Two  or three years ago, software buyers in the market for new and improved tools for managing website content and cross-channel digital customer experiences had a typical request: “Help me replace my legacy web content management system with a new web content management system.” It was out with the old, legacy, hard to use system, and in with a new solution that perhaps had a few new capabilities, but which still looked and felt like… a web content management system.

As we approach 2014, that WCM buyer is asking for a whole lot more. Enter the digital experience platform – an emerging software category poised for takeoff as enterprises seek to differentiate through better digital customer experiences.

Forrester has defined the digital customer experience platform and 14 specific tools and capabilities in our TechRadar report for application development and delivery pros.

We took the research further in another recent report, a Market Overview report covering digital customer experience delivery platforms. This reports describes 17 representative software vendors and their offerings as they try to tackle this robust market with a diversity of capabilities; each has a different approach. Our research has identified players with heritage in four vendor categories: web content management (e.g. Acquia and Adobe), eCommerce (e.g. Demandware, Digital River), marketing solutions (e.g. Hubspot, Razorfish), and enterprise business software providers (IBM and Oracle).

It’s still early in the evolution of these platforms. But we do see momentum, in part because enterprise buyers are seeking unified solutions that allow them to avoid costly, time-consuming integration of a diversity of tools. Conversely, many buyers still prefer to source best of breed tools and integrate their own “platforms” to obtain first-class capabilities across their digital software portfolio.

Our research continues in 2014 on this emerging market. What has been your experience with digital customer experience platforms to date? Which capabilities are you focused on as your enterprise grows its digital customer experience capabilities? Vendors, what's your plan to address this market? Let us know in the comments.