What does 2021 mean for headless CMS?

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We look ahead to what the new year might bring for headless CMS and businesses looking to consolidate, improve or transform their digital performance.

As 2020 comes to a highly anticipated close, businesses across all markets are trying to pivot to achieve a stronger 2021. While the landscape might look different, with companies coming off of a year of weathering unpredictable changes and rapidly implementing processes as a result of global events, the goal remains the same: thrive.

But what does that mean for the headless CMS, which since 2015—the year that the public GraphQL CMS specification was developed—has picked up speed year over year as companies realize the benefits it can bring?

Headless CMS overview

As a refresher, let’s review what a headless CMS is. A subset of decoupled architecture, a headless CMS does not include a fixed front end. Instead, you and your development team have the flexibility to use a combination of your preferred tools and frameworks to determine when and how content appears.

Headless CMSs can push out customized experiences across myriad front-end channels, whether those are websites, mobile apps, or even less traditional interfaces. Really, the sky's the limit, so long as it has a way to display data.

Headless CMSs are handy for companies that want to “future-proof” their CMS. Instead of being unprepared when a new channel emerges that can support content display, you’re already in a position to be able to push content to its front end.

There are security benefits as well—since any front end isn’t directly connected to your database—and cost benefits—since you aren’t required to change the back end each time you add a channel.

Headless CMSs offer much-desired flexibility, especially in a world where consumers are consuming content in a variety of different ways.

So with headless gaining traction year over year since 2015, what does 2021 mean? Not much, honestly. Headless architecture continues to be a great way to add flexibility to companies trying to get their content out there, no matter what device or app is trending. In a world full of headlines, sometimes 'no news' is 'good news.'

Headless CMS in 2021

It’s likely impossible to talk about 2021 without mentioning 2020. In 2020, workforces were forced home to isolate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Processes had to be adjusted to better support 100% remote work. Employees had to master video call technologies to engage in human interaction. It wasn’t easy—in one case, a manager couldn’t figure out how to stop being a potato. It’s been a tough year for businesses all around.

But look closely enough, and you’ll see a silver lining. Before 2020, many employees spent a good share of their work week in their office. In terms of screens, they would interact often with their computers and mobile devices, which will remain two prominent ways to engage audiences with content in 2021.

But when people across the globe were forced home, their world of devices was expanded. According to Forbes, the smart home device market will grow from $55 billion in 2016 to $174 billion by 2025. Many of these devices can display content, and many members of your audiences will be using these channels for content.

Right now in 2020—and what will be the case in 2021—users are no longer just checking their computers and phones for content.

In order to be effective, companies need to reach audiences where they are—and right now, audiences are using tons of different channels to consume content. This would be a challenge for a coupled CMS that could only push to a site; however, it isn’t a challenge for a headless CMS that can push to multiple channels. Instead, it’s an opportunity.

Though vaccine producers are making history with how rapidly they are developing vaccines for COVID-19, there remain questions around distribution timelines, and even then, companies’ transitions back to a more traditional workday will take time to implement.

Therefore, we can reasonably expect that workforces will still be largely remote in the beginning of 2021. That being the case, the opportunity to engage them on multiple devices remains ripe.

Businesses with a headless CMS are outright better prepared to handle existing and emerging channels that are adopted by their audiences, and therefore better positioned to reach their audiences where they live.

Headless CMS conclusions

So with headless gaining traction year over year since 2015, what does 2021 mean? Not much, honestly. Headless architecture continues to be a great way to add flexibility to companies trying to get their content out there, no matter what device or app is trending.

In a world full of headlines, sometimes “no news” is “good news.”

About Brightspot as your headless CMS of choice

At Brightspot, we believe in front-end freedom of choice—to be able to choose the architecture that best suits each individual organization’s unique needs. That’s why we’ve designed our Brightspot CMS to operate not only as a headless CMS solution, but also as a traditional, decoupled, or hybrid solution. We’re here to answer your questions and guide you on your journey, whichever direction you may take.


Go deeper with these headless CMS resources

Is your organization considering headless CMS as the solution to its digital-publishing needs? Here are some resources to help get you started, plus learn if Brightspot is the right solution for your business. Brightspot CMS is naturally headless, but users determine how they want to use the platform to create digital content experiences. Brightspot is a CMS platform that is front-end agnostic with an extensible architecture that is API-first so that users can publish how they want—headless, decoupled or both—all within the same environment.

Learn about Brightspot headless CMS
Naturally headless or decoupled, the Brightspot CMS platform ensures your content can be distributed to any device to support current and future distribution channels.
This eBook explains the origin of headless CMS and why this architecture is an appealing option for technical teams, including guidance for selecting the best CMS for your organization’s needs.
Join us for an in-depth look at the the benefits and consideration factors of headless CMS, with the discussion here tailored toward how headless benefits content and editorial teams.

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