Digital Experience platforms (DXP) have become increasingly popular in recent years as many companies look for ways to optimize their communication and content strategies. Are traditional content management systems still a good choice? How does a DXP vs. CMS comparison look? We’ll try to answer these questions based on our experience, including a project involving a Liferay-based system and a platform used by over a million users.
Digital Experience Platforms are a popular topic nowadays. Some reports expect the market for such solutions to grow exponentially over the next few years, and personalizing the user experience is more important than ever – a survey conducted in 2018 found out that almost half of the customers (48%) leave a company’s website if it’s poorly curated.
But is DXP always the best choice? In what circumstances should you opt for a traditional CMS platform? Read on to find out.
Let’s first define both types of systems so that we know what we’re talking about – and then we can try to highlight the most important differences.
Content Management System (CMS)
Since web began, there has always been a need for solutions that allowed people to manage websites. This is what a CMS is. When properly implemented, it allows you (or your employees) to build web pages and manage and publish content without any (or requiring very little) technical knowledge.
CMS helps you with content creation, workflow management, and authentication (you can define permissions for users and decide who can publish content on the website, who can edit or remove it, and so on).
One of the best-known CMS platforms is WordPress – check out our article on enetrprise-level CMS development in which the CEO of Pretius, Rafał Lenczewski, talks about its relevance and especially security.
Digital Experience Platform (DXP)
DXP is a software tool you can use for managing entire digital experiences, usually across many channels, in various regions, using different languages, or considering other factors.
It’s not just about finding ways to create and deliver content, but also about communication, and managing the entire interaction customers have with your brand.
You can manage various aspects and operations using one, central platform which can be very helpful.
Digital Experience Platforms vs Content Management Systems
So, what are the biggest differences between these kinds of content management technology? The truth is the lines are a bit blurry.
In general, a Digital Experience Platform is a more comprehensive tool than a Content Management System. It has a CMS at its core, but its features and capabilities go beyond that. In fact, the easiest way to describe DXP is probably to say that it’s a sort of evolution or extension of the idea behind CMS.
Businesses that want to optimize their web experience management further look for ways to streamline, personalize and/or automate their marketing and communication efforts. An investment in a DXP solution allows them to achieve this. There are many potential benefits.
Here are some advantages of a DXP system:
- A DXP is usually a multimodule solution, and it’s easy to enrich with new features and customize to your particular business needs. Some DXP platforms work a little bit like a low-code tool – for example, Liferay offers plenty of great ready-made modules which you can easily customize further (calendar integration, messages, generating and sharing forms, etc.)
- A CMS is a core part of a DXP system, so you don’t really lose anything by opting for a more comprehensive tool
- You can incorporate eCommerce functionalities in your DXP system, whereas CMS typically doesn’t offer such options
- You have access to analytics and can collect information about users and their activity on your website (some CMS systems offer such features too, especially when you use additional plugins, but a full-blown DXP usually takes this idea further). This helps drive engagement and build lasting relationships with your users
- DXP allows you to personalize content based on several factors (you can decide what they are, depending on your business scenario), such as user activity, regions, age, multiple devices, etc. You can offer your users content that’s relevant to them, which is one of the most full-proof ways to boost the engagement
- You can use various integrations – for example, with different information portals, the company’s mobile applications, etc. An omnichannel approach helps you reach your audience where it really is (mobile web browsing is key nowadays) and find the best use for your content, not necessarily just on your own blog or social media
- Some DXP platforms also offer digital process and/or workflow management capabilities
- Some DXP systems have Data Center features
- More and more DXP systems have features enhanced with machine learning (AI – artificial intelligence) to speed up content creation and data processing, improve search functions and analytics, and offer more personalized and contextualized digital experiences
To summarize, if you expect to have many users on different channels or multiple websites, want to offer them personalized content, and react faster and better to what people do on your website, a DXP is a better choice than a simpler CMS system. This is usually the case with big companies, global corporations, etc.
However, DXP isn’t always required. Sometimes a CMS is all that’s needed to manage your digital content effectively. For example:
- When content marketing and complex digital experiences aren’t a focus for you (for example, you run a small and/or local business)
- When you have a relatively simple website or company blog and no need for personalized content or advanced marketing tools
- When you don’t need external integrations or can’t use them effectively anyway due to the limitations of your existing technology stack
- When you don’t need comprehensive user analytics tools (of course, it’s wise to remember that even if you don’t need something now, it might become necessary in a year or two, so take that under consideration)
Long story short, a basic CMS might be a good choice for smaller companies, startups, etc.
A franchise portal for an FMCG company
A while ago, we created a franchise portal for a big Polish business from the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector. The company wanted a centralized system for communication with its numerous franchise partners.
We didn’t call this system DXP back then, but it was created using Liferay (the platform’s paid version is now marketed as a DXP tool), and it has many of the characteristics we attribute to modern Digital Experience Platforms.
The portal allows the company to manage all kinds of content, such as newsletters, bulletins, blog articles, video instructions, industry news, and planograms. The content can be personalized using various parameters, which is important because the portal is also used by outside agents with different needs and access levels. The company can also use such parameters as region, type of the store, or even the size of its floor space, to personalize the content further.
The portal is a web application deployed in the Microsoft Azure cloud. We’ve mainly used Liferay to create it, but it’s worth noting that we’ve developed some custom modules too.
The system is integrated with Facebook Workplace, SAP, and the company’s mobile app, so that the content can be published in several places at the same time. Users can also set up notifications to never miss an important publication.
Finally, there’s also a knowledge base module that offers access to all kinds of information regarding concession, documents, organization structure, and news from the FMCG market.
One thing missing here – and typically present in DXP – is dynamic content generation. It simply wasn’t necessary because the client wasn’t interested in it. Instead, the administrator sets everything up manually and decides which users will access what content using a set of defined categories.
If you want to know more about our experience with Liferay, check out one of the previous articles published on our blog: Liferay tutorial for CTOs: Business-friendly features and more advanced functionalities.
A loyalty platform for a global corporation
Pretius also created a custom loyalty platform for a very big, international player in the FMCG sector. While the main goal of the system was to build brand awerness and help with the launch of a new product, the software also offered many DXP-related features.
The platform was built on AWS (Amazon Web Services), Oracle software, Kafka, and the Kubernetes microservice architecture, which allowed us to do it really fast – in around 9 months.
The system had to be customizable in real time, allowing the company to offer personalized content to different segments of users, based on a number of factors – the region they live in, the type of product they have, and even the color of the device they’re using. Based on this, people recieve curated offers, article suggestions, and other kinds of useful content.
There are two main parts of the system: back-office and front-end. The former is integrated with various other technologies (EmailLabs, Redlink, Salesforce), and used by the company’s Polish employees – over 2000 people. The latter is the module accessed by the customers. It supports user profiles, offers a product knowledge base, and of course a point-based rewards system along with a referral program.
The platform is used by over 1 million people, and we’re currently developing a new, improved version.
Comprehensive Digital Experience Platforms offer many advantages, especially for bigger, enterprise-grade companies that have more to gain by personalizing content (usually, because they work on a different scale and offer their services in various regions, but it can be for entirely different reasons).
However, that’s not to say a DXP solution is always the optimal choice. Sometimes a more basic Content Management System is simply a better alternative because it requires a smaller investment and offers just the features you need at a particular moment. The advantages and disadvantages of both approaches should be carefully considered.
If you need help with enterprise-grade software development, you can always reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or using the contact form below. We’ll analyze your situation and get back to you.
CMS vs DXP – FAQ
Here are answers to some common questions regarding various software platforms that let you manage content.
What is CMS?
CMS or Content Management System is software used for managing content, usually on Internet websites.
What is DXP?
DXP is a complex system that aims to help you personalize content and manage the experiences users have with your brand.
How to manage customer experience?
To manage customer experience you need to understand what your customers expect and desire (usually by analyzing relevant data), create content relevant to them, and find ways to engage them properly.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is about integrating digital technologies into business operations in order to optimize the latter. If you want to know more, here’s our digital transformation guide.
What is Web Content Management Space?
Web Content Management Space is another name sometimes used for CMS platforms.