Shruti Deshpande
April 15, 2022

From CMS to CCMS: powering great user experiences

Most businesses create digital content every day, using a content management system (CMS) to enable multiple stakeholders to collaborate on authoring and review. A CMS simplifies the process of gathering and consolidating feedback, and reduces reliance on time-consuming, error-prone methods such as manually copying and pasting from numerous email attachments.

But in a digital age demanding a multitude of content formats for a growing number of channels and platforms, consumed on a variety of devices, a traditional CMS can hold your business back. In this article, we’ll discuss the limitations of a CMS versus the many benefits of a component content management system (CCMS) — which solves these limitations and delivers all the capabilities of a CMS, plus so much more. We’ll examine how the right CCMS brings immediate productivity gains, increased trust in information, superior customer experiences and future-proof transformation for your business.

The terms ‘CMS’ and ‘CCMS’ may look nearly identical, but that single letter is the difference between content chaos and high-quality online user experiences.

The limitations of a regular content management system 

Young person bungee jumping off bridge into a forested riverA CMS is great for facilitating collaboration during content production, but that’s where its usefulness ends and the problems start.

Firstly, once content is published it vanishes into a sea of thousands of other PDFs, PowerPoints, Excel sheets and Word documents, never to be seen again. This kind of content is ‘unstructured’, making even the most basic information hard to find. Let’s say you have a question about annual leave. You try searching for your organization’s policy on your CMS-based intranet, but it doesn’t appear. Maybe the content simply doesn’t exist… or maybe you need to try a different search term, such as ‘vacation’, ‘holiday’, time off’, or some other synonym. 

Secondly, updates are almost impossible to perform, especially when they affect multiple documents. What if, say, a product manager retires? To find and update every single instance of ‘[email protected]’ would take hours – and you’re bound to miss a few. Very soon your system is flooded with hard-to-find, potentially out-of-date content, and trust in your organization starts to slip. 

How a component content management system is different 

A CMS is built on unstructured content, i.e. individual documents and webpages. A CCMS, however, is built on structured content, i.e. granular components. A component is a chunk of self-contained content, such as a topic, paragraph, table, graph, image, or even a single word. These components are stored and controlled from a central index, and act as building blocks that can be combined in different ways to produce publishable content in whatever form you need, be it a webpage, a PDF, or something else. 

Making information findable and trustworthy with a CCMS 

A CCMS increases content findability, maximizes content reuse and ensures accuracy of information, resulting in massive time savings across the enterprise and boosting trust in organizational knowledge. 

To help content creators find and manage content easily, the CCMS lists all the components in a searchable index arranged by topic. Tridion® Docs, a cutting-edge CCMS, incorporates AI capabilities such as semantic AI to help automate the organization of this content and to interpret search queries intelligently. Through natural language processing, the AI analyzes the topics of each component and recommends relevant tags, which content creators can apply as necessary. The autosuggest function helps creators find and add extra tags by retrieving them from the company’s taxonomy. 

These tags make content findable for employees across the enterprise: with a CCMS, typing ‘annual leave’ into the search bar will bring up content with that tag. But the system also applies multiple tags to account for synonymous search terms – so even if you search for ‘vacation’, ‘holiday’ or ‘time off’, you’ll still see relevant results, such as the annual leave policy. 

The existence of a comprehensive, searchable index allows authors to confidently identify and fill genuine knowledge gaps – rather than accidentally duplicating information and exacerbating the content chaos. Authors are able to create components once, which can then be reused anywhere. To prevent version clashes, all components are managed and updated centrally from the index, which acts as a single source of truth. Returning to our earlier example, a CCMS would allow you to create a specific component containing the contact details for your product manager, publish it to as many digital touchpoints as you like, and make any changes quickly, easily and consistently. Simply put, a CCMS helps you COPE – create once, publish everywhere. 

With crucial, accurate knowledge at their fingertips, staff are happier, more confident and more productive. Risks to the business are minimized, since the information available to staff and customers is always correct and up to date. 

The impact of content management on customer satisfaction 

The internet has tipped the balance of power from companies to consumers. Customers are armed with more information, more choice, and far less patience than ever before. After all, with over 4 billion Google results for ‘laptop’ they can’t afford to spend long evaluating each one. If they don’t find what they need within seconds of visiting your website, they’ll take their custom elsewhere. 

But if you use a CCMS to bring increased findability, consistency and reliability to the content of your website, it will help your customers to help themselves, and give them a positive impression of your company. By making their online experience as frictionless as possible, you keep customers on your site – and off your helpline, freeing up staff for other priorities. 

But that’s not all. A CCMS allows you to take the customer experience one step further with contextualization. Customers today are used to websites tracking their activity and in return greeting them like old friends. Think about all the times you’ve scrolled down to ‘You might also like…’ and been sucked into a site. What makes those suggestions so engaging? They’re personal, tailored, and seem to have read your mind. 

Got a customer who’s been browsing laptops at a certain price? Show them recommendations based on their budget. They’re based in France? Take them to the French site automatically, display prices in euros and show them machines with AZERTY keyboards. They’re on a mobile device? Optimize the website layout and provide a link to your app. 

This is made possible by the right kind of CCMS. Using sophisticated, AI-powered knowledge management capabilities to interpret the customer’s context, it can automatically choose the relevant components to create a hyper-personalized journey, leading the customer to their perfect product. 

Building business growth and future-readiness with a CCMS 

It’s important to choose a CCMS designed to evolve alongside your business as it grows, such as Tridion Docs. Tridion Docs allows you to integrate with other business systems to create a connected information network, rather than creating yet more content silos and duplicating IT efforts. 

Tridion Docs also supports ambitious international and multichannel growth goals with its built-in support for translation management. Normally, the cost and effort of launching and maintaining a digital presence in different languages for different growth markets might be a source of hesitation, but Tridion integrates fully with RWS language technology to address these concerns. With state-of-the-art machine translation, translation memory, and seamless workflows that automatically send updated components for translation, it keeps costs low and consistency high. 

But perhaps the most important future-proofing feature of a CCMS relates to its support of AI use cases. Componentizing and enriching your content with metadata tagging and taxonomy turns it into ‘intelligent content’ — content readable by machines — ready for integration with further AI-enabled technology, such as chatbots, conversational AI and more, which will soon be ubiquitous. 

It’s hard to overstate the benefits of a CCMS — and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what you could achieve with Tridion Docs. At RWS we’re constantly striving to understand and solve today’s business challenges through innovation, which is why Tridion Docs is the number one CCMS on the market. 

It’s suitable for any use case, and its intuitive interface is easy for staff across the enterprise to get to grips with, regardless of technical ability. See it in action for yourself with our demo videos, or learn more about improving user experiences and delivering the ‘one right answer’ to both staff and customers with Tridion Docs.