The Myths and Realities of Digital Experience Platforms
By Dietmar Rietsch
Technology adoption often leaves businesses perplexed. Be it large enterprises or SMBs, they constantly shuttle between long spells of contemplation and urges to be the first in their market segment to adopt a trend. Many times implementing technologies before really understanding how they coincide with their organizational goals, owing to competitive forces or by falling prey to good marketing spin, ends them up in a precarious situation.
In recent times, digital experience platforms (DXPs) have created quite a stir among businesses. On the one hand, there’s a nonstop race to transform their customer experience (CX) journey, in which, DXPs play a major role (validated by a PWC report which says, 86% of customers are ready to pay more for a brand that has a better CX strategy). On the other hand, as promising as these numbers may sound, a lack of judgment which clouds the route to creating top-notch customer experiences might dent the ROI plans of a company.
To get to the bottom of this, let’s look at how DXP and CX are related to each other. Broadly speaking, CX strategies cover the attention to detail in which every single customer is handled by a brand. Whereas, having a DXP in place is the enabler that empowers brands with the tools to cater to successful CX initiatives. DXPs also set the backdrop for broad-scale digital transformation, as they take care of modernizing the workplace and enhancing employee experiences as well.
That said, DXPs hold immense untapped potential in acting as the eponymous “platform” that it is and in serving as a bridge to connect with multiple communication delivery channels and business functions. Bearing this in mind, business leaders who want to leverage the power of a DXP, typically begin by comparing the various solutions available in the market. They find the right fit based on its integration capabilities, omnichannel support, interaction layer, and the levels of personalization and contextualization. Factors such as pricing complexities and prioritization of business goals and objectives also need to be considered before evaluating the “build or buy” equation. Meanwhile, decision-makers need to be clear about what DXP is and what it is not, as it is fairly easy to fall for the many prevalent misconceptions about the technology. Here we demystify some of them:
Myth 1: A DXP is a bouquet of new and existing technologies, where each technology has its own function.
Reality: At its core, a DXP is a platform or an empowering tool. It forms the basis for enabling the actual composition, management, delivery, and optimization of contextualized digital experiences across many digital channels.
While a DXP does overlap with some more commonly known solutions like Web Content Management (WCM) and eCommerce portals, simply fusing new technologies with existing ones cannot solve the purpose DXP is intended for. Its purpose is to enable true interoperability, seamlessness, and personalization, for which a digital experience platform needs to be built on a strong technological foundation.
Myth 2: DXP is just another channel of delivery like a mobile app or website.
Reality: A DXP is a conduit through which you can deliver and digitally interact with customers and prospects across a myriad of touch points like smart devices, web, mobile web, mobile apps, etc.
It is in no way synonymous with delivery channels – instead, it enables you to establish seamless communication on different channels through APIs.
Myth 3: Having any consumer-facing digital solution, such as a marketing automation platform (MAP), content management system (CMS), or customer relationship management (CRM) solution is equivalent to having a DXP.
Reality: CRM, MAP, CMS are all designed to meet specific results, and so is a DXP, which works as an interoperating layer and often overlaps with few functionalities of these solutions. However, in the absence of a DXP, solutions like CRM and MAP can only create disjointed experiences they are designed for.
The purpose of a DXP is for the whole organization to be better synched in working towards improving customer experiences to enhance the bottom line.
Myth 4: It is only meant to serve the purpose of linking various applications.
Reality: Being API-driven, a DXP is highly flexible by architecture and can open-up unexplored opportunities. It also facilitates the creation of single-page applications and progressive web apps, while enabling transformation for the entire organization.
Myth 5: A DXP is only for the communications and CX teams.
Reality: With its reporting and metrics features, a DXP is underpinned by a vast pool of actionable data that can be accessed by business leaders and other key stakeholders. From enabling personalization at scale to identifying opportunities for business growth, these insights can help decision-makers drive the business forward.
The Ideal Next Step
Once businesses have wrapped their heads around what a DXP is, what it can and cannot do, they must set out with enlisting their specific CX transformation goals. Next, potential DXP vendors and their solutions can be assessed for their capacity to address these custom objectives. Based on the analysis, key decision-makers can single out the best fit DXP solution.
What to Expect from Tomorrow’s DXP?
It is no big secret that the consumer of today has rapidly changing requirements from their vendors. This puts the impetus on DXPs having the ability to respond to these evolving CX needs. The media for transmitting brand messaging have gone beyond the traditional web and mobile channels. With trends like voice commerce and AR/VR kiosks gaining mainstream attraction, driving next-gen CXs in part relies on a comprehensive DXP that can quickly adapt itself to this omnichannel paradigm. One of the key advantages of a DXP is its API-based architecture that allows ad hoc enhancements and frictionless connectivity. This means that, as the collective preferences of buyers change, a DXP can be configured accordingly to address them. This paves the way for the freedom to innovate and thereby, build a flexible CX strategy that can evolve with time.
(Disclaimer: The author of the article is the Chief Executive Officer at CEO, Pimcore, an open-source software platform for managing digital data and customer experiences. The views expressed here are his own)