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What is a composable DXP?

A composable digital experience platform (DXP) serves as the foundation upon which developers and marketers build, execute, and optimize digital customer journeys at scale.


Defining a composable DXP

Unlike a traditional (monolithic) DXP, a composable DXP is inherently modular. It is cloud-native and is comprised of best-of-breed SaaS products that leverage microservices architecture and integrate via APIs. Instead of a singular platform, brands access different functions (e.g., asset management, engagement tools, presentation layer editing, etc.) as purpose-built, plug-and-play packaged business capabilities (PBCs).

It is helpful to view a composable DXP not as a standalone product, but as a customizable ecosystem that links together multiple products, and which makes modules easy to organize, find, and update.

“Personalization is not only a crucial capability, it’s one that punches above its weight, no matter whether the company is a digital native, a brick-and-mortar player, or a behind-the-scenes producer or supplier.” — McKinsey.


Comparing to a traditional DXP

Traditional DXPs were the gold standard for brands to deliver personalized content to customers until just recently. Everything is rooted in a single, monolithic software platform that can be hosted in the cloud or on-prem. As a result, it is a very thorough solution and delivers the content capabilities, analytics, and data brands need, but upgrades can be complex, time consuming, and costly.

Brands can also incur technical debt to keep them running and might need to purchase features and functionalities they don’t want or need because the platform can’t be split apart. Fortunately, there is a new — and categorically superior — approach and model: the composable DXP.


How does a composable DXP work?

A composable DXP is a cloud-native SaaS platform comprised of best-of-breed modular solutions that leverage open-platform microservices architecture and integrate via APIs, in order to connect with internal and external systems.

This architecture makes it easy for developers and marketers to make changes simultaneously on the front end and back end. It also dramatically improves administrative efficiency, and drives the continuous deployment of applications without disruption or downtime. Furthermore, all business departments continue to use their familiar, preferred systems and tools. This is not just good for productivity and efficiency, but it is also important for employee engagement.

In addition, a composable DXP enables customers and employees to interact across channels with the client UI (e.g., HTML/CSS, JavaScript, JSON, GraphQL, Odata, etc.). Each user’s interactions on the UI generates requests, which are handled by the appropriate infrastructure that hosts the relevant business application, such as:

  • Infrastructure, networking, security, API gateway
  • Platforms and technology products
  • Data storage, processing, insights

The data generated by user interactions, request routing, and application logging are stored in the data layer (which includes platform data, customer data, engagement analytics, and content indexes).


What does a composable DXP look like?

A robust, enterprise-grade composable DXP features a powerful content management system (CMS), along with several core functions including:

  • Contextual intelligence and relevance (customer profile engine, language translation, omnichannel, etc.).
  • E-commerce (PCM, digital storefronts, order management, etc.)
  • Digital asset management (DAM, web-to-print, etc.)
  • Engagement (chatbots, mobile apps, marketing automation, etc.)
  • Digital process (MRM, case management, etc.)
  • Cognitive (predictive analytics, machine learning, AI automation, etc.)
  • Data center (CDP)

Again, it bears repeating that it is helpful to view a composable DXP as a customizable ecosystem that links together multiple best-of-breed products. A composable DXP expands and enables as a brand evolves, and as customer characteristics, habits, requirements, preferences, and expectations change.


What are the benefits of a composable DXP?

Establishes an intelligent architecture
A composable DXP uses APIs and an open-platform microservices architecture to connect with internal and external systems. Marketers and developers can easily make changes in the back end and front end simultaneously. This also improves administrative efficiency and supports the continuous deployment of applications. All business departments continue using preferred systems and tools.
Creates an integrated control center
A composable DXP integrates with solutions across the full organization (e.g., marketing, sales, customer support, etc.). As such, brands can control omnichannel content management, customer data, and analytics. This drives connected and consistent customer journeys, which increases customer retention.
Accelerates time-to-market
Due to the significant administrative and productive advantages highlighted above, brands that adopt a composable DXP approach deliver new features 80% faster vs. brands without a composable DXP.
Improves content flexibility and optimization
Advanced composable DXPs use hybrid-headless and microservices architecture to deliver optimized content across channels. Furthermore, composable DXPs with robust testing capabilities enable marketing teams to track asset and campaign performance (the most advanced composable DXPs can also automate this with AI and machine learning).
Increases customer visibility
A composable DXP integrates all systems in the environment that connect with customers (e.g., contact centers, social media, CDPs, etc.), thereby enabling a 360-degree view of each customer.
Optimizes touchpoints
A composable DXP empowers brands to deliver consistent experiences wherever customers are on the journey, such as web, social, mobile, e-commerce, chatbots, voice, customer portals, and kiosks. At the same time, brands can leverage data (such as complaints about a product/service on social media) to re-engineer policies, process, and practices and maximize customer satisfaction.
Establish future-proof adaptability
A composable DXP integrates with new best-of-breed technologies, which allows brands to adapt with their target audiences by efficiently replacing or upgrading tools, meaning no more bottomless pit of technical debt.


The bottom line

A composable DXP is the flexible, functional engine that drives optimized personalization at scale. Personalization is no longer a nice-to-have aspect. It is a fundamental factor that determines whether the customer journey culminates in a relationship — or ends in disappointment.

According to McKinsey: “Personalization is not only a crucial capability, it’s one that punches above its weight, no matter whether the company is a digital native, a brick-and-mortar player, or a behind-the-scenes producer or supplier.”

What’s more, personalization is not just essential in B2C relationships. It also plays a pivotal role in the health, success, and longevity of B2B relationships. Indeed, whether the sales cycle is measured in minutes or months, personalization matters — and now more than ever before.

A composable DXP is the flexible, functional engine that drives optimized personalization at scale, and generates invaluable business intelligence so brands can make smarter, faster decisions. It is a necessity — not just for success, but in the big picture and long run, for survival.

For additional insights, dive into more content in the Sitecore Blog, which features thought leadership content on composable DXPs, headless commerce, and more.

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