digital experience leader discussing and brainstorming new approaches and ideas with marketing colleagues
PHOTO: Shutterstock

For digital experience (DX) leaders to be successful in deploying and getting business value (ROI) from their digital experience platform (DXP) investments, they need to be mindful of employing the type of technology strategies that will enable innovation within in their organizations. It is important for these DX leaders to not only develop the culture and processes needed to support innovation within their own employees and external teams, but also leverage the power of new and emerging technologies to build a flexible technology ecosystem that enables innovation.

According to the 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape, there has been a 39% growth in MarTech applications over last year, to 5,500 solutions. Five years ago there were only 350 solutions. This growth of innovative technologies combined with increased expectations for a unified digital experience by customers has created an environment where marketing and IT teams must work together to provide a personalized customer experience across all multi-channel touch points.

If this wasn’t enough of a challenge, all this must be done in a scalable manner for larger businesses to support potentially millions of buyers and touch points domestically and internationally, as well as across multiple websites, languages, and business units. This need for scalability can’t sacrifice flexibility, as businesses need to continually meet changing customer needs and advances in MarTech.

e-Spirit, a digital experience platform (DXP) vendor, conducted a State of the DX Ecosystem survey of more than 200 marketing and IT professionals in global companies across the U.S. They found that digital experience leaders employed tech strategies anchored in the following concepts to support omnichannel scalability and innovation.

Related Article: What Are the Top 6 Attributes of DX Leaders (...And Their Technology Ecosystems)?

Tech Strategies DX Leaders Use to Support Innovation

  • An open architecture using microservices
  • Omnichannel marketing and Content as a Service
  • AI-Driven Personalization
  • Cloud/SaaS

An Open Architecture Using Microservices

DX leaders need to be prepared to deploy a flexible, agile, open architecture so the DX ecosystem they set up can be customized and updated if and when the business needs it, and when customers’ behaviors and needs change. In essence, DX leaders need to future-enable their technology platform to support innovation.

According to the e-Spirit DX Ecosystem survey, only 16% of companies find it “easy” to add new digital marketing tools to their existing DX technology ecosystem (chart below). 73% of DX leaders say their open architecture is the core reason they find it easy to add new tools to their infrastructure. 76% of the companies that found it hard to integrate new tools into their current infrastructure said they were limited by their pre-existing locked-down IT platforms, and a general lack of tool integration and dedicated development resources.

How easy is it for you to add new digital marketing tools to your existing digital experience ecosystem? - survey results
PHOTO: e-Spirit/CMSWire

It is critical for DX executives to deploy a technology infrastructure that does not force lock-in with an internal full stack solution. According to the e-Spirit survey, 83% of companies avoid the full stack, all-in-one solution approach, allowing them more flexibility for upgrades and integration.

Companies are moving towards open and agile platforms that can easily connect with each other using a microservices-based architecture, according to Michael Gerard, CMO of e-Spirit. Gerard says that microservices help to break up complex systems into more manageable pieces that communicate with each other. By employing this type of agile architecture, technology is not only more scalable but also more flexible.

Related Article: What is a Digital Experience (DX) Ecosystem?

Omnichannel Marketing and Content as a Service

To support a unified customer experience with flexibility for innovation, DX executives need to deliver content across all channels and touchpoints with limited tech support or custom integration. The good news here is this is already a priority for many DX leaders, with the e-Spirit DX Ecosystem study finding that 60% of DX leaders already deliver content to mobile without custom integration. Internet of Things (IoT) is a bit more challenging, with only 19% of respondents saying they can deliver content to IoT devices without some level of customization.

“What’s needed is a more agile method of content delivery, one that delivers content in a channel-agnostic manner, wherever it is called – dynamically, such as a Content as a Service (CaaS) model.” - Michael Gerard, CMO of e-Spirit

In order to deliver content across all channels with limited customization, Michael Gerard, CMO of e-Spirit had this to say, “What’s needed is a more agile method of content delivery, one that delivers content in a channel-agnostic manner, wherever it is called – dynamically, such as a Content as a Service (CaaS) model.”

AI-Driven Personalization

Personalization is fast becoming a mission-critical imperative for DX leaders and companies setting up and integrating DX ecosystem projects. According to the e-Spirit survey, 51% of DX leaders already deliver personalized customer experiences in real-time. This is good news that these leaders are ahead of the curve, since according to the SalesForce 2017 State of Marketing Survey, 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize communications to them, and 65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a vendor doesn’t personalize communication to their company.

Getting all that data needed for AI personalization is no small feat. The survey found that only 23% of companies that deliver digital experiences in real time are getting data from multiple sources. This may include data such as external data, behavioral data, mobile app usage, visit data and internal data from CRMs. Personalization tools are only as good as the data fed into it, so DX leaders need to mine all the data needed from as many sources as possible.

Related Story: What Are the Different Types of DXPs? Understanding Digital Experience Platform Models

Cloud/SaaS

According to Gerard, DX leaders that deploy a SaaS-based DXP get the advantage of lowering fixed and variable technology costs while supporting innovation for DX stakeholders such as digital and content marketers. With a cloud-based DXP, DX ecosystem apps will interoperate more effectively to potentially reduce integration costs, and make it easier to add new apps to the existing DX ecosystem.

In fact, part of the move towards an agile, open microservices architecture is driven by the adoption of cloud technologies, which have enabled companies to go to market faster at a fraction of the cost of traditional approaches.

Conclusion

DX leaders need to be on the cutting edge of technology strategies and solutions to make sure their DX investments will be flexible, scalable and agile enough to respond to changing customer demands and business priorities.

In order for DX leaders to future-proof their platforms they should employ a SaaS-based DXP with an open, microservices-enabled architecture for maximum interoperability. This, along with the ability to deliver personalized information across any channel in real time, will ensure a future-enabled technology foundation that will support innovation for years to come.