21 August 2020 | Stanisław Suchodolski

Optimising Adobe AEM for business and technical efficiency

Companies need to reach their customers in a modern and streamlined way — the basic channel these days is the web. The challenge here is to secure the fundamental requirement to keep communications clear, up to date and compliant — very often across dozens of markets. This is where enterprise Content Management Systems come into play.

Punks not dead

CMS systems seem to be all about managing the websites. The website build process includes many people depending on each other — therefore the cooperation is key to success. Modern CMS systems provide users with sophisticated capabilities designed to build effective, robust and secure processes. Crucially, effective ways of working across teams need to be established — this is where user roles, workflows and content review practices have to be implemented. Mature CMS systems, such as Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), support these processes with both out of the box solutions, as well as vast customisation capabilities.

But this flexibilty is just the tip of the iceberg in looking at the optimisation that can be introduced to unleash the full potential of a CMS system! Business needs may vary from just using some simple website building blocks to preparing a fully customized multi-market management system that would ensure full content consistency across a multinational web portal, reaching customers from the whole world in an always compliant, similar but customized way.

As has become clear in recent years, the Content Management System should also make it possible to adapt to any legal regulations, such as GDPR, as quickly as possible, as well as to enable user-generated content (comments, reviews) moderation procedures etc. AEM has proven it does provide the developers with the tools and support required to meet many complex legal requirements in days rather than months.

Considering the range and complexity of business scenarios a CMS system has to cover, it is easy to imagine that the system could require a considerable amount of resources to provide and maintain a stable environment that meets ongoing business needs. However, the Adobe Experience Manager architecture leaves a lot of space and flexibility to optimise the solution to meet performance, security and resilience requirements.

As a — primarily — cloud-hosted system, the scalability of the solution stays at the market-leading levels. In practice, a technical perspective optimisation of cloud resources usage is based on a proper load balancing and caching design. Multiple caching layers, Content Delivery Network integration, redundancy and efficient load balancing under some fine-tuning lead to managing the actual environment’s usage to the absolute minimum. (However, bearing in mind privacy and legal constraints, the location of data centres might be needed to be considered prior to the cloud services provider choice — especially in highly sensitive and public sector contexts. This may place additional requirements that need to be built in to the operational solution).
On a related theme, how about security? AEM provides developers with powerful tools boosting the webserver’s security. Advanced traffic filtering rules along with a high level of reusability help to keep the security at a constant, desired extent across the whole AEM system — which often consists of a few global portals.

Hit the road

Our experience with AEM suggests these are only a few points to have in mind when looking at CMS systems, such as Adobe Experience Manager. It is worth noticing, that what you get as a basic package can be just the beginning of a journey — the capacity for optimization is there and must be exploited, to make the business requirements and complex processes less obtrusive, to address the needs your company might not even be aware of and — last but not least — to make the tech side shiny, cost-effective, secure and performant.

Fingers crossed!

Oh, if you need consultancy — go check the TTMS team!


Adam Zwoniarski
Lead Developer — Adobe AEM/CQ, Scrum Master at TTMS