The Right CaaS Approach - Classic CMS vs. Decoupled CMS vs. Headless CMS

Content as a Service (CaaS) offers completely new possibilities in digital publishing. It forces you to think about your content in a completely different way than before.


The creation is completely separated from the delivery of the content. This means that instead of focusing only on the target group or medium, you need to focus more on the content and structure it well. Match your needs with the capabilities of the various solutions to find the most appropriate CaaS offering. The different types are compared here.

Classical or coupled CMS

At Coupled CMS (classic or coupled), frontend and backend are closely connected. This means that content such as text and digital files are both created, controlled and stored in the back end. The formatting and further processing of the content takes place on the same interface as the creation. Writing text, selecting images, and so on, is therefore always geared towards publication at a specific touchpoint.

Classic CMS are the systems that are still most frequently used. They have now been in use for almost two decades. Used for blogging, corporate website, online magazines etc. They were created at a time when Omnichannel was not yet a concept. The number of digital touchpoints was exactly one. It was all about the website. The own website and also some other channels are very well served by the classic CMS. If there are only a few channels to be operated, this CMS is certainly the cheapest alternative in terms of total costs, because you don't have to worry about additional touchpoints.

Decoupled CMS

A decoupled CMS (decoupled) on the other hand, separates the creation and storage of content and its provision into two different systems. Semantically well-structured content is available in the back end, which is then presented in the desired way by an interface in the front end - whether on a website, mobile devices or various apps. The API connects backend and frontend and processes the raw content for the different channels and devices.

Decoupled Content management systems provide templates and do not have the same limitations as a classic CMS in terms of content formats and publishing channels, as they provide all content via the API. Therefore, they are more flexible than linked ones and can deliver content faster. However, their development is sometimes quite complex and takes more time.

Headless CMS

Here too, there are separate backend and frontend systems. In Decoupled CMS, however, the presentation layer, i.e. the layer that provides the content, has certain settings and capabilities. This property is also called proactive, because in Decoupled CMS certain channels, designs and shapes have already been selected. Headless CMS, in turn, is called reactive because it delivers content in the way the user wants it. The content is not bound to a specific interface.

Here the Headless CMS even more flexible than the decoupled one. It allows the greatest flexibility in terms of formats, channels and can also send content to Internet of Things devices. The other two variants cannot do this in depth. With headless CMS, you have the greatest control over where your content appears. However, the headless CMS usually do not have a user interface. This means that you cannot test the appearance of your content and may have to invest in other solutions. Therefore, with the headless approach, you have to take care of the presentation at all touchpoints yourself.

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