A digital experience platform (DXP) is a software platform that manages digital experience across a broad range of digital touchpoints. Some of the functionality found in a DXP include content management, ecommerce, personalization, and experimentation.
Gartner defines a DXP as an "integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences."
Forrester further defines digital experience platforms as software that provides the foundation for flexible, agnostic core services to maximize scale, quality and insights across channels and systems while delivering context-specific tooling for practitioners to build, manage and optimize digital journeys on “owned” channels and orchestrate third-party experiences.
Digital experience platforms are an evolution of traditional web content management systems to better map to the entire digital customer lifecycle, from content creation to deployment to measurement and iteration. DXPs handle much of the data management and user experience so that digital marketers can focus on customer needs and engagement.
In short, DXPs provide a centralized way to help build, manage and optimize digital journeys. In an increasingly digital world, it's important to have a central experience management platform to manage the digital customer experiences across all digital touchpoints. DXPs provide marketers with a powerful technology stack for helping to create the best digital experiences for their customers.
The field of DXPs is still nascent, but there are a number of features that are common to most DXPs:
Content Management - Content is at the core of digital experiences, so most DXPs have some content management system (CMS) capabilities. A DXP helps serve as a central repository for an organization's content, and that content can be presented across omnichannel touchpoints, whether that's on the website, blog, mobile app, social media post or event IOT device.
Asset Management - A related functionality to content management is digital asset management. As with content (which is typically in text form), DXPs serve as the central repository for digital assets such as images, videos, and audio files which can then be used in different contexts. DXPs utilize cloud infrastructure to provide scalability to match the needs of the user.
Commerce - Commerce is at the heart of business, and DXPs enable companies to easily transact on the web by providing ecommerce functionality. Digital experience platforms handle all the backend work needed to setup a digital storefront, accept payments, and track orders.
Customer Relationship Management - Closely related to commerce is customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities. A DXP will keep track of customer data in order to build longterm customer relationships as well as create a personalized experience for every customer.
Insights, Analytics & Intelligence - It is is not sufficient for a DXP to simply host content, modern DXPs also provide analytics and insight into user behavior workflows. Through technologies such as big data analysis and content intelligence, digital experience platforms can provide real-time insights into user behavior and make pro-active recommendations for optimizing the experience.
Personalization & Automation - Another related capability of DXPs is personalization. Because the DXP is the central store of user data, DXPs have the capability to analyze behavioral data and first party data to create personalized experiences for each user. Many of these personalized experiences can be automated, helping marketers scale their experiences.
Experimentation - The most advanced digital experience platforms incorporate digital experimentation functionality which allows users to seamlessly run A/B tests on their content and experiences in order optimize experiences and reduce the risk of new changes, using statistical analysis to make data driven decisions.
APIs and Integrations - Of course, no single software platform can do it all-- at least not yet. The top DXPs provide flexible APIs and an open architecture so that they can easily be integrated with best-of-breed solutions for different pieces of the DXP technology stack in order to build out the most complete digital experience platform that suits their needs.
Optimizely (formely Episerver) is a SaaS platform that is a good example of a DXP. Episerver offers a headless CMS that can be used to manage all of your digital content and assets, and includes built-in B2B ecommerce functionality so that you can easily transact online.
Optimizely features advanced analytics and content intelligence that provides insights into the performance of your site and content, and provides recommendations on content that can be improved.
Optimizely uses behavioral analysis and machine learning to provide automated recommendations as well as personalization. Optimizely also includes digital experimentation powered by Optimizely, so that you can run digital experiments across your technology stack.
Finally, Optimizely integrates with popular CRM solutions such as Salesforce as well various marketing automation tools to provide a central repository for data from all digital channels.
Other examples of digital experience platforms (according to Gartner's Magic Quadrant) include:
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