2 Min Read

What's the Difference Between a CMS, Portal, and DXP?

What makes a DXP different?

Just as Pokemon evolve to more powerful forms, digital customer experience tools have evolved according to modern customer needs to become powerful digital experience platforms. 

But what does that mean? 

What’s the Difference Between a CMS, Portal, and DXP? 

As providing superior customer experiences becomes more of a competitive differentiator, the technologies that businesses have used are transformed accordingly. 

Content management systems (CMSs) were built to manage the creation and modification of digital content (think Wordpress). A CMS is typically used for enterprise content management (ECM) and web content management (WCM). 

ECM typically supports multiple users in a collaborative environment, ultimately to enable organizations to deliver relevant content to users. Alternatively, WCM is used in conjunction with web experience management (WEM) to build web-based experiences. 

However, as new digital channels have emerged, such as mobile and smart devices, content has needed to be accessible and consistent across every touchpoint--which CMSs struggle to offer. 

Portals are suited for nurturing long-term customer relationships after purchase (here are 15 Awesome Examples from the Liferay Community). Portal functionality is extremely useful for experiences that require a user to login. However, alone, they can be unfriendly to business users and often complex and costly. 

Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) emerged due to the need for both CMS and portal functionality to meet changing customer expectations. These were created to deliver the right content at the right time and continue nurturing a long-term relationship. Businesses can leverage the architecture and functionality of the platform to deliver unified digital interactions across multiple touchpoints for the entire customer journey. 

What Makes a DXP Different? 

You might be wondering, is a DXP just broken down and repackaged CMSs and Portals? 

“A true DXP is designed to be an integration hub, in addition to providing the capabilities around experience composition, management, delivery and optimization of digital experiences across the entire customer journey.” CMSWire

What sets DXPs apart is its ability to integrate with multiple existing, legacy, and adjacent technologies to deliver a unified, continuous, and optimized experience. 

So no, DXPs are not repackaged CMS and Portal solutions, but the reasons that businesses look for these solutions are often the same as what leads them to finding a DXP.

While DXPs have adopted some of the capabilities from these systems, they are far more than just the sum of these components. DXP vendors have taken CMS and portal functionalities, alongside features to meet modern user needs, to design an agile platform that is able to support a business’s needs to create unified digital experiences.

Why Should Your Business Use a DXP?

DXPs can bring significant benefits for your business, especially for your IT team. Download this whitepaper to learn more.

Bring the Benefits of a DXP to Your Business  

What is a DXP Not

Sometimes the best way to understand something is to understand what it is not.

The DXP market is still emerging but leaders in the industry will agree that a DXP is NOT

  • Just a bundle of new or existing technologies. A DXP is a central technological foundation to be built upon that is deeply integrative and flexible. While it does draw from portal, CMS, and even commerce functionalities, all of it works well together to support a continuous customer journey across all digital channels. 
  • A single channel or package. A DXP enables multichannel delivery across a variety of touchpoints and empowers users to deploy many experiences on a single platform. 
  • A monolithic system. A DXP is built for change and will go through constant evolution, optimization, and refinement especially as the digital landscape and customer expectations continue to change. 

What Can DXPs Do? 

With all of this in mind, you might be wondering, what other core capabilities distinguish a DXP from other technologies on the market? Uniquely, DXPs offer:

  • Multichannel delivery for digital interactions across various touchpoints 
  • Native content management capabilities for managing different content types 
  • Personalization, analytics, and optimization capabilities out of the box 
  • Flexible architecture that supports integration with legacy systems and third-party applications 
  • Account services including registration, login and password management with authentication and access control 

Digital Experience Platform, I Choose You!

Now that you know more about what a DXP is, go forth and learn how businesses use DXPs to solve their complex business challenges.

Go, DXP!  
Originally published
March 24, 2021
 last updated
December 17, 2021
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