According to Techtarget, content as a service, or CaaS, is a “web-based model for the creation, storage, management, and delivery of content, such as text, audio, video, or images.” It is a content management system, or CMS, that’s made available through a service provider, used for both web content management and enterprise content management.
CaaS providers handle much of the work as the content creators and website owners who manage everything themselves. They handle the storage, hardware, backups, and bandwidth as part of the service. CaaS is a single location for your content and the management system lets the content be stored and accessed through your mobile devices, apps, and computer.
CaaS won’t provide an all-in-one solution the way a traditional CMS like WordPress does, since it only manages the content, rather than they presentation of the content. Using CaaS allows you to have more freedom in how content is presented, delivered, and displayed.
Let’s take a look at the differences between CaaS and CMS, so you know what to use and when.
How is CaaS Different from CMS?
CaaS focuses on turning your structured content into feeds suitable for use by other applications and properties. It:
- Provides content to the rest of the world with a REST-based API
- Hosts your content repository in the cloud for easy universal access
- Lets customer experience applications that consume content from the repository know when there is an update for the content
- Provides distributed authoring and workflow for content administration
- Provides structured formats for returning content with simple queries
Everything a CaaS does focuses on content management. Though it looks like it will do less than a typical CMS, it simplifies content management and provides additional flexibility since it has nothing to do with how the content is displayed. Instead, it hands the display function to other systems to allow them to deploy and display the content however they want.
It allows you to control your content and keep it flexible, because it’s no longer just something you put on websites. The more content distribution channels you star to use, the more important it is to keep the content flexible and adaptable.
It allows your business to keep all of your content in a simple place, and move whatever content you need, when you need it.
Content personalization is important these days, as 77% of consumers say they have chosen, recommended, or paid more for brands that offer a personalized experience or service. Using CaaS allows you to assemble your content dynamically, so you can personalize it when you need to, and have control over the level of personalization. You can use a custom set of rules, instead of customizing everything on a project level, so you can deploy everything faster, while still maintaining flexibility.
Challenges of Implementing CaaS
Separating content from its presentation presents a challenge in and of itself. There is a strong relationship between the two because a writer must know about a subject before they can write about it. An editor will still need to be able to preview the content before they can approve it. Marketers need to be able to see the entire landing page to write the best possible call to action (CTA). Copywriters need to see visuals and media that will be used to develop the right slogan.
CaaS will face a challenge because the content creator must know the context which the content will be used, to make sure it is remarkable. CaaS is all about adapting the context and providing the tools to do it. If the content is consumed as part of a service, it may have to be changed depending on context – such as the geographic location of the reader, the device it is being read on, and other elements.
When Should You Use CaaS Instead of CMS?
- When You Want More Flexibility Over the User Experience (UX): The content here is separated from the presentation and display layers, so designers can build any user experience they can dream of.
- When You’re Publishing on Multiple Channels: Having all your content in a single repository makes it easier to deploy the same content to multiple channels, like your website and apps, so you don’t have to create and maintain separate systems for each one.
- When You’re Managing Mobile Content: You’ll be able to update your app content dynamically so you don’t have to resubmit the apps to marketplaces every time you make a change.
- When You’re Working with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots: Getting your structured content provided through an API is easy to move around for use with AI and chatbots. The bots are able to consume the content via API since it’s easier to understand and more relevant than natural language and unstructured content.
Getting Started with CaaS
Any CMS can be made into a CaaS provider if you take the time to do enough coding. However, some platforms are easier to adapt than others. You can do one of two things:
- Create a web services layer into an existing CMS. If you’re not a developer, or can’t afford to hire one to handle this for you, you’ll want to use the second option.
- Opt to use a “headless”, cloud-based CMS that is native to CaaS architecture. Headless CMSs focus only on the back-end work – and don’t worry about the presentation and delivery of content. It’s essentially WordPress without the web delivery layer. That means there’s no template system, no HTML delivery, and no style and structure management.
CaaS is an Emerging Trend
Though talk of CaaS first began around 2014, it’s something that is catching on, and will continue to emerge as the internet grows and becomes even more focused on the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s not a practical solution for every business – particularly those that are just putting content out on their website, or producing a content heavy resource that doesn’t need a lot of formatting for presentation. But, for those who are running apps alongside their websites, it is a better way to handle everything.
Are you using CaaS or will you consider it in the future? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.