Digital transformation is offering organisations of every size the promise of a new way of doing business, delivering efficiency, cost savings and the opportunity to enhance customer relations.
However, there are so many aspects to the changes digital brings to organisations that business leaders can feel overwhelmed. This is why a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) has become an essential tool for progressive companies. DXP links the IT function, business processes and marketing, but its most critical role is to enable brands to create personalised digital journeys for their customers.
Gartner describes DXP as “a well-integrated and cohesive set of technologies designed to enable the composition, management, delivery and optimisation of contextualised digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys.” A DXP helps ensure continuity across the full customer lifetime journey.
Globally, the DXP market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 12.07% over the forecast period 2021 to 2026, driven by companies seeking strategies to deliver superior customer interaction and the rapid growth of e-commerce.
The Asia Pacific region is projected to witness the highest growth during the forecast period due to the widespread adoption of emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and analytics. The market in the region is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.1% in the forecast period of 2020 to 2027, and is expected to reach USD 6,058.45 million by 2027.
There is a wide choice of DXP offerings in the marketplace – so wide that companies are finding it hard to identify the DXP best suited to their purposes.
A survey conducted by Progress and Pulse found that only 12% of marketing and IT decision-makers have found a DXP that meets their organisation’s specific needs – and the wide variety of features available appears to be off-putting. More than one-third of organisations (35%) say they have not implemented a DXP because they don’t want to pay for capabilities they may never use.
The perfect DXP platform for your organisation exists
How then should organisations balance the short-and long-term benefits that a DXP will undoubtedly bring to their business, with the practical need for prudence in capital expenditure plus the costs of training employees to use the system?
See also: Foolproof system, foolish human
The answer is to find the right fit. This means a platform that is not overly complex or costly, but offers the right set of capabilities to maximise long-term success, in a constantly changing business environment.
Ease of use, ease of implementation and flexibility, like extensibility, hybrid content management and cloud support, should be at the top of organisations’ list of priorities. These considerations are particularly important for companies still on their digital transformation journeys like those in the mid-market and in industries such as education, healthcare and financial services.
The key features and capabilities you need
Stakeholders’ expectations have evolved and companies have to delight their customers in the online world, across their preferred channels. The usability of a DXP is key to collaborative working across functions, in order to produce more impactful digital campaigns and programmes, faster and on a larger scale. This will also free up the IT team to focus on more relevant projects.
Certainly, your digital experience operations need the agility and flexibility of a cloud-based architecture, which also has the scalability to accommodate traffic peaks, like the high-volume days of the Great Singapore Sale.
Another factor to consider is flexibility. You need the ability to customise and scale your DXP, and integrate third-party tools -- otherwise, you could quickly outgrow what seems at first like the ideal platform.
Analytics, optimisation and personalisation are also important as customers today expect individualised experiences, consistent across all the channels they use. A DXP with integrated analytics, personalisation and optimisation will help your marketing team gain full visibility of all the segments, prospects and touchpoints they need to target visitors with impactful content.
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Multi-language support is also important. English is the most widely understood language in Singapore and across the region, but true personalisation demands that users are able to access all the platform’s features in the language they prefer. Marketing campaigns are created in the languages most appropriate for the target audiences, and the DXP must be able to deliver content and handle analytics and optimisation in a way that feels authentic to the customer.
Last but not least, security should be considered. Cybersecurity is an increasingly critical consideration for all software applications. Breaches occur with alarming regularity, and as your DXP will interact with a huge variety of connections, including critical systems, it must offer the most robust levels of cybersecurity and compliance.
An option worth considering is the relatively new concept of “Composable DXP.” A composable DXP is a DXP assembled from a series of best-of-breed solutions. These solutions work together via APIs or connectors to deliver content and digital experiences to customers in a more agile and flexible way than a single, integrated and essentially monolithic platform. Ultimately it brings more of a micro-services approach to the DXP space.
The composable DXP can provide a more lightweight approach to creating new sites and apps, as there are fewer dependencies or legacies to consider when putting together the desired marketing capabilities. Planning and deployments are less risky and require less resourcing.
Composable DXP makes omnichannel marketing easier. The agility to add new channels and formats, such as voice, and have them immediately deployed across your customer touch-points was not an easy option in a more traditional and monolithic approach.
Whether a composable DXP is right for you depends on your current business priorities and the availability of the resources and capabilities required to switch. It may be better to start with a more integrated platform and upgrade from there. If all you need now is just a simple CMS, maybe composable DXP can wait.
The pitfalls you need to avoid
As you comparison-shop for your DXP, avoid vendors that insist on their own suite of products, with no ability to integrate your preferred third-party tools. One-stop shop platforms may look like a hassle-free solution but in fact, a lack of customisation options can limit the effectiveness of the platform and lead to more difficult and expensive maintenance long term.
The digital transformation journey for most companies is a gradual one, mastering each phase before moving on to the next. This calls for a DXP that can scale as the digital strategy evolves. Teams should beware of investing too much in over-complex solutions, with capabilities beyond what is needed right now. Look for offerings that support businesses step-by-step as they reach each stage of digital maturity.
Many organisations lack the in-house resources to create and manage consistently innovative and successful digital experiences. Make sure your DXP vendor has the strategic expertise and project management skills necessary to bring your vision to life and deliver the business value you expect.
Your investment in a DXP platform must be based on a long-term vision
Choose a vendor who offers a DXP that supports your unique business needs, rather than forcing your organisation to fit the mould of a complex, one-stop-shop solution. Aim for a partnership that will enable you to save costs, enhance efficiency and deliver digital experiences that will continuously delight your customers.
John Yang is the VP of Progress