This article explores the emerging field of Digital Experience and lists the best digital experience platforms (DXP) that digital experience managers are using in top companies today.
Introduction to DXM Platforms
Digital experience platforms are a new breed of enterprise software, so there’s a lot of ambiguity around what a digital experience platform actually does.
Digital experience platforms can go by many names and perform a variety of functions. For example, digital experience tools can have components such as:
Content hubs, content management software(CMS), or content management platforms
Knowledge management systems
Customer relationship management (CRM)
Customer experience platforms, customer self-service systems, and customer support
Enterprise UX and UI design tools
Software development, DevOps, and application development tools
Digital asset management
Data security, data storage, network monitoring, and other IT managed services
Payment processing technology
It’s my goal here to walk you through these emerging platforms, to help you understand how companies are using them and show you the top digital platforms you can use to carry your enterprise through the uncertain waters of digital transformation.
The 10 Best Digital Experience Platforms List
Here’s a shortlist of the best DXP solutions today:
Get started with digital experience management and its related technology with the FAQ below.
What is digital experience?
Digital Experience (DX) is an emerging discipline focused on improving the interactions between users and an organization that occurs through digital technologies. Digital interactions can be between customers, clients, employees, and many other types of users on digital applications like websites, portals, games, and online stores.
There are thousands of interactions a user can have, but some common examples of digital interactions include watching an ad, searching for an item, inputting information, and receiving a product.
What is digital experience management?
Digital Experience Management (DXM), sometimes called Digital Customer Experience Management (DCXM), is an emerging discipline focused on enhancing interactions that are possible through digital technologies between users and organizations. It draws on many of the same concepts as Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX).
Find more info on “What is digital experience?” above.
What is a digital platform?
At its core, a digital platform enables an organization to deliver products and services and connects the functions that contribute to their delivery. Digital platforms comprise a layer in an organization’s ecosystem, providing a set of capabilities and features such as databases, APIs, payment processing technology, digital asset management, various user portals, content management software (CMS), and more.
What’s an example of a digital platform?
Examples of digital platforms include:
Marketplace platforms, such as Etsy or Amazon.
Repository platforms, such as GitHub and software artifact repositories.
Search platforms, such as Google or Youtube.
Social platforms, such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
Media platforms, such as iTunes or Spotify.
You’ll notice that in many cases the functions of these platforms overlap, or a single platform integrates the capabilities of various platform types.
Why use a digital experience platform?
The benefits of using a digital experience platform include:
Identify user needs in real-time
Gain a holistic understanding of customers through more comprehensive data and information
Improve the accuracy of marketing efforts and optimize your touchpoints with customers
Become more adaptable to shifts in digital trends through a flexible architecture
Build more responsive applications and integrate them more easily into existing systems
Integrate your technology stack so your siloed systems speak to one another
Overviews of the 10 Best Digital Experience Platforms
These digital experience platforms should be on your radar. Keep reading for a summary of each tool—what works, what doesn’t.
DX Tracking Comparison Criteria
What are we looking for when we select digital experience platforms for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive?
Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training?
Features & Functionality:
Flexible Content Composition: How easy is it to compose a new item? How flexible is the layout and materials? How fast is the process to do a mockup?
Omnichannel Posting: Can a single piece of content be quickly and consistently distributed across different platforms at once?
Building workflows and MRM: How easy and customizable is building workflows and marketing resource management?
Tracking and Reporting: Does the tool have the ability to monitor websites over time, tracking many key performance metrics, and visualize the data in a useful way?
Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible?
Overviews Of The Best Digital Experience Platforms Software
Here’s a brief description of each DXP enterprise tool that are featured on this top 10 list.
1. SAP Fiori – Build UI technology-independent apps using SAP Fiori elements templates as a starting point to scale your development.
A leader in enterprise application software, SAP works in machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies. SAP Fiori is an integrated suite of intelligent DX delivery solution offered for web-based apps, iOS, and Android.
The UX of the software is very consistent, even across different devices. Additionally, the design is intuitive and minimalistic, making for very smooth and aesthetic user experience; for example, items like search box and report filtering can be located easily.
Integration explanation: You can integrate SAP Fiori apps and the SAP Fiori launchpad into the SAP Business Client. Here, you can run SAP Fiori launchpad embedded in the SAP Business Client. Deployment of SAP Fiori Launchpad on ABAP Front End Server and SAP Enterprise Portal is supported.
The cons came in some struggles with usability per our evaluation criteria expectations for the following reasons: cross-platform SDK would be welcomed over separate SDKs for Android and iOS and the planning field requires advanced coding knowledge.
SAP Fiori starts at $150/user and has a free trial.
2. Adobe AEM – Personalized, content-rich DX experiences with digital asset management (DAM) and a content management system (CMS).
Experience Manager is Adobe’s answer to a DX platform, offering forms and communications processes, web content management, and high-traffic handling with cloud scale and security. This Managed Service offers automation and monitoring in your digital experience strategy.
As with most Adobe products, the software is uber feature-rich. The tool particularly excels in the way it handles component building blocks and the flexible workflow integration. If you can swallow the cost, it truly is one of the best web content management tools for larger companies.
Integration explanation: This integration between Adobe Campaign Standard and Adobe Experience Manager allows you to use content created in Adobe Experience Manager in your Adobe Campaign emails. You cannot perform A/B tests for contents imported from Adobe Experience Manager.
Adobe AEM lost some marks in the Value for Price section of the evaluation criteria just because it’s the most cost-prohibitive software on this list by far. As to be expected with all things Adobe, you get all the meaty features at a price.
Adobe AEM starts at $250,000/year and has a free demo.
3. Acquia – An open digital experience platform with built-in monitoring and performance tools designed with non-technical users in mind.
Used by Warner Music Group, Acquia provides the tools to build, operate, and optimize websites, apps, and other digital experiences. Their products include Acquia Cloud, Acquia Cloud Site Factory, Acquia Lightning, Acquia DAM, Acquia Lift, Acquia Commerce, and Acquia Journey.
Acquia is easy to pick up, even for non-technical users; this makes it great for groups needing to get larger teams onboard with digital content management and DX delivery. They scored well in Usability on the evaluation criteria because of all of this.
Integration explanation: Acquia Dev Desktop has a full Drupal-specific stack that includes Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Also, due to its integration with Acquia Cloud, Dev Desktop is the easiest method to publish, develop, and synchronize your local Drupal websites onto the web.
The cost is quite prohibitive so a major con is that this tool might not work well for smaller businesses/groups. Also, it would help if there were more options for installing custom software on the servers.
Acquia starts at $215.50/month and does not have a free trial.
4. Contentstack – A modern content management system with tools like SDKs, migration scripts, web framework, static site generator and APIs.
Contentstack was the 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Web Content Management Systems (WCMS). Contentstack is a headless CMS with features that include advanced image management, unlimited environments, and versioning and rollback.
This software is a SaaS headless CMS and keeps its features laser-focused on what it wants to excel at, rather than spreading itself too thin. Contentstack is great at modular blocks/groups and batch and scheduled publishing.
Integration explanation: Third-party app integration is possible with Google Analytics, Optimizely, Ooyala, YouTube, MonkeyLearn, IMB Watson, Shopify, Marketo, Egnyte, and Brightcove. Additionally, specific web integration with an API can be integrated.
The UI is a little clunky, which lost them a few points in the evaluation criteria for user experience and aesthetics. For example, certain elements seemed too large or too small in their place and drag-and-drop grids feel a bit awkward.
Contentstack starts at $3500/month and has a free demo.
5. Mura – Create content hubs and landing pages and sync web experiences with email, PPC, SEM, other web channels you use.
Content management, content personalization, and content as a service with creation features for content hubs, landing pages, and apps, as well as tools to sync web experiences with email, PPC, SEM, other web channels.
Mura has a strong API, allowing you to use the software as you want and leaving room for much flexibility, scalability, and integration. This was one of the strongest features of the software.
Integration explanation: Mura plugins are an update-safe way to extend Mura CMS and add new functionality. Plugins are developed by the third-party themself and can be searched for using “Mura CMS plugin” as a keyword in GitHub. There is no “official” plugin list otherwise.
Written in CFML and web-hosted by ColdFusion, Mura lost some Usability points per our evaluation criteria simply because these are “less common” than their alternatives. You may find difficulty gathering a community and finding contractors who work (cheaply) with these conditions.
Mura offers custom quotes upon request and has a free demo.
6. MindTouch – A multi-channel approach capable of handling large amounts of content across the organization, blended and linked together.
Based in San Diego, MindTouch was named one of the 2017 Hot 100 best privately held software companies by JMP Securities and has 43 million monthly users. MindTouch offers plenty of styles and formatting options for your content via embedding and other tools.
MindTouch aces a lot of features: the WYSIWYG authoring tools are easy and intuitive to use, customizability options are robust, and it has great Enterprise features like SSL, CNAME, and white-labeling.
Integration explanation: You can extend MindTouch content into other applications or systems with embeddable web widgets or a secure API. The crux of Mindtouch integrations is a set of connectors called “Touchpoints” and their open API is available for developers to further customize MindTouch content integrations.
IT support or third-party intervention may be required due to advanced scripting and style requirements. This lost them a few points in Usability, as smaller teams may find this prohibitive.
MindTouch offers custom quotes upon request and has a free demo.
7. Magnolia – CaaS solutions that are open, flexible and connected to your CMS with powerful APIs and connector packs for eCommerce and DAM.
Founded in 1997, Magnolia provides DX tools to build your fully tailored digital platform, create and preview experiences for any channel, and accelerate personalization and optimization and is available in the cloud or on-premises, used in headed or headless architectures.
Magnolia scored well in the integration sections of our evaluation criteria because of its extensive flexibility and connectivity. Well documented APIs, open-source software, and the free Community Edition make it very developer-friendly.
Integration Explanation: Integration of other software is possible through Java API, REST, SOAP, CMIS, XML, and so on. Magnolia sports an out-of-the-box connector to commerce tools and an API-first, cloud-native e-commerce platform.
The major con of this tool is that it isn’t mobile or tab friendly, which severely limits what devices it can be used on and where they are used.
Magnolia offers custom quotes upon request and has a free trial as well as a Free Community Edition of the software.
8. Pimcore – A DX platform with product information management, digital asset management, a customer data platform, and digital commerce.
Pimcore is an enterprise open-source DXP used by over 80,000 companies and is a consolidation of PIM/MDM, DAM, CMS/UX, and eCommerce tools. Its flexible application architecture supports scaling and extension when needed, forming an agile ecosystem.
Pimcore scores well in the Value for Price evaluation category due to the very low yearly cost as well as having a freemium version available for users. More features are opened up in the Enterprise Subscription, which has a higher price tag, but the freemium version will be more than enough for smaller teams.
Integration explanation: Pimcore efficiently aggregates data from various internal data sources— such as CRMs, ERP software, hard drives, suppliers, external partners, and syndicators. Product data integration is facilitated through easy import and export of data between Pimcore and external systems.
Pimcore is highly customizable but often needs much work right out-of-the-box in order to meet specific needs. It’s not a plug-and-play tool and set-up might take some experimentation and time.
Pimcore starts at $1.99/year and has a freemium version as well as a free trial.
9. Censhare – A universal content management platform with print production, marketing project planning, and variants and targeting tools.
Founded as CoWare AG in 2001, Censhare is a digital experience platform that features support for all file formats (including video and 3D), multi-level duplicate checks, automated versioning, an integrated image editor, and rule-based archiving and de-archiving.
This tool has a great workflow engine with a focus on customizations and configuring different workflows. The process/workflow design flow is flexible and speeds up time-to-market.
Integration explanation: InDesign integration is their strongest feature here. Additionally, The integration with censhare Web Content Management is ideal for apps that are being continuously updated in real-time.
Due to the cost, they lost points in Value for Cost in the evaluation criteria segment simply because it’s hefty compared to comparable options with just-as-good feature sets.
Censhare starts at $1000/month and does not have a free trial.
10. Rigor – Digital experience monitoring and optimization that monitors your websites, mobile web, APIs, streaming media, ads, and cloud apps.
Rigor monitors and alerts mission-critical flows optimizes website performance with actionable insights and analyzes your applications. This tool can identify performance defects impacting mobile users by emulating upstream and downstream speeds and latency with Network Throttling.
Rigor does reporting, analytics, measurables, and KPI tracking very well, scoring them highly in the Features-Reporting segment of the evaluation criteria block. Once data is collected, they continue to excel in information visualization, site health metrics, and pinpointing dysfunction areas.
Rigor did not have any third-party or out-of-the-box integration solutions listed on their site.
One minor con is that monitoring on a single URL is limiting; the future scope of web-based content should be considered before committing under this restriction.
Rigor starts at $250/month and has a free trial and demo.
Kentico Kontent – A content-as-a-service platform with webhooks, super-fast API, build your own elements, and organize with hierarchical taxonomies.
Quadient – Design and create statements, e-correspondences, complex documents, email and SMS, forms, and mobile and web content.
dotCMS – A flexible API-first platform with a drag-and-drop editor experience and other enterprise content management features.
Crownpeak – Build and edit content in-line or leverage form editing, use custom models and templates, A/B testing and targeting rules with content localization.
What Do You Think About These DXM Solutions?
Have you tried out any DXM software listed above? Weigh in on your experience with these DX software tools (or others that aren’t on the list), and share your thoughts with the CX community in the comments below!