Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The composable DXP: A game changer for digital experiences

By Diane Murray, EMEA Strategy Lead, Progress

With modern digital businesses looking to offer the most engaging and personalised digital experiences, the DXP (digital experience platform) has become the essential tool for enterprises to manage the entire digital presence of a brand. But with many features and configurations for a DXP, and businesses’ tech stacks continually evolving, CIOs are looking to ensure flexibility and future-proof DXP investments.

As DXPs have evolved, a composable DXP will allow them to adapt quickly and easily to dynamic business requirements, offer excellent integration capabilities with other systems and a future-focused vision.

What is a composable DXP?

A digital experience platform is composable when it applies a flexible, modular approach to integration, delivering content through multiple channels and utilising a robust API and headless capabilities. A composable platform is purpose-built, easy to customise and connect, and easy to implement to address an organisation’s unique technology and business needs. 

The composable model stands in contrast to the traditional monolithic architecture that favoured a predetermined suite of products as a single, unified system. It allows customers to choose the best options for capabilities such as email and commerce as opposed to simply accepting the bundled offering of a monolithic platform.

Its key capabilities of business agility, modularity, and orchestration provide flexibility which allows businesses to adapt to changing market needs at a much faster rate. Cloud support, a decoupled presentation layer and flexible APIs are also critical to allowing businesses to match unique market requirements. 

The evolution of composable DXP solutions

The evolution of DXPs has been driven by consumers’ ever-increasing demands for personalised, omnichannel, always-on experiences. There’s an increased pressure on brands to adapt, revamp or migrate their digital solutions to platforms that allow them to be much more streamlined in their day-to-day processes – or fail to meet consumers’ needs.

Meanwhile, the federated content experience delivery, built on different platforms has evolved into headless CMS solutions, which take an API-first approach to experience delivery and enable the implementation of more advanced digital experiences. 

Gartner has also placed a strong emphasis on the composable suite approach, which includes web content management (WCM), customer data platform (CDP), data asset management (DAM), personalisation, journey orchestration, analytics, and commerce components.

To reaffirm composable strategy further, MACH (Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless) architecture has emerged as the generally accepted standard for DXP vendors. This composable, headless approach can offer users faster time to value and better performance via cloud-delivered SaaS, choice of front-end approaches, and better connectivity with other systems and channels via API-first delivery. 

Key elements for an effective composable DXP

In embracing a composable DXP, organisations can appropriately support an existing and ever-changing Martech stack. The following elements are key considerations: 

  • Integrations and solution accelerators

Due to the need to seamlessly integrate multiple Martech applications, it’s important to look for a DXP that optimises integration, with flexibility and ease of use. It’s also important to support connectivity to plugins and connectors to third party tools. A fully decoupled / headless front end which is based on a new .NET Core framework can offer a range of opportunities for extensibility and integration for seamlessly connecting key business and marketing systems across any enterprise.

  • Partner solution accelerators and third-party integrations

The role a DXP vendor’s partner ecosystem (technology and implementation partners) plays in building solution accelerators and pre-built low code integrations into third-party DX-related applications is key as these are vital components of composable DX solutions. 

Solution accelerators include plugins for commerce, extended DAM capabilities, and partner integrations for specialised portals. This can include platform connectivity options with out-of-the-box connectors for DAM systems, personalisation options for ecommerce, and pushing forward new applications for our low code integration service. Partners can also enable the creation of vertical solution accelerators for specific use cases such as banking websites and commerce platform integrations. 

  • Composable UI

Headless content and presentation capabilities can deliver experience management at scale. The headless API includes layout and personalisation metadata, as well as advanced caching for optimal end-user performance, extending experience management to any presentation channel that supports a page/widget model. With a low-code integration layer to enable rapid MarTech system integration, even experienced developers are empowered to iterate faster and innovate more.

  • Collaborative user community

It also offers confidence if the DXP vendor has a collaborative resource for users that allows the community to easily share and download solutions that extend the DXP digital experience for enhancements. These might include DAM integration, search options, or commerce connectivity. Through offering further options for connectivity to multiple products in each of these categories, they are useful in providing better extensibility and composability.

The future of composable DXP solutions

Flexible and future-proof by design, composable DXP solutions have clearly emerged as the winning option for enterprises looking to harness their mission-critical business systems. For today and the immediate future, brands require an open ecosystem approach to composable DX solutions that’s innovative and scalable for future business needs. 

The future for DXPs looks set to focus on creator experience, to make it easier for practitioners to understand and orchestrate building experiences using data and content from multiple sources seamlessly. This will bring many more visual and no-code tools for building experiences, customer journeys, and content relationships in a way that allows for rapid experimentation and testing while still offering vendor flexibility.

Improved vendor ecosystem synergy will boost the success of composable solutions, and associations such as the MACH Alliance are trying to improve synergy between DX vendors to promote open and best-of-breed enterprise technology structures.

More innovative applications of AI and machine learning that differentiate DXP offerings are also likely – and as tech stacks grow in complexity, those DXPs that employ AI through smart components and offer breadth, ease and speed of third-party system integration will be most favoured.