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What is a CCMS, and is it worth the investment?

If you’re reading this post, you’ve been hearing about — or have at least heard of — a component content management system, or CCMS. 

You’re probably dealing with increasing amounts of customer-facing content and localization requirements, and you’re wondering if a CCMS could help. Almost all of our projects involve CCMSs and scaling content operations to address these challenges.

Before we define a CCMS, let’s start with a regular ol’ content management system, or CMS.

What is a CMS? 

A content management system lets you store and organize information. Typically, a CMS stores documents (for print) or pages (for web). WordPress is an example of a CMS.

When you author content in a CMS, you’re creating the document as a whole. Using our WordPress example, when you create a new landing page in WordPress, you can write the page content and design the layout directly in the software. Then, that page is stored in WordPress as a whole unit.  

What is a CCMS? 

A component content management system, or CCMS, is a type of CMS. Instead of storing documents or pages, a CCMS stores and manages smaller building blocks of content, such as topics, paragraphs, or even phrases. So, a CCMS is for the components that make up documents. 

When you author new content in a CCMS, you piece components together to build your documents. The small content chunks give you the ability to easily rearrange, update, and reuse information. 

Do I need a CMS and a CCMS?

Since a CMS and CCMS manage content at different levels, it really depends on your content needs. Most organizations use both a CMS and a CCMS.

The CMS is often a front-end presentational system where you can create and publish complete content projects from start to finish. When your end users read a white paper or check out a page on your website, they are probably interacting with your CMS. 

The CCMS is often a back-end content authoring and management system. 

“A CCMS (component content management system) is different from a CMS (content management system). You need a CCMS to manage chunks of information, such as reusable warnings, topics, or other small bits of information that are then assembled into larger documents. A CMS is for managing the results, like white papers, user manuals, and other documents.” Sarah O’Keefe, Buyer’s guide to CCMS evaluation and selection

Here’s what the typical relationship of a CMS and a CCMS looks like:

Graphic showing a blue system icon with text "CCMS" underneath, a grey arrow with "Assemble/render" pointing to the next yellow system icon with "CMS" underneath, next to another grey arrow with text "Deliver" underneath, pointing to website icon with text "website" underneath.                                                                           

Why is a CCMS important? 

A CCMS is the backbone of efficient content operations. Managing components lets you reuse information in smaller chunks, which makes your content development process much more efficient.

A CCMS is the backbone of efficient content operations. Managing components lets you reuse information in smaller chunks, which makes your content development process much more efficient.

Additionally, you can:

  • Label content with metadata
  • Track revision status
  • Manage multiple versions of the same piece of content
  • Publish to multiple output formats automatically

You get the benefits of reusing the essential (and expensive) content assets you’ve invested in without the pitfalls of short-term solutions, such as copy & pasting content from one document to another. Last and certainly not least, your content processes are optimized for scalability.

A CCMS separates content and formatting. For marketers (like me!), this can take some getting used to, but the rewards of efficient content ops are worth it.

What are the benefits of using a CCMS?  

The primary benefit of a CCMS environment is the ability to produce and revise content quickly, accurately, and flexibly. In other words, like any well-optimized system, it lets you work smarter, not harder. (Can you see why we love it?) 

With a CCMS, your organization gains several competitive advantages, including: 

  • A scalable content lifecycle
  • Future-proof content investments
  • Fast and accurate content revisions 
  • Reusable centralized, organized, and single-sourced content
  • Synchronized publishing across multiple delivery platforms
  • Faster time-to-market and decreased cost for localized content
  • Efficient review workflow, which reduces authoring and rework costs 
  • Tools for integrating and managing complex workflows

These benefits of a CCMS are game-changing for any organization as long as your CCMS is properly implemented. We provide a clear, focused strategy for implementing your CCMS and custom CCMS training for your authors, so they learn how to create content in their specific environment. 

Which CCMS is right for you? 

Choosing a CCMS is a complex decision with many—often conflicting—requirements. You’ll want to consider your business goals, your content needs, obstacles, and requirements, your desired features and functionality, and more.

Our team of experts has been matching companies with the vendors and tools that best fit their needs since 1997. We don’t accept referral fees from CCMS vendors, so we can help you find the best fit for your situation.

If you’re looking for the right CCMS, contact our team to get an expert perspective on what’s best for you.

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