DXP: “You Keep Using That Term. I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means.”
It’s not inconceivable. Rather than single-sourcing a DXP, think about your digital experience platform as being:
- A system of applications (and their underlying platforms) …
- … brought together by various vendors and agencies …
- … bound by APIs and events …
- … connected through good data …
- … which provides the foundation for experiences and apps to be rapidly built on top …
- … and charts the course to front-/back-office unity under an experience architecture.
Researching this for seven months, I felt like Columbo trying to solve a mystery that wanted to remain unsolved. I asked 25 teams of vendors, SIs, and CTOs, “What is a DXP to you?” then kept asking “just one more thing” — and they sang like canaries …
Some of the best minds in the business gave me their perspective on what a DXP is, in practice. And as they listed out the capabilities, I imagined product managers building and taking a DXP to market.
- How might one product offering enable digital experiences across the entire customer lifecycle?
- How might it do so equally well for retailers, travel agencies, and wealth management firms?
- How might it do so in the cloud, with quick time-to-value, in harmony with a client’s current investments?
The CTOs shared, “My colleagues and I aren’t buying big monoliths and implementing them all at once anymore. We did that 10 years ago. We have battle scars. We’re not going down that road again.” Yet they still had to integrate other components into their monoliths for things that didn’t come in the box, such as software subscriptions. (Was it ever a “do it all” monolith in the first place?)
The CTOs who intentionally composed their platforms gave a curious answer to another unassuming question: “What’s inside the ring fence of your DXP, and what’s outside the ring fence?” The systems inside the ring fence were part of the digital team’s remit … and, over time, the ring expanded as the digital team’s remit grew. (Will the “all” in “do it all” ever stop growing?)
Every day I asked myself, “How is it possible for one vendor to create one product that works across multiple industries and grows in scope as a company’s digital remit grows?” After talking to the vendors, turns out … it’s not possible.
To be fair, it’s unprecedented — but why hold your breath?
If you need help compartmentalizing the way you think about your DXP, give me a call.
I can help you and your teams make sense of this, as well as understand how to be future fit. Schedule an inquiry with me to talk about how modern digital experience technology can help you deliver your digital strategy.
Forrester clients can read Understanding The Architect Of Your Digital Experience Platform to learn how digital leaders must recalibrate their understanding of digital experience platforms to make the right decisions about building and evolving them.