Finding the right DXP platform doesn’t have to include compromises

Finding the right DXP platform doesn’t have to include compromises
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Beware of investing too much in over-complex solutions, with capabilities beyond what is needed.

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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 can provide optimal digital experiences to multiple stakeholders, and 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, AI and analytics.

Unsurprisingly, there is a wide choice of DXP offerings in the marketplace – so wide, in fact, 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.    

How to balance the short and long term benefits

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 an unnecessarily complex system?

The answer is to find the right fit. What this means is 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 journey like those in the mid-market and in industries such as education, healthcare and financial services. 

Leading German fashion retailer Tom Tailor needed a DXP platform with all these capabilities when they took the radical step of pivoting to an e-commerce service from scratch, when the Covid pandemic forced them to close many of their physical locations.  The platform the company was using to manage their online presence was quite unsuitable for e-commerce, as it was unable to handle content updates or product and pricing information for their multiple SKUs.

Tom Tailor found a solution that enabled them to manage the entire ecommerce experience from one platform while minimising IT overhead costs. The result was a more engaging, dynamic shopping experience, and after just ten days of going live, the first Tom Tailor site is out-earning the average brick-and-mortar store on a daily basis.

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 longer term. 

- John Yang is Vice President of APJ, Progress 

Key features and capabilities you need

Stakeholders’ expectations have evolved and companies have to meet and 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 from handling endless requests from marketers, and let them focus on more relevant projects.

If you are still wedded to legacy on-prem IT systems, you need to bite the bullet and begin to make the shift to cloud. 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 and scalability. Some DXP platforms start out working just fine, but then are unable to evolve to meet changes in business strategies and workflows. 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. In this new digital world, marketing success depends on precise campaign targeting.

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. 

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 feel most comfortable with. 

In addition to Singapore’s own four main languages, customers in Southeast Asia speak many more.  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. As our lives become ever more digital, cybersecurity is an increasingly critical consideration for all software applications. Breaches occur with alarming regularity, and in response the Singapore government has rolled out several programmes to counter cyberattacks. As your DXP will interact with a huge variety of connections, including critical systems, it goes without saying that it must offer the most robust levels of cybersecurity and compliance.

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 longer 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.

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 Vice President of APJ, Progress 

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