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Digital Experience Platforms: What You Need to Know

Many companies today are incorporating Digital Experience Platforms (DXP’s) into their digital transformation strategy. It’s critical for companies to service the full customer journey across all the digital touchpoints.  Earlier this year my co-worker Venus Tamturk explored the players in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms that included players traditionally from the Portal, CMS, and Marketing Suite spaces. Since DXP is a fairly new term that is gaining recognition in the industry, let's explore it!

So What Actually is a DXP?

Gartner defines a digital experience platform 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. Organizations use DXPs to build, deploy and continually improve websites, portals, mobile and other digital experiences."

Or my version: A Digital Experience Platform is a platform that allows you to build meaningful applications for your user audience, integrated and optimized across multiple digital touchpoints including, web, mobile, social, email, and connected devices channels as well as across various backend systems. It allows for multiple user audiences and allows interactions between them.

What are the common elements of a Digital Experience Platform?

According to Gartner, DXPs combine and coordinate applications as a set of rationalized, integrated services that fall into three categories: Audience Experience, DXP Management and Platform Architecture. Businesses need to make informed decisions when it comes to their technology selections and by understanding the common elements of a DXP and how they work together to form a platform, a company can be equipped to make the right decision for their unique needs. Below we will explore the three categories.

Audience Experience: DXP’s provide various interactive capabilities to customers, partners and employees. Whether this is from target audiences navigating through sites, portals and applications on the front-end or sending through information on the back end, providing a comprehensive and easy to use experience is crucial for a DXP. All of the elements below will allow an organization to customize the digital expereience for the audience. Elements of audience experiences include:

  • Content Interaction:  Solutions built on a DXP should have personalized access to important information, services and applications, as well as the potential ability to rate and share the content they have discovered.

  • Search, Navigation and Discovery: DXP's allow audiences to discover the information and services they need thanks to the use of dynamic navigation and search functions that leverage multiple search engines and results based on personalization.

  • Collaboration: DXPs should strengthen internal company communication by combining important employee information and allowing for collaboration on documents, calendars, projects and more for better knowledge management.

  • End-User Customization: Audiences using a DXP should be able to manage and personalize their own experiences to some degree. This can include notifications, saved searches, subscriptions, dashboard and website layouts and more.

DXP Management: A DXP allows for businesses to administer, create and improve many different aspects of their digital experience. It provides greater control over the many elements that make up a company’s online presence, a business can fine-tune customer experiences and adapt to the changing needs of both target audiences and employees. With so many different elements, the control level is high, allowing for effective management. Elements of DXP management include:

  • Content Management: Web content management capabilities allow users to create, organize and publish different types of content for websites, mobile applications, portals and more online solutions so that a company can effectively control content and assets.

  • Integration and Aggregation: Administrators can combine various applications and integrate software with third-party systems for robust services that better leverages the data created by users and collected by the business.

  • Personalization: Adapt online content in websites, portals and more to suit an individual user’s past behavior and preferences, which can be found through analyzing the audience member’s shared data.

  • Analytics and Optimization: Integration of third-party analytics data or creation of analytics solutions within the platform help monitor performance and can be used to improve assets for more effective digital experiences.

  • Security Administration: System security is a crucial element of modern digital business that can be supported by DXP tools including identity management, single sign-on, document access management and more user rights control.

  • Workflow/Business Process Management: A DXP can support the workflow of content approval and publishing, as well as workflows for forms and other business processes for greater control over daily work.

  • User Experience: Business users can control webpage layout and content in order to control the elements that comprise customer journeys, for better targeting within marketing efforts.

  • Digital Commerce: Commerce software can be integrated with or built on a DXP so businesses can manage transactions, shipping orders, shopping baskets and more, should online selling be part of their business strategy.

Platform/Architecture: This is the technical foundation of a DXP which many of the applications are built on. By building new tools with a DXP, as well as connecting pre-existing applications through the platform, a business can have greater control over customer and employee data, as well as how smoothly a user can shift from one tool to another for a more seamless experience. The element of architecture of a digital experience platform includes:

  • Presentation: DXPs support UI technologies that deliver rich experiences, including page framework, containers, component models and widgets or a similar construct. These elements, along with responsive web design and progressive web application development, help DXP users craft a digital presence that uniquely suits their company.

  • Customer/User Data Management: DXPs can incorporate a user profile as a single trusted view of the "customer" or individual user, which collects, unifies and synchronizes customer data from digital and analog channels to improve customer experiences.

  • Cloud Enablement: Support deployment via third-party infrastructure-as-a-service providers, allowing DXP services to run in a cloud-based environment at a platform level with multitenancy.

  • Mobility: Develop mobile applications, including notification support, offline support, mobile software development kit, voice interaction and more through a mobile application development platform.

  • Globalization/Localization/Multilanguage Support: A DXP can support multiple character sets, translation and localization, which can be automatically applied to the correct users by applying user data and history in order to shape preferences.

Ending Notes

Living in a connected world information and services are readily available to all channels 24/7 and the demand for personalized, connected experiences rise when users expect information at their fingertips all the time. A digital experience platform provides the capabilities that you need to produce a variety of user-facing experiences. They empower your business to deliver exceptional experiences to your connected users by allowing business to integrate new and old technologies, allowing you to have a single, complete view of your customer's journey through out. There are many vendors out there that offer DXP's and you should really evaluate your needs, and assess your goals to determine which components are required for your strategy. Digital experience platforms essentially integrate the core business tools and provides a foundation for the future digital innovation.

Natalie Evans

Natalie Evans

Natalie Evans has over 16-years in the tech industry and currently works as the event coordinator and tech reporter for CMS-Connected, keeping up-to-date on what's happening in and around the Content Management industry.