Published
  • Jul 1, 2021
  • 8 MIN
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How to Gauge Your DXP Maturity

How to Gauge Your DXP Maturity

From CMS to DXP

This year the CMS industry is redefining itself by introducing the term “Digital Experience Platform.” For us at Magnolia, this is a welcome change tying together the loose ends of years gone by where the battle has been between the headless approach and the traditional suite.

Most of our customers, and the organisations we admire, have a mix of tools and approaches that constitute their DXP. Often, Magnolia is involved in part of this, but we rarely see a customer truly excel with a purely headless approach or by sticking to a “Suite” strategy. However, the term DXP fits us, capturing the concept of composability and focusing on the experience rather than just content.

Even if you don’t think you have a DXP, you still do. All of the many tools you use in combination to launch digital experiences are in fact your DX platform.

How mature is your Digital Experience Platform?

Concerning the evolution of the CMS industry, you need to ask yourself, “How far have we come on our move from managing content to orchestrating digital experiences?” What you want to do and how you plan to do it with your DXP is the key to measuring maturity.

Why does maturity matter?

The more skilled you are as a digital organisation, the better you can make the right technology decisions. Yet, this skill isn’t necessarily about knowing all the tools and practices. Instead, the most important skill is to be able to transform business requirements to technical requirements and technical possibilities to business cases. This maturity is crucial because it enables you to invest wisely in your digital platform and challenge your digital business model at the same time.

Hence, this question is at the core of our newly launched DXP Benchmark tool, which aims to let you explore, challenge, and present your current Digital Experience Platform and get inspiration on optimizing the ROI. If we can spur a good dialogue and highlight where there might be missed potential, that is the best outcome we could wish for.

You might have used the tool already and have questions about the level you have been placed in. Or perhaps you want to learn more about our understanding of DXP technology before you take it. In any case, this blog post aims to tell you a little bit more about our take on digital platform maturity.

How's your DXP?

Take a simple test to check your DXP level and see how it stacks up against the competition

The Benchmark is a starting point

It is important to note that we can only use the information you have provided and how this compares to the data captured from other companies to determine your maturity. The DXP Benchmarking tool sets the level by awarding points for the answers you provide, but we can’t fit in and measure many contextual questions. Therefore, consider the score of the DXP Benchmark tool as a starting point for further discussion and evaluation. Also, please don’t hesitate to get in touch as we only get smarter by learning as much as we can about how different organisations work with DX.

If time to market is acceptable - you are good where you are.

In general, if your organisation is happy with the time to market when it comes to digital initiatives (above 7), you are probably good where you are for now. In most cases, the score you have on this point in our tool would need to be supplemented with an internal validation survey. Fortunately it isn’t a difficult question to ask your stakeholders to answer.

We’ve set 4 maturity levels for the tool. Below we provide some background for interpreting them.

Maturity level: Light

First of all, don’t interpret “Light” as “Immature”. Maturity is about matching your needs and business potential with the sufficient technology and the right practices.

If you are categorized as "light", please note that it doesn't mean you are less mature than "best in class" for instance. Examples of setups that will end up in the light category are:

  • Business models where transactions happen offline. It could be a consultancy with a strong presence content-wise but where the conversion is never via a digital touchpoint. Even larger B2B’s can be placed in this category even though their digital touchpoints are fairly integrated in their customer journeys.

  • Smaller retailers with less than 60% of their transactions online and targeted product offerings.

Level up from “Light”

If you are light, you can always do more and get more. If you have one of the bigger technology stacks like Sitecore, Magnolia, Adobe or Optimizely, you should look at your digital practice more than the technology:

  1. Is your technology spend justified by the outcome, or could you do the same at a lower price?

  2. Are there practices that could be optimized by using the technology differently? To justify a big technology stack, you should at least have ticked levels 3 and 4 on a couple of the questions on the Capabilities section.

Suppose you are "light" with a combination of a couple of more plug-and-play-like SaaS solutions. For instance, a Squarespace or Shopify eCommerce site with a separate newsletter engine. If your business is growing, you might want to look at more scalable alternatives..

Maturity level: Growth

Most companies are in the growth category as this is mainly a reflection of the state of digital in general. Even if you’ve had a digital presence since the last millennium the tech stacks available are still comparatively young and have changed many times. Only during the last 5-6 years have standardised SaaS offerings become easily available and workable. Meanwhile, many organisations rely on more or less proprietary setups, although standard systems are at the base of most digital experience platforms.

The internet and its opportunities have also changed and developed a lot in recent times. Essentially, many of the things that matter now weren't a factor even 5 years ago.. Hence, even companies that are doing well are still in growth.

Level up from “Growth”

In the growth category, you will find yourself in varied and good company so it is difficult to say anything about who you might be without naming every kind of enterprise in the world. However when in growth, you are likely to benefit from some or all of the following initiatives:

  • Look at your inventory of tools and discuss the objective and KPI for each of them: Those without clear objectives or a measuring point should be reconsidered. Where you have duplicates, try to understand why and make a plan for consolidation. Perhaps both should go in favour of a replacement or one can replace the other. 

  • Invest in customer data and consent: Most companies in growth need to decide where the source of truth should be and pursue that

  • Consider the composability of your DXP: Would you benefit from integrating some pieces more closely? Can some of it be replaced when you get a new CMS, CRM, etc.?

  • Is your practice improving as much as the platform is growing? As you  invest in more advanced technology, you need new skills and possibly more hands on deck to operate them. Ask yourself whether the distribution of work between internal and external resources is the right one. With too many consultants operating your Digital Experience Platform, you risk losing momentum because knowledge and know-how don’t sufficiently live within the organization.

Managing the “growth” state requires a lot of communication to drive development. You probably have a constant overhead in planning and seeking approval for new development. It is worth investing in a good model for project planning, requirement specification, refinement of tasks and vendor management.

Maturity level: Full Scale

Full Scale organizations haven’t yet achieved the digital transformation they aspire to. In this category, we will find organizations with several customer transactions online and a comprehensive DXP with a large degree of integratedness. However, while many of the dots have been connected, these organizations can't benefit as the technical and content side capabilities are not very mature. You also need to consider if you have too many tools. Even if something is free or very low cost in terms of licences, everything needs to be managed by someone.

Level up from “Full Scale”

  1. Look into the integrity of your customer data and the source of truth.

  2. Along the same lines, product information also needs to be completely in order.

  3. Consider your ability to fulfill some or all of the following: 

  • Track the impact of newsletters and adapt based on the results

  • Deliver rich experiences by mixing content from different sources (DAM, PIM, and CMS)

  • Channels optimization based on insights from Analytics

  • Drive results from personalized content and data-driven recommendations such as social probe.

  • Create rich content in a content pool and feed to the right channel in order to drive results

If you are striving to become “best in class”, a worthwhile approach would also be to set some targets for what Best in class should be in your industry.

Maturity level: Best in class

Excelling at offering supreme digital experience is often tied to a very neat stack of products and clear principles for project delivery. In addition to getting high scores in our capabilities section, customers in this group are usually also great in other areas:

  • The digital presence has a clearly defined and communicated purpose

  • The  business model is entirely or at least almost entirely digitized

  • Performance is always a key factor and has the highest priority

  • Time to market on new initiatives is a major success factor 

If you are "best in class" we hope you will share your journey with us.

Remember that you alone may not have the complete picture. The more stakeholders you involve in filling out the Benchmark tool, the more truthful the picture you can paint. In most organisations, communication between business and IT is considered a critical factor in terms of being able to succeed digitally. This is also true for digital experience maturity; the full picture combines technical capability, organisational skills and practice, and the derived results. You can't buy your way to maturity; you also need to manage the investments in all three aspects.

You can’t buy maturity

In our Benchmark tool, we don't just award your platform's solidity and technical capabilities. You can't become “best in class” unless your leadership and employees have the right qualifications as well. Your DXP must be aligned with your business goals and be capable of helping you meet your objectives.

Try our DXP Benchmark tool to gauge your maturity level today.

About the Author

Rasmus Skjoldan Chief Marketing Officer at Magnolia

Rasmus Skjoldan is Chief Marketing Officer at Magnolia. With two decades of experience in creative, digital, and marketing roles, Rasmus is a respected authority and regular commentator in the enterprise CMS and digital experience space. At Magnolia, Rasmus leads global marketing, covering all areas from demand generation to brand, digital, and events.

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