December 20, 2021
DXP vs CMS: What’s the difference?
Find out which platform is best for your business needs
Digital transformation was a hot topic in 2021 and moving forward into 2022, it will continue to be a major focus for businesses big and small. Navigating a digital transformation can be challenging, and downright confusing when you try to decipher between the alphabet soup of digital acronyms. No matter the size or scale of your digital update, you will need to discern which digital technologies will best serve your business needs. In this article, we will outline the differences between content management systems (CMS), web experience management (WEM) platforms and digital experience platforms (DXP) and how each operates within a marketing technology stack.
Content Management System
Several trends are driving the need for a more cohesive, integrated digital framework, including consumer preference for more personalized content, an increase in e-commerce, and consumer expectations for a seamless, omnichannel digital experience.
For some organizations, a traditional CMS fits the bill, especially if handling content is all that’s needed. For businesses that require data and integrations (for such things as logistics, inventories, ERP business rules and CDP), the CMS becomes part of a larger digital technology framework.
Web Experience Management
A web experience management (WEM) platform separates content management from content delivery. Where a CMS provides the foundation to manage collections of content—workflow, reporting, organizing, and user administration tools, for example—WEM adds to that foundation by producing web-based experiences, such as publishing content to web browsers and mobile apps. It combines text and rich media (images, video and audio) to publish web pages. Like a CMS, a WEM platform maintains content within a shared repository. It also separates how a company arranges and manages content from how it publishes that content on web pages.
WEM vs Decoupled CMS vs Headless CMS
Traditional WEM systems provide both the back-end content management layer and the front-end delivery tier. Some CMS applications use a decoupled architecture, which separates content management from content delivery and presentation. With a decoupled solution, content that is managed in the CMS is pushed to the delivery tier.
With headless CMS, there is no delivery tier. According to Wikipedia, a headless CMS is a back-end-only content management system that acts primarily as a content repository. A headless CMS makes content accessible via an API for display on any device, without a built-in front-end or presentation layer. So in this instance, a headless CMS stores content separately from the code used to build the presentation layer and allows one system to manage all content, no matter its destination.
So what’s the benefit of a headless CMS? In a traditional CMS, or custom-developed website that doesn't include CMS, content is as much a part of the code as functionality. This means if you want to change functionality on the site, you lose the content attached to it. Redesigning the website would mean having to feed content back into the new structure.
With a headless CMS, the back end (functionality) and the front end (presentation) are independent of one another. This allows you to manage content from a single source and serve it up to multiple channels. With a traditional CMS, you would have to duplicate the content and content management with each channel, such as an app and website. With a headless scenario, you have a single source of content that gets served to both touchpoints. And if those two touchpoints share users or inventories, data should not be duplicated across channels. In that case, you require a single management point to manage those digital assets.
Typically, DXPs include headless CMS as one of their tools.
Digital Experience Platform
A digital experience platform (DXP) includes content management and WEM capabilities. A DXP takes these web-centric capabilities and extends them to different digital environments to create a full omnichannel digital experience.
Essentially, DXPs grew out of the limitations posed by traditional CMS in terms of creating and managing digital experiences using one control centre platform. A DXP provides a more efficient and cost-effective way to integrate multiple technologies to control multiple touchpoints.
A DXP is a robust platform of marketing tools with a CMS at its centre. It provides flexible architecture that connects multiple aspects of the business in order to control every touchpoint. Possible functionalities include e-commerce, asset management, marketing automation, customer engagement (i.e., chatbots, etc.), AI and machine learning, as well as data management.
Some CMS platforms attempt to add this functionality through the use of plug-ins. This approach exposes the CMS to security vulnerabilities. Multiple plug-ins will also impede its performance. Whereas, customizing a CMS to perform these functions is cost-prohibitive.
Our Expresia DXP uses AWS infrastructure, one of the most secure and reliable Cloud options. This infrastructure takes care of the architecture for you, ensuring you stay secure, updated and consistent without having to design and maintain your own system. Our DXP avoids the risks associated with plug-ins by using an impressive API with more than 180 objects and a consistent syntax to manipulate them. This results in a simpler, more effective way to connect to third parties.
Contact us to learn more about our Expresia DXP and we can help you determine which digital solution is right for you based on the unique needs of your organization.