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Delivering on the potential of digital experience platforms

digital business
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/ESB Professional)

Digital transformation is giving organizations the agility to pursue a whole range of business benefits, from efficiency and cost savings to improving customer relations. For those focused on optimizing their use of technology to deliver outstanding digital experiences, establishing an effective link between IT, business processes and marketing is essential if they are to make a real impact on today’s digital-native consumers.

That’s where Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) are helping businesses to design and deliver compelling, high-impact digital experiences in today’s multi-channel ecosystem. Used effectively, they can help teams optimize their processes and communication and deliver significantly better outcomes.

But, let’s step back for a moment and properly deal with definitions. According to Gartner, a DXP is “a well-integrated and cohesive set of technologies designed to enable the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys.”

As such, it represents a growing niche of the technology industry, and globally, the DXP market is expected to see a CAGR of 12.07 percent between 2021 to 2026. This is driven by a range of influencing factors, not least that organizations are looking for ways they can further accelerate the growth of e-commerce by offering customers a superior experience. What’s more, the widespread adoption of emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence and a growing reliance on effective analytics is also fueling investment.

Finding the right fit

Key to the impact of a DXP, however, is implementing a solution that fits the precise needs of each organization. Part of the challenge for those looking to unlock the benefits that an integrated approach can deliver is that there is a wide choice of DXP offerings on the marketplace.

In practical terms, the sheer breadth of choice can be daunting and many organizations are finding it difficult to identify the best DXP for their specific needs. Indeed, A recent survey revealed that only 12 percent of marketing and IT decision-makers have found a DXP that meets their organization’s specific needs. In addition, 35 percent of respondents said they have not implemented a DXP because they don’t want to pay for features and capabilities they may never use.

A key question, therefore, is how can organizations find a win-win approach that delivers both the short and long-term benefits that properly specified DXP can bring?

Striking an ideal balance, therefore, requires a solution that offers the right set of capabilities without being over-specified, too complex or costly. In a constantly evolving business environment, for example, ease of use, implementation and flexibility are key considerations. But equally, the ability to add new functions, hybrid content management and cloud support, will generally feature on the typical DXP priority list. For organizations still on their digital transformation journey, the flexibility and agility these features deliver can be particularly valuable.

Identifying DXP priorities

As digital-centric organizations focus on meeting and exceeding customer expectations to stay competitive, the overall usability of a DXP is key to establishing a collaborative working culture across team functions. This is particularly important when the strategic priority is to roll out more impactful digital campaigns faster and at scale.

Those organizations that still operate on-premises legacy IT infrastructure have some interesting options, not least the opportunity to make a definitive shift to the cloud. This is particularly important if teams are going to have access to the agility and flexibility of a cloud-based architecture. As many organizations will no doubt know, the ability to scale at times of peak traffic, such as Christmas or during major sales promotions can make the difference between success and failure. Cloud-based DXP solutions are particularly suited to these situations.

This also means avoiding vendors that do not allow their products to integrate with third-party tools by insisting on exclusive use of their solution or service suite. Without the customization options that third-party developers can bring, users can find their capabilities severely limited or stuck with time-consuming processes that would be better spent on delivering compelling campaign content.

Clearly, analytics, optimization and personalization now play a pivotal role in campaign strategy and evaluation. As a result, using a DXP with integrated analytics, personalization and optimization can be a major plus for marketing teams who want full visibility of all the segments, prospects and touchpoints they need to target customers with the right content in the right channel at the right time.

Sitting across all these options is the question of security. Selecting a DXP should always include careful evaluation of its cybersecurity and compliance capabilities. Don’t forget, the DXP is likely to integrate with a wide variety of people and systems (some of which will be critical infrastructure), so always have this top of mind during any procurement process.

Ultimately, many organizations are still working through a gradual process of digital transformation. As a result, it’s generally wise to ensure each phase of the strategy is delivered effectively before moving on to the next. While there is understandable urgency to roll out the improvements that an effective digital-first approach can bring, it’s also important to ensure that stakeholders can keep up with the pace of change.

This can also impact the choice of DXP, as organizations need to scale their capabilities as their digital strategy matures. Investing too much in an overcomplicated solution upfront can turn into an expensive mistake. Instead, a solution that will scale with the user can ensure they meet their precise needs while making maximum use of their available budget. This is particularly important for the many organizations out there that don’t have the in-house resources required to create and manage consistently innovative and successful digital experiences.

As organizations the world over invest in optimizing the digital experiences they offer customers, the adoption of key enabling technologies, such as DXPs, takes on more importance. Get it right and everyone with a stake in the success of a customer-facing digital strategy can apply their experience and skillsets to deliver creative and engaging experiences that customers will enjoy. Those organizations that focus on the key role that a DXP can play in this increasingly complex process will be ideally placed to succeed.

Phil Dunlop, General Manager, EMEA, Progress Software

Phil Dunlop, General Manager, EMEA, Progress Software.