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Optimizely Headless SaaS CMS - Embracing Choice and Flexibility

Justin Masters

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital experience technology, adaptability and flexibility have become key for organisations seeking to stay ahead of the proverbial curve with solutions that can adapt to their evolving needs. Composability is a commonly used term within conversations, providing organisations with dynamic tooling that can be adapted to meet evolving business needs.  

Whilst Optimizely has always been adaptable, to further address the demand for composability in digital marketing technology ecosystems, they have announced that they are introducing a Software as a Service (SaaS) version of its market leading Content Management System (CMS). The push for composable solutions, headless architectures, and scalability has been a key driving force behind Optimizely's strategy in expanding their offerings. 

Meeting the demand for choice 

In October, at Optimizely’s flagship Opticon conference in San Diego, Chief Product Officer, Rupali Jain, highlighted the importance of flexibility in today's rapidly changing market. Organisations are constantly on the lookout for platforms that provide them with more choice, often led by an architectural directive seeking a headless platform to integrate seamlessly with existing or planned SaaS-based marketing technology stacks. 

Recognising this, Optimizely has introduced a Software as a Service (SaaS) version of their CMS, distinct from the existing Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering. This new iteration enables content to be developed independently from the presentation channel, ensuring a more versatile approach to content management, irrespective of the channel. 

A step beyond headless 

It’s important to note that whilst Optimizely has always been capable of delivering a headless experience, it wasn't the SaaS solution some organisations have been seeking. It’s fundamentally important to acknowledge that this new SaaS offering doesn't replace the existing PaaS platform.  

The SaaS version is not an entirely new CMS; it's a SaaS adaptation of the existing CMS with the same underlying technology platform. The capabilities remain the same, only hosted as SaaS. The existing PaaS and the new SaaS platforms will ultimately coexist. 

Optimizely are very clear there is no requirement or imperative for existing customers to migrate from one platform to the other. The move to SaaS is purely about providing customers with an architectural choice. The SaaS platform’s headless design offers total flexibility in content delivery, enabling the utilisation of various front-end frameworks and technologies. 

SaaS Core: Version-less for streamlined operations 

The SaaS version offers several advantages over Optimizely’s traditional PaaS solution. It is version-less, eliminating concerns about deployments, upgrades, and compatibility issues. The platform continuously receives the latest features and enhancements from Optimizely, guaranteeing scalability, reliability, and robust security through cloud-based infrastructure. 

Optimizely plans to launch a marketplace for the SaaS platform, where plugins and add-ons can be seamlessly installed, expanding the platform's capabilities.  

PaaS Core: The power of customisation 

Conversely, the PaaS core won’t lag behind the SaaS offering. The PaaS platform will receive the same features as the SaaS version, delivered as package bundles as they are today. However, these features will require an engineering team to apply and a deployment to the hosting infrastructure.  

For those who require extensive customisations and changes to the editor interface, PaaS remains the preferred choice. Engineers have access to the underlying code, making it possible to achieve highly specific customisations—an option not feasible with the SaaS offering, which delivers a more standardised solution. 

Visual Builder: A game changer 

One of the most exciting developments coming with the SaaS platform is the introduction of Visual Builder. This tool addresses common challenges faced by headless and SaaS-based CMS vendors, offering a user-friendly solution for content management while maintaining a real-world representation of pages making it easier to manage content effectively. Visual Builder empowers editors to create and edit content within layouts that resemble the final output through on-page editing. Furthermore, these layouts can be turned into templates for reusability, streamlining the content creation process. 

Visual Builder will support personalisation, utilising audience data from the Optimizely Data Platform, mirroring the powerful personalisation capabilities of the PaaS platform. 

The move to offer a SaaS version of their market leading CMS underlines Optimizely's commitment to empower their customers with choices while maintaining the high standards of performance, security, and flexibility they are renowned for.  

With Optimizely's introduction of the SaaS CMS and Visual Builder, the Optimizely content management landscape is being enhanced to empower organisations with more options and flexibility than ever before.  

It's an exciting journey into a future where adaptability and flexibility are key. Organisations are now able to better than ever meet the ever-evolving demands of digital marketing, paving the way for more innovative and engaging experiences for their audiences. 

We are experts in helping organisations unlock the full capability of the platform to maximise their investment in Optimizely - get in touch to explore how we can help.



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