Exploring the Confluence of Composability, SaaS and AI
- Rapid growth and key trends in Digital Experience Platforms (DXP). The global DXP market, poised to grow from $12.2 billion in 2022 to $27.2 billion by 2028, sees an evolution with emerging trends like Digital Experience Composition (DXC), integration with Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models.
- Significance of composability, low-code and no-code solutions. Composable, modular solutions are on the rise, with Front-End-as-a-Service (FEaaS) playing a critical role.
- Influence of AI and CDP integrations on DXPs. The integration of CDPs with DXPs is changing how customer data is viewed and managed across platforms, and AI is gradually integrating into DXPs.
In the swiftly evolving landscape of Digital Experience Platforms (DXP), marketers and customer experience professionals must keep pace with emerging trends and shifts in technology.
The DXP market is big business. The Global Digital Experience Platform (DXP) market is expected to experience significant growth between 2023 and 2030, according to a forecast. As of 2022, the global Digital Experience Platform market was estimated at $12.2 billion, and it’s anticipated to reach $27.2 billion in 2028.
According to the CMSWire DXP Market Guide, a DXP is defined as an integrated set of core technologies whose goal is to support the creation, management, delivery and optimization of customized digital customer experiences (DCXs).
Emerging DXP Trends: Composition, Composability and CDP Integrations
From the emerging trends of Digital Experience Composition (DXC) and low-code and no-code solutions to the significance of composability and the rapid shift toward SaaS models in the DXP market, buyers need to navigate these transitions with care and thorough consideration.
The integration of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) with DXPs is reshaping how customer data is viewed and managed across various platforms. Meanwhile, a “CDP light” approach is emerging as a viable strategy for users grappling with the implementation of comprehensive CDPs.
In a post-pandemic world, the lessons learnt have led to more resilient and reliable DXP solutions. And as AI begins to stake its claim in content management and DXPs, we discuss the importance of understanding and addressing the legal and ethical implications that come with it.
Composable, modular solutions are on the rise, and the role of Front-end as a Service (FEaaS) is becoming critical in this sphere. From the trend toward low-code and no-code solutions to the increased focus on Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Content Marketing Platforms (CMP), it’s clear the DXP landscape is undergoing a profound transformation.
Let’s dive more in-depth into these DXP market trends and their implications for marketers and digital customer experience professionals.
Related Article: Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs): What to Know
Digital Experience Composition (DXC): An Emerging Market Trend
Irina Guseva, senior research director at Gartner and author of the “Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms,” points to the growing interest in Digital Experience Composition, particularly among vendors on the periphery of the DXP market, as well as headless CMS vendors.
According to the Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms” published earlier this year, “Digitally mature prospects are looking to compose their own DXPs from modular, independent capabilities, and DXC is positioned as the point of composition for digital experiences.” The term essentially refers to the process of creating a digital experience using a variety of components from different technologies. Guseva emphasizes that this approach requires careful management of APIs, integration and orchestration.
“Digital Experience Composition, it’s really interesting because it’s not only no-code, but it’s also all that orchestration that goes in between the different technologies,” Guseva said in an interview with CMSWire.
According to Guseva, the DXC market is not fully developed or tested. As such, she advises buyers to approach it cautiously, considering factors like their organizational and digital maturity and the skillsets available to them. She also highlights the importance of governance in the customer experience and content realms.
“Be very, very careful as to how you go about this because it is a nascent, just the very new kid on the block kind of sub segments of the market,” Guseva said. “It’s not fully developed, it’s not fully tested. The footprints may vary. There’s not that many vendors who can be defined as Digital Experience Composition vendors.”
Related Article: Is Digital Experience Composition the Answer to Martech Madness?
How Front-End as a Service (FEaaS) Is Influencing DXPs
FEaaS is playing a critical role in the development of digital experience platforms, according to Gopinath Manimayan, lead architect of digital experience at Moonraft Innovation Labs.
“FEaaS provides pre-built UI components and frameworks that accelerate development and deployment of digital experiences, benefiting both vendors and customers by offering greater flexibility and customization options,” Manimayan said.
The Journey Toward Composability and SaaS in the DXP Landscape
The journey toward composability is still in its early stages, and there is a strong demand from buyers for true Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions.
For now, buyers are on a journey to decompose the monolithic applications and make them more manageable, agile and malleable, according to Guseva. But further, she noted, they’re also on a journey of modernizing the entire cloud infrastructure.
“That’s why the majority of vendors in this market have gone or still are going through this kind of ‘Saasification’ paradigm of their platforms,” Guseva said. “One, to get rid of their technical debts, because most of them are coming from the 20-plus-year-old, highly-commoditized and highly-mature CMS background. But two, to really respond to the demands of the buyer; it has to be a true SaaS.”
Guseva notes a discrepancy between buyer expectations and vendor pricing models. The challenge with composability and SaaS, she added, is pricing is not truly consumption-based, and that disturbs pricing negotiations in the DXP space. “Because the expectations of the buyer do not align with pricing and packaging. It’s just very expensive,” she added.
Dan Barak, CEO and co-founder of Stackbit, said monolithic DXP suites are finding the transition to a composable stack challenging due to the need to untangle many dependencies to become compatible with other solution vendors.
Related Article: A Decade of Dramatic Change in Digital Customer Experience
The Importance of Low-Code and No-Code Solutions in DXPs
Guseva identifies low-code and no-code solutions as critical tools for managing the complexity of the DXP market. These tools can simplify the process of creating and integrating different components, making it easier for business users to create their desired experiences.
Why so essential? DXPs are not meant to be out-of-the-box tools because of its level of complexity. Remember, it was Gartner that found that 85% of effort and cost in a DXP program will be spent on integrations with internal and external systems, including the DXP’s own, built-in capabilities.
“Low-code, and no-code comes in really handy, especially for business users,” she said, citing they can use them for experience composition such as drag and drop, testing, optimizing and ultimately the goal of personalized experiences.
“But it is also helpful on the integration side of things, and that’s again where composability comes in,” Guseva said. “Because one of the main pillars of composability is having that application integration catalog and marketplace … for all these other systems in the martech architecture stack out there in the world. So low-code and no-code is essential, especially if you look at it from the point of view of fusion teams. So before there was IT on one side of the table, and then there was marketing. Now that was it from like total experience perspective, and a multi-experience and customer experience and employee experience and user experience all coming together and looking at it from a central lens.”
|Core DXP Functionality|
APIs for administration, authoring, interoperability, decisioning and delivery
|Content authoring, workflow and collaboration||Customer experience (CX) personalization|
|Content and experience analytics||Content indexing, metadata and search||Digital Asset Management (DAM) and/or integration|
|Content modeling and extensible content types||Content presentation and delivery||Experience design (low-code site or page design)|
|Content versioning and change management||CRM and marketing automation integration||Experience personalization|
|Experience/site versioning and change management||Forms design, integration and delivery||Experience testing and optimization|
Ecommerce or ecommerce integration
|Image management and editing||Multi-lingual support and/or localization integration|
|Platform account and access service||Platform/back office extensibility||Social media integration|
|Content security and access control||Multi-site, multi-channel, multi-device support|
|Source: CMSWire DXP Market Guide|
In order to ensure that composable approaches to DXPs remain user-friendly and accessible to nontechnical team members, businesses should offer comprehensive training and documentation, simplify user interfaces and use no-code or low-code tools to create visual workflows and automate tasks, Manimayan said.
According to Manimayan, the trend toward low-code and no-code solutions will empower nontechnical users and potentially shift the balance in their favor. However, technical expertise will still be needed to ensure quality, scalability and security. This trend will accelerate development, reduce costs and foster collaboration between technical and nontechnical teams.
Barak stressed the need for solutions that allow developers to build custom digital experiences that can then be managed by nontechnical users in a no-code environment. As he put it, “They need developers to be able to focus on building pro-code, custom digital experiences that can then be handed to business users for management in a no-code environment.”
The most critical problem Gartner identifies within the new composable world is the current lack of no-code, user-friendly interfaces for business users, according to Barak. The current composable or headless approach is still very developer centric and pro-code.
“We have identified this same problem. Headless CMS are fantastic developer tools for separating code and content, but tend to double as the only editor available for marketers,” Barak said. “This form-based interface — that lacks a visual in-context editing environment — is very hard to use for non-technical people. This results either in diminished usage, or high dependency on developers to make constant content changes: which no one likes.”
Larger enterprise digital experience software users need developers to maintain the architectural flexibility of their solutions, while also making sure their non-technical content editors are able to work independently, according to Barak. In other words, they need developers to be able to focus on building pro-code, custom digital experiences that can then be handed to business users for management in a no-code environment, he added.
Understanding the Integration of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) with DXPs
As Guseva noted to CMSWire, the majority of vendors are now caught up on their CDP acquisitions or organic developments. This means there’s a strong push toward integrating CDPs with DXPs to provide a unified view of customer data across various platforms. Whether sold separately or as part of a combined suite like Adobe, this integration signifies a more concerted effort toward data unification in the experience platform space.
Guseva sees an adoption of a “CDP light” approach. In the DXP Magic Quadrant she notes, “DXP vendors are starting to break apart their acquired and natively grown “customer 360” CDPs so that their customers have access to the basics for tracking and analytics across the DXP.”
Given the complexity and difficulty in implementing a comprehensive CDP, Guseva suggests that the ‘CDP light’ approach can be beneficial for users. She explains, “There’s of course, this kind of challenge with data lakes and data oceans or being all over the place and not connected at all. So maybe as a starting point, maybe the strategy for crawl-walk-run, a CDP light approach would be beneficial for end users.” This approach allows users to start small, manage data more effectively and gradually scale their customer data management efforts, she added.
Related Article: Curiouser and Curiouser — Drawing the Line Between DXP and CDP
The Role of AI in Reshaping Digital Experience Platforms
Where does artificial intelligence come into play in the DXP space? Guseva indicates that while the integration of AI in content management and DXPs is still in its early stages, there’s an evident interest and potential for it to transform the field. However, she notes that complete AI transformation in the DXP space hasn’t taken shape yet.
DXP vendors are certainly trying:
Guseva also emphasizes the need for a careful and smart approach to AI integration, given potential legal issues such as plagiarism. This highlights the importance of understanding and addressing legal and ethical implications when AI becomes a more integral part of DXPs.
Seizing the Future: Trends, Technologies Reshaping Digital Experience Platform Landscape
The digital experience realm is undergoing a transformative phase, underscored by shifts in technology, emerging trends and a drive toward better customer experiences. From the rising trend of Digital Experience Composition to the integration of Customer Data Platforms with Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs), the industry is evolving rapidly.
The integration of AI in content management, the emergence of composable and SaaS models, and the essential role of low-code and no-code solutions are all pivotal elements of this unfolding story. The evolution of the DXP landscape is a narrative that continues to unfold, and as it does, marketers and digital customer experience professionals must be prepared to adapt, innovate, and pioneer the next wave of digital experiences.
Vendors must be prepared, too. Gartner, in its “Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms” released in January 2021, reported practitioners in charge of digital experiences in the early days of COVID-19 in 2020 “found themselves struggling with the usability, scalability and uptime of their DXP systems, given the spikes in traffic and growing demand for the digital channel.”
Ultimately, according to Guseva, the software vendors have learnt valuable lessons from the pandemic, especially in terms of providing reliable hosting options that don’t crash often. This indicates a trend toward more resilient and reliable DXP solutions.
However, vendors should have a strong foundation in core concepts such as CMS, personalization analytics and Customer Data Platforms, according to Manimayan. They need to balance this with continuous investment in research and development to stay on top of changing technology while delivering a cohesive user experience.
“This evolution,” he added, “toward a microservices architecture, headless content management and API-first design will enable businesses to build and deploy digital experiences more quickly and flexibly.”