Dortmund, Germany-based content management vendor e-Spirit recently released a Content-as-a-Service solution, FirstSpirit CaaS, to streamline content delivery across multiple channels without the need for separate integrations.

The CaaS approach offers enterprises distinct advantages: It simplifies re-use of content by separating the content from the presentation layer, it breaks down internal content silos and it speeds the time in which companies can add new channels.

Andreas Knoor, COO of e-Spirit, said this approach will make "content everywhere" publishing a reality. 

Why Content-as-a-Service Now?

E-spirit released the first stable version of its FirstSpirit web content management system (web CMS) in June 2000, a year after the company's founding.

The company designed the web CMS with a best-of-breed approach, which allows organizations to pick and choose from a variety of tools and applications available through the system, as well as integrations with external tools. The regular introduction of new nodules has kept the platform up to date, which brings us to its latest launch.

FirstSpirit CaaS aims to solve the issues that arose since the early days of web CMSs, which focused mainly on building and pushing content to websites. The introduction of new customer touchpoints in the ensuing years — channels, sites, apps, devices and more — complicated the process of publishing content and required businesses to develop separate solutions for every channel.

The company expects demand for this more agile approach to provisioning and managing content to grow as new technology develops, such as the internet of things (IoT). 

While the IoT will create security and user experience problems for enterprises, it also creates an issue with content delivery:

“Companies that rely solely on traditional content management will sooner or later find themselves unable to take advantage of the enormous business opportunity the IoT presents, or keep pace with app and smart device innovations,” Knoor said in a statement. "The result will be an inability to satisfy the needs of today’s digital consumer."

Benefits of the CaaS Model

E-Spirit identified four areas where businesses will benefit through the CaaS model:

1. Content As Revenue

It helps companies turn content into revenue through the ease of re-use and delivery. By storing content in format-neutral chunks, companies can repurpose and deliver content on new channels — including the IoT — or allow partners, resellers or third parties to pull content to their own digital stores. 

2. Customer Experience

CaaS helps create a superior customer experience by delivering content to the right person at the right time via the right channel. For example, merchants can use digital signage to extend the in-store experience to the online world.

3. Content Consistency

With the system, marketers can ensure that the most current content is being shared with customers throughout the entire company. In addition, it allows marketers to analyze content requests for each channel which gives powerful insights into how to optimize content delivery for optimum performance.

4. Operational Efficiency

The company claims CaaS increases efficiency, agility and speed to market. Marketers can deliver content quickly via any channel without needing to wait for custom integrations to be built.

FirstSpirit CaaS is also designed to integrate with other technologies on the market through REST-API.

This level of interoperability makes it easier to work with cloud-based technologies like those offered by Salesforce or Demandware.

Looking Ahead to a Content Middleware Future

“Since the technology was designed to integrate with multiple applications, it allows marketers to easily share their content via new devices, applications or news systems as they emerge. This scalable approach gives our customers a competitive advantage compared to suite vendors whose technology takes more of a one-size-fits-all approach,” Knoor said.

Knoor told CMSWire the company's future plans for the product.  

“In the next version of FirstSpirit CaaS, we will extend this approach to a kind of 'content middleware' which is optimized for digital experience scenarios,” Knoor said.

“This means that any existing content silo can be easily connected and FirstSpirit CaaS will serve as the delivery layer. Customers will also benefit by knowing that the technology will work independently from our existing content management system which helps to address interoperability challenges.”

While Knoor didn’t say when this middleware concept would become a reality he said it should be available in its final form sometime in 2017.

Title image Harli Martin