How Contentful Drives Digital Transformation

Thought Leadership

By Felipe Silberstein | March 14, 2022
Contentful's logo is at the center of a glass roof in a building.

Digital transformation has changed the way we think, work, and operate. People are heading online to connect with brands, make purchases, and discover services more than ever before.

Behind every one of these brands with an online presence is a carefully curated tech stack. Companies need a robust foundation that provides enough agility to keep up with the pace of digital transformation. Using a composable content platform like Contentful is a great way to take advantage of future-oriented technologies, integrating them into one hub where you can manage content and experiences.

Let’s take a look at the gears behind digital transformation and what technologies provide the capabilities best suited to continuous change.

What is digital transformation?

Back in 2018, McKinsey stated that companies must take immediate action in order to overcome the digital challenges presented in the future. They talked about the reality that digital transformation will only continue to accelerate as consumer preferences change, the B2B marketplace will continue to get more saturated, and the bulk of customer interactions will continue to happen online.

B2B organizations that have successfully embraced digital transformation saw revenue growth five times that of their competitors. The reason is simple: 94% of B2B customers head online. It’s expected that 75% of all B2B transactions will happen online within the next five years.

These trends existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the pandemic shifting everything online in 2019, these trends accelerated. McKinsey found that mobile ordering increased by 250%, and B2B companies that deliver the best digital experiences are twice as likely to be selected by customers as top suppliers.

The underlying insight here is that companies who embrace digital transformation outperform those who don’t. But it’s not an easy thing to do, and companies who want to stay as market leaders need partners to help them navigate the process.

Challenges in approaching digital transformation

Embracing digital transformation poses unique challenges for every company. Here are a few common challenges and questions we observe among companies looking to implement large-scale change across their organization:

  • Implementation. Implementation is one of the first challenges an organization faces. Companies must maintain clear communication across all teams on the goals and updated workflows, and clearly establish priorities for what will drive the transformation.

  • Finding a knowledgeable guide. Choosing the partners to assist and drive your organization’s digital transformation is key. You need to select someone with business experience who can help you avoid common pitfalls and inefficiencies.

  • Goal setting. Using KPIs to measure your results is important, as implementation and iteration are challenging. Digital transformation is often continuous, so stay focused on your north star as you navigate and iterate on changes.

Contentful supports digital transformation

Contentful is a headless content platform that helps teams develop and deliver new experiences faster. It enables companies to launch new digital products, provide personalized digital experiences, and optimize all digital touchpoints from a central platform that can grow with your business.

To understand the power of a tool like Contentful, it can be helpful to look at the setup of the more traditional, legacy platforms that have been in place for some time.

Traditional CMS platforms have been around since the early days of web development. These monolithic platforms were designed to store and show basic content elements such as text, images, and video on a website. The challenge with these platforms is that everything is wrapped into the same box, from the site content and HTML and CSS codes to integrations. As a result, this makes it much more difficult to dynamically update and reuse the content since all the parts of the system have interdependent relationships — if you update one, another part is immediately affected.

With the rise of omnichannel marketing and an expanding array of device types to design for, brands need to optimize their content to provide a great experience across many touchpoints. Many companies need to switch to more flexible solutions that put the customer first and dynamically deliver content across all touchpoints. With a traditional monolithic platform, it is impossible to deliver the same content across all of these digital platforms.

On the other hand, Contentful is designed with these needs in mind. By definition, it is a headless content platform. Meaning, the front-end of your site is separate from the back-end of your site. All content is delivered via APIs so that they can be viewed seamlessly across multiple devices.

This provides three main benefits:

1. Facilitates team collaboration

Contentful enables you to avoid the slow approach of the waterfall development process. This traditional approach typically involves bottlenecks as the methodology was not designed for the high volume and frequency of content changes involved in modern eCommerce businesses.

In contrast, Contentful provides an agile framework that enables teams to work in parallel without slowing down each other’s work. Teams are still connected and work collaboratively, but in a workflow where both development and design teams can create, publish, and maintain code and content. Some refer to this workflow as the ‘content experience operation.’ This approach results in close-knit workgroups that can move fast and produce quality work on a large scale.

2. Unified data

A headless content platform eliminates the need to duplicate and modify content independently on different platforms. All your content is unified in a single, centralized hub that facilitates editing. For example, the content changes you make on one part of your site will automatically be pushed to other parts of your tech ecosystem, wherever that modular content ‘instance’ is found. Data unification improves consistency across the information shared, as well as your brand look and feel.

3. Highly accessible and reusable content

Content stored in a headless platform does not require static formatting rules. This means what you create on the back-end and how the presentation appears on the front-end are decoupled, giving you a ton of flexibility in how you use the content. Also, because all your content blocks are stored in one central hub and can be repurposed throughout your ecosystem, this makes content management very nimble. You can take advantage of all past components you’ve created and reuse them for future builds for a great level of consistency throughout your digital ecosystem.

At Apply Digital, we enjoy using platforms like Contentful to help our clients evolve their digital ecosystems. If you would like help navigating the next stage of your digital transformation, reach out to someone on our team today, and we’d be happy to discuss how we can help.