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The top 5 content management trends in 2022

The top five content management trends of 2022 focus on flexibility and efficiency, as organizations face challenges related to omnichannel innovation and remote work strategies.

In 2022, CMS buyers should consider headless technology and automation, among other trends in content management.

As organizations create content for a growing set of digital channels, they can benefit from headless technology's omnichannel delivery. Also, interest in AI, automation and personalization continues, said Cheryl McKinnon, principal analyst at Forrester Research. Beyond technology, trends like tool integration can help organizations customize their content management systems (CMSes). Continued digital transformation offers the flexibility needed to thrive in a remote work environment.

Key content management trends to track in 2022 are the following:

  1. Headless technology
  2. Automation
  3. Personalization
  4. Tool integration
  5. Digital transformation

Although omnichannel demands and pandemic-related restrictions restructured the content management landscape, the following tools and strategies can help organizations succeed in uncertain times.

1. Headless technology

Organizations need flexibility in CMSes, as these systems transport content to many digital platforms, such as websites, mobile applications and digital displays. A headless CMS can improve flexibility, as it enables back-end -- the body -- content creation and storage without a fixed front-end -- the head. Headless systems use RESTful APIs to transport content, eliminating the need for multiple CMSes.

Cheryl McKinnon, principal analyst, Forrester ResearchCheryl McKinnon

Although people often associate headless technology with web content management systems, enterprise content management (ECM) systems have their own spin on this trend. ECM systems can evolve into content services, McKinnon said. Content services are like ECM systems with more flexibility, as they use APIs to integrate different apps for seamless UX, like headless CMSes.

Headless technology and content services both offer organizations flexibility, as each service uses APIs to create various digital experiences.

2. Automation

A chart that lists five trends in content management
Learn about the five top trends in content management.

AI and automation can save employees' time and automate emails, offer speech-to-text translations, extract data and more. In 2022, McKinnon said she expects to see more AI adoption as ECM vendors partner with cloud providers to offer prepackaged algorithms that business professionals and developers can deploy with little AI expertise.

"Vendors [will be] doing more packaging and pretraining of the algorithms. ... Instead of saying, 'Hey, Mr. Customer, here's 1,000 different choices you have,' ... vendors are starting to realize it's easier if they provide some prepackaged algorithms tuned to specific use cases," McKinnon said.

Organizations may struggle to build their own AI algorithms or choose which services to prioritize. So, many CMS vendors have partnered with cloud providers to offer prepackaged algorithms, or bundles of different AI services like contact center analytics, document processing and image classification.

These bundles combine AI services relevant for multiple industries, so organizations can get several services they need and easily implement them as one service bundle. This process simplifies AI implementation and gives more organizations AI and automation capabilities.

3. Personalization

Personalization can optimize UX for an organization's customers and employees. Whether a customer shops online or a journalist searches for an expert to interview, CMS personalization can help users accomplish goals and boost an organization's productivity.

In particular, interest in personalizing knowledge management with techniques like smart recommendations has grown, McKinnon said.

Smart recommendations -- AI-powered algorithms that help employees locate information, tools and contacts -- can save users time. For example, an app's smart recommendations can present a user with relevant documents and contacts based on their past activity.

In 2022, CMS buyers can expect personalization innovations in knowledge management to increase efficiency for users.

4. Tool integration

As employees increasingly rely on technology, a constant need to launch, and switch between, separate tools can thwart efficiency. To ensure employees can work seamlessly on various apps, an organization can choose a system that embeds all its tools into one interface.

"From an ECM point of view, the whole concept of ... a modern flexible platform is really so organizations can embed the best-of-breed," McKinnon said.

In the coming years, more developers may embrace an API-first approach, which lets organizations integrate tools from different vendors to improve UX. Developers can create APIs for an organization's existing systems or build new systems around APIs.

For example, an organization that wants digital process automation and reporting analytics tools in its CMS -- which ECM vendors typically lack, McKinnon said -- may purchase these tools from specialized vendors. An API-fist approach enables the organization to integrate its specialized tools into one interface in its CMS.

5. Digital transformation

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to accelerate digital transformation, and this acceleration will likely continue. At the start of the pandemic, many business leaders quickly adopted what they thought were short-term remote work strategies, which gradually became long-term.

"Many organizations have clearly said there's going to be a larger number of full-time home office workers, even after all the pandemic's worst is past us," McKinnon said.

Permanent remote work means organizations must add to or improve the digital foundations they laid in 2020 -- especially tools or tactics they used as temporary fixes. In particular, organizations may look to further digitize paper-based processes, such as switching to e-signatures, McKinnon said.

Organizations face pressures to make their content strategies flexible enough to deal with omnichannel demands and COVID-19 restrictions, and to increase productivity. Headless technology, AI, personalization, tool integration and digital transformation respond to such pressures, and CMS buyers should consider how these tools and strategies can help their organizations succeed.

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