Introducing the Amplience Dynamic Content to SAP Connector
Empowering content production workflows
Time and time again our customers and implementation partners have required superior content management and content creation workflows for their marketing teams to be added to their SAP CX (Commerce) projects. Although SAP's Smart Edit offers a high level of convenience for its users' thanks to its deep integration with the Accelerator and Spartacus, it is not always the tool of choice for every conceivable scenario and marketing task. Here at Amplience, we are big believers in businesses choosing the right tools for the task at hand.
Once your business needs to deliver customer-experiences across multiple channels and devices they need to begin evaluating headless content management systems that are geared up for these use cases out of the box. Beyond the need to serve additional channels Amplience also provides your marketing and content production teams with superior planning, scheduling, and preview functionality. These are delivered to your team through administration calendar views that are designed around how your teams actually operate and execute content campaigns, strategies, and day-to-day tactics.
What is Headless anyway and why does it matter?
For those not familiar with what headless is; headless is simply the separation of the frontend from the backend, connected by APIs. Whilst this might sound technical; this architecture has many benefits to businesses that adopt this approach;
More control and flexibility on the frontend user experience
Connect your backend to one or many frontends, devices or channels such as websites, mobile, IoT, Chatbots, VR/AR and beyond.
Enables best-of-breed integrations service architecture
Headless with Amplience
A headless CMS therefore is a content repository that is made accessible via APIs. These APIs can then be connected to one or more frontend devices or channels. A headless CMS does not necessarily follow the same content structure like a traditional CMS . Instead a headless CMS allows you to model your content (content modelling) to match your use case to the data schema. This model is exposed through an administration dashboard to allow marketers and non-technical team members to create, edit and manage all content from a single place. In addition to a robust CMS, Amplience also provides a powerful DAM (Digital Asset Management) system. Amplience APIs can be connected to other services, in this case SAP and content can be injected into the frontend experience.
The challenge when integrating a headless CMS is that it is not always easy to assign content from the consuming system into the existing page structure. This is because content is usually created neutrally in the CMS and is not structured according to existing pages in another system.
The central focus in this integration is to enrich the existing product and category pages with additional content served from Amplience, rather than replicating entire pages inside of Amplience itself. Therefore an identifier, such as a product or category ID, is used for the lookup inside of Amplience. However, this identifier alone is not sufficient as multiple pieces of content may need to be injected at different locations within a single page.
In order to meet these requirements and at the same time enable a high degree of flexibility, neteleven implemented three values for the lookup:
Position describes the position of the slot within SAP CX.
Context is used to differentiate between products and categories, for example.
Lookup is code to be searched for.
This integration is a back-end integration and accelerator, orchestrated through the use of webhooks, the content of the Amplience slots is imported into SAP CX.
Only complete slots are imported, no distinction is made between individual content items. It is possible to use stand-alone slots or the editions offered by Amplience, which allow events or campaigns to be scheduled.
The content can already be completely pre-rendered by Amplience with the help of the Content Rendering Service . This pre-rendered markup is saved in SAP CX in addition to the JSON.
The data model used has almost no dependencies on existing data models and can therefore be used in almost every system without any problems meaning that updates are not a problem.
The neteleven SAP CX integration with Amplience Dynamic Content has been published as an open-source integration under the Apache 2.0 license. A separate Amplience Dynamic Media integration is also available on the SAP App Center and the source code for this integration is available on Github.
A few points of note:
The content model for this integration is focused on enriching existing pages such as product and category pages, rather than creating entirely new pages.
The ability to schedule content deployments and go lives via campaigns and editions is supported.
The integration has very few dependencies, enabling it to be rapidly implemented in many scenarios.
Integration into the Accelerator and Spartacus is possible.
The following use cases are well suited for integration with Amplience:
Enrichment of fixed pages such as the homepage
The maintenance of shared content such as in the footer or header
Enrichment of e.g. product and category pages
Fallback content when enriched content is not available
Other scenarios are of course always conceivable.