Composable DXP FAQs

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    The notion of composability and composable DXPs has brought with it several questions, especially as it relates to digital experience platforms in general. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and provided the answers to help ease that confusion.

    What is a composable DXP?

    Of course, the most important question is, what is a composable DXP? And where did it come from? A composable DXP is a modular approach to building a digital experience platform. It is assembled by combining various best-of-breed tools, connecting them using APIs, and then leveraging them to deliver digital experiences to customers.

    The term originated from Gartner in their report, Adopt a Composable DXP Strategy to Future-Proof Your Tech Stack, which cited the need for organizations to decompose monoliths and deliver composable user experiences instead.

    There is plenty to unpack here, but as we dive into the most frequently asked questions surrounding composable DXPs, you’ll have a clearer understanding of everything.

    Frequently asked questions about composable DXPs

    1. What is composability? Is it any different from headless?

    Composability is a principle for designing interchangeable and easily assembled systems that promote openness and extensibility. When applied to the content management space, it means that customers can choose the tools that they want from different vendors and integrate them into one system using APIs.

    Sounds familiar? That’s because it’s the underlying principle of headless architecture as well, which uses APIs to not only connect the backend content management system to a front-end presentation layer, but also to easily integrate best-of-breed tools to provide capabilities outside of content management.

    2. What is a monolithic DXP?

    A monolithic digital experience platform is an all-in-one suite DXP. It offers a set of packaged business capabilities provided by a single vendor. This means that all of the features and functionality a business might need, such as content management, analytics, personalization, eCommerce, digital asset management, and more, are all contained in one platform.

    3. How do composable DXP and monolithic DXP differ?

    Unlike a monolithic DXP that requires businesses to use the tools included in the suite of products, a composable DXP enables them to start with a central foundation that includes a CMS and then best-of-breed tools to integrate with the CMS.

    Both monolithic and composable DXPs offer APIs for easier integration, but with a monolithic DXP, you can’t opt out of the other tools provided by the suite. A monolithic DXP typically uses a monolithic legacy CMS as its foundation, whereas a composable DXP uses a modern headless CMS as its foundation.

    Best-of-Breed vs All-in-One

    Read our free whitepaper to learn more about the differences between the two approach!

    4. Is a headless CMS a DXP? Are all headless CMSs also DXPs?

    A headless CMS can be considered a DXP because it provides the foundation for a DXP. A composable DXP, in particular, leverages the APIs provided by a headless CMS to integrate with the best-of-breed tools that are used to construct a DXP. However, not all headless CMSs are DXPs. Some headless platforms are still niche and built for developers only, meaning that they don’t provide the content authoring capabilities required to manage digital experiences.

    For a headless CMS to be considered a DXP, it must provide analytics, composable architecture, collaboration capabilities, marketer-friendly content management, extensibility, personalization, advanced security, or the ability to integrate with tools that provide this functionality.

    5. Why is composability growing in importance?

    Composability is growing in importance because more and more enterprises want the flexibility to choose the best software tools to meet their needs. They no longer want to be restricted to the options provided by suite platforms or the vendor lock-in that comes with them.

    In addition, Gartner has pointed out that monolithic tech stacks need to be decomposed to help businesses keep up with evolving market demands, respond to threats, and capitalize on opportunities. Currently, the integrations of monolithic platforms can be cumbersome and time-consuming, making it difficult for brands to move as quickly as they would like.

    Instead, businesses must modernize their DXP tech stacks and align their architectural and organizational strategies around composability.

    6. What are the capabilities of a composable DXP?

    Since a headless CMS is the foundation of a composable DXP, each platform will have its own unique features. However, at its core, a composable DXP does the following:

    • Allows businesses to choose the components that will make up the DXP.
    • Supports easy integration and orchestration of those components using APIs.
    • It makes it easy for companies to add, remove or replace components as required.

    7. Who came up with the term “composable DXP”?

    Gartner coined the term composable DXP to differentiate between current monolithic offerings and future-proof DXP platforms.

    8. Are monolithic DXPs waning in importance?

    Monolithic DXPs are still very relevant as many brands had already been leveraging these platforms to handle their content before their CMS became a DXP. Also, some companies prefer to have everything packaged into one suite as they are already leveraging these particular tools, have pre-existing contracts in place, and may be unable or unwilling to migrate to a composable DXP at this time.

    9. What are some examples of a composable DXP?

    Examples of composable DXPs include Storyblok, Contentful, Contenstack, and GraphCMS.

    10. What are some examples of monolithic DXPs?

    Examples of monolithic DXPs include Sitecore, Adobe Experience Manager, Acquia, and Oracle.

    11. What are the advantages of composable DXP?

    A composable DXP offers faster implementation, increased flexibility, greater customizability and allows your business to be more customer centric.

    12. What are the disadvantages of composable DXP?

    One of the disadvantages of a composable DXP is that you won’t have everything you need out of the box as it doesn’t provide an all-in-one solution.

    13. What can you build with a DXP?

    A DXP allows you to build various types of digital experiences and content applications. Any digital content you can dream of can probably be built using a DXP—websites, mobile applications, customer portals, digital signs, IoT-connected applications, Alexa skills, and more.

    14. Does a composable DXP have anything to do with MACH?

    The MACH principles are technology principles that focus on the latest best-of-breed platforms and stand for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless. A composable DXP is based on these same principles.

    • Microservices: individual pieces of functionality that are independently developed.
    • API-first: all application functionality created through API, creating the ability to tie two or more applications together.
    • Cloud-native: employing SaaS (Software as a service) to host, store, and update all functionality.
    • Headless: Front-end decoupled from the backend, providing design freedom for creating user interfaces for multiple channels.

    15. Is a composable DXP right for your business?

    A composable DXP can work for any business, but it might not always be the right fit. Not every business needs all of the functionality that a DXP provides. In addition, some companies may prefer the ease of having everything they need out-the-box with a suite or monolithic DXP.

    However, if you want your business to be future-proof and be able to quickly respond to changes in the marketplace without slowing you down, then a composable DXP could be the answer.

    16. Can a composable DXP come with multiple built-in products?

    Even though a composable DXP advocates for choosing which products are part of the tech stack, some headless CMS platforms or composable DXPs do come with more than just content management capabilities. Digital asset management, collaboration workflows that can span the entire tech stack and advanced personalization are some of the features that these platforms may also have.

    17. How can you get started with building a composable DXP?

    If you want to get started with building a composable DXP, the first step is to map out your business goals as well as the channels and components that you’ll need to reach those goals. Next, choose a headless CMS as the foundation. Storyblok is a headless CMS that provides the ideal foundation for a composable DXP.

    By placing Storyblok at the heart of your composable DXP, you can receive the core capabilities and functionality required by DXP. Storyblok provides everything marketers, developers, and everyone within the business needs to orchestrate digital experiences through content management, collaboration, and easy integrations.

    After choosing your headless CMS, the next step is to determine the other components that will be included in your DXP, select the channels where you want to publish these experiences, and then start to assess vendors to ensure their offerings align with your needs.