The demand for software platforms that streamline the process of creating and managing digital touchpoints continues to grow. One answer to this demand has been digital experience platforms or DXPs, which promise to bring together the disparate solutions that companies currently use to manage interactions at every point of the customer journey.
The problem is well-defined: in a world of rapidly developing technology, digital leaders need flexible software that can support short release cycles for new touchpoints and eliminate the data silos that slow strategy down.
The exact definition of what a DXP actually does, however, is still taking shape, partly because the capabilities needed to address the problem are so broad. It can be difficult to see through the hype and identify the essential components of a DXP that will realistically help companies evolve their businesses.
Forrester recently released its 2017 Wave for Digital Experience Platforms to help companies clarify their expectations for DXPs. The 2017 report is the third of its kind, following Waves from 2014 and 2015. Liferay Digital Experience Platform (DXP) is a newcomer to the Forrester Wave, and as one of the few vendors to pivot from a portal-heritage solution, Liferay DXP brings a strong portfolio for creating and managing modern, authenticated experiences for post-purchase stages of the customer journey in uniquely challenging IT environments.
How Forrester Defines a Digital Experience Platform
Forrester identifies eight core areas that a fully realized DXP should include: content, marketing, commerce, customer service, analytics, customer data, personalization, and development and operations. While all eight categories are considered core components of a DXP, Forrester required strong product offerings in only four categories, with prebuilt integration among the components.
From this methodology, we can conclude three things about Forrester’s vision for DXPs:
- DXPs should encompass the entire customer journey. Currently, most vendors are geared toward supporting customer acquisition phases, rather than the post-purchase phases that Forrester identifies.
- DXPs should integrate broad capabilities in order to reduce friction, maximize reuse and fuel insight. Forrester added two new core areas (personalization, and development and operations) from its 2015 report and required four instead of three product offerings, reflecting that DXPs are continuing to broaden.
- The strategy and roadmap of a DXP is just as important as its current offering. Forrester’s definition of strategy and vision includes product cohesion, capturing the “prebuilt integration” that every DXP should have.
The actual score weighting that Forrester uses for the Wave is based on a generic set of business priorities, and Forrester recommends that companies adjust the evaluation criteria according to their actual needs, in order to see which vendors best fit their use case.
All DXP Vendors Have Room to Grow
With only one leader in the 2017 Wave, it’s clear that vendors still have room to grow. The next Wave will likely be a very different picture of the DXP market as vendors up their investment in missing core areas.
One interesting thing to note is that Forrester gives equal weight to vendors’ current product offering and to their long-term vision. Companies would be wise to keep an eye to vendor roadmaps as they evaluate DXP offerings. Already, we’ve seen some major shifts in the Wave for DXPs. OpenText was included in 2014, dropped in 2015, and is back as a Challenger in 2017. Adobe was the only Leader in 2015, and has fallen back considerably to be replaced by Oracle.
This shows that no vendor should be considered a leader based on capabilities alone; it is crucial that they demonstrate an understanding of what digital businesses will need next, especially with a platform that is intended to support a long-term strategy. The more companies can pinpoint their digital strategy needs for the next three to five years, the better they will be able to find a platform that will deliver real business value.