Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

What is a Digital Experience Platform?

A Digital Experience Platform (DXP) is a collection of technologies integrated into a single solution to deliver consistent digital experiences for audiences across multiple channels and touchpoints.

Going further, Gartner defines a DXP as an “integrated and cohesive piece of technology designed to enable the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys.”

DXP components may include:

Types of DXP architecture: packaged v. “composable”

To combine all these technologies, packaged DXPs such as Acquia, Adobe, Optimizely, and Sitecore are architected on a single, monolithic software platform.  

However, a new trend in DXP platforms is a “composable DXP.” Rather than a platform of fixed components, a composable DXP is a modular, cloud-based SaaS platform made up of selectable, best-of-breed components that flexibly integrate to connect with both internal and external systems through APIs, integrations, or plugins.

Unlike packaged DXPs, this approach requires extensive development to implement. 

Key features and benefits for all DXPs

DXPs offer a wide range of features and capabilities to enhance the overall digital experience for users. Here are key features commonly found in DXPs, packaged and composable.

“Every enterprise has a unique mélange of high-availability requirements, workflow capabilities, asset management needs, extensibility, security, developer talent, timelines and budget. There is a correct tool for every job, be it Sitecore, WordPress VIP, Drupal or AEM/Edge Delivery, and it’s positively vital to approach project tooling choice with as much information (and lack of bias!) as possible.” 

Tad Reeves / Principal Architect, Arbory Digital

Content management, and multichannel delivery

A CMS is the heart of almost every DXP. It allows organizations to create, manage, and deliver content across various channels and touchpoints. 

CMSes can allow organizations to scale their web presence, enable their teams to produce more web content, and use data to improve content performance. 

Customer data management and personalization

By integrating a customer data platform, DXPs help organizations collect, store, and analyze customer data. This data can be used to gain insights, segment audiences, and personalize experiences.

DXPs also enable personalized experiences by leveraging user data and behavior to deliver targeted content, recommendations, and offers, enhancing audience engagement and improving customer satisfaction.

DXPs typically integrate with marketing automation systems, such as email marketing, campaign management, lead nurturing, and customer journey mapping. These features streamline marketing efforts and improve efficiency.

Ecommerce and other integration capabilities

Many DXPs offer ecommerce capabilities, allowing organizations to create and manage online stores, product catalogs, shopping carts, and secure payment processing.

As well, DXPs offer integration with various third-party systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), marketing automation, and social media platforms. This enables data exchange, campaign management, customer journey mapping, and other capabilities that enhance the overall digital ecosystem.

Disadvantages and challenges of DXPs

While DXPs offer numerous benefits, they also come with potential disadvantages. Here are common drawbacks to consider.

Complexity, implementation, and cost

DXPs can be complex and time consuming to implement and manage due to their expansive, wide-ranging nature, especially if an organization hasn’t fully thought through the digital business challenges it hopes to solve. 

Especially for large-scale implementations, DXPs often involve significant upfront and ongoing costs. Licensing fees, hiring implementation consultants and system integrators, and platform maintenance expenses can quickly add up, impacting or delaying go-to-market efforts.

DXPs typically have a steep learning curve and onboarding requirements for both developers and content to fully use the platform’s capabilities, which can impact productivity in the initial stages.

Performance and scalability

DXPs can be resource-intensive, requiring robust infrastructure and technical expertise to provide optimal performance and scalability, especially when handling high-volume traffic.

Drawbacks for packaged and composable DXPs

Organizations opting for packaged DXPs can fall into the trap of buying a one-size-fits-all ‌platform and end up paying for technology with marginal value or capabilities that go unused. 

On the other hand, building a composable DXP means scoping required solutions, researching and evaluating individual technologies, and then spending resources and ‌budget to integrate everything into a harmonious platform that truly serves an organization’s needs.

Choosing a specific packaged DXP vendor may result in vendor lock-in, making it difficult to switch to another platform or slot in new components. Migrating content, integrations, and customizations can be complex and costly. 

Enterprise organizations with unique or complex needs may face limitations in tailoring the platform to their exact specifications.

WordPress VIP: implement what you need now, with best-of-breed flexibility, intuitive tools

Rather than maintaining a complex, expensive, and inflexible packaged DXP, many leading enterprise organizations, media companies, and public agencies today are instead orienting a best-of-breed digital experience around a core, customizable, open source-based CMS solution such as WordPress VIP.

Leveraging APIs, integration tools, and plugin technology, WordPress VIP can slot in as part of a composable DXP, giving organizations the freedom to run the best technology to control that digital experience for customers—without paying for unused technology or adding unnecessary complexity for the business. 

With less complex implementation and more intuitive tools as hallmark benefits, WordPress VIP means organizations can realize faster time to value and market as they build engaging digital experiences for audiences.