Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant. Photo: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – Providing optimal digital experiences has become a key business differentiator, if companies don’t act quickly and put their customers first, they’ll lose their relevance and a majority of their revenue. Innovative forward thinking businesses use the Digital experience platform (DXP) to build, deploy and continually improve their websites, mobile apps and other digital experiences.

There is a new wave of complex and innovative solutions that offer cross-channel continuity across the entire customer journey. The DXP is an integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery and optimisation of contextualised digital experiences.

Bluegrass Digital chief executive Nick Durrant says this is exactly how new disruptors capture market share, by offering a superior customer experience. "The online expectation of consumers has increased significantly over the past year, they now expect experiences that are consistent and unified across every touchpoint."

The DXP is an emerging category of software solutions that can help businesses create compelling customer experiences. It could be a single product or a suite of products that work together to provide an architecture for companies to digitise business operations, deliver connected customer experiences, and gather actionable customer insight.

In its second Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms, Gartner found that through 2021, 85 percent of effort and cost in a DXP program will be spent on integrations with internal and external systems, including the DXP’s own, built-in capabilities.

Gartner also predicted that 90 percent of global organisations will rely on system integrators (SIs), agencies and channel partners to design, build and implement their digital experience strategies.

Content management systems (CMS) and other web management systems are no longer sufficient to execute successful online campaigns. CMS has limited personalisation functionality which gave rise to the web experience management (WEM) platform.

"The WEM offered more advanced analytics to determine user behaviour and provide user specific content at the right time. With a more centralised system, WEM also ensures greater collaboration between departments," he explains.

The DXP builds on the personalisation features of the WEM, but on a much larger scale. The main difference is the DXP’s ability to unify content across digital touchpoints beyond the web. This includes IoT devices, online, in-store, billboards, kiosks, customer portals and eCommerce systems.

The digital experience is no longer just a way of getting customers in the door, it is now critical to growing customer satisfaction and loyalty post-acquisition. The digital journey is no longer just a marketing function, the entire business is responsible for it. Back-end applications are being used by each department to handle their piece of that journey.

Durrant says DXP connects the business. "DXP is not the only tool, businesses still need a marketing platform to bring customers in the door and a business management platform to handle inventory and transaction."

The DXP connects the internal systems with all the digital channels, it sits at the centre of these platforms, using APIs to aggregate and orchestrate data to determine and show customers the perfect experience every time they come through the door.

Forrester analyst Liz Herbert says “Real digital transformation spans both the experience layer and the operations core.”

Although it's beneficial to have an attractive website and mobile app, more substantial gains in customer experience require re-optimised processes with the customer in mind. This kind of responsiveness to customer needs can be obtained in a number of ways, from basic personalisation to more advanced workflows, to full modularisation of business services that can be quickly adapted.

However, not all businesses are prepared for that level of change, they might want to start segmenting audiences in order to target specific personalised offers. Ideally, the platform must have operational and marketing capabilities so that when a company starts with digital marketing, it doesn't have to go through a second vendor selection process when they are ready for operational transformation.

Businesses can track customers, map their customer journey and identify crucial bottlenecks and this will enable them to reengineer their business practises. It also enables customer data capturing, processing and profiling, providing a unified 360 degree view of each customer.

"So when customer services receives a complaint, they‘ll know the customer history in advance. It could also provide sales with a potential customer's interests and lead score before calling," he adds.

The DXP can also determine user needs by means of profiling and data prediction. The right digital experience can then be created real-time and with the right content, offer and emotional appeal - regardless of channel or device. This will ultimately lead to a better, faster and more efficient customer journey.

Durrant points to Episerver Digital Experience Cloud as the only platform that puts digital content, commerce and marketing in one screen. "Episerver is a complete offering for digital transformation, it enables companies to easily create, orchestrate and personalise intelligent campaigns across the entire customer journey."

Episerver, the company transforming digital experiences, was named a leader for the 5th consecutive year in Gartner's 2019 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management. The Episerver Digital Experience Cloud allows companies to focus on creating dynamic websites that are collaborative with their existing systems and processes and Episerver takes care of the rest.

The DXP is an open platform that connects to best of breed solutions. One can switch or upgrade a specific marketing tool whenever required, this makes marketing agile and allows businesses to grow their personalisation in manageable steps.

"Quality personalised content comes at a price. DXP enables business leaders to coordinate their content and to drive reuse across multiple environments by decoupling the presentation layer from the content and its metadata," he concludes.

Content supplied by Bluegrass Digital.

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