Cloud Connected

5 Reasons why Cloud CMS is Totally Awesome

Cloud CMS is the only Content Management System that was built from the ground up for the needs of mobile devices and applications.  Our goal is to provide the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way for businesses to curate and deliver content to their applications, running anywhere in the world, in any language and at any time.

In the last article, I talked about the general lack of mobile strategy within the business world.  Mobile apps are so new that most businesses have had to react to get something/anything out quickly.  As a result, there are a lot silo and standalone applications out there.  There are some disadvantages to this:

  • The cost of building standalone applications is paid in full.  Ideally, the cost of building the “next” application is lower or incremental provided that you’ve utilized a good technology and content platform.

  • The correlation of marketing information from one app to the next is low.  They often have different data stores, different data models and so any data collection is highly manual and costly.  Thus, there is lower value to marketing.  And almost no real-time value.

  • There is poor content reuse between apps.  The content you build for application #1 may not be deployable to application #2.  Or, to do so would require additional integration costs (data conversions, copying, etc).

  • The back-end infrastructure and authoring tools need to be rebuilt each time.  For example, the approval process for new content needs to be replicated and reimplemented each time.

If you find yourself in this situation, then chances are that Cloud CMS is a good fit for your business.

With Cloud CMS, we give you the authoring and publishing tools you need so that you can just plug right into your existing apps and go.  Our authoring tools let you control the full content lifecycle from creation through approval and publication out to one or multiple applications or channels.

We are unique in our ability to do this.  By going back to the drawing board several years ago, we sought to build a CMS for Mobile which worked really well, kept costs low and simply got the job done.

Here are 5 reasons why Cloud CMS is totally awesome:

No Coding

With Cloud CMS, you don’t have to hire developers or write Java/C#/PHP classes to extend your platform.  Things are just easier.  You don’t have to traverse an endless number of XML files or pull your hair out trying to customize the user interface.

Alpaca Forms for jQuery

Our platform is entirely built using JSON and JSON schema for content modeling.  We use the jQuery Alpaca Forms engine so that your forms are clean,crisp and instantly adjustable by anyone.  We also provide a forms builder so that building new content types is a visual pleasure.  Drag and drop.  Click and deploy.

No Restarts

Cloud CMS lets you deploy your content without server restarts.  In fact, you don’t have to worry about servers at all.  We handle all of the IT infrastructure for you.  You just click on the “publish” button to deploy your content, your UI changes, your new content type definitions and much more.  Everything is completely dynamic.

We want you to think about your content.  Think about your end user.  Don’t waste your time suffering through the technical nightmare of legacy CMS systems.

No Schema Required

You can toss any kind of content you want into Cloud CMS.  Drag and drop it in.  Or create some JSON and plug in any properties you want.  Cloud CMS will deal with it.  It’ll index everything for full-text search and instant query.  It’ll extract text from your PDFs, images and Word documents so you can quickly find things.

No headaches.  You don’t have to worry about managing schemas.  Cloud CMS can be used in a completely painless, schema-free way.  Why?  Because we are all-in on JSON.  From the REST controllers through to the database.  We use MongoDB as our JSON data store under the hood.  So we’re lean.  Speedy.  And ideally suited for mobile.

Of course, we do have schema support.  You can elect to introduce it anytime you want.  You simply model your types, properties, constraints, validation logic and even cross-cutting aspects using JSON and JSON Schema.  You can plug in custom behaviors for your content with server-side JavaScript.  It’s all at your leisure.

In a nutshell, we don’t force you to know 100% of everything about your system up front and then penalize you when you need to make changes.  After all, there are new content sources and new schemas every day.  Yes, life moves pretty fast.

Curate and Collaborate

Last century, the main idea with Content Management Systems was to “push” content from the business out the consumers.  Well, all of that has changed.  Today, the consumers “pull” the content they want down onto their mobile devices.  They choose what apps to install, what to read, and so forth.

Oh, and they also write.  A lot.  The so-called consumer is no longer listening.  They’re talking.

In Cloud CMS, curation is the process by which content originated from outside the business is brought in, cleaned up, rejected or approved, put to use and acted upon.  Cloud CMS lets you pull in content from a variety of third-party sources including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GitHub, Vimeo, YouTube, Quora and SalesForce.

You might, for example, set up an ingestion process that queries for Tweets around a specific topic.  They get pulled in and Cloud CMS rules run on top of them, filtering for, say, a certain zip code or demographic.  Any matches are routed to your team via workflow so that you can manage the process.  You take action.  You might write to those authors, invite them to collaborate alongside you, or use their information to produce your own content that you then publish out.

Cloud CMS lets you collaborate with the world.  We turn CMS upside down and displace the assumption that those who know best are working for you.  They probably aren’t.  They’re somewhere out there.  Cloud CMS lets you collaborate with them to produce better content for a better application experience.

Publish to your Apps

Cloud CMS provides all of the infrastructure needed to power your mobile applications.  We are a fully-loaded Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) complete with pre-integrated CMS, user/group management, real-time analytics, personalization, backup/restore and much more.

As such, within the Cloud CMS authoring experience, we let you pick from the mobile applications you’ve configured and deploy to them by clicking “Publish”.  Your content is routed into delivery channels and made available to the selected mobile apps.

As those mobile applications are used, real-time information flows back into Cloud CMS to inform you of the user experience.  What content is working?  How are people experiencing your content within the applications?  What leads are being generated and how are user sessions flowing within your business, app by app?

In addition, Cloud CMS lets you connect to a variety of third-party systems including Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, Vimeo, YouTube, Quora and SalesForce.  This lets you publish your content out to where the users are.  Into the right communities and into the right audiences.

All with the click of a button.

Get Started

We invite you to visit our web site and take a look at Cloud CMS today.  Sign up for a free trial or register for our Newsletter.

Keep your eye on this space for more exciting news!

Michael

Cloud CMS and Your Mobile Strategy

Last week, a really interesting post was authored by Andrew Chen on why mobile application startups are bombing out like it was 1999.  

Andrew’s main point is that mobile startups approach the application market using a “hail mary” kind of development approach which is similar to how web sites were delivered in the late 90’s.  He also compares the investor mentality today with that of the late 90’s.

I really enjoyed Andrew’s article and also enjoyed the comments.  In particular, I was inspired by some comments by Jeff Kesselman.  

He wrote:

What we need is a return to what the early VC’s knew– that real companies with lasting value aren’t built in 9 to 12 months. That a proper runway for a new concern is 3 to 5 years of hard effort. Creating value takes resolve and commitment to a vision… something that has been undervalued in the past 5 years or so.

In short, what we need are *investors* again, not the quick-hit oriented gamblers the investment community has turned into. 

In my view, Jeff completely gets it right.  Most mobile startup companies are completely oriented toward the short-term.  They’re gambling.  They build as little as necessary, throw it out there and hope for a quick win.  They’re throwing a hail mary pass with the hopes of making a big splash on the App Store.  If nothing comes of it, oh well.  Investors chuck it out and try again.

In the spirit of Andrew’s article, I want to focus on two key differences between 1999 and today - the Gold Rush Mentality and the App Store.  These differences are such that the traditional, quick win approach to building applications is largely unprofitable.  

I’d like to then take the argument and focus it on what it means for your business, your mobile strategy and your customer experience within Cloud CMS.

What’s wrong with a Gold Rush?

Nothing.  Heck, everyone loves a gold rush.  The problem is that not every problem in business can be modeled as a gold rush.  They’re not as common as the investment world would like you to believe.

However, in the late 90’s, there was a genuine Gold Rush.  

  1. The “web” was new and businesses were rapidly buying up domain names and seeking to establish their brand in this big green space.  First come, first server.  Winner takes all.
  2. Just like in a real gold rush, everyone jumped in and bought picks, axes, wheelbarrows, etc.  And if they didn’t do that, then it was because they were the ones selling the picks, axes, wheelbarrows, etc.  In a land-grab situation like that, money becomes no obstacle.  Money was being spent.
  3. Anyone could set up a web site and start a business.  All you had to do was buy a Dell (dude!), set up your web server and plug it in to the internet.  Accessing it was free.  There was no central authority controlling whether and when your customers could get to your site.

Thus, anyone could jump in and play for cheap.  This inspires lots of competition.  Investors love this stuff.  And they were particularly high on it given that they’d just come off of wave after wave of similar gold rushes like the microelectronics industry (late 70’s), personal computers (early 80’s), the software industry (80’s, 90’s), etc.

The Gold Rush mentality allows investors to gamble.  They can take very little risk and reap some potentially very large rewards.  Kind of like throwing a hail mary pass in football.  It’s desperate, but it just might work.  If you throw hundreds of them, chances are one of them may be caught.

The App Store helps Apple Rule the World

I think a big part of the problem for mobile apps companies today is that they think they’re in the same kind of gold rush.  They’re not.

It’s deceptively similar.  After all, it’s free to download the mobile app kits from Apple or Google.  You can build apps for free and test them locally.  Also there is a huge market, expanding every day.  There are 7 billion people in the world.  So it’s kind of a land grab…

However, the problem arises when you get to the distribution model.  The App Store.  The App Store gives Apple centralized control of the distribution.  It’s a great way for Apple to make some money.  And it’s also a bad way for you to market your product.  It’s hard to differentiate your product when you’re crammed into competing for the same Top 10 list as everyone else.  

The world of 1999 didn’t have an App Store.  Anyone could go to any web site at any time.  The fact that you had a Mac computer didn’t mean you couldn’t go to a web site run by an Windows computer.  The mobile world essentially collapses down into Apple or Android.  They’re incompatible and they’ve got a lock on the distribution model.

And that’s bad for the industry.  That’s like having a Gold Rush where you had two mountains to mine.  One is called Apple and the other Android.  Only 1-5 competitors are allowed access to the mountain at a time.  And in order to get access, you have to place 1-5 in their Top 10 List.

This means that very few companies get to reap the rewards.  Most sit around waiting, trying to get on the Top 10 List.  If they do, then they get lots of downloads.  Gold Rush time!  Those that do not… well, they sit around and wait.  And wait.  And eventually they are eaten by vultures.

The Mobile Startup Space has it Wrong

The mobile startup space is nuts.  

Some of the commenters from Andrew’s article speculated there were 3-5 years left of runway before the remaining 3 billion non-mobile human beings on the planet get smart phones and can be “monetized”.  I don’t think that’s the right goal nor do I think the industry has that much time.  

Consider, for example, that the bulk of people who have discretionary income already have phones and are buying apps.  If/when the economy double dips, that discretionary income will evaporate.  And so will the revenue from app sales.  Who will want to play Angry Birds instead of feed their family? (i hope no one raises their hand)

However… none of this changes the fact that billions of people around the world will now and forever more be empowered with smart devices.  These devices are personal extensions of their human being.  Think about.  Your phone goes everywhere with you, doesn’t it?  I mean… everywhere.  Right?

And when was the last time you shared your phone with someone?

For businesses that are in it for the long haul, the fact that 7 billion people around the world have smart phones has nothing to do with the App Store or Gold Rushes.  It has to do with building closer relationships with your customers.  It has to do with connecting and fostering loyalty.  

The mobile market provides a way for you to connect with your audience.  Like never before.  Never.  It’s never been the case, ever, that you could go peer-to-peer from business to an individual customer like this.  It essentially allows you to segment your market by the individual.

Your Mobile and Digital Experience Strategy

That’s a pretty exciting future.  To achieve it, you need to stop thinking of your applications as simple, throwaway projects that people get to from the App Store.  

Forget the App Store.  

As more devices are introduced across a myriad of form factors and devices, you’re going to need to stop thinking about the individual app and start thinking about how multiple applications will work together to deliver an intuitive digital experience.

How will you build applications that follow your customers from device to device, always there for them when they need you?  How will your business shuffle data between apps, maintain sessions and provide real-time analytics to your marketing teams?  How can you make your mobile interfaces personalize in real-time around the needs of your users?

At Cloud CMS, we’re very much aligned to this vision.  Our Cloud Platform provides the ideal backend for your mobile applications and digital experiences.  We’ve worked from day one with a belief that building connectedness between businesses and their customers will require a digital experience platform.  And that’s what we deliver.

More about Cloud CMS

Cloud CMS is a scalable, feature-rich platform that empowers applications with all of the backbone capabilities needed to deliver powerful digital experiences. It lowers the cost of development, quickens the pace of deployment and delivers powerful insights into your customer behavior, needs and lead generation.

If you’re building mobile applications for iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Mobile or other devices, you might want to give Cloud CMS a try.  We also have drivers for mobile, web and HTML5 applications running on (JavaScript, jQuery, PhoneGap, Titanium, Dojo and Sencha Touch).

We offer free trials, videos and Quick Start Guides for developers.