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Why Your Digital Experience Platform Needs to be Open

January 30, 2023 9 minute read
4 reasons an open digital experience platform rules closed versions
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Digital Experience Platform

When it comes to digital transformation, change is constant, and urgency moves businesses forward with the expectation of doing more in less time. Customer experience today is more than just driving purchases or getting traffic to your website. Businesses have already invested plenty of time, energy, and money into martech they expect will deliver real returns. That’s only possible when all your technology works together to create and nurture long-term relationships that complement and inform the personal moments that define our day-to-day lives. 

A digital experience platform (DXP) empowers brands to better serve customers wherever and whenever they are — and with an open DXP (where you combine DXP with the power of open architectures), organizations can realize the maximum benefit for their customers and business.

Closed vs. open DXPs

An open digital experience platform stands in contrast to closed DXPs. Here’s how we define them:

Closed DXPs value the benefits of tightly coupled components and provide every one of those components through a single platform to power the experience. An example of a closed DXP is Adobe

The primary benefit of a closed DXP is that the vendor does much of the integration work for you. Of course, every closed DXP vendor will claim they’re open and will integrate with whatever you need them to. But seasoned marketing leaders can tell you war stories from past projects where their teams became mired in complex efforts to integrate myriad solutions from multiple vendors. They felt real pain, so buying everything from one vendor was appealing but carried tradeoffs. 

Open DXPs are platforms that bring together “best-of-breed” products from multiple vendors. For organizations that already own multiple digital experience products, an open DXP can help all of them work together more effectively. Open DXPs evolve with the needs of the customer. Unlike closed proprietary software that locks users into a standard set of capabilities and limited workflows, an open architecture lets your tech stack be easily modified, expanded upon, and integrated with outside solutions. 

Benefits of an open DXP approach

An open DXP breaks down the challenges of creating seamless customer experiences and helps organizations meet customer expectations — even as they evolve in the future. Let’s take a look at the benefits an open DXP offers.

An open DXP amplifies the opportunity to adopt new channels

Warren Buffett frequently reminds audiences in interviews and speeches that he can’t speculate about future stock prices because the future is unknowable. And if Warren Buffett can’t speculate about the future, neither can you. 

If you select a DXP because you believe you can predict the tools, techniques, and approaches that will be effective 18 months from now, you’re in for a challenging future. Today, almost every customer interaction is multifaceted, spanning both online and offline channels, and it feels like a new technology appears on the scene every day. From mobile apps to IoT and voice assistants, each gives customers a unique entry point into a conversation with your brand. As the number of channels and devices continues to multiply, customers expect relevant content that’s context-aware across all of their interactions. So how can marketers expect to win at customer experience when the goalposts for success keep moving?

Success begins with creating customer experiences holistically, not as a bunch of disparate moments specific to a time, place, or device. Because an open DXP is built API-first and embraces the concept of integrating with third-party tools, it’s far easier to integrate a future, unknown tool into the framework than it is into a tightly coupled DXP that makes assumptions about the technology stack. An open DXP is the only way to be future-ready for the unknown.

An open DXP is designed to help marketers deliver content in a “loosely coupled” fashion that allows content creators to build content independently of how specific channels will ultimately use it. This means content creation and front-end design can each employ experts focused on building the most compelling experience possible for the target audience. When each part of your tech stack is built upon open APIs, organizations can centralize and aggregate content and readily deliver across channels so that experiences flow into each other and provide a consistent message to audiences on whichever device they prefer. With an open DXP, you’re ready to adapt to any future.   

A microservices architecture allows you to select best-of-breed solutions

Talk to any technology leader in your organization, and they’ll tell you that one of their major initiatives is moving various technology platforms to a microservices architecture. Put simply, a microservices architecture stitches together disparate services designed for narrow use cases into comprehensive solutions. Think of the Amazon AWS approach writ large on every part of an organization's technology. The major benefits of a microservices architecture are better organizing your technology solutions to your business capabilities, improving productivity, and achieving better scalability.

The core approach of an open DXP — providing a platform where disparate services can be woven together into a single, compelling platform — is a microservices architecture itself that will perfectly fit with your broader organization’s microservices goals. Because it’s hard to predict the future and be exceptional at everything, a closed DXP with tightly coupled solutions often falls short in providing a comprehensive solution that executes well across disparate use cases, like content management, personalization, analytics, marketing automation, or business intelligence. This is where an open DXP shines because you can truly pick and choose the best solutions for your use cases and assemble those into a single, cohesive platform and still get the same benefits of using a single platform to execute digitally.

For example, adding commerce capabilities to an existing digital experience is an increasingly common need. The challenge of a DXP with a tightly coupled commerce solution built-in is that we’re in the midst of massive disruption in commerce platforms, with traditional players being upended by more agile organizations better at keeping up with the pace of change.

Open DXPs embrace the idea that the platform should meet your requirements and that your requirements shouldn’t be compromised to fit a rigid platform. This means that an organization using an open DXP can take advantage of the commerce platform that best matches its use case and doesn’t have to settle for a commerce platform tightly coupled with the platform.

An open DXP scales your brand presence

Once marketing and IT teams understand how to deliver powerful, seamless digital experiences, the next hurdle is how to do it at scale. Global organizations often have hundreds or thousands of digital properties in production and need to find a way to manage each of these components across multiple brands, multiple geographies, and multiple divisions. Centrally managing these expansive digital ecosystems and taming unregulated digital sprawl is a real challenge.

A centralized, multisite management approach leveraging an open DXP solution can give enterprises the flexibility, security, control, and efficiency they need to gain true oversight into all of their sites without duplicating IT and marketing resources. Leveraging a common open platform with a scalable architecture aligns content, data, tools, and services within a single location, accelerates the creation of new sites and extends the reach of your brand presence throughout the full customer journey. 

An open DXP eliminates siloed customer experiences 

Imagine this: You meet someone new for coffee, talk about your family, vacation plans, and hobbies. A few days later, you see them again, and they’ve completely forgotten everything about you. No, this isn’t the plot of 50 First Dates. It's a major issue for brands trying to build relationships with customers when all their interactions are siloed and disjointed. 

Today, every side of an organization from marketing to sales and customer success constantly collects new data about their customers. This data is scattered throughout various platforms from a CRM and commerce platform to customer support systems. Yet without a way to connect these individual touchpoints, teams miss crucial knowledge about customers as they move from one channel to the next. This leads to frustrating customer experiences, like promotional messages on steady repeat or having a returning visitor reenter all of their contact info each time they engage with you. 

An open DXP equipped with a customer data platform (CDP) treats customers as valued individuals rather than strangers. A CDP unlocks customer data from siloed systems throughout an organization and unifies it in a single platform, giving visibility into where, when, and how customers engage with their brand. By building 360-degree customer profiles that evolve with each new interaction, brands can offer better personalized experiences and more relevant content to the people they serve. When your platform is open and extensible, you can build on previous insights and customize customer experiences as they happen rather than approaching each touchpoint as a one-off exchange.

Acquia’s Open DXP

At Acquia, we believe in open everything. We help our customers bring together all the products they already use and make them work better. To do this, Acquia DXP needs to integrate with other products in the digital experience ecosystem from Salesforce to Google and even competitive products like those from Adobe. Acquia DXP can serve as a platform that delivers core capabilities like content management and marketing automation, while also embracing integration with the products you already own or may buy in the future. 

Acquia’s open DXP gives brands the digital freedom they need to understand customers and deliver meaningful experiences. To learn more about how an open platform can help your organization defy the limits and embrace digital transformation, download our e-book: Why Digital Experience Management Needs an Open Platform.

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