Keeping Up with Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs)

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the definition of a DXP and talk a little bit about how they came to be.

These days, the buzz is all about digital experience platforms (DXPs). But if I ask you to define exactly what a DXP is, could you do it? Most of us have a sense of what a DXP is, but with more than 964 million results for the term in Google, there’s a good chance there are a multitude of understandings of the term. 

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the definition of a DXP and talk a little bit about how they came to be. We’ll also introduce you to Acquia’s own DXP and share insights on its ability to deliver customized experiences to connect directly with your audience. 

Defining DXPs

Global research and advisory firm Gartner defines a DXP as “an integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences.” Gartner further notes, “DXPs act as centers of gravity in a complex, extensive and interconnected technology landscape. Beyond simple websites and mobile apps, organizations need to deliver highly contextualized experiences to an increasing variety of modalities and channels across the customer journey.” 
At Acquia, we agree with the essence of Gartner’s definition but have our own vision for defining a DXP based on our experiences working with clients to develop and deploy them. Here’s our take: “A DXP is an organization’s set of core and supplementary technologies used to build coherent, connected and personalized experiences that deliver the right content in the right context to the right people through the right channels.” We believe, while integrated, the best DXPs should be open and flexible. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.

The History of DXPs

DXPs — and the idea of a highly interconnected set of technologies for customer experiences — have evolved in response to the changing needs of the industry. Consider this: Back before 2008 or 2009, your brand’s website was your DXP. Then came the iPhone and other smartphones and suddenly, the digital experience began expanding. 

Fast forward through the past decade — through social media, Siri, Alexa, Google Home, in-store point of sale, digital signage and screens, chatbots, IoT, out-of-home media, marketing automation and more — and the channels, platforms and technologies that comprise a brand’s potential digital experience strategy have exploded. This has forced marketers to completely rethink the way that we interact with our customers. The way business was conducted ten years ago simply doesn’t work today because the world has dramatically changed with respect to technologies, business expectations and customer expectations. 

Control Your Own DXP Destiny

As with any new technology, there’s no shortage of vendors wanting to sell you their version of the “perfect” DXP. But be wary of vendors that try to peddle you an off-the-shelf or one-stop-shop DXP solution. Why? Because by its very nature, a DXP is a conglomeration of many different technologies — oftentimes from many different vendors — and at the end of the day, it needs to be uniquely constructed to fit your specific business’s needs. It is important to have the flexibility to choose the technology components that help you create differentiated and interesting experiences for your customers to continue winning their business. And there’s a darn good chance they don’t all come from one provider.

Many DXP providers require you to lock into their solution — their technology will only work within the realm of their technology, forcing your business to work at the mercy and speed of their product roadmap. This may result in the potential need to abandon software you’ve already invested in that provides valuable insights and to retrain your entire team on a new platform in the hope it will deliver greater value. 

The Acquia DXP Difference

Open source DXP “foundation” platforms like Acquia allow you to continue your customer-centric focus, constructing your DXP in the manner you see fit from top software across vendors. Our approach values and promotes simplicity in integration of cross-channel customer journeys; scalability in authoring, site operations and data security; and intelligence in automated, actionable insights, empowering users to become active in defining experiences.

We provide organizations with proven core capabilities, including Acquia Lightning, a web content management systems based on Drupal 8, Acquia Cloud and Cloud Site Factory, Acquia Lift, Acquia Journey, Acquia DAM, and other tools, as well as connectors and integrations that allow the flexibility to customize your DXP to provide your business with optimal results. 

We believe the best DXP is one with a solid foundation and other best-of-breed technology like marketing automation and analytics, allowing your organization to build an optimal DXP model to provide the ultimate experience for your customers, at scale.

Acquia offers the platform, runtime support, and developer tools that supports teams building cutting-edge digital experiences. This is the direction our business is heading, focusing on the digital customer experience while being mindful of the real need for flexibility and scalability. If this aligns with your business goals, speak with us about how our DXP can help you generate, delight and maintain customers.

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