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Four technical considerations before migrating to headless

Felipe SilbersteinDecember 22, 2021

With the changes experienced during 2020 and 2021, the digital scenario has utterly changed, so companies have searched for better digital platforms for their brands. The challenge is to find the technology to differentiate the brand from the ocean of alternatives.

One of the best options in this regard is to have a headless approach, as it gives you the necessary conditions to create unique platforms tailored to your company's needs. However, before you dive right in (because you'll want to), let us tell you about some aspects you need to consider.

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If there is one thing we are sure of: everything changes

People's growing and ever-changing expectations of the digital experience they seek are pressuring brands to have technology that allows them to keep pace with the required transformation. But this can't mean you have to change platforms every couple of years—that would be unsustainable.

So, how do we deal with this new digital environment? At Reign, we are convinced that the best way to differentiate yourself is to develop your platform by putting your brand identity and, above all, people at the center. If that sounds too idealistic, maybe it's time to get to know headless technology.

It is an approach that allows brands to develop flexible and tailored digital platforms, incorporating the best cloud-based services and only the functions they need.

An approach to Headless

Looking at it in a simplified way, as its name suggests, headless is an approach that works without a head that centralizes your platform's operations, something usual in a monolithic system. One way to approach this is to talk about decoupling the frontend from the backend.

This architecture allows integrating different microservices on the client-side (frontend), sophisticating the digital experience (which is key for a company), and provides all kinds of features such as search or payment systems with their servers and dynamic resources.

On the server-side (backend), all these associated microservices communicate with your systems through simple APIs. It is a practically universal protocol that lets you connect with multiple functionalities and other systems without internal dependencies, allowing brands to free themselves from all the maintenance of these resources and costs associated with them.

This is working in a modular way, just like a child playing with blocks to build a tower with unique features. The difference is that at Reign, we are no longer small (but we still have fun).

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Things you need to consider beforehand

For us, talking about the decoupled approach is simple and almost natural; we've been using it for so many years to create digital solutions for our clients that we make it sound simple. But just because it seems simple doesn't mean it's a simple decision, so we ask you to consider four things before jumping to what we believe is the best way to build your digital presence:

  • You need to have multiple touchpoints, i.e., you already have different customer service channels, even if you don't have a system in place to manage them as a whole. It wouldn't make sense to switch to a decoupled approach if you only have one website, as you won't see the operational and performance benefits.
  • Purpose clarity and organizational maturity; we mention this because moving from a monolithic approach to headless changes how you produce and deploy new projects. If your brand is still in an early or exploratory phase, incorporating headless could put an unnecessary burden of pressure on the identity creation process.
  • Modularizing your design is a great idea. It would be best if you stopped thinking of content as a series of isolated pages; with the ease of deploying your content in the channels you choose, you can't turn its creation into a bottleneck. In this sense, we always recommend incorporating Atomic Design into your content strategy because of its virtues and agility.
  • Get to know people (well). One of the greatest virtues of headless is the ability to personalize the platform and thus create great digital experiences. It will be futile if you don't clearly understand who your visitors are and their intentions. In the end, you need to have a good data analysis to determine for whom you are developing your platform.
    • These considerations allow companies to self-diagnose to make the most relevant decision; the last thing we want is to persuade companies to adopt technology that does not fit their needs.

With a Headless platform you get where you're wanted

Do you know omnichannel? This approach allows companies to standardize their different contact channels; thus, people can move from one to another and continue their journey. For example, you select a product from your mobile, pay it through your computer, then pick it up from the store, all without having to explain your intentions over and over again.

By having a platform built using autonomous modules, there is no longer a single means of communication, for instance, to process payments. Microservices can communicate with your systems and thus execute the required operations from any device. So, you forget about which channel you put your effort into and start working on the different points of contact in a unified way. That is, you can be everywhere.

It puts people at the center of your strategy and helps businesses be available wherever people are looking for them. Sounds great, right? Plus, this way of engaging helps you to build more lasting connections.

At Reign, we like to start the conversation with companies by asking about the channels they use, their teams, goals, and the context outlined to give an appropriate recommendation. Although we love the idea of new challenges, not everyone is ready to leap. For us, digital platforms creation is an art, we are experts in it, and we take it seriously.

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