One Digital Experience to Rule them all

Three pieces of content for the digital asset team under the sky,
Seven content workflows for the content team in their halls of stone,
Nine permission levels for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One DXP for the Dark Lord on his dark throne.
One DXP to rule them all. One CMO to find them,
One DXP to bring them all and in the server bind them.

Okay, okay, I might have borrowed that piece from “The Lord of the Rings” but I think you can understand where I’m going with this.  The concept of DXPs are still very new, while the platforms themselves have been widely used, they haven’t been leveraged in this capacity.  A DXP is, in a sense, “One platform to rule them all” because it attempts to leverage all aspects of your digital experience in one place.  Many platforms and tools have been made that have bits and pieces of what comprise a DXP such as workflows or an Asset manager.  This begs the question, “what are the components of a DXP?”

Digital Asset Management

Your content is paramount to the success of your digital experience.  Without good content your digital experience suffers, and can even fail.  What a digital asset manager does for you is it provides a place to store all of your digital content.  Digital content can be videos, images, and even text snippets to be used across your website.  The benefit of a digital asset manager is having one centralized source for all your content and then using it from that source to fill in your layouts for your pages.  This is especially helpful on a multi-site experience where both sites might share some content.  Unlike in the past where you would need the content to exist in two places, both sites can reference your centralized Digital Asset Manager.

Content Workflows
(approvals, publishing, editing)

Again, this second item underlines that your content is key to your digital experience.  The way you manage your content is also very important.  Good DXPs come with the ability to manage the lifecycle from your content from writing to publishing on a page.  They also give you the ability to review, modify and share internally before ever hitting the external web.

Granular Team management (Access Control List)

The content workflows and management above could not happen without strong access control for your various team levels.  Team management features like the ability to set permissions on specific pieces of content or groups of people are imperative to successful content lifecycle management.

Page Creation / Content authoring

A large reason why DXPs have gained popularity is that once a website is built within a DXP, the day to day operations of the site can be done with your existing staff.  Typically, outside of maintenance and feature enhancement, anyone should be able to edit and add content through a WYSIWYG style editor.  This alone is why content management systems are so popular, add in the other DXP features and you have a recipe for success.

Page Templates

While also a feature of most content management systems in general, Page templates allow the ability to author pages and content without the help of a developer.  Once you have your page templates established they allow you to have your “authors” fill in the content areas for that template.  This is also where the ability to pull directly from the Digital Asset Manager comes into play because this is where you select your content to use.

Selecting a DXP

As with any acquisition of a new platform you will need to weigh the options like cost, feature set, level of effort to integrate against the platform you would like to use. Many existing platforms have some or all of these tools or they have the ability to be extended to include these tools.  A few that come to mind are:

  • Drupal
  • WordPress
  • Joomla

Although these three are mainly “Content Management Systems” through out of the box plugins and potentially custom development they can become full-fledged DXPs.  Two full-fledged DXP out of the box are:

  • Sitecore
  • Adobe Experience Manager

The two above are DXPs straight out of the box with pros and cons for each.  Your organization will need to assess the benefits of each system, your existing infrastructure and your user base to determine the best solution. While something like Drupal, for example, might work for company X, it might be Adobe Experience Manager that works for another.

Choose your path wisely.  At UDig we engage with our clients to assess their situation and make a recommendation based on their unique situation, remaining objective when it comes to software selection.   If you are considering how DXPs could benefit your organization, let’s talk!

Final thoughts on DXPs:

“I have passed through fire and deep water, since we parted. I have forgotten much that I thought I knew, and learned again much that I had forgotten.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien