Navigating the changing digital landscape for modernizing tech stacks

John Henn
John Henn
Ronak Ganatra
Ronak Ganatra

February 19, 2021

Navigating the changing digital landscape for modernizing tech stacks

Most enterprise organizations tend to rely on monolithic Digital Experience Platforms, or DXPs, to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Historically a complex software suite of several functions, DXPs aim to grant personalized access to information based on user attributes. By streamlining customer interactions across platforms and coordinating customer data across touchpoints, companies are able to collect stronger analytics to make better business decisions on how their end interfaces impact their business.

Many products, or services, within a monolithic DXP are functionally different, yet work alongside one another to achieve the goal of customer experience enhancement. Most DXPs offer the functionality of building frontends, CRM, eCommerce, CMS, Personalization, Analytics, and more. However, as wonderful as this may seem, the drawbacks of monolithic systems are rapidly beginning to show their limitations in today’s quickly evolving digital landscape.

In a monolith system, all of the functionality is handled by one tool or service, commonly available as “suites”, where each function would be highly dependent on the health of the system as a whole.

It is quite impossible to swap out specific services or functionality with a different provider, and thus teams must use the various services provided by the monolith or risk using an unsustainable, hacky workaround, requiring extraordinary resources from specialists. When it comes to security or functionality updates, these can be time-consuming and result in downtimes when they are not completed as expected. Versions of the same product can require massive re-platforming efforts and time-intensive work to implement with some features not being carried over from previous versions.

Teams are locked into a narrow ecosystem of templates, frameworks, languages, reporting, etc. Those wishing to try something new may be met with resistance because it is not clear how these changes will affect all of the other functionality, or the time it takes to develop new workflows securely is simply not worth it.

In short, the cost of having an all-in-one solution ends up in having to manage security issues, infrastructure costs, HR overheads, “feature bloat”, and the uncertainty of figuring out what would potentially break.

What do companies need in their stacks?

Given the constantly shifting technological expectations, embracing an approach of a modular led stack - where the logic is to drop the “all in one suite” that does everything in an acceptable manner, in favor of multiple “microservices” that do one or few things exceptionally well - is a method gaining traction across the board.

Based on observations across several industries as well as the core capabilities of most monolithic DXPs, we’ve put together a few vertical-agnostic “components”, or microservices, that companies should incorporate into their DIY DXPs to remain competitive:

  • AB Testing
  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Analytics
  • Authorization & Authentication
  • CDP (Customer Data Platform)
  • Chatbots
  • Cloud Services (Hosting and Delivery)
  • Customer Engagement
  • eCommerce
  • Headless CMS
  • Marketing Automation & CRM
  • NPS
  • Payments
  • Personalization Engines
  • Reputation Management
  • Sales Automation & CRM
  • Search & Discovery
  • Voice

To learn more about how these components interact, and why companies should embrace the modular approach, refer to Build Your DXP, a website we’ve created to showcase the best-of-breed services that power today’s digital experiences, or download our Modular DXP Report that highlights the advantages of this approach for companies of all sizes.


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