Building a fully integrated platform

As CMSs have continued to grow and mature, one of the key areas users look to these systems for is integration with other technology platforms throughout their business. A DXP is a relatively recent construct, born in part from the CMS and WCM tools of previous years. Today’s DXP is a set of
integrated technologies, based on a common platform, that provide audiences with consistent, secure, and personalized digital experiences by streamlining the various touchpoints that occur across the customer journey.

Leveraging a DXP means linking the ways you reach customers through multiple communication channels in authentic, relevant ways. A DXP goes beyond the website and into the day-to-day life of a customer, from interchangeable data sources and personalization to things like IoT-connected devices. A DXP also includes customer-facing access as well
as back-end digital processes that help internal teams create a better overall experience for end users. At its core, a DXP should be able to help businesses identify their customers’ needs and optimize digital experiences for them, regardless of channel or device, while incorporating content marketing, SEO, API data, and other martech tools as needed.

A DXP will also differ depending on a business’ objectives and the type of audience it’s trying to reach. That said, most DXPs are focused first on a company’s website. A well-designed DXP can retrieve information from site visitors (i.e. physical location identified by IP address, or if the visitor is returning) and provide content specifically tailored for that visitor. With a more advanced DXP, visitors can sign into a user platform and enjoy a personal, customized experience, based on the information they’ve already supplied. That previously collected customer data can also be included in a mobile app, and filtered to other parts of the customer journey, providing
consistency across a company’s different access points.

While the DXP ecosystem is still nascent, the open source community has been able to exponentially leverage lessons learned from its predecessors in the CMS and WCM categories, particularly with regard to the wide variety of
WordPress modular code that adds functionality, commonly referred to as plugins. These modules are wide-ranging, and when used effectively, open the door to choices and direction that are unparalleled when working with a closed or partially open system.

These options also allow you to choose the way your organization will approach its desired rate of innovation versus the total cost of ownership. Taking advantage of the extensive WordPress plugin ecosystem means you’re not tied to a single path— you can spend more and achieve a
proof of concept quickly with less complexity than licensed alternatives, or change course without deep sunken costs. The flexibility afforded by using open source technology means plans can change, and direction can be shifted.

If your organization’s development focus is on TCO and maintaining critical application stability, a well-balanced system based on interchangeable, established modules that are enterprise-ready, may be well suited. These are plugins that have been proven at scale, and are no longer in major development cycles (but still regularly updated), reducing the need for refactoring sections of your DXP.

Inversely, for an organization that aims to lead the innovation charge, taking advantage of the extensive WordPress plugin ecosystem to quickly create low-cost proof of concepts, means using available low-cost code to iterate quickly and invest in a scalable version only when working concepts are agreed upon by stakeholders. This allows savings early on, and the ability to focus those resources and budget on creating the final custom
concept once that proof is verified. The use of an open source DXP means having the ability to scale with diverse options and iterate new proofs of concept with much more flexibility than proprietary or SaaS-based systems.

Innovation can be a high cost endeavor, but being able to focus resources on the heavy lifting of production rather than sinking costs upfront into research, development, and even licensing, presents cost savings in the open source DXP model that are simply not found when using proprietary or partially closed systems.

When it comes to building a DXP that can meet the needs of large enterprise organizations, the open source model is now mature enough to directly compete with the largest proprietary vendors in the market. Migrations away from the likes of Adobe and Sitecore to open source alternatives
are on the rise, and WordPress, because of its powerful CMS capabilities, easy extensibility through the use of API libraries, and its deep ecosystem of customizations, has emerged as a powerful starting point for replacing the large-scale, proprietary DXPs most commonly found in the enterprise.

Nonetheless, the concept of how deeply a DXP can surpass the way marketing organizations have engaged their customers with traditional systems is only now being truly realized. Today, businesses that are winning are innovating in leaps and bounds to take advantage of emerging technologies and tie them into their brand story as laid out across their digital properties.

The key to building a successful open source DXP for the enterprise is to focus on integrating these new opportunities in a fast and cost-effective manner.

To match those specific business needs with the right DXP capabilities, WP Engine works in close partnership with Crowd Favorite, a world-class technology agency that specializes in enterprise WordPress and open source
development. Founded by one of the original contributors to the first WordPress release, Crowd Favorite has worked closely with WP Engine since its founding, and the two companies have a proven history of sharing some of the most challenging and rewarding client engagements.

The key to building a successful open source DXP for the enterprise is to focus on integrating these new opportunities in a fast and cost-effective manner.

Crowd Favorite’s core expertise is rooted in architecting and building optimal software solutions, utilizing the most appropriate open source technologies to fit specific enterprise DXP requirements. With the right strategic mix of enterprise expertise, combined with the needed technological flexibility for a business’ future needs, Crowd Favorite and WP Engine are able to bring forth powerful, dynamic, and cost-effective
technology solutions.

Crowd Favorite is currently delivering proven open source DXP solutions with WP Engine as an integrated platform to support global, multilingual content at scale while providing the flexibility demanded by the enterprise.

With DXP solutions already customized and delivered by Crowd Favorite on the WP Engine platform, there are patterns emerging for a base set of expectations:

As alluded to above, a WordPress-based DXP presents a unique opportunity for maximizing ROI due to the sheer size of the WordPress plugin ecosystem, which is unmatched in any other software landscape. This can be seen, for example, in the way Crowd Favorite approaches the creation of an open source DXP on the WP Engine platform.

In the requirements phase, Crowd Favorite surveys clients’ existing and needed business processes for future use of the DXP, before exploring and then mapping as much core functionality as possible to a proven and scalable subset of plugins.

Once that functionality is mapped out, the process focuses on bespoke features the organization needs to create an effective, integrated platform that delivers real value.

As part of the architecture phase, there are two funnels that DXP features fall into in order to balance ROI with innovation and an organization’s goals and KPIs:

DXP Core: While all DXPs are unique in their final delivery, due to an organization’s needs, the term “off-the-self” is relative to the integration of each project’s goals. The goal is to minimize complex adaptations and customization of open source modules and libraries.

Specialized Customizations: When business requirements create more complex needs or a new innovative feature, extension to an external API, or a custom integration to a legacy system that might not have an API, architecture or infrastructure requirements will require more extensive adaptations or custom code to deliver the custom feature. Even in this area,
investments are explored in a cost-effective manner with off-the-shelf code for a fast/minimal proof of concept before committing to the creation of a final, scaled solution.

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