The DXP is Dead. What’s Next?
How enterprises are building their own digital experience platforms
In recent years, the quest for a single Digital Experience Platform (DXP) has been one of the hottest topics in marketing technology. Vendors have spent literally billions of dollars trying to cobble together a one-size-fits all DXP that serves every type of company all purchased from a single vendor. Strangely though, even as vendors were looking to consolidate their “platform” the Martech 5000 suddenly became the Martech 9000. There were more technologies than ever before.
In his recent blog, Joe Cicman from Forrester Research concludes people aren’t buying monolithic DXPs because they are both complex and inadequate: expensive to implement but insufficient to meet the diverse needs of each company. In his accompanying report he concludes “Digital experience platforms (DXPs) exist, but they’re built by enterprises, not bought from vendors—yours is no exception.”
So if you can’t buy a DXP, what should you consider instead?
Building a DXP without “building a DXP”
In truth, the prospect of building a DXP sounds just as unappealing as buying one—it implies a complex architectural project that will take substantial time and money to build out. It’s definitely possible to go down that path and get lost, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
A better approach to the DXP problem is to consider your most acute needs. Is your website out of date? Are your content creators struggling to publish content? Are you unable to use data to make decisions? Do you even have the right data? Can you understand your customers and their behavior? If you have a commerce experience, is it good enough? Are there new channels you need to support?
Even if you answered “yes” to every single question, ask yourself which matters the most. If you try to solve everything at once, you’ll end up solving nothing. Start by focusing, but always keep your options open—the solutions you adopt need to be flexible enough to work with the next technology you may need to solve the next problem.
Openness and simplicity in the era of SaaS
When the term DXP was coined, most of the early DXPs operated as monolithic on-premise software. Deployment was expensive and slow, and the commitment involved was large.
Today, things are very different. Most of the vendors in the Martech 9000 are SaaS solutions that can be adopted relatively easily. If they don’t work out, it’s often fairly straightforward to switch to another vendor in the same category. As a result, you should assume that your martech stack will change over time. You can now experiment with different technologies, plugging them in and removing them as you see fit.
In such an environment, companies need not put all their eggs in one basket. Make sure you have the flexibility to make changes down the line, either as you find a given technology is disappointing or as your business changes.
Beware of lock-in in core pieces
Forrester split the DXP into 4 areas: Content, marketing, commerce, and data. Respectively they focus on creating the experience, tailoring the experience to fit the context, delivering the value, and understanding the customer. Content, commerce, and data necessitate some degree of investment. You will, if you are successful, end up with a large quantity of content in your Content Management System (CMS), and a large amount of customer data in your Customer Data Platform (CDP). These can become points of vendor lock-in if you aren’t careful.
The first thing to do to avoid that situation is make sure each of the systems will integrate with a wide range of technologies. Whether via APIs, packaged integrations, or plugins, it should be easy to tie these systems to other technologies. Second, consider your plan if the core technology doesn’t work out, if the vendor doesn’t provide the expected level of service or, worse still, if the vendor ceases to exist or gets acquired by one of the packaged DXP vendors and has its openness curtailed.
Consider open source alternatives for core systems. That gives you the flexibility to switch vendors if the service offered doesn’t meet your expectations. You can “lift and shift” your environment from one vendor to another with minimal changes. That offers an extra layer of openness and flexibility.
Start thinking today
Building a DXP is not done overnight, nor should it be. You don’t even have to have the full end state defined to make progress. One place many companies start is with looking at their core CMS and determining if they are using the right technology. WordPress VIP combines the ease and flexibility of WordPress, the technology that runs 43% of the web, with the scalability to power massive media sites and the security to run websites for major government agencies. It offers the ability to integrate with thousands of systems and is built on an open source foundation for maximum flexibility.
Want more details? Schedule a demo today.