Considerations for Implementing a Digital Experience Platform

Companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google have set an extraordinarily high bar for what consumers expect from digital platforms. We’re accustomed to remarkable, instantly accessible, and seamlessly delivered experiences that would have been considered impossible just a handful of years ago.  

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Businesses now have no choice but to get as close to that standard as possible. With the recent explosion of digital experience platforms (DXPs) positioning themselves to help businesses meet those expectations, identifying the right partner can be confusing, complicated, and costly.  

As consumers, we know what we want the experience to look like for our own businesses. The challenge is how to achieve that vision. Here are some considerations I’ve found vital when selecting a DXP. 

Know Where You Are on Your Digital Journey 

Digital transformation is a journey. The key to selecting the right platform to move you forward is understanding exactly where you are on your digital journey. As you evaluate different DXPs, think about where your company is now, and your future plans.  

It’s easy to get lost thinking about the immediate solutions you need from your DXP and not consider that your needs may be different one, two, three years from now. Not choosing a platform that can support your evolving needs can be very expensive.  

As you look at different platforms, keep in mind there are three DXP options: out-of-box, custom, and hybrid. Out-of-box is generally easy and the most cost-effective to implement, custom is more expensive and time-consuming, and hybrid is a combination of the two.  

As an example, out-of-box would use a theme that requires styling and limited expertise, custom would require developing templates and “blocks” from scratch, and hybrid may involve using a theme but the development of a few specific pages to meet the goals of your digital presence. Your current and future digital needs will help determine which is the correct route for your organization.  

Consider Data Privacy and Data Security 

There has been a significant cultural shift in which data privacy and security are more important than ever. Many DXPs either have tracking software or integrate with third-party tracking software, so you can track users based on their privacy settings.  

If you are storing any data, you’ll need to consider who is responsible for keeping that data secure. Platforms that are built for the cloud are more digitally and physically secure and are a great way of making sure you’re not responsible for that data.  

Some DXPs have been developed natively for cloud support, whereas others are legacy code-bases that have been converted to the cloud. Keep in mind that platforms architected for the cloud inherently have better data security. 

Understand How You Use Your Website 

DXPs can be a benefit or a curse. The platform you select may have all the products you want, but there will be an upcharge for each one you choose to use. So you start with the base, but then add features like advanced search, SEO tools, a/b testing, and more. When you’re done, it may cost more than expected.  

As you consider the different add-on features you want, you’ll have to ask if you’re getting the best in breed. Depending on which DXP you choose you’ll get the best of some features and the not-so-great of others. This is why planning for your current and future digital needs is critical. Knowing which features are most important for your organization will narrow down your DXP options.  

In addition to functionalities, knowing what type of website you need can affect the licensing model you choose. Commerce sites will have a larger number of page views than content sites. This means your price may go up significantly if the licensing model is based on page views. There are some DXPs that will offer a transactional model as an alternative to page views, which could be the best option for your company cost-wise.  

Ultimately, selecting the right DXP is not easy. You need to offer that perfect consumer experience while also funding all the features your organization needs to be successful. It’s no surprise that DXPs are an expensive investment. 

By taking the time to map out your company’s digital journey, consider data security and privacy needs, and understand how your website is used, you can ensure that you’ll pick the right DXP and maximize your website’s ROI.  

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