What to consider when evaluating your future CMS?

Digital experience platform capability is critical for ensuring secure, contextualized access and interaction across digital channels, says Gartner.

Digital experience platforms (DXPs) are emerging as centers of gravity in a complex, extensive and interconnected software landscape to improve user engagement across digital channels, as their vendors are responding to customer demand for systems that address digital business initiatives, rather than just one-off tactical websites and portals – says Gartner in its 2018 Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms, naming Sitecore a leader.

On a technical level, DXPs come from the evolution of portal platforms, content and web content management (CMS and WCM) systems, as they converge to support many points of interaction as well, thus creating a helpful and delightful digital experience for customers, partners and employees.

Creating, managing and optimizing digital experiences requires platforms that combine horizontal portal capabilities, WCM, and complementary integration, analytics, social, search, and other functions. But a DXP must be more than the sum of its parts so it's a good idea to consider key market trends when choosing a platform.

According to Gartner most organizations focus their initial DXP investments on marketing-centric customer experience efforts because of the clear business benefits of customer engagement. But the DXP market's focus is already shifting to the broader customer, partner and employee experience. The digital workplace is becoming a hot spot for DXP investment as organizations look to redefine the employee experience and renovate internal portals and intranets.

Gartner forecasts that the demand for engaging and productive digital experiences will increase end-user spending on DXPs at a compound annual rate of 14% over the period 2016 to 2021, to reach $18.4 billion in 2021.

As in other markets, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are sources of innovation, voice interfaces, chat bots and personal digital assistants represent new ways to engage and support DXP audiences. In addition, organizations are increasingly deploying internet of things (IoT) technologies and devices to provide embedded, ambient and continuous experiences.

Vendors are at various stages in the assembly, rationalization and unification of DXP offerings so product integrity is a differentiator in the market.

Make the digital experience rich

Here are some further recommendations from Gartner to organizations looking for the right platform:

  • Aim to exploit the full range of DXP capabilities, including context awareness, personalization, content management, analytics and optimization, to improve user engagement and satisfaction across digital channels.
  • Since DXPs are designed to support complex digital presences, avoid using them for simple initiatives (such as a single website for a single audience), unless these form the initial phase of a long-term multichannel, multiaudience strategy.
  • To meet business demand empower business users, such as digital marketers, customer service leaders and corporate communications personnel, to assemble and manage digital experiences instead of having to wait for IT organizations to do this for them.
  • A DXP's broad functional range calls for a broad range of skills, so expand your teams with content, design, analytics, records management and other expertise.
  • Look for vendors linking DXPs with the IoT and willing to engage with your organization to build scalable solutions.