6 Lessons for Rolling Out a Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

User Experience | September 7, 2018

Rolling out a digital experience platform (DXP) can be a daunting initiative for an enterprise. Done well, the challenge will be worth the investment of time and resources. A successful DXP rollout will reward marketing with a powerful platform to build compelling customer experiences that drive key conversions, and end customers will benefit from positive interactions with the brand.

But the reality is, organizations regularly stumble out of the gate when launching a DXP, often tripping on obstacles that could have been easily avoided with the right experience and approach.

6 areas where enterprises could easily avoid common missteps when rolling out DXP:

1. Clearly define the vision for a DXP

When observing failed rollouts of a DXP, one can often trace the failure back to the decisions made in the earliest days of the initiative.  The problem stems from IT and marketing teams approaching DXP as a traditional CMS implementation or site experience build.

In a rush to get to the development and move the first experience onto a platform, teams had a myopic focus on the requirements and architecture for a single experience and too narrow a view of enterprise data management. Both leading to information gaps that prove costly down the line.

As an alternative, have the discipline to commit a few weeks to a strategy phase where stakeholders can assess the current state and create the vision for reusability and scale across the enterprise. The broader perspective will help teams maintain the correct heading for the initiative when moving into detailed planning and project execution.

2. Start with a pilot experience

Taking a broad view of digital experience does not mean tackling the rollout of a DXP at an enterprise scale right out of the gate.

Once an organization defines the broad vision for DXP, it should then isolate a pilot experience that can be rolled out on the platform.

Taking such an approach dramatically reduces risk. It also gives the marketing and IT teams the opportunity to partner on a project with considerably less stress, and lets stakeholders learn the end-to-end delivery of a DXP project without the high stakes of a full rollout.

With this newfound experience, an organization greatly increases the chance of success when it’s time to tackle the flagship customer experience.

3. Always consider business needs and scale across the enterprise

In addition to creating a broad vision for a DXP, organizations should be intentional about how specific decisions for a pilot implementation will impact the future need to scale across the enterprise.

If teams implement a DXP in a way that is so specific to the initial project requirements that they deliver a one trick pony at the end of the pilot, the potential to scale the work done in the pilot will be limited.

Instead, implement the DXP as generically as possible from the beginning. Rely heavily on out of the box (OOTB) functionality where possible and look to extend OOTB functionality only when needed. Avoid custom development unless absolutely necessary.

While this approach to an initial rollout may mean that some requirements are pushed to follow on phases for the pilot experience, it leads to less cost and lower complexity overall. And in the end, through the enterprise’s evolution of the platform, even the pilot site will benefit through successive rollouts.

4. Tap into knowledge from a reliable, experienced partner

Organizations often struggle because they attempt to go it alone. This is admirable, though not advisable. In an attempt to save money or direct spend internally, costs will often swell as internal teams wrestle with a steep learning curve and the pressure to execute.

Bring in an outside partner with proven experience rolling out a DXP and with specific expertise in the selected platform.

When considering a partner, inquire as to the transparency a partner will provide into the process they bring to the engagement. A lack of transparency limits learning, and with limited learning, marketing and IT teams will struggle to own the platform once a partner leaves.

5. Change business processes to benefit from DXP

A DXP will have tremendously powerful tools for streamlining marketing processes, from creative content production to campaign orchestration, and lead process management.

Organizations often struggle when rolling out a DXP when they attempt to force old business practices on the platform. This will drive up costs and complexity because it necessitates platform customization.

Commit to an open mind about process change when rolling out a new platform. Instead of forcing the technology into the ways in which things have always been done, consider how processes could change to suit the strengths of the DXP.

6. Enroll business users from across the enterprise early and often to facilitate change management

When rolling out a DXP, it is critical to ensure that business users are enrolled early and often in the process to ensure the rollout is consistent with business and marketing goals.  And it’s also a great way to build excitement for the platform.

Even if certain business users are not directly impacted by the current work in the project, give them a sneak peak of progress to keep excitement levels high.

In the end, rolling out a DXP means change. It means replacing an old way of working and giving a new suite of tools that the business will use to build compelling customer experiences that provide a return on the investment.

By enrolling business users early and often, from visioning to pilot to enterprise rollout, organizations will ensure the shared vision for the project remains intact. Doing so also lowers organizational friction to adoption, promoting the likelihood that business users across the organization will quickly and excitedly adopt the new platform when it rolls out.

Rolling out a DXP successfully will be a challenge for any enterprise. The endeavor will come with some unique challenges the business may not have previously faced, though most are common across industries. By paying attention to the few areas where others have stumbled on DXP initiatives, organizations can promote their likelihood of success and reap the benefits of a DXP to build compelling customer experiences.

 

Mark Kelley is a member of the Executive Team at iCiDIGITAL. In his role as VP of Digital Engagement, he helps enterprise clients align marketing and ecommerce technology with business goals. He works with clients like Ingersoll Rand, NASCAR, and Panera.