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Digital Experience Platforms: Key considerations for success

1st March 2022

Today’s leaders in experience use Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) as part of their growth strategy.

These leaders know DXPs can advance their business by improving customer experience. For them, experience platforms are more than a set of technologies that perform a process; it’s an essential enabler to increase profits, scale rapidly, and achieve competitive differentiation in crowded marketplaces.

While experience leaders realise that they are a strategic imperative for business growth, most leaders feel fatigued in the implementation stage due to inadequate baseline value propositions and a lack of organisational alignment; some leaders on the other hand may have clear goals and alignments and they may get to the finish line, but they struggle in measuring the ROIs of a DXP.

These are primarily two ends of a successful implementation spectrum which if not considered in the overall inception can result in negative outcomes.

Baselining DXP initiatives

There are multiple considerations in a DXP initiative, the most important ones, however, have been overlooked in most implementations. Here, I highlight some of the key considerations and questions to ask before jumping on the bandwagon.

Who are the key stakeholders?

Typical stakeholders who should be involved when choosing a DXP should include experience leaders, CTOs, and people from the teams who will be using them, such as marketing, merchandising, design, and content production teams. The respective heads of each of these teams need to be involved right from the start and create synergy in identifying the right solution that can be mapped with their team structures and the workflow processes they follow.

What business goals do you want to achieve?

Before setting out, briefly outline the pain points in the current business operations as well as existing customer pain points. Then jot down experience bugs or problems, scalability issues, and any other tactical business objectives that need to be achieved. Share these with your shortlist of vendors and gain perspectives into how their solutions address these problems. Preference should be given to those vendors who can handle the pain points natively in their solutions rather than having to customise to solve the problem. 

What foundational capabilities do you need to meet these specific business and customers goals?

DXPs are feature and functionality rich, specify the core area that you need to tap into to achieve the business and customer goals. It can include a specific area such as commerce, analytics, omnichannel delivery, content management etc. 

What is unique about the way you curate digital experiences for your customers?

Create a detailed description of the nuances of your current marketing campaigns and the publishing environment which needs to be mapped into the new system. You might also want to define the pros and cons of the current marketing strategy and how the technology you use to support it is impacting your customer acquisition and conversion due to a lack of modern features or proper processes.

What type of analytical insight do you need to make decisions?

Consider what insights you currently use to monitor and curate the experience for your customers as well as what you report on to your stakeholders. Also, focus on what you really need from a decision-making perspective for different stakeholders that your current platform is unable to provide.

What does the current marketing tech stack look like?

Often the underlying core IT systems powering the current experience are overlooked in the initial stages of implementation resulting in incompatible systems with legacy applications. List and explain the current technology used for marketing and the teams involved.

Baselining implementation considerations

While tactical considerations must be answered specifically depending on your experience platform needs and the business and customer problems they’re solving, the implementation considerations are factual points that business stakeholders must bear in mind. 

How do DXPs change how design, technology, and marketing teams work together?
  • Internally, DXPs enable collaboration across cross-functional teams. This is unlike in traditional organisations employing legacy tools and software, where teams may be working in silos or through a system of personal interactions. In organisations that harness the power of DXPs, teams even when remote, collaborate seamlessly with workflow models defined for different functions such as business, IT, marketing, and design specialists to participate in user journey design, publishing, and promotion. This streamlines cross-team collaboration.
  • For technical teams, the low/no-code environment enables them to create more complex tasks in less time with fewer people.
  • With a DXP, the whole team is working towards a common goal by retaining the core principles of delivering the experience that customers need.
  • DXPs create transparency, every decision can be made on data and insights from customers which avoids lengthy discussions. 
Typical pitfalls encountered when implementing experience platforms
  • An absence of functional knowledge of the experience management platform creates a void between teams.
  • Design teams focus on user experience without considering the design patterns supported by the platform. This results in costly and lengthy customisation in implementation.
  • When used as a sole system of record for creating and managing data DXPs present fewer challenges, but if there is data flowing in from a different system or flowing out to a different system, this makes the implementation more complex unless the data is properly mapped.
  • The initial deployments create challenges when the organisational alignment is not carried out whilst considering the business capabilities of the DXP.
Baseline DXP success metrics

Measuring the success of your platform choice for digital experience depends on measuring the metrics that directly impact your business performance and customer experience. Any measurement plan should be defined upfront and shared with the DXP partners you’re considering. Being transparent about the intended measures can help you choose the right partner with greater ease.

To measure effectively, the key metrics must be defined based on the strategic objectives set during the selection and implementation. For any business, the goal for evaluation should be set in the context of the experience management platform with the attributing action clearly aligned to a measurable outcome. Breaking these metrics into tactical, foundational, and strategic measures helps to measure the success of your investment in the platform.

Foundational & tactical metrics 

These metrics deal with the questions of ‘who,’ ‘what’ and ‘why’.

Which customers does your DXP support most commonly?

You need to identify your customer base, certain segments of customers are more significant to your business. It’s for these customers that a brand would want to define the primary customer experience for. Other important segments should also be carefully captured to modulate design based on their needs. The ‘who’ metric can be used effectively for behaviour modeling, and to form metrics at the strategic level.

What are they using when they use your DXP?

Identify the key areas that are being leveraged from the features of the experience management platform being used to meet the needs of this segment.

How are they using the DXP?

An understanding of how the experience the DXP is powering is being used is important. This can be taken from analytics and observational research and illuminates whether the customer is following the experience as intended or if something is causing an issue that could be forcing them to repeat actions or look for workarounds.

Strategic metrics

Strategic metrics are the practical application of foundational and tactical metrics. Mixing the ‘why’ and ‘how’ with the data can highlight the efficiency of strategic initiatives. Strategic metrics then relate to sales, cost structure, and revenue. Business leaders look at these metrics to make spending decisions on strategic initiatives that bring value to the customers.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT): Is the measurement of the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a customer journey. A CSAT score is a value that reflects how a customer feels about a specific contact/product/service. Multiple scores are collected from different customers and are accumulated into an average, which tells a company how happy they are making customers. This score can then be used to benchmark performance, retain customers and much more. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS): is often held up as the gold standard customer experience metric. NPS is measured by asking “the ultimate question” that allows companies to track promoters and detractors, producing a clear measure of an organisation’s performance through its customer’s eyes. Two questions that brands use commonly across industries, can help gauge customer engagement. ‘Will you recommend the product, service, or brand to others?’ and ‘Why did you give X rating?’.

Customer Effort Score (CES): is used by brands to understand the simplicity and ease of a given task undertaken using an experience powered by a DXP. Measuring CES is not restricted to only the end customers but also involves employees, partners, etc. which form the ecosystem that runs and maintain the DXP ecosystem.

Other areas to measure can include:

  • Employee performance
  • Operational performance
  • Innovation
  • Financial performance
To conclude

While clearly, DXPs are an essential technology that performs many of the activities that are vital to improving customer experience, organisations need to get the basics right before anything else to unleash the platform’s full potential. Often there are a variety of considerations that need to be addressed and those highlighted above should always be considered.

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