How robots will change your CMS

Imagine a world in which a website is able to populate and update itself with little to no human oversight. While we aren’t there yet, the latest developments in generative AI when tightly integrated with content creation workflows offer a significant step in the right direction, enabling brands to scale their content quickly, easily, and with minimum input. Having recently completed a landmark project with leading digital agency Virtual Identity that sees headless CMS integrated with DALL-E for AI-generated image population, Thomas Peham, left, VP of Marketing at Storyblok, tells you everything you need to know about the future of AI and content.

Ever since ChatGPT – a natural language processing model able to generate uncannily (though not faultless) human-like responses –  launched last year, it would seem that generative AI is all that anyone can talk about. The consensus is that the pre-trained, large-scale chatbot phenomenon could be one of the most important developments in the field of AI to date and play a key role in an inevitable AI revolution.

The result is a time of radical change for the business world. Done well, generative AI could produce faster, personalised customer communications based on historical data and customer interactions around the clock. It could help businesses qualify leads and answer common queries much more quickly. In the future, it could even help generate everything from new product names to strategic proposals.

Amongst all this though, one of the most exciting developments afforded by this unfolding tech category – especially for SMEs looking to increase efficiencies and reduce costs – comes in the opportunity to transform CMS.

As we all know,  recent times have seen the emergence of a very different consumer. One that demands much more from the online experience. More than ever, it’s about hyper-personalisation and customer centricity. Brands need to be able to anticipate and address their customers’ individual needs and inspire demand.

Of course, this is no mean feat. It means businesses must work harder than ever to scale their brands. They must evolve their offering and communications to the ebb and flow of ever-changing behaviour. It also means marketers and developers must work closer together to develop a content approach which delivers the best business results.

Already, headless CMS –  where the back-end content management functionality is separate from the front-end presentation layer – has played a big role in this. Unlike traditional monolithic stacks, it allows developers to build custom front ends using any programming language or framework, while content authors– even those with the most basic skill set – can use a user-friendly interface to manage content and publish it across all channels without having to manually reformat everything for different interfaces. In this way, the evolving quota for omni-channel, localised, personalised content experiences becomes a piece of cake. It also means that CMS is no longer confined to techy developers, being so easy to do that all members of the team can access and use it ensuring better cross-team functionality.

But this is just the beginning. Beyond enabling greater ease and flexibility, applying AI can take the headless CMS to a completely new level of smart operation.

As many busy marketers and developers will know, modern content requirements can be challenging. For a brand to be taken seriously, it must produce high quality content consistently. And it can’t afford to simply create more of the same content others are already producing but must do something different. This takes time, effort and focus.

This is where generative AI comes in. With the ability to constantly process and analyse all associated variables in real-time through machine learning, the integration of AI can deliver a much more effective content operation.

At Storyblok we quickly got a taste of generative AI being applied to our platform when our partner Virtual Identity created a plugin for our CMS to enable content creators to insert images generated by DALL-E while they are working on webpages. In one fell swoop, Virtual Identity had removed both the tedious nature of searching image libraries, and the cost associated with buying stock photos. Creators could generate the most appropriate image they needed instantly, without even leaving our CMS.

The benefits of this approach are vast. Not only does this plug-in potentially enable a huge amount of cost and time saving for businesses while developing website content, it also supports creativity. DALL-E is providing imagery suggestions that the creator may never have thought of including. It also raises longevity questions for companies supplying stock images. More so, it frees up time for employees to handle more complicated tasks. Innovation of this type is contributing to modern CMSs becoming great drivers of productivity. Forrester recently found that aligning Storyblok with modern content operations could result in cost savings of $226,000 over three years due to faster content lifecycle time to market.

But that isn’t to say it’s a done deal. Much like other generative AI categories, DALL-E is trained only on pre-existing material, therefore it can only create new content that is similar to that work. This means that it cannot be impulsive or spontaneous, generate fresh ideas or invent anything.  Also, it cannot replace humankind’s capability of original thought, ingenuity and empathy in line with the wider context. That means there will also, at least for now, be a need for some level of human oversight.

Ultimately, while once a distant vision the reality is that the AI revolution is happening and it has the ability to change everything. This is especially pertinent for SMEs, offering an effective means of streamlining and optimising efficiencies amid the current downturn. However, truly unlocking this opportunity will require a delicate balancing act between robot and employee, in order to create a content journey that really is out of this world.