Businesses have been forced to embrace the unknown. We’re all facing digital disruption, but rather than viewing it as an obstacle, we can reshape current strategies.
People expect digital experiences to be timely, meaningful, and customized to their needs even as those needs change by the second. To stay agile and connected to customers, brands must create on-demand content and services.
But what does that mean? It means the world has moved on from one-size-fits-all customer journeys and siloed, web-based content. Content proliferated, ushering a simultaneous boom in digital channels and modalities — IoT, voice, mobile, AR/VR, SMS, and so on.
Today, IT leaders must learn how to engage with customers across the various channels and interfaces. IT teams’ old systems and architecture are obsolete. As they explore the best option to unify customers’ digital experience, top analysts are encouraging them to revisit their central architecture. As a result, CIOs are now moving towards a composable architecture with composable content.
Rather than focusing on a single moment, user, or channel, the open, composable architecture of a digital experience platform (DXP) adds enhanced capabilities that empower organizations to embrace composable content in their enterprise content strategy.
What Is a Composable Content Strategy?
Digital leaders struggle to run siloed legacy technologies that deliver content on specific channels. Why? There’s no centralized architecture that brings the content together so it can be reused efficiently.
A composable content strategy has overarching governance but breaks structured content down into individual components. These components can serve a number of channels and business functions, and they can be reused across a variety of contexts.
By freeing your content from the constraints of a specific channel, interface, or technology, it’s easier for teams to use that content wherever they need it. In turn, organizations can quickly serve content to customers on their preferred channels.
Pioneering the Composable Enterprise
At Acquia, we’ve approached this problem by embracing the composability and freedom of Drupal software. The Drupal community creates a vast, open source marketplace of 40,000+ modules that enable organizations to adapt to ever-changing digital demands. It allows developers and marketers to embrace change by assembling packaged business capabilities and services into tailored, customer-centric experiences. Simply put, Drupal lets us build whatever customers need and expect — you could do this, too!
A composable enterprise content strategy will dismantle rigid business models and empower deeper collaboration across the entire organization to shape more personalized and contextual interactions with customers. The strategy offers three essential differentiators from a monolithic solution:
- Pivot: Shift in the face of uncertainty to meet customers where they are and embrace changes on any channel or interface.
- Speed: Create and deploy digital experiences quickly through open, accessible content and data elements that enable faster development and that can be reused and reassembled to meet current market needs.
- Scale: Allow companies to improve the functionality of existing applications to meet customer demands, launch new applications, and connect with other leading solutions as they emerge in the market.
A word about monolithic solutions: They’re great, but an all-in-one solution often locks customers into expensive vendor agreements that limit “composability” to their own software ecosystem (looking at you, Adobe AEM). An open, composable system is built to play nice with your existing stack. Let’s take a peek at what it looks like with Drupal.
Building Components in Drupal
Many monolithic CMS platforms leverage entire web pages as their building blocks and organize these pages within a hierarchical library of different folders. However, Drupal breaks down the basic page even further into smaller units or entities that can be applied in a variety of different ways. This composable approach to content management allows components to be reused across multiple platforms.
Drupal provides multiple types of entities with which to compose content. Here are three that are foundational.
Traditionally, nodes were understood to represent a single page on a website. The node may contain references to other entities (like images, documents, or videos) in addition to fields, which are used to store specific types of data (e.g., a link, telephone number, email address, etc). In a composable content model, nodes don’t need to be equated to pages — nodes can be used to represent a piece of content, such as a product or recipe.
Media entities represent a single type of media — images, documents (such as PDFs), videos (generally hosted externally), or other types of embedded media, such as a social media feed. These kinds of content entities are more suitable to reuse in multiple places but are limited in the type of content they can contain.
Custom Content Block Entities
Custom content block entities are the most flexible type of content entity that Drupal provides. They can be reused across multiple platforms and devices and are delivered via APIs. See what this component-based site building looks like in Acquia Site Studio:
Drupal grants developers the freedom and functionality to deploy digital experiences across multiple platforms and devices while keeping all of the data and content in a centralized location.
The ability to deconstruct experiences within Drupal into atomic, composable pieces of content allows for a more efficient editorial experience. Unlike the restrictive platforms that tie content to specific presentations, Drupal’s open, composable architecture provides the fundamental building blocks that deliver the next best experience in any context.
Building Blocks to Better Digital Experiences
The whole point of composability is being able to create content and serve it across diverse channels, formats, and contexts. As technology has progressed, customer expectations have grown, and content consumption platforms have multiplied. To compete in the modern digital landscape, a composable enterprise will lead the way by having content that’s ready to build wherever your customers want it.
Visa said it first: “It’s everywhere you want to be.”
If you want to learn more about composable content and how the composable enterprise is the future of digital experience, we’re happy to help.