Digital Experience Without the Suite

by Jan Schulte, Head of Group Consulting at Magnolia
Dec 12, 2019 | 5 MIN

MarTech has been growing at an incredible pace over the last five years. New apps continue to be released for highly niche use-cases in a vast range of industries from healthcare to finance. At this point, there’s an app for nearly every possibility marketers can imagine. There’s even many micro-solutions built for less tech-savvy users with no-code or low-code tooling.

As the MarTech space continues to boom, it's worth noting that new technologies and specialized tools aren't just sprouting up - they're sticking around.

Why? Well, we think we've got a pretty good idea.

The Suite System is Broken

In the past, companies usually turned towards well-established vendors for all-in-one software solutions. Brands were confident these vendors could provide high-quality, seamless platforms for managing their marketing efforts. That was before the explosion of IoT, numerous digital touchpoints, and AI-driven personalization. Companies now need a platform that can adapt to increasing customer demands, organizational change and innovation. Being able to test new ideas, tools and technologies fast is becoming an important success factor.

For many companies, suites are limiting and unable to adapt to changing digital demands fast enough. The traditional suite solution is broken, and that’s why companies are moving towards self-integrated DX platforms. With the rise of cloud computing and SaaS, it’s a vastly different MarTech landscape, and companies are looking beyond suite solutions to provide innovative digital experiences. And it's now easier than ever to create a best of breed digital experience platform using a multitude of apps that fit specific business needs.

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The typical DXP suite solution includes CMS capabilities, and other products or add-ons provided by the vendor to choose from like marketing analytics, digital asset management, or eCommerce. The problem is, these tools are usually built to cover broad use-cases and aren't tailored to specific businesses or industries. The quality of these additional products varies greatly, as many of these tools are integrated into the suite through acquisitions and may not be an industry leading product or service. Suites try to be a jack-of-all-trades.

With most suite solutions, it's difficult to continue using existing apps because the suite is meant to be an all-in-one platform and lacks straightforward integration with external systems. Replacing already established solutions or tools means a repeated investment and is very likely to create unnecessary friction. Using APIs, however, companies can integrate any existing apps they want when implementing their own best of breed approach.

Some integrated suites offer convenience, but more often than not companies will sacrifice on flexibility and adaptability. Of course, suites may promise a seamless interface and less reliance on IT for integrating additional tooling, but in reality, the majority of DXP implementations require customization to meet an organization's needs anyway. Therefore, Companies are losing trust in suite vendors to provide a fully-functional DXP that can adapt to rapidly changing digital innovations. Brands know best what their customers demand, so they’re starting to create their own DXPs.

Brands Want to Build Their Own Ecosystem

There's an increasing trend for brands to pick and choose which apps fit into their digital experience platforms themselves. It's unlikely that a vendor will have a suite of products that's the best at everything. That's why so many highly niche MarTech apps are being developed, and why companies are building best of breed digital experience platforms themselves.

When companies hand-pick the specific software that fits their needs, they can build a digital experience platform made up of individual components that are tailored to their business. These apps can be smaller and focused on what they do best. And if a particular app no longer meets the company's needs, it's easier to replace it. Suite solutions can't offer that level of flexibility and adaptability.

Many suite solutions also have a licensing structure that fails to take into account which integrated products you actually use. Companies end up paying for the entire set of tools, regardless of what they need. With best of breed, you're able to avoid paying for unused features because you are able to choose what you integrate into your DXP.

Keep in mind that suite vendors have to attract a broader audience and are therefore potentially unable to focus on the needs of specific use cases or industries. Additionally, they are usually on the slow side of adapting to new trends and technology changes. The best tools are built by vendors that are highly focused on a particular service or use case, and leave the overall MarTech stack up to the individual company.

Flexibility Is Critical for Cutting Edge Customer Experiences

Companies need a platform that's flexible enough for them to change out specific tools or services whenever they need to, without facing massive migration challenges from data silos to licensing. Many niche-focused apps are lightweight, so there’s a faster time to market when integrating it with a DXP. Large suite solutions, with vendor lock-in so prevalent, can't provide the level of adaptability necessary to meet the demands of a company's specific customers. Businesses, therefore, need the flexibility to update their MarTech constantly or face falling behind the latest digital trends. With best of breed, companies remain futureproof.

Magnolia CMS helps brands build their own digital experience platform with its focus on flexibility and integrations. The CMS is open-source, with a DX architecture that's highly flexible. It also has robust APIs and a wide range of pre-built connectors for integrating with core digital systems ranging from commerce to DAM and analytics. Magnolia is ready to power an innovative DXP platform now into the future.

See in our detailed guide how you can start your moving towards a modular DXP to fuel the next phase of your customer experience evolution.

Jan Schulte

About the Author

Working at the intersection of business and technology, Jan helps Magnolia clients succeed with their content management and digital experience initiatives, framing solutions to their custom challenges and opportunities.