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DXP & CMS: How a CMS Fits Into The DXP Structure

Kaya Ismail

As new terminologies increase in the content management industry, it’s crucial to know what each term means and how each platform supports your needs. CMS and DXPs are two terms that are often used interchangeably due to the level of overlap that exists between them.

But as the Martech space continues to expand, decision-makers – both technical and non-technical – need to understand the subtle differences between these two technologies and how they can both work together.

In this article, we will show you the difference between content management systems and digital experience platforms. We will also show you how a CMS can act as the foundation for your digital experience platform, and how it enables creating and distributing omnichannel digital experiences.

Section titled What does DXP mean, and what does it encompass?

Let’s start by defining DXP using our handy Web CMS Glossary: “A DXP is a piece of technology that incorporates elements of a CMS and provides users with an extendable centralized hub that can be enhanced with other services to improve the creation, management, and delivery of digital experiences across different platforms and devices. DXPs are especially important for omnichannel marketing initiatives.”

DXPs have grown out of the limitations developers and marketers found in regards to building and managing omnichannel customer experiences. Plus, they give users an integrated framework for delivering a unified and contextual customer experience.

All in all, a modern DXP takes multiple integrated technologies and uses them to take control of a wide array of digital touchpoints while, at the same time, working as a central platform that serves as the command center for all of these integrated touchpoints.

However, since DXPs have come to life off the back of the web CMS, there's, logically, some overlap between the two, particularly when it comes to content creation, asset management. But that doesn’t mean DXPs now dominate the market and that the demise of CMS is near. On the contrary, CMSs sit at the center of the DXP concept.

If you’re new to the DXP ecosystem and need a more comprehensive definition, jump to our DXP Explained article where you’ll find an introduction to DXPs.

Section titled What role does a CMS have in a DXP?

A modern content management system isn’t just limited to managing a company’s website content. No, a modern CMS supports organizations with other use cases such as managing content workflows, personalization, and eCommerce. It also serves as a point for integrations.

Also, a modern, API-first CMS can lower the total cost of ownership compared with a traditional CMS. The headless architecture of modern CMSs like Storyblok gives developers and marketers the tools they need, reducing bloated tech stacks and thus reducing TCO as multiple teams can leverage the same platform and get value out of it.

Content management goes beyond updating your website’s digital content. A modern CMS has the tools to become the catalyst of your digital transformation, giving you everything you need to create and enhance digital experiences.

These are the pillars of a modern CMS:

  • Content: Web content is more than just the words and images on a website. A modern CMS is a centralized hub that enables your company’s digital transformation.
  • Operations: A web CMS gives operations and project managers visibility over the content production process; that way, you make sure that all the content produced is on-brand and passes the quality standards.
  • Marketing: Omnichannel is not an exclusive domain of DXPs. On the contrary, a CMS can also create and distribute omnichannel content.
  • Developers: The right CMS helps developers build digital experiences that flow well with the customer journey you have in mind.

Section titled What makes a CMS an integral part of the DXP concept?

Storyblok is a hybrid headless CMS, but that doesn’t mean that our CMS platform is only capable of creating meaningful digital experiences that drive customer engagement. On the contrary, when you build a website using Storyblok you are creating a digital experience that can be integrated with a myriad of other systems such as ERPs, marketing automation tools, and analytics engines to gain a 360° view of your customers and operations.

Let’s take a look at what makes a CMS an integral part of the DXP concept:

A infographic demonstrating how a CMS fits into the DXP structure, API, and presentation layer

A infographic demonstrating how a CMS fits into the DXP structure, API, and presentation layer

Section titled API-first approach

Modern CMSs are built as API-first platforms. That means that they leverage APIs to connect different systems and to be able to display and push content to different frontends and devices. APIs make it simple for CMSs to connect different digital experiences and serve consistent content everywhere. The API-first approach turns CMSs into the cornerstone of DXPs because they serve as the base for interconnected information and user experiences.

Section titled Security

Since most of the APIs an agile CMS serves are read-only, users gain an improved level of security when using a modern CMS in their tech stack. Plus, with a headless CMS like Storyblok, you can make your websites and apps even more secure and less vulnerable to cyberattacks like SQL injections.


SQL injections are a type of cyberattack in which an attacker adds structured query language (SQL) code to a web form input box, like those from popup forms or mailing lists on a website, to gain access to unauthorized resources or make changes on a database.

Section titled Collaboration

DXPs are all about eliminating data silos in the workplace. Modern hybrid CMS are on the same page. With the help of workflows, they enable distributed teams with multiple departments and schedules to work together across departments by giving teams a place where to review content and collaborate without stepping on one another’s toes.

Section titled Integration-friendly architecture

Coupled or traditional CMSs can’t serve as the foundation of your DXP because they are monolithic platforms that contain every piece you need within themselves. A modern CMS has been built with integrability and extensibility in mind. Storyblok follows the best-of-breed approach and enables you to build your tech stack with the pieces you’re already using to maximize efficiency.

Section titled Personalization tools

Customers and visitors expect personalized content and offers from the website they visit. A CMS like Storyblok can also deliver personalized content to users and audiences. By leveraging customer intent, interaction history, and browsing channels, an agile CMS can deliver personalized content to people at scale and even in their own languages.

Section titled Omnichannel content delivery

Headless CMSs are great at omnichannel delivery because their backends can push content to different devices using APIs. Storyblok, for instance, can connect with messaging services like WhatsApp and WeChat via APIs while keeping content centralized in Storyblok.

Section titled Storyblok: A DXP-ready CMS

At Storyblok, we believe that a modern CMS must be DXP-ready; this means that we think that a sound CMS system must either come with the capabilities described above or the ability to integrate with other third parties to be capable of supporting a DXP.

With every new customer touchpoint comes new challenges, new ways of consuming content also demand new ways of content delivery. A monolithic CMS simply isn’t ready to cope with the digital transformation businesses are facing and can’t keep up with the pace of new customer journeys.

Storyblok is a hybrid headless CMS with a visual editor. It gives users all the good things that come with the headless architecture like API-driven content delivery, personalization, and eCommerce integrations. But it also gives you some of the benefits of monolithic CMSs like visual editing and content previewing.

All in all, a headless CMS should be an integral part of every DXP solution or project. A headless solution can give you better ROI than a monolithic, all-in-one solution such as Adobe, Oracle, WordPress, or Drupal.

Having a CMS that underpins your DXP and supports it allows you to create and monitor many different information streams, all while ensuring you’re delivering the right content to your visitors.

If you want to dive deeper into the CMS world, read our article on How to choose a headless CMS: Your guide and RFP template and learn more about what a CMS can do and what you need to ask your CMS vendor.