January 9, 2019
The Year Ahead for Digital Experience

Looking back always gives us perspective. What worked? What didn't? What areas do we need to focus on in the coming year? The process of looking back is as much a review as it is a time to get excited about what's to come.

2018 was about preparing our strategies and technology for multi-channel digital experiences. The web experience, mobile app, portal, and web-based business applications require tight alignment in terms of experience, context and content.

What will the year ahead bring us? It's a question we asked several experts. And their responses didn't disappoint.

2019 promises to be an exciting time for transformation. Improved approaches to managing and collaborating on content, new technology (like AI), improved technology (the growth of a hybrid CMS and the Cloud), and an even sharper focus on the needs of the customer.

Read on to find out what industry experts see as important for the year ahead - then decide for yourself how to incorporate these trends and strategies in your own work. 

From Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute and founder of The Content Advisory:

I see three primary trends in 2019 - all of which assume no broader, major distractions from economies, security etc.  The first is the continued meteoric rise of Artificial Intelligence within the technology stack. There will be a distinct need for marketers - and content practitioners specifically - to begin to understand where AI actually fits in the business.

The second will be the need for scale of content operations. Businesses will finally take content seriously enough to build a strategic operation around it.

And, third, is the continued rise of the importance of content marketing and first-party data in the new era of GDPR and other privacy laws and regulations that are coming online elsewhere in the world. All in all - content (and specifically building audiences) continues to be an extraordinarily important part of the new marketer's mix. 

From Deane Barker, Chief Strategy Officer, Blend Interactive:

I feel like CMS is going to begin to distribute in 2019. We're going to see the rise of "serverless" models, which are content systems organized through the coordination of multiple discrete services running in different execution contexts, bound together by remote communication. Customers might be able to subscribe to whatever combination of services that fit their model.

We've been headed in this direction ever since SaaS and PaaS models started to take advantage of grid computing architecture, and we're going to start to see "serverless-native" systems, perhaps built as ecosystems around existing headless vendors.

And from David Hillis, VP Business Development, Ingeniux:

Digital experience ownership has ebbed and flowed between IT and Marketing since the inception of the Internet. "Who owns the Web?" is an age-old question. Many organizations are successfully forging a third-path by building stand-alone digital teams with the creative and technical capabilities to execute on a roadmap and orchestrate the interplay between applications, content, channels, and customer segments. The shift to the Digital Team will accelerate in 2019.

Organizations will also continue to create senior leadership roles focused on bridging Customer and Digital Experience. Digital marketing, business applications, and customer support and service are not separate activities, they are connected steps in the customer journey and should be managed holistically, feeding customer advocacy as social proof back into the sales process and leveraging service into the central value proposition of the organization.

As organizations unify their digital teams and management; and as we see continued proliferation of digital channels - sites, apps, portals, search, bots, social, and print - the requirements for a digital content platform will shift. The reality is traditional web experience platforms are ill-suited for managing the speed, budget, and adaptability required to meet many digital projects. Moreover, the strategic forethought into content structure, reuse, metadata, and taxonomy will require retooling digital systems. A web experience management system cannot serve every site and channel, and developer-oriented headless CMS' cannot truly meet the requirements of large sites.

Enter the Hybrid CMS. Part web experience platform, part headless CMS, Hybrid CMS provides a unified content platform free to deliver content and craft customer experiences across sites, apps, portals, mobile, bots, and other customer touchpoints.

This is a long way of saying, 2019 will be the Year of the Hybrid CMS. Hybrid will be the engine for digital teams and executive leadership to meet their mandates and achieve digital success.