What is a Digital Experience Platform? (DXP)


We examine the evolution of the Content Management System, today’s latest innovation in CMS technology. 

It’s hard to believe but the Content Management System, or CMS, has been with us now for almost three decades. The exact inception is difficult to pinpoint, but the early 90’s was when the likes of IBM and AOL first started experimenting with this technology.

It wasn’t really until the late 90’s that CMS started to become more mainstream and even then, it was only for brands with relatively deep pockets. I recall hearing the story in the late 90’s of a FTSE 100 company who had paid over £1M for a static website. Unbelievable, even then.

In the early 2000’s the trend was very much for bespoke CMS solutions, with many agencies developing their own products. It’s an approach we took here at Quba, developing our first CMS in ASP.NET.

It quickly became clear that maintaining and developing these systems from scratch was neither cost effective or efficient. So, there was a switch by agencies towards the implementation of CMS from specialist vendors. The advantage of this approach was rather than focus on constantly evolving the in house technology, agencies could focus on what they do best. Creating great user experiences.

Today’s CMS solutions

As these software solutions matured so did the needs of marketeers. This opened the way to Web Experience Platforms (WXP). Rather than just serve up content to the masses, they allowed brands to tailor content. This met the needs of their customers by using features such as personalisation, lead scoring and personas.

These are a popular choice for many brands to meet the needs of those whose primary channels of delivery are desktop and mobile.

Fast forward to today and we are looking at a very different set of requirements when compared to those early CMS offerings. Chatbots, AI, Headless. Just some of the buzz words around CMS platforms.

What is DXP?

A Digital Experience Platform.

What does this mean? Gartner define this as “An integrated set of technologies, based on a common platform, that provides a broad range of audiences with consistent, secure and personalized access to information and applications across many digital touchpoints.”

Essentially, a DXP is about omnichannel delivery of content in a way that’s seamless to the customer’s experience. Delivering content is becoming much more than just putting it out to the company’s website. It’s about social, apps, chatbots and smart devices.

This is where the DXP comes in. It acts as the central hub for content management, integrates with business systems such as CRM and inventory management etc. It then delivers this content to all digital touchpoints, without the presentation restrictions of a traditional CMS. Presentation is decoupled from content.

The Benefits

As consumer demands increase, brands are having to compete for their attention in an ever more crowded space. Ensuring that their digital experience is a consistent one is the role of the DXP. The benefits this approach brings are:

  • More precise personalisation – matching the needs of the consumer accurately to the brand experience.
  • Greater Customer insight – by collecting data from all touchpoints not just the website, a much clearer picture can be gained about how customers are engaging with the brand.
  • Better use of content – making the most of valuable content across these multiple touchpoints.
  • An agile platform – Bringing flexibly and the ability to react to the changing needs of the customer.

The fact that existing systems can be easily integrated via the API, means that future upgrades can be implemented faster, saving costs over traditional systems. It makes future proofing the investment a safer bet.

The advantages of this approach are not to be underestimated. By delivering all content through one system, it’s possible to build a detailed picture of your customers in a way not previously possible, enabling brands to target customers at specific times and through strategic touchpoints ensuring maximum engagement.

Looking to the future

Making sense of all this data is going to be the challenge. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes in. It is seen by many in the industry as the next big leap forward in delivering digital experiences. By making sense of the huge volumes of data generated, AI can deliver better experiences to the consumer resulting in greater returns for the brand.

AI is already playing a role in this area. Venus Tanturk from CMS Connected gives examples of some of the more innovative applications for the technology currently being adopted.

DXP is a relatively new technology that is maturing quickly. Most of the leading CMS vendors have a headless solution capable of delivering DXP, including Kentico, Sitecore and Episerver. Our favoured solution Kentico, offers the advantages of a platform that is flexible, powerful and cost effective. Its’ SAAS based pricing model make it an ideal option for organisations looking to invest.

Conclusion

From its inception, the humble CMS has come a long way. DXP is just the natural next step in this lifecycle. Whether you need a DXP now will depend very much on your goals, your digital strategy and the way you wish to engage with your customers.

The decision to implement a DXP should also be based on factors such as the volume of traffic and therefore the cost efficiency of both the purchase price, along with the internal staff resource required to implement it effectively.

Making a prediction is risky, but if the past is anything to go by then, whilst DXP might not be for every organisation today, it’s quite possible it will become the norm in the not too distant future.

13 Nov

2018
Matt Jones
Listed in:  Development Platforms
Estimated read time:
 words,  minutes

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