What Is a Component Content Management System (CCMS)?

Posted by
Elmira in Technical Communication on 4/3/20248 min read

collaborative environment within a ccms

It may be difficult to believe, but not so long ago content used to be created without using Component Content Management Systems (CCMS). This presented certain challenges for technical writers, challenges that we have all but forgotten today. For example, inconsistencies, redundancies, and inefficiencies in the content production workflow due to poor version control and other factors.

It was hard to repurpose and reuse content across different channels and platforms. The truth is that it could be done only mechanically or ‘manually’ by copying and pasting the fragments of text or code. No automation in the modern sense of the word was available back then. Without a CCMS, it was challenging to identify and leverage existing content for various purposes, leading to redundant efforts and inconsistencies.

Furthermore, there was no online collaboration when multiple authors worked on one document (which seems so natural now). Instead, one author created the ‘papers’ and passed them over to the reviewer, translator or technical expert. It was difficult to coordinate the efforts of different team members and track the status of content in real-time.

This blog provides in-depth coverage of CCMS and how they can improve the workflow, eliminate inefficiencies, lack of coordination, and content management challenges.

What Is a Component Content Management System (CCMS)?

A Component Content Management System (CCMS) controls the generation and editing of digital content. Each component relates to a particular topic, such as a product description or image. The components range in size from an individual word to an entire chapter.

Component Content Management Systems emerged in the 1990s as a response to the increasing complexity and volume of content being created and managed by organizations.

Traditional Content Management Systems (CMS) were ill-equipped to handle the demands of organizing, reusing, and repurposing content at a granular level.

As a result, CCMS were created expressly to address these issues by offering a more organized and modular approach.

The demand for more effective procedures for content generation, management, and publication—particularly in sectors like publishing, technical documentation, and e-learning—also contributed to the development of CCMS. For these businesses, handling massive amounts of content that could be reused in various formats and channels called for more advanced solutions.

Additionally, the rise of structured content and the adoption of XML as a standard for content authoring and storage also played a significant role in the development of CCMS. XML allowed for content to be broken down into small, reusable components, making it easier to manage and maintain.

All things considered, the increasing complexity of content management requirements and the shortcomings of conventional CMS in meeting these needs led to the development of CCMS. The workflow of organizations requested a self-contained, more flexible, scalable, and efficient solution for managing their content, leading to the development of CCMS as a specialized tool for content management.

Who Uses a Component Content Management System?

Component Content Management Systems can benefit various types of users and customers:

  • Technical writers and content creators. These systems offer means for creating, managing, and reusing modular content, improving the speed of content creation and maintenance.
  • Content managers. CCMS allows for better control over content, versioning, and workflows, facilitating collaboration and streamlining content update processes.
  • Localization and translation teams. With modular content management, translation and localization processes become more efficient and cost-effective, as they can reuse already translated components, minimizing redundant work.
  • Regulated industries. Organizations in regulated industries like healthcare, finance, or legal sectors benefit from CCMS by ensuring compliance and consistency across diverse content types. For example, CCMS can provide integrations with regulatory databases and requirements – this is actually insurance that all documentation is aligned with current regulations.
  • Large enterprises. A CCMS enables large organizations to manage complex and extensive content libraries more effectively, ensuring consistency and brand integrity across various departments and units.
  • E-commerce and marketing teams. These systems can help standardize and optimize product content for different channels and markets, ensuring a consistent brand experience. For example, CCMS can create product content that is specifically tailored for each market, ensuring that it resonates with local audiences. This could include adjusting imagery, language, and messaging to cater to the unique needs of each market. Besides, CCMS can use translation and localization services to ensure that product content is accurately translated and culturally adapted for each market.
  • Software and technology companies. CCMS facilitates documentation management, making it easier to integrate internal and external materials, update and reuse content across different products and platforms.
  • Government agencies and institutions. CCMS gives users advantages in managing large volumes of regulatory and informational content, ensuring accuracy, accessibility, and compliance.

In essence, anyone working with large volumes of content, requiring a consistent and reusable knowledge base that can be distributed across different channels, using different languages, or platforms can benefit from implementing a component content management system.

multichannel publishing via ccms

Key Features of a CCMS

The key features of a CCMS are typically described on vendor websites, technology and content management websites (websites like Gartner, Forrester, or CMSWire), as well as industry blogs and forums where experts share insights and information about CCMS features. All these sources usually focus on the following main features:

  • Content authoring and management. A CCMS allows users to create, edit, and manage digital content in various formats such as JSON, HTML, and Markdown. Users can author and manage a variety of content types such as articles, blogs, product documentation, and training materials.
  • Content reusability. A CCMS enables content reuse across multiple channels and platforms, helping to maintain consistency and reduce redundancy. A piece of content created for a website can be easily repurposed for a mobile app or social media platform.
  • Version control and history tracking. A CCMS tracks changes made to content, allowing users to view and revert to previous versions if necessary. Users can see who made a particular change to a document, when the change was made, and roll back to a previous version if needed.
  • Content workflow and collaboration. A CCMS facilitates the review, approval, and delivery of content, enabling team members coordinate their actions quickly and effectively. Multiple users can collaborate on the creation, approval and formatting of a document to ensure it looks official before it is published to a website.
  • Multi-channel publishing. A CCMS supports publishing content to various channels such as websites, mobile apps, social media, and print.
  • Content analytics and reporting. A CCMS provides insights into content performance and user engagement, helping to optimize content strategies. Users can track metrics such as page views, time spent on content, and conversion rates to determine the effectiveness of their content.
  • Localization and translation management. A CCMS supports the creation and management of multilingual content, simplifying the localization process. A company can take a decision to use a CCMS to manage the translation of its content into multiple languages for global audiences.
  • Content personalization. A CCMS allows users to create personalized content experiences for different audience segments based on preferences and behaviors. A website can use a CCMS to display personalized content recommendations based on a user’s browsing history and preferences.

All in all, content authoring and management is a major feature of a CCMS. A CCMS allows users to create, edit, and manage digital content in various formats, including JSON, HTML, and Markdown. Users can collaborate on content creation and make updates with version control, workflow management, and approval processes. The system also provides features for structuring and formatting content, as well as metadata management for easy search and retrieval. Additionally, some CCMS platforms offer WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interfaces for non-technical users to create and edit content.

Advantages and Disadvantages of CCMS

It is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons when considering the adoption of a CCMS to determine if the benefits align with the specific content management needs of an organization. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using a Component Content Management System (CCMS):


  • Reusability. Content can be reused across different documents and platforms. For example, a product description can be used in user manuals, marketing materials, and websites without the need for duplicate writing and maintenance.
  • Consistency. CCMS ensures consistency of content across different outputs and channels. For example, product information will be consistent across user manuals, online help, and training materials.
  • Single-source publishing (or single-sourcing). Content is managed in a single repository and can be published across various formats and platforms. For example, content created in a CCMS can be published to both print and digital formats, such as PDFs, websites, and mobile apps.
  • Low-code approach. CCMS platforms offer functionality to build web pages and other content types using components. This allows for consistent design and layout across pages and enables content creators to easily assemble and publish content without needing advanced technical skills.
  • Collaboration. CCMS allows for collaborative content creation and review by multiple authors, editors, and subject matter experts. For example, technical writers can collaborate with product managers and engineers to create and review product documentation.
  • Version control. CCMS provides versioning and audit trail features, ensuring that content changes are tracked and managed. This is crucial for compliance and quality control.


  • Implementation and learning curve. Implementing a CCMS can be complex, and there is often a learning curve for users who are new to the system.
  • Cost. CCMS can be an expensive investment, particularly for smaller organizations or teams with limited resources.
  • Customization limitations. Some CCMS platforms having limitations in terms of customization can impact the ability to tailor the system to specific organizational needs.
  • Dependency on vendor. Organizations using a CCMS are reliant on the vendor for support, updates, and maintenance of the system. This can create potential risks if the vendor experiences issues or goes out of business.
  • Overhead for smaller projects. For smaller projects with minimal content or limited reuse potential, the overhead of a CCMS may outweigh the benefits, leading to inefficiencies.

Whether the advantages or disadvantages of using a CCMS outweigh each other will depend on the specific needs and goals of an organization, as well as the resources and capabilities available to implement and use the system. It is important for organizations to carefully assess the potential benefits and challenges of using a CCMS before making a decision.

For example, ClickHelp, a powerful technical documentation platform, employs a topic-based authoring approach. Through features like Content Snippets and multi-channel publishing, a single topic can be effortlessly reused across various locations. Thus, while some may find traditional CCMS challenging and costly, ClickHelp offers all the benefits of a CCMS with user-friendly functionality.

arms interacting with modular building blocks


For large companies with substantial budgets and extensive staff, CCMS is a highly suitable solution. Its robust features and centralized control over content management make it an invaluable tool for improving workflow efficiency and ensuring consistency across various teams and departments. With the ability to implement collaboration and versioning seamlessly, CCMS helps large organizations streamline their content processes, ultimately leading to cost savings and enhanced communication materials.

However, for medium-sized and small companies, investing in CCMS may not always be the most prudent choice. Given their limited budgets and human resources, CCMS implementation can be a significant expense and resource drain. Instead, these companies may find more value in adopting modern topic-based tools like ClickHelp. Studies indicate that many such companies opt for topic-based tools to achieve similar benefits in content creation and management without the complexities and costs associated with traditional CCMS solutions.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices


Give it a Try!

Sign up for a 14-day free trial!
Start Free Trial
Post Categories
Want to become a better professional?
Get monthly digest on technical writing, UX and web design, overviews of useful free resources and much more.

Mind if we email you once a month?

Professionals never stop learning. Join thousands of experts subscribed to our blog to get tips, ideas and stories from us once per month.
Learn more on ClickHelp
By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Learn more