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Marketing Technology
3 min

What every marketer needs to know about composable DXPs

by Vinu Krishnaswamy, Stephanie Petrusha, Marcel Gruber June 30, 2022

Many organizations have embraced digital experience platforms, DXPs, to help optimize and manage customer journeys. However, as digital continues to evolve, organizations are shifting toward composable DXPs. What is the difference, and which platform is best for you?

First, what’s a DXP?

A digital experience platform is a suite of tools—encompassing content management, search, personalization, marketing automation and more—that helps marketers achieve a seamless customer experience. Traditional DXPs are monolithic, all-in-one toolsets that enable marketers to manage their complete customer journey. Monolithic DXPs are generally good for a smaller marketing team with limited resources and use cases. However, monolithic DXPs have a rigid architecture, making them hard to integrate with other software.

About composable DXP

With the advent of cloud-first and SaaS architecture, DXPs are now becoming more composable. Designed for flexibility, composable DXPs are comprised of best-in-class tools that are independent, updated frequently and easy to integrate with other leading tools. Oftentimes, the tools are SaaS and Headless, which make it less complicated, less expensive and less time consuming to release newer features in an agile fashion. Each individual tool is generally modern, intuitive and better able to keep up with a particular organization’s growing marketing needs.

More capability

According to Gartner, composable DXPs are modular, autonomous, orchestrated and discoverable—i.e., they are made of individual tools that are best-in-class on their own while also making a whole that is bigger than its parts. For example, your marketing automation tool may give you the capability to define your user journeys to fit your customers and business processes while also tightly integrating with your Customer Data Platform to give you a 360-degree view of your customer.

Images shows Monolithic versus Composable digital experience platforms

Benefits of composable DXP

  1. Customizable: Allows marketers to pick and choose the exact tools they need for their business—and leave the rest behind.
  2. Compatible: Composable DXP is interoperable, so you can mix and match best-in-breed products that fit your CX strategy and goals.
  3. Cost-Effective: You only pay for the products you need.
  4. Scalable: Easy to start small and make incremental updates as your organization changes and grows.
  5. Speed: Go-to-market is faster and more agile because you’re implementing products one at a time.

It is better for your customers, too. A composable DXP allows you to create a better, more personalized experience for users and quickly adapt based on the data you collect.

Sitecore DXP Solutions

Sitecore is a great example of a product suite that has both monolithic and composable options available. From our experience in guiding clients on both, here is how we differentiate between the two architectures.

Sitecore monolithic DXP

Sitecore’s monolithic Experience Platform (XP) provides a cohesive experience for a marketer to accomplish more advanced marketing functions, like personalization. It comes with marketing automation and a built-in personalization rule engine. These features can be used within their “Experience Editor” within a single product (i.e., a marketer can log into one system to create content, personalize content based on business rules and look at reports to determine KPIs).

Sitecore composable DXP

With composable architecture, Sitecore is providing the same seamless experience through integrations between their tools. Take personalization as an example. Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) works with their CDP/Personalize product to achieve what Sitecore XP can do. The Sitecore CDP is much more feature-rich than XP, including a modern UI, a 360-degree view of the user and robust APIs that allow integration with Sitecore’s CMS and other third-party systems. But, to keep the same feature parity, Sitecore has started introducing tools, like Sitecore Pages, that tightly integrate, so a marketer can still create content, personalize and generate reports as they did in XP. The products, although separate, still make the marketer’s tasks seamless.

How do I choose?

Although there are many advantages, whether or not to adopt a composable DXP depends on an organization’s digital maturity and goals. Keep the following advice in mind as you define your DXP stack:

  • Understand your current toolset and pain points.
  • Validate that your tools can support your user journeys and data flow.
  • Focus on the now, with an eye toward the future.
  • Make sure the digital platforms you select have robust integration capabilities, i.e,. APIs or Microservices that are modern.
  • Opt for Headless and SaaS platforms.

You may find that a traditional monolithic DXP may be enough for your current needs. However, even if you do select a traditional DXP, it’s important to ensure that transitioning to a composable architecture is still possible in the future as your business evolves. Sitecore has defined a path to move from the monolithic to composable, albeit with some effort. That flexibility will be necessary as your marketing goals mature.

If you need help determining whether or not adopting a composable DXP is the right strategy for your organization, One North can help.


Photo Credit: Raphaël Biscaldi | Unsplash

Vinu is the Director of Solutions Architecture at One North, defining technical architecture for complex marketing/IT systems and products, acting as a technology consultant for clients and working with One North’s Strategy and Design teams to define and implement solutions that will serve the client’s objectives now and in the future.

Favorite season: Summer – love the beach.

Superpower: Ability to breathe underwater

As an Architect, Stephanie provides clients with quality products and services to ensure 100 percent satisfaction, continuously working to find best-in-breed technology to improve testing capabilities and solution performance.

Favorite breakfast food: Pancakes all day!

Most unusual job: Growing up on a farm, every summer from about age 10 I was a “bean walker.” A bean walker walks down a designated row in a bean field with a hook and cuts out weeds from the fields. This job of course no longer exists thanks to technology and chemicals.

Marcel is a Senior Developer at One North. He has worn many hats throughout his career and brings full-stack web development, SEO optimization, analytics, DevOps and marketing knowledge to the table. The result is a uniquely flexible skill set as well as a comprehensive approach to web development and digital marketing. 

Last thing you geeked out about: Blockchain. I saw how deep the rabbit hole goes, and what I discovered was both shocking and exciting. As far as I can tell, blockchain will power the next evolution of the internet. 

Emoji used most frequently: 🙏🤝👽😎🤓👀😻💀  

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