The 90s brought us hand-coded HTML, the 2000s gifted us the CMS, and the CMS made way for the customer experience systems of the 2010s. The question is, what’s next?
The DxP — digital experience platform — is the latest innovative software. And while it’s important not to be blinded by the novelty and possibility of a DxP, you should definitely be excited about this solution. After all, DxPs have the potential to solve many of your integration problems to create that seamless, satisfying user experience everyone is after.
However, understanding DxPs proves complicated. What do they even do? Are they honestly that great? And do you really need one right now?
The Clear-Cut Definition of DxP You’ve Been Waiting For
At its core, a DxP is a selection of technologies that speak to one another, that integrate, on one united platform.
What’s more, a DxP is a kind of control center for every digital touchpoint your users have with your brand. Apps, websites, portals, ecommerce systems, identity systems — DxPs connect each one of your technologies, whatever they may be, for one-stop management.
Customer-First Capabilities Are Your Top Advantage
If you only understand one thing about DxPs, make it this: A DxP fosters a more user-centric experience. This is invaluable at a time when seemingly every company is invested in top-notch customer journeys.
Imagine a movie theater that uses a DxP. A movie-goer buys his tickets, chooses his seats, patronizes the concessions stand, purchases a movie poster, and earns rewards points all in one streamlined visit. Each portion of his customer journey, each interaction he has with the theater, is consistent and interconnected since it’s all housed in the DxP. All of it — from the online ticket purchase to the mobile popcorn refill — looks and feels the same (on brand) to that customer.
Before our imaginary movie theater implemented a DxP, patrons had to exit the main theater website to buy tickets from a third-party payment platform. Now, with the DxP in place, the mechanics of a ticket purchase are invisible to the user — there’s no need for third-party anything. Additionally, the user doesn’t have to navigate back to the main site to find concessions or log in to a separate portal to check their rewards. It’s a better user experience, period.
Moreover, DxPs make customization easy, another way they’re benefiting users. Let’s return to our movie theater one more time. If a movie patron is an avid action film fan, the home screen of the theater’s website will show a preview for the next Vin Diesel movie rather than the current rom-com. That’s powerful customer-focused marketing.
It’s true that CMSs do provide for this type of customer-tailored content, but they make it difficult and time consuming — often requiring custom, single-use code. A DxP, on the other hand, bakes customization into its functionality so your digital touchpoints can quickly adapt to your customers’ tastes.
Additional Benefits of a DxP
Aside from centering the all-important customer experience, DxPs also come out ahead of legacy systems because:
- They’re flexible. A DxP doesn’t limit technology integrations. Just because you’re already running your ecommerce hub out of your DxP doesn’t mean you can’t also add your apps, and so forth. Beyond that, a DxP future-proofs your tech so that it’s ready to evolve as the market evolves. So, you can add on the hottest integrations as they become available with minimal disruption.
- They support repurposed content. Because the nature of a DxP means all of your tech is talking, your hard-earned content can be distributed across all of your channels easily. Don’t waste your time writing single-use blogs.
- They’re easier. Understanding and implementing a DxP is admittedly hard, and it can be costly at first. But once you’re up and running, DxPs are easier to manage because everything is in one place. DxPs are also built for integrations and customization, as mentioned. Again, no more custom coding or faulty workarounds.
Reality Check: DxPs Aren’t for Everyone, Yet
Despite the evident benefits of DxPs, they’re not for everyone, at least not right now. We don’t want you to get caught in the frenzy.
Your CMS isn’t going to stop working or fail you tomorrow, and you may be in a maintenance phase where things are working for you fine as is. Also, smaller companies probably won’t be able to afford DxPs quite yet. That’s because we’re only on the cusp of the new tech. Once DxP adoption is more mainstream, prices will (hopefully) scale.
The takeaway? If you’re not ready, you don’t need a DxP today. Just know that DxPs are the future for software, and you’ll likely need to consider this option sooner rather than later, no matter what kind of business you’re operating.
Is DxP a Good Fit for Your Company?
On the flip side, there are absolutely companies that should use this moment of technical evolution to implement a DxP. Companies who should dive into this cutting-edge solution ahead of the curve to beat competition.
If your company is ambitious, into experimenting with newer technologies, and limited by CMS and its kin, you’re a good candidate for a DxP.
But before you take the plunge, you do need to ensure you have the right technology and infrastructure in place to support such a robust new platform.
To support a DxP, you need:
- Advanced UX
- Effective development processes
- Strong existing integrations
- Sophisticated security and reusability
We’re trying to be real about the depth of the technology. But you should undoubtedly implement a DxP if you have these elements in place — or if you have a development partner to assist — to do so successfully.
It’s worth restating that a DxP answers a lot of the questions companies already have about how to make their customers’ digital experiences better. More importantly, DxPs aren’t a passing fad. You will be implementing one someday, it’s just a matter of when.