet accessibility or security requirements, not to mention legal compliance regulations.

This approach can ultimately result in a very slow process which spits out very low-quality content at the end.

GatherContent replaces this with something that meets the needs of modern content operations.

We have all the tools that authors, contributors and content managers require:

Structured content, on an API

As well as meeting the needs of marketing teams and the wider business, we are committed to helping organisations innovate and move away from outdated technologies. We are firm believers in the philosophy of the JAMstack and in the importance of adaptive, structured content.

In order to meet the needs of the modern web, we have:

  • Flexible content modelling, using templates
  • Plain text and clean HTML
  • A REST API, which is built with multi-channel in mind
  • Webhooks for many of our core interactions, allowing you to go wild with automation (we also integrate with Zapier)
  • Open source integrations with many static site generators, and other JAMstack technologies
  • Open source integrations with most traditional CMSs, which allow organisations to avoid the often realistic "rip and replace" approach to their CMS, and make change incrementally
  • A large network of experts that we work closely with, to guide both our own product, and help the customers that work with us

GatherContent vs the CMS

GatherContent can either completely replace the CMS - functioning as a modern headless CMS that uses our API to deliver content - or it can work alongside your legacy CMS or Digital Experience Platform (DXP) by using our integrations.

This flexible approach to content delivery allows our customers to completely replace their CMS from day one and reap the benefits of modern infrastructure. Alternatively, in situations where a total "rip and replace" is simply not feasible, many customers choose to incrementally make change, moving certain aspects of their content operations over to a more modern stack, one win at a time.

Bring people, process and technology together in GatherContent

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