The Universal CMS - A Market Paradigm Shift?

I've been fortunate enough to work in the marketing technology industry for nearly a quarter of a century. I have seen my fair share of content management platforms during my tenure - I've made my own, maintained agency-owned platforms, and built and led teams across multiple enterprise platforms. For the past ten years, I've represented Crownpeak as an architect and product go-to-market strategist.

What's interested, intrigued, and puzzled me the most during my time in the industry has been the various waves of content management vendor categories and how they've risen, plateaued, fallen, and, in some cases, risen again – and how that hasn't always aligned to the reason they exist in the first place – to make a technical task simple for a non-technical user. Simply put, content management exists to make life easy for content authors, practitioners, or marketers to strike and maintain a one-to-one conversation with their customers.

A few posts I've recently written around the various categories of content management platforms we see in the market today discuss how each answers different challenges for the organisation in different ways. Some solve productivity challenges for marketers better than others, while some solve technical integration and stack creation challenges for technologists in ways that others can't. When selecting a content management vendor, often it's a toss-up of capabilities, and often, the organisation ends up with a platform that is the lesser of a few evils rather than genuinely suited to their needs.

However, a recent series of posts and articles from Preston So around the "Universal CMS" idea excited me. Preston talks about content management architecture equally suited to marketers and technologists. It perfectly intersects the needs of the marketer and developer, right in the sweet spot between developer and editorial manipulability.

The Universal CMS: Market bifurcation diagram

The Universal CMS: Market bifurcation. Preston So. https://preston.so/writing/universal-cms-the-death-of-pure-headless-cms

You see, I've gotten excited because I've been talking about Crownpeak's properties as a Static Hybrid(-Headless) CMS and how it fits beautifully between the marker and developer to solve business challenges for each, equally – in a very similar way to what Preston is describing – the "sweet spot".

As a reminder, the properties of the Static Hybrid CMS allow marketers to use visually simple yet powerful editorial tools for every channel while allowing technologists to deliver content using any technology to any location…and a content API, too.

Of course, to make this architecture practical for today's marketer, a content management platform must have a user interface extension to connect a powerful editorial experience to a modern front-end framework – and, in Preston and dotCMS' case, this is the Universal Visual Editor. For Crownpeak, the Omni-Channel Manager. These two compelling features might just change the narrative for global organisations needing an honest answer to a modern take on content management architecture.

I will continue to watch Preston's work with interest over the coming months, as I suspect he might have just found a name for something we've both been thinking and talking about for a while.

I doubt this will be the last time I discuss this topic!