Image of a spring field of dandelionsand hill under a large oak tree, with a bright sun peeking through. A small town can be seen in the distance. The CMS Critic Monthly Recap text and logo floats over the image at the center.

The month of May is a wrap, and it was in full bloom with events – both live and virtual. In the last 30 days, we saw a bevy of industry meetings, product user groups, and lively sessions that seemed to coordinate around the same four-week period.

Talk about spring conference fever. 

In the mele, there were two that really stood out for our staff. The first was Netlify's Headless Commerce Summit, where e-Commerce on the Jamstack was front and center.

We also took in a few sessions from Sanity's new Structured Content 2022 Conference, where a few thousand content fans assembled across the globe to discuss... well, content. Structured Content was particularly interesting as it positioned itself as a "movement" within the industry, intently focused on educating and inspiring the cross-disciplinary community of people who work on digital experiences. 

Elsewhere, we tracked a story from Amplitude as they announced new testing and analytics tools for making smarter product decisions at scale. Spoiler alert: we have some additional news from Amplitude in this recap, as they seem to be on a roll. 

We also tracked a big announcement from CivicPlus – an integrated tech platform that powers websites for local governments. In a stunning move, the company announced an agreement to buy Optimere, the parent company of Monsido (among others). The purchase will expand CivicPlus' capabilities by adding Monsido's accessibility scanning resources to its ecosystem. The added suite of features should provide public sector organizations with a one-stop solution for managing ADA-compliant web experiences. 

Before you turn your spring fever into summer blues, check out a few other stories we noted from across the digital experience landscape.

Contentstack launches its no-code Automation Hub, making composable content experiences easier to build

Contentstack, a leader in the new headless CMS Content Experience Platform (CXP) category, unveiled its industry-first Automation Hub. Aimed at simplifying the deployment of composable architectures at any scale, Automation Hub allows marketing and IT to overcome the technical and operational hurdles of adopting a composable architecture.

Contentstack launched the new capability on stage at its inaugural customer conference, ContentCon, which featured presentations from Levi’s, Dawn Foods, Golfbreaks, and other leading brands. Automation Hub is available now as part of Contentstack’s Platform Beta Program, with General Availability scheduled for late Summer 2022.

Composable architectures (or stacks) are emerging as the next evolutionary step for enterprises, allowing companies to create digital experiences faster while responding to rapidly-changing market demands and business threats. In a recent report by Gartner, the analyst firm predicted that by 2023, organizations that adopt an intelligent, composable approach will outpace competitors by 80 percent when it comes to new feature implementation.

Moving away from legacy monolithic systems often introduces technical complexity and operational challenges. Contentstack’s Automation Hub addresses both of these issues head-on by infusing simple, no-code business logic into the front-end of a composable stack.

“Using best-in-breed technologies is the only way to stay competitive, but enterprises often end up bogged down in integration hell," said Conor Egan, VP of product and engineering at Contentstack. "Implementing business logic today involves writing code that is often slow, brittle, and requires constant maintenance. Our Automation Hub solves this by allowing teams to build complex, cross-vendor connections visually without code. It is a true game-changer.” 

Contentstack is also championing the mantra of  "Connect without Compromise." This has become the centerpiece of a new program that combines Automation Hub with Contentstack’s Blueprints – a library of best practices and expert guides for composable experiences – and its recently launched Marketplace. Now, businesses of all sizes can fully embrace composable architectures at any scale with confidence, choosing either a ready-made composable solution based on industry best practices or leveraging the foundation to easily customize to their unique business needs. 

Contentstack's "Connect without Compromise" program is also a complement to its "Care Without Compromise" program – a multi-vendor ecosystem designed to ensure cross-vendor support in composable environments. Through "Care without Compromise," Contentstack and its Catalyst partners cooperate, communicate, and cross-train support staff to ensure seamless delivery of joint solutions to customers globally. Now with both programs, businesses of all sizes can move to composable architectures at scale and with ease.

"At Contentstack, we are committed to organizations who choose to challenge the status quo and adopt a modern, composable approach to power their digital experiences," said Neha Sampat, founder and CEO of Contentstack. "Combining 'Connect without Compromise' and 'Care without Compromise' embodies this commitment. We take on the burden of making it easy to work across multiple vendors – from both a support and integration perspective – so you don't have to."

Amplitude announces new customer data platform, industry’s first "insights-driven CDP"

Amplitude, Inc., a leader in digital optimization, announced the launch of Amplitude CDP, the first insights-driven customer data platform (CDP). Unlike other CDPs that require connecting to third-party analytics solutions, Amplitude CDP both collects and analyzes event data with its natively integrated industry-leading product analytics solution.

With Amplitude CDP, product and marketing teams can proactively improve data quality, analyze and discover new audiences, and sync data across their marketing and data stack. Amplitude’s CDP – coupled with analytics – helps customers become more operationally efficient and enables better, faster decision-making to increase customer engagement.

The goal of a CDP is to collect data that lead to insights – and ultimately enable data-driven decision-making that improves customer experiences. After working with thousands of companies and analyzing over 1 trillion customer data points per month, Amplitude discovered critical unsolved challenges in the CDP market, which is currently estimated to reach $20.5 billion by 2027.

Data that is not proactively managed reduces the quality of insights. The various teams that collect, analyze, and take action on customer data struggle to collaborate across multiple solutions – and maintaining both a CDP and Product Analytics solution leads to duplicative costs and implementations. With Amplitude CDP, customers now have an integrated suite to turn high-quality data into actionable insights.

Key benefits of Amplitude’s insights-driven CDP include:

  • Improved data quality: Data planning and governance are built-in to help data and engineering teams proactively maintain trust and quality.
  • Better audience discovery: Many CDPs move right from data collection to activation, offering segmentation but assuming companies know what audiences to target. Now, deep segmentation combined with analytics helps teams discover audiences based on insights, putting audience discovery before audience activation for maximum engagement.
  • Reduced costs and redundancies: With analytics natively integrated within Amplitude CDP, Amplitude eliminates duplicative costs for customers by providing a single platform that serves as the foundation for data, the engine for insights, and the driver for action.
  • Accelerated time-to-insights: Built-in analytics unites product, growth, and marketing around shared data to unlock insights and actions anywhere in the stack.

“Customer data platforms entered the market with the promise of making personalization a reality, but aggregating data is only step one," said Spenser Skates, CEO, and co-founder of Amplitude. "As companies look to provide tailored product experiences, they need trusted data that provides insights about their existing audiences and helps them identify new ones, all without unnecessary costs for their business. At Amplitude, we have spent the last few years helping customers solve the problems that existing CDPs in the market were unable to. With the launch of Amplitude CDP, we are now providing customers with the ability to provide meaningful, personalized experiences all from a single platform.”

For years, Amplitude has been introducing capabilities that help teams collect, manage, and activate customer data. More than 50% of Amplitude customers currently send data from Amplitude to other tools in their stack and Amplitude’s integration ecosystem has grown to more than 65 out-of-the-box connectors. Today, customers like Kahoot!, Hex, InvoiceSimple, Marco Polo, and Thrive Market are already using Amplitude CDP and have access to expanded capabilities to drive accurate, actionable insights.

Key innovations include:

  • Unified user interface (UI): Create a single taxonomy for all digital analytics use cases to collect and capture consistent data in one UI.
  • Event streaming: Federate data to martech, ad, and attribution vendors as well as data pipelines like Amazon Kinesis and Google Pub/Sub through a no-code configurable UI in the Data Connections catalog.
  • Real-time audience syncing: Match the cadence of marketing campaigns and use customer behavior to drive in-the-moment engagement with real-time syncs that refresh audience lists every minute.
  • Developer toolkit: Proactively collaborate with developers to define tracking plans with a best-in-class developer toolkit that saves engineers time and helps automate data validation with tracking libraries – no more typos, forgotten properties, or inconsistent naming conventions.

A RealCDP-certified solution, Amplitude CDP is available to Amplitude customers in the early access program today and will be generally available later this year. Amplitude CDP will be free of charge for customers streaming fewer than 10 million events per month, an offer more than 10 times better than some of the leading CDPs in the market. 

Agility CMS expands composability through its marketplace

Agility CMS, a headless content management platform for creating powerful Enterprise ready digital experiences, has announced the expansion of its composability offerings – specifically through the launch of its new marketplace and the redevelopment of its app framework to support its marketplace applications.

By introducing these changes, the headless platform aims to simplify how users integrate with third-party APIs and how developers build new applications. Agility has also enhanced the user interface and editor experience of its CMS and added several new integrations, APIs, and pre-built models – all designed to help enterprises get up and running faster than ever.

More than ever, organizations are moving their products and services online. However, each company has its own unique requirements. To meet these needs, Agility CMS embraces the best-of-breed concepts of MACH architecture and composability, providing customers with a future-proof design that allows them to iterate and swap components as the customer journey evolves.

“High-growth companies rely on multiple cloud-based tools to help them solve problems quickly," said Agility CMS CTO Joel Varty. "As these businesses evolve, Agility CMS’ microservices architecture enables them to swap out the tools for what can better serve them at each new stage. We don’t want our customers to feel like they need to change how they do things. Instead, our composable approach enhances your business, helping to increase profits in the long term."

“We’ve noticed that customers are looking at their previous monolithic systems and recognizing that it can’t do everything they want it to, and it’s slow to roll out,” said Jon Voigt, CEO of Agility CMS. “We’ve always believed that customers should be able to tie together best-of-breed solutions as they see fit, and we’re happy that the industry and businesses today are recognizing the value of this approach,” he added.

Agility CMS’ long-standing position as a hybrid headless CMS with an intuitive content authoring experience has enticed forward-thinking brands from various industries, resulting in doubled sales in 2021.