In the early days of the internet, content on websites didn’t have to be regularly updated once it was live. If it was updated, it was considered a treat. Fast forward a few years and digital-first engagements are taking over. As we do everything online, expectations are higher than ever, and businesses are expected to keep up.

As personalization remains central to delivering exceptional, stand-out experiences, customers expect websites and experiences to be up to data all the time, and to adapt to their individual needs before they even visit.

In order to meet these expectations, businesses have moved away from traditional page-based CMSs, and instead invested in digital experience platforms that unlock a variety of tools for the modern omnichannel experience and even accommodate yet to be defined points of interaction.

As expectations continue to change quickly, retaining agility is a must.  We're not there yet, but analysts suggest we're quickly approaching the point where large, holistic platforms won't be able to keep up. It may pay to start thinking "composable."

What is a composable DXP?

A composable digital experience platform (DXP) is one that is entirely modular, allowing for incremental changes and updates to composite parts.  Instead of having a complete, all-in-one digital experience platform that includes asset management, engagement tools and presentation layer editing, each of these components operate as packaged business capabilities (PBCs) that can function independently and communicate with one another through APIs.

A PBC can be purpose-built for any need and can be rebuilt or replaced as required, providing significant flexibility. To be truly composable, these PBCs must also require few to zero code components, so they’re simple to adjust quickly. An effective PBC should be truly plug-and-play.

What are the potential benefits?

"Gartner estimates that by 2023, 60% of mainstream organizations will list composable business as a strategic objective and will use an increasing number of PBCs." By the same year, Gartner also predicts that "organizations that have adopted an intelligent composable approach will outpace competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation."

The benefits of a composable digital experience strategy are clear:

  • Enables businesses to adapt and pivot faster than businesses with traditional DXPs, especially as implementation cycles can be sped up
  • Allows organizations to mix and match channels and devices according to their customers’ needs and styles
  • Opens up the possibility of using a wider variety of tools from multiple vendors
  • Allows non-technical users to modify experiences and interfaces
  • Enables personalization at scale through atomized content management
  • Prevents businesses from becoming locked in to vendor solutions or saddled with legacy technology debt
  • Speeds the move to a cloud-native or SaaS solution

What should we do right now to prepare?

The truth is, composable architecture won’t be right for everyone.  Implementing composable architecture is not a matter of just flipping a switch. While many businesses might be moving in the direction of composable-first, that doesn’t mean it’s the right route for everyone.

The first step in determining if a composable-first architecture is right for your business is performing an assessment of your needs and business goals. Only then can you determine if a more holistic DXP from one vendor is right for you, or if you could benefit from the agility of a solution built from PBCs. In either case, it’s important to set out a roadmap for success and align teams’ expectations.

At Sitecore, we love providing our customers with options. We still offer our holistic DXP solution, which many of our customers have built their success on. At the same time, we're aware the market continues to evolve, and we're thus delivering composable, SaaS elements now as we build toward a fully composable DXP in the future.

We're always looking to balance the security and functionality needed today with the agility you'll need to stay competitive tomorrow. We’re also capable of adding benefits others can’t. We uniquely integrate commerce into the equation, alongside content and experience management, which lays the groundwork for wholesale transformation.

Embracing Sitecore now, before the big wave of change, could help you get and stay ahead.

Digital experience is changing

Fully composable DXPs are likely the future, but it’s not quite here yet. We’re working toward it, as are many businesses, and it won’t be long now.

However, before it becomes the standard, it’s crucial that businesses start to set out a roadmap, or start to get comfortable with composable elements by embracing the pieces already offered by businesses like Sitecore. It’s the first step to preparing for the fully composable future that lays ahead.

Jill Grozalsky Roberson is the Product Marketing Director at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Source: "Gartner, Adopt a Composable DXP Strategy to Future-Proof Your Tech Stack”; Irina Guseva, Yefim Natis, Mick MacComascaigh, Mike Lowndes, Gene Phifer; 16 December 2020

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