Our team headed to the Contentful Fast Forward London roadshow on Tuesday 29th November to catch up with partners, speak to clients, and get up to speed with the Contentful roadmap for 2023. This was the first round of live roadshows since the pandemic, and wow, was it good to be back!

From senior leadership talks to insightful panel discussions with customers and technology partners, Contentful Fast Forward was an exciting snapshot into the future of the platform, and everything that’s to come. Customers in attendance included BMW UK, Rapha, Vodafone, Danone, ITV, and Formula 1, with some fantastic thought leadership from fellow Contentful partners Splendid Unlimited, Appnovation, Accenture Song, Netlify and Commercetools.

Hot off the press came the announcement of their fall product launch, which includes three major additions to the headless content management system:

  1. Content Orchestration – bringing together content and visualising this across multiple spaces
  2. Contentful Studio – allowing you to streamline content operations into workflows that give you more time to be creative
  3. App Framework and Ecosystem – connecting new apps to your current solution offering additional capabilities with best in class technology

There were tons of learnings throughout the day, but we’ve pinned down three key takeaways to take into 2023.1.   Composable is here, and it’s here to stay

Content drives our world, and engaging your audience is priority number one for brands wanting to stay ahead. Every speaker agreed that composable is the only real way for brands to keep providing the customer-first digital experiences they demand at scale, and at every touchpoint.

On top of this, the way content can reach customers is infinite. Take voice search, SEM, webpages, or wearables, every display requires a unique layout which works best with that device. Composable architecture allows content creators to take an omnichannel approach, but worry less about where that content is displayed, freeing their creativity to tell the story.

For global brands operating in hundreds of regions, with thousands of pieces of content, a composable infrastructure makes it easier to spin new products and reuse content without having to replicate for each audience. Gone are the days when marketers sat impatiently waiting for website support tickets to be answered by overloaded devs, each new piece of content can now be uploaded without hassle, and at speed.

The overwhelming opinion amongst delegates and panelists alike, was that it’s no longer a question of whether composable is right for brands, it’s a question of how long brands are willing to stall before they get started. As Chris Bach at Netlify said, “Composable used to be about competitive advantage for businesses; now it’s more do, or die.”2.   Monolithic ecosystems are holding companies back

For brands holding onto monolithic, legacy systems, the long-term implications could be costly. The market is too fast, and brands can’t afford to be held back by unworkable technology. Composable gives businesses the ability to react quickly from where they already are and build momentum quickly.

And we couldn’t have a transformation discussion without talking about the all-too-frequent version upgrades incurred by monoliths that can often cause big problems to a business’s digital infrastructure.

Not to mention those hefty fees, just to keep the lights on (which panelists already on the composable journey agreed was one of the key reasons for making the switch to composable.) Instead, this budget is freed up to be spent in areas that provide far more value and impact to the business.

The good news is that composable can be implemented step by step. Without the big bang approach, this investment becomes much less of a risk in the eyes of your bosses. This brings us to our next takeaway.

3.   It’s not just about content management, it’s about the whole organisation

Composable is a journey, and to work, needs to involve a wider team outside of just the content leads. Instead of trying to make the business fit your technology, the tech can be built for your business.

This means breaking down silos and working more seamlessly towards a common product vision and goal. Tech and marketing teams begin to better understand the business case for each department, whilst unlocking the autonomy to do what they each need to do.

Getting buy-in from the rest of the team can be challenging but is key. Most brands have built a lot of functions on their legacy software in some way, so it’s bigger than just a re-platform and more of a shift in the way the company thinks about operations. But this is where the business will see real impact.

Teams become more agile, work together using an infrastructure that has the freedom and power to grow. Marketers open doors to new audiences and are empowered to bring more cool ideas to life.

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