Media Coverage

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Kentico Cloud - What’s It All About?

February 09, 2017

Are you tired of having a CMS that just doesn’t do what you want it to? Do you feel like you are just babysitting your CMS, taking care of the web servers, upgrades, hotfixes, backups, and constantly dealing with a growing list of plugins? Isn’t it frustrating when you have to rewrite your awesome code because your CMS just refuses to play nice? Are you tired of creating different versions of the same content to optimize it for various channels? Wish there was another way? Now, there is.

Kentico Cloud is the cloud-first headless CMS for digital agencies and their clients.

It’s Not Just a CMS Dropped into the Cloud

Many CMS vendors have caught onto the Cloud movement that is currently occurring. But what most do is simply to pick up their CMS and drop it into the Cloud. Sure, it works, but it lacks the elegance and agility of a truly cloud-first CMS. In fact, in 2013, we created Kentico+, which was just that—a CMS deployed in the Cloud—but we could not make it work efficiently for all users. We realized that if we wanted to provide agencies and their clients with all the benefits of the cloud, we needed to go back to the drawing board and rethink the entire CMS architecture.

Kentico Cloud is a completely new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product. By taking care of the service, it allows agencies and their clients to focus on what matters most—driving their business goals by creating truly wonderful digital experiences.

Manage All Your Content in the Cloud

Kentico Cloud works as a centralized content hub where you can produce all your structured content in one place. It provides customizable content types, taxonomy, site map, workflow, versioning, and comments—everything you need to work and collaborate on when creating your content.

Once the content is ready, you can either export it to your existing CMS (if you do not want to redesign the site) or use our content delivery API to publish the content directly on your website or in your mobile application.

Deliver Content to Any Website or Mobile Application

Kentico Cloud provides a super-fast API for developers to display the content on websites, mobile apps, IoT devices, and any other channel. It uses the headless approach, which means you have full control over your presentation layer.

As a developer, you can use our API on any platform, using any programming language, and with your favorite development tools—just the way you like it.

Provide a Personalized Experience

Kentico Cloud goes beyond content management. It allows you to personalize the content displayed to customers based on their profiles. It allows you to track customers on your website and personalize their experiences based on the data it collects. It can tell you which pages the customer visited, which forms they submitted, and what they bought. 

Unlike with traditional web analytics tools, Kentico Cloud also creates profiles of individual users with a complete history of their activities. You can then use it to personalize the content on your website or export the data to other systems.

Kentico Cloud—the Solution to Digital Agency Problems

Kentico Cloud is a set of fully integrated cloud services built from the ground up in the headless CMS architecture. As a hassle-free cloud platform that eliminates complex technology, Kentico Cloud helps agencies and their clients to be more productive while also increasing the scope of content delivery to any device or platform. Instead of wasting time looking after your CMS, put that time to greater effect and focus on delivering successful, profitable projects for your customers.

The Future Is Now

Stop babysitting your CMS and get started with Kentico Cloud now. It allows you to tackle the future of the digital landscape head on and gain a competitive advantage. From websites to virtual reality, bots to digital assistants, and augmented reality to Internet of Things devices, the possibilities are endless. Let Kentico Cloud make it easy for you—go to www.kenticocloud.com and sign up for a free trial.

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Cloud-first Headless CMS—The Game Changer for Digital Agencies

February 08, 2017

Cloud-first headless CMS in the SaaS model is clearly going to revolutionize content production and delivery to a multi-channel, multi-device generation. But, how exactly is it going to impact business, and should digital agencies be getting on the bandwagon now?

For any digital agency looking to increase the ROI of their digital initiatives, become more agile, and gain a competitive advantage through a true cloud platform, the answer is “yes, you should be getting involved now!”

1) Stop Babysitting the Technology

We all know how much effort it takes to run a traditional CMS, whether on-premise or in the cloud. You need to configure the hosting environment, install the CMS, apply hotfixes and upgrades, take care of security, and ensure proper backup protocols are in place. Just think of the countless hours you are spending only babysitting the CMS and the amount of your client's budget that is not going to the actual project. All that time could be used to deliver higher value, complete more successful projects, and increase your business’s effectiveness.

With a cloud-first headless CMS, you focus on delivering business results instead of "CMS projects" and increase the value for your clients.

2) Decrease Time to Market with Greater Agility

Digital transformation is having a huge impact on many industries, and agility is no longer a business advantage—it’s a business necessity. To make an impact in the market, businesses must launch new digital initiatives and test new ideas much faster. They need an agency that is much more flexible and will enable them to launch in a matter of weeks. With traditional CMSs, it is very common to take your static HTML prototype and convert it into the template format used by the CMS. With a headless CMS, it is much easier and faster. You can launch the static website and then start making the website dynamic step by step—begin with your content-rich blog or news section, continue with an in-depth product catalog, and top it all off by making your invaluable Contact Us page content editable.

And, to make it all even better, the cloud-first headless CMS approach provides better separation of the CMS and custom code. This enables continuous deployment and other agile development techniques that greatly help to decrease the time to implement changes to your website and even to roll them back again, if necessary.

Go live much faster with a cloud-first headless CMS.

3) Get Creative and Become Innovative

Don’t feel restricted to just a website. A cloud-first headless CMS lets you explore all kinds of new possibilities, including mobile applications, bots, virtual reality, interactive in-store displays, digital assistants, wearables, or Internet of Things. Easily combine its API with any development technology, including modern JavaScript frameworks, such as AngularJS, React, or Ember, and let your creative side shine through.

With a cloud-first headless CMS, your agency will gain so many opportunities to design innovative digital experiences that start standing out from the crowd.

4) Unrestricted Content for Unlimited Design

How often have you had to reconsider website layouts because the content didn’t fit right? Or had to consider the content layout before you even wrote it? Or worse still, had to rewrite content to fit uncompromising templates? Well, with modular content and a cloud-first headless CMS, those headaches are a thing of the past. By creating content items and assets in modular form, you can take the same content items and reuse them in any layout you want.

With a cloud-first headless CMS, modular content will save you countless hours in content creation and provide you with many layout options, ensuring your projects always meet the needs with the minimum of effort.

5) Happy Employees Are Loyal Employees

Traditional CMSs are built on one specific development platform. That means that, as an agency, you need to have developers that know a specific programming language and how to develop in your CMS of choice. Trying to find such a person could be as difficult as finding a unicorn, and if you can’t find them, you’re stuck trying to train them to become productive.

Here is the real beauty of a cloud-first headless CMS—your developers can use any development platform. By utilizing their favorite tools and development and deployment processes to develop standard applications rather than CMS-specific templates, your developers will be productive and efficient from the very beginning. And not having to rely on a particular technology or having to train your developers from scratch means you can easily move developers across projects. Stop thinking "I only have .NET projects for the next month, what do I do with all my PHP developers?" Instead, let them use their PHP skills for the project and utilize a cloud-first headless CMS.

Additionally, your more experienced developers will probably tell you that they hate CMS projects. They want to write the code their way. Cloud-first headless CMS lets them do that.

With a cloud-first headless CMS, your team is happier, it is much easier to hire new developers, and you can build your business around dedicated professionals because of the increased employee retention. 

6) Increased Profits and Productivity—the Real Advantage

Every digital agency wants to increase their productivity and ultimately their profit margin. With a cloud-first headless CMS, you can achieve exactly that with:

Quicker implementation and deployment—using a cloud-first headless CMS is easy and results in shorter implementation times. Additionally, deployment and configuration of the CMS are much quicker because it's provided as a cloud service.

Consistently successful projects—with a cloud-first headless CMS, you have more control over the whole solution. Your developers won't waste time trying to figure out something that is impossible, making sure the precious project budget is not thrown away.

Low-margin upgrade projects are a thing of the past—you’ve probably experienced many times clients not being interested in investing into upgrade projects. They are time consuming and are barely profitable for the agency. With a cloud-first headless CMS, the upgrades are performed by the service provider, meaning you concentrate on implementing new, profitable projects.

Enjoy working on profitable and more successful projects.

Don't Wait for Your Competitors to Try This First!

The cloud-first CMS wave is coming, and the ones that jump on it first will gain the competitive advantage! Try Kentico Cloud for yourself and see why you should be thinking about a cloud and headless approach for your next project!

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Dealing with traffic spikes to avoid website downtime

February 08, 2017

In the world of technology start-ups in Asia, many things can lead to sudden spikes in traffic, including breaking world news or new releases of hotly-anticipated products. Any of these scenarios can cause your steady stream of website traffic to morph into an unmanageable torrent that slows your site down to a crawl, or, even worse, causes it to stop functioning altogether. So what kind of measures can you take to prevent this situation from occurring?

Clouding the issue

Today, cloud technology is no longer something that only technical people understand—the cloud is something that is a normal part of how most businesses deploy their sites and is highly attractive due to its scalability. Cloud technology is invaluable for startups that may anticipate surges in traffic as it is easily scaled up, or down.

For instance, when any spikes in traffic dissipate, the cloud shrinks the environment to remove that extra server so that you are no longer paying for it. So the best way for people to prepare for this is to take advantage of the cloud’s elastic infrastructure and, based on simple rules, it is able to expand or shrink the number of servers that are running your application accordingly.

A step-by-step guide to setting up a scalable environment

1. Key metrics

You need to consider the key metrics you should use to understand what is going on in your environment. You have to know what the red flags are. Noticing that the site is not responding is too late! It is necessary to know what precedes that breakdown of the system. Typically it is: constantly high CPU utilization, the servers’ disks are too busy, or too much operating memory is being consumed.

It could also be the length of the queue of page requests sitting idle waiting for processing, and if the queue is getting longer, it means that something is going wrong. It could be that the server is too slow to handle all those requests. So you should be able to identify that there is a problem with your environment.

2. Expectations

Estimate what your realistic expectations are. Do you usually have 100,000 users a day? Based on historical performance, as soon as you run a campaign through a certain channel, you can expect two or three times more traffic. What triggers those spikes? What is typically the highest amount you need to be able to handle? You need to load test that this environment, based on your estimation, would be able to handle this peak scenario you know happened in the past.

Online tools like Load Impact can help with distributed load testing. You need to set up a baseline, which is what your environment is able to handle under normal circumstances, and your new web farm environment needs to able to handle it.

3. Calculate

To ensure you are properly prepared for possible traffic spikes, it is essential to make some calculations. For instance, if you are currently running on two servers and they can handle 50,000 page views/hour, using simple mathematics, you can work out that one server = 25,000 page views/hour. So if you need to handle 100,000 page views/hour, you need four servers. Be aware, though, the relation between the number of servers and number of page views, in this case, is not always linear.

According to this calculation, you set up what you estimate as being sufficient to handle the expected peak and you load test and stress test the environment. This means that you do not have to reach the highest peak only, you need to go above it.

You need to keep pushing the architecture and extending it until you can handle whatever expected level you have set, plus, a certain buffer zone.  15–20% more than what is expected can be considered safe. And if it is not sufficient, you need to add another server and test it again until you get to the point where you know the environment can handle it.

Startups in Asia need to be aware that there is no point in developing a game-changing solution if no-one can access it online due to your website not functioning as it should. Ensuring that your business is adequately prepared to deal with sudden surges of traffic to your website and operating in a scalable manner will deliver high levels of customer satisfaction and help preserve your business’s reputation both today and in the future.

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Hidden Engine

February 08, 2017

Skrytý motor – V Brně sídlí firma, která pohání web rumového království Bacardi nebo Sony. Jak se dělá z Brna globální byznys? To vám řekne majitel firmy Kentico Petr Palas.

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Cloud-First Headless CMS: What It Is and Why You Should Use It

February 07, 2017

Through the years, CMS products have generally been built as a coupled CMS. This architecture includes everything in a single application: the content repository, the back-end UI for editors, the templating system, and all your custom code. It’s a popular approach because it requires only a single environment, and is easy to set up and manage.

Coupled Architecture Has Its Issues

In the coupled architecture, the CMS code is tightly connected with your templates and custom code. Because of this, both your code and the CMS code need to be maintained at all times (during installation, with upgrades and hotfixes, during code versioning, with continuous deployment, and so on). And, you need to be aware that the CMS code is exposed on the public server. This increases security risks, while the load on your website impacts the performance of your content management back end, and vice versa.

Better Separation of Concerns with Decoupled CMS

A decoupled architecture has been introduced by some vendors to iron out the limitations experienced with a coupled CMS. This architecture is based around two environments—the content management environment, usually protected by a firewall, where you make your changes, and a content delivery environment, with which you synchronize the content. With the decoupled architecture, you get better security, much better separation of your custom code, and easier scalability.

But It’s Not the Ultimate Solution

Despite the advantages of the decoupled architecture, it still does not solve all the issues. It still consists of multiple environments that need to be managed, which increases the costs of infrastructure, maintenance, and software licenses. And, there are always potential issues with having to synchronize content, especially if your website allows members to contribute their own content.

Headless CMS—the Solution for the Multi-channel World

CMSs were originally built for websites and, therefore, provide content in the form of a page. But websites and pages are no longer the only digital medium that content is created for. In the last 10 years, we have started consuming ever-increasing amounts of content through mobile applications. And the new advancements in VR, bots, digital assistants, and Internet of Things have made it even more complex with the possibility of displaying content on multiple devices and via many different formats. How we manage and publish content requires an entirely new approach. An approach that requires us to think of content as a set of components that can be pulled together from a single content repository and displayed in the ways native to the channel and device they are consumed on. The traditional page content model will not suffice anymore.

The answer is headless CMS and component content modelling. By eliminating the front-end, the presentation layer is much more flexible, only needing its API to deliver the content. Also, a good headless CMS empowers users with the tools to model structured content effectively using modules or components that can be displayed as a web page on a traditional website or content elements on a mobile application, or presented in a completely different way when displayed on an in-store kiosk. A combination of delivery and content modelling is what makes headless CMS the ultimate solution for the multichannel world we live in.

Why Is Headless CMS Architecture Better?

It’s a new architecture and approach for some people. But here are some of the benefits that the headless CMS architecture brings:

Multi-channel and multi-device content use is easy with the API.

You are not restricted by programming language, tools, or development processes when creating your websites or mobile apps.

You are in control without any worries about the CMS code.

Security and scalability are vastly superior.

When learning about headless CMS, it is also important to know that some people use the term API-first CMS. It is intended to indicate that the CMS was built with an API approach in mind, rather than a traditional CMS that just added an API layer and then claimed to support the headless approach.

Cloud-first Headless CMS: It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This

The headless CMS approach does, of course, work with on-premise CMSs, but you will find the biggest advantages when you use it in the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. In fact, it was the headless approach that enabled CMS vendors to provide content management as a true multi-tenant SaaS service.

The cloud-first approach means building the CMS from scratch with the cloud in mind from the very beginning and not just an afterthought like with many traditional CMSs. The cloud-first headless CMS merges the best of headless with the benefits of the cloud. The cloud-first headless CMS approach lets you focus on your website or mobile app while the CMS vendor takes care of everything else, such as the underlying infrastructure, databases, and content delivery network, the installation, upgrades, hotfixes, backup, availability, performance, and security. You still have some work to do, but you don’t need to worry about the CMS code in your environment. It is much easier to secure your code, and the main workload is taken by the cloud CMS, meaning you can handle high traffic levels, even with a modest web server configuration.

Headless CMS Fits Most Scenarios

Headless CMS offers many benefits, and there are very few reasons or situations in which not to use it:

A simple website based on a stock template with little custom design—website builders such as Wix or Squarespace may be a better option.

You need to get your website operational quickly with off-the-shelf functionality.

Content editors want to use the page-oriented approach, or want to customize page layouts by themselves.

Your website and content repositories are highly regulated and strict rules and laws dictate that cloud storage is not permitted.

You prefer a robust, all-in-one solution that provides content management, marketing automation, e-commerce, online marketing, and many other features rather than building your solution using multiple services.

For almost everything else, headless CMS is the clear option. That's why we created Kentico Cloud, the cloud-first headless CMS for digital agencies and their clients. Try it for yourself and see why you should be thinking about a cloud and headless approach for your next project!

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Cloud-first CMS Is Not Just a CMS in the Cloud

February 06, 2017

Content Management Systems have seen some huge changes recently to allow for advancements in technology. The development and continued improvements of various devices like smartphones, smartwatches, Internet of Things devices, virtual reality, augmented reality, and any other content displaying devices mean that the need for on-demand content is growing at a phenomenal rate. How do you do it?

Content Management Systems

A typical CMS allows you to create and store content, be it text, image, video, or more, and display that content on a website, even with limited web programming knowledge. These CMSs were built for on-premise deployment and work fantastically. But, the need for higher scalability and agility has led people to start looking at deploying their CMS to the cloud. It is not unusual for many CMS platform providers just to take their CMS and deploy it to cloud hosting services like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. In fact, back in 2011, Kentico was the first CMS certified for Microsoft Azure, while in 2013, we launched the first .NET-based digital experience platform provided as a cloud service. But we had to discontinue the service a year later. Why? Because our customers rightly expected that we would run and maintain everything, but we just couldn’t meet their needs.

Although Kentico CMS worked in the cloud, it wasn’t specifically designed to do so. It wasn’t a true cloud service. The problem was that we needed to manage each installation manually, which we just couldn’t do. We couldn’t facilitate thousands of customers because we just didn’t have enough people to do it. And even if we did, the customers expected a flexible and self-sufficient environment, which this was not. We aimed for Software as a Service (SaaS) but ended up just providing managed hosting.

Time to Rethink the Whole Service

It was clear that running Kentico CMS in the cloud just wasn’t going to work as we wanted. We had to figure out what the biggest obstacles were and how we could get past them. We realized that before you could ever start working on your website within a traditional CMS, whether on-premise or in the cloud, you had to…

Configure a web server.

Install the CMS.

Take care of hotfixes, upgrades, backup, security, and performance.

It is a headache that people just don’t want.

Managed Hosting Is Not the Answer

In the search for answers to your CMS headaches, you might find many CMS vendors that will tell you they offer a CMS in the cloud and will take care of all the maintenance for you. Your first reaction is probably "Wow, they just take care of everything for us!" But is it going to give you the flexibility you need? More than likely, not. Whenever the code changes, you will normally have to ask the vendor to deploy the changes to your production environment. 

Platform as a Service: Closer, but Not Close Enough

The next concept is to provide a CMS as Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS offerings, unlike managed hosting, provide a much better self-service option for configuration and deployment through highly automated environments. But this model comes with many limitations as a result of standardized configurations:

Some plugins may not be available.

Certain customization options don’t work.

You have limited control over the hosting environment.

You need to continue to test your website after upgrades and hotfixes to ensure it is working correctly.

It means that PaaS still misses the elegance and efficiency you would expect from a true cloud service.

What about the Software as a Service (SaaS) model?

So you have probably heard of "SaaS CMSs" such as Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress.com. The problem is that these website builders offer limited flexibility in design, and you won't be able to run any custom code. They really are a great choice for a template-based site for a simple mom-and-pop store, but will fall very short on delivering a custom-built website.

Cloud-first Headless CMS—the Answer You’ve All Been Searching For

Finally, a model combining the benefits of SaaS with the presentation-layer flexibility you’ve been dying for—a cloud-first CMS utilizing the headless architecture. 

A “cloud-first CMS” is built from scratch with the cloud in mind. Run as a true multi-tenant SaaS CMS, all customers use the same version of the CMS while the vendor only needs to manage one uniform environment. This small detail makes all the difference in efficiency for both the vendor and the clients.

Add to that the headless architecture, which separates the concerns of the vendor (running the CMS) from those of the client (the development of websites and mobile apps that consume content) and you get the possibility of simply using an API to display the content anywhere you want. 

In the fast-paced, multi-channel world of today, the cloud-first headless CMS is the best option for creating websites and managing content for a multitude of devices and platforms. That's why we created Kentico Cloud, the cloud-first headless CMS for digital agencies and their clients. Try it for yourself to see why you should be thinking about cloud and the headless approach for your next project!

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