AI is changing Content Management Systems
At their core, content management systems have always been tools focused on creating and publishing content. Users log in, add content, and publish it. However, there have been significant advancements over the years in the underlying tech of CMSs. Most recently, the rise of headless CMSs set off a firework of innovations. Now AI comes into the game and will give new impulses to the CMS market again, that's for sure.
"AI is a game changer for Marketers and Content Creators. But in the end, it comes down to how well companies understand how to integrate AI with their existing data and workflows to achieve results that stand out." Timo Mayer, Executive Board Member at Virtual Identity
Content management systems, as the name suggests, have two main purposes :
To provide the best possible support for the (collaborative) creation and compilation of content.
To support the content governance process with flexible workflows, roles, authorizations, and automation.
Both areas are ideal for the use of AI. Generative AI systems show their strengths in the area of content creation. General and deep learning AI systems can bring their strengths to bear in the recognition, optimization, and automatic execution of previously manual processes.
It is therefore quite safe to predict that content management systems will undergo a profound change and innovation cycle in the coming years.
But how exactly will it impact the CMS market? What will a modern CMS look like in 5 years? As CTO, how can I ensure that I am backing the right horse (CMS) now, without knowing which system will solve the challenges of the future best, and how can I prepare my company and my CMS landscape for these challenges from a technical perspective?
A glimpse of a possible future
Content creation and compilation
According to Timo Mayer of Virtual Identity, AI will play a central role in the creation of content in CMS in the future: “AI algorithms will be able to generate high-quality, original content based on given parameters or topics. This means that your content teams will no longer write complete content, but simply feed the system, or more precisely the AI, with parameters as to what content should be generated. Even the decision as to which topics are relevant for your target group can and will most likely be taken over by an AI in the future. This new type of "fast content" or even "instant content" opens up completely new possibilities.”
In the past, content personalization failed in most cases not because of technical limitations, but because of the content that would have had to be produced by editors. This challenge no longer exists with AI-generated content, which makes personalisation and even hyper-personalisation of content possible. Live generation of new content is made possible by "instant content".
If a user searches for content on a website, this no longer has to end in an empty search result if the content does not exist. A corresponding AI can generate this live and personalized information for the requesting user. All of this will lead to a further exponential increase in the mass of content that we are already confronted with every day, and yet, it sounds almost paradoxical; it will be essential to utilize these possibilities to remain relevant to your content in the future.
Content editors spend most of their time not creating the content itself but selecting the right content types and arranging and compiling it correctly on the page. In the future, this often time-consuming task can be done by an AI that lays out the available content and presents it in the best possible way. Combined with fast content and hyper-personalisation, this opens up previously unimaginable possibilities. Not only can content be hyper-personalized and generated instantly, it can also be automatically adapted to the respective user and their needs in terms of its form of presentation.
In addition, content creation will be further strengthened with:
Real-time SEO optimization: we can imagine that in the not-so-distant future, CMS will be capable of analyzing content while it’s being written and making suggestions for better SEO in real-time. AI tools are already capable of analyzing text, so it should not be too long until they can check the SEO score of certain words and phrases and scan competing content to suggest improvements.
Content gap identification: what if your CMS could suggest the themes and topics that are not sufficiently addressed online and that your audiences want to read about? Sure, there is a lot of content available online, but there are also many gaps. Analyzing the various comment sections of existing content is an unbeatable way to get pointers about what's missing and what questions need to be answered with fresh content production.
Accessibility and inclusivity generalization: AI will become increasingly performant in identifying accessibility issues, ensuring creators produce content accessible for all users, including those with disabilities.
Sharper analysis tools: CMS analytics will progress and become more sophisticated. Analyzing customer behavior and local and cultural preferences will fine-tune segmentation and personalization capabilities, making them more reliable.
Content governance process
The entire content governance and management process, the centerpiece of any content management system, will also undergo substantial changes and shifts in meaning.
Triggered by the previously described point that a CMS will, in the future, contain much less finished content written manually by editors, the governance processes will also have to be adapted to this new situation. Manual approval of "instant content" doesn’t make much sense. When manual proofreading and content approval are no longer possible, other ways are needed to ensure that the content adheres to company and governmental regulations.
An AI, fed with these regulations can step in again and either change content based on specific rules or create original content which already adheres to them. The pharma industry is a highly regulated sector. Today, contents are extensively adapted to the regulations of the respective countries or written individually for each country the company operates. In the future, an AI with a previously stored set of rules will be able to do these adaptations or create the content directly with these specifications and, in the same step - because that's already a no-brainer today - use AI capabilities to translate the content to any language.
Other common CMS support services, such as recognizing duplicate content, optimizing your content for SEO, etc. will become increasingly unimportant the more content is no longer created by humans, because AI can directly optimize content for SEO and implement it without redundancy to existing content.
Just as humans will probably only enter keywords into the CMS when creating content in the future, from which the AI will create the final content, the governance processes will be similar, humans will define rules and set specifications that must be adhered to - the AI will take care of the rest.
Technical challenges coming with the AI change & and patterns how to mitigate them
In most corporate IT ecosystems, the content management system is relatively isolated. Of course, there is often a connection to the eCommerce or CRM system, but in many companies that's it. This is partly because many CMS systems in the past were not designed to exchange data with many systems, and also because the marketing and sales systems and departments in many companies are separate from those of the core business.
If, however, the human being as the creator of professional content continues to fade into the background, it will be important that the AI that replaces, or perhaps initially supports them, knows just as much about their own company, its products, its history, and its corporate culture as a content editor in the marketing team, to be able to create authentic content. For this - as is always the case with AI systems - data is by far the most important thing, especially the data that makes your own company unique. To prepare for a CMS-AI future in the best possible way, it is already important today to get the CMS out of the corner of isolation, to choose a CMS that enables an open architecture, interfaces and connections to as many other systems as possible.
But this is where the next challenges arise. From a security point of view, a CMS system in most companies has so far only contained fairly non-critical data, such as marketing content, which is intended for publication anyway. If the CMS now needs to have access to increasingly sensitive data to make it available to the CMS AI, the security requirements and classifications for the CMS system and, of course, for the AI used increase. A high standard in this area should therefore be a critical factor in the selection of the future CMS.
How to prepare for an unknown and rapidly changing (CMS) future?
This is one scenario and only a few of many cases where AI might have a significant impact on how CMS evolution will look. And while no one can predict exactly how CMS systems will look like in 5 years, it is pretty safe to say that they'll look drastically different than today. The CMS market will develop and change even faster in the next few years than it has already done in the last 5 years, thanks to the rise of a new generation of (headless) CMS.
Enabling the production of more relevant content, delivering better targeting with a more focused identification of audiences, and making better business decisions are some of the tasks that will be increasingly assisted by AI.
Companies can no longer afford to ignore their investments in technologies like AI-CMS. But how to choose the CMS that will be at the forefront of AI innovation?
In the words of Timo Mayer, there are 3 important criteria, that prepare a CMS best for incorporating AI innovations fast:
The CMS offers a highly flexible and secure data model and can easily interact with other data and systems via an API and webhooks.
The CMS strictly separates layout and data from each other (headless)
The vendor understands its CMS as part of an ecosystem and does not try to build every functionality in their own product.
Content Management Systems that fulfill these 3 criteria today might be a good bet and well-prepared for a shiny AI-CMS future.
It’s inevitable: AI will change how we work with CMSs in the coming years.
AI is reshaping content management systems (CMS) by enabling rapid and personalized content creation and enhancing governance processes.
Choosing a CMS with open architecture, a headless approach, and a focus on ecosystem integration is crucial for preparing for the AI-driven CMS future.