DXC vs DXP: Understanding Architecture Differences for a Unified User Experience

  • 29 Mar 2023

DXC... What is it?

The digital world is not short on acronyms, and you may have noticed the recent arrival of a new term: "DXC" for "Digital Experience Composition".

The term DXC was introduced by Gartner in 2022 and has been quickly adopted by many vendors. It is an emerging technology that, as its name suggests, allows multiple data sources to be orchestrated in a decoupled ("headless") and composable architecture.

For more details about headless and composable, we refer you to our dedicated article!

DXC versus DXP: a question of architecture

The stated objective of DXC is to provide a single contribution interface for the creation of seamless digital experiences around the federation of siloed data

Simply put, a DXC helps create a consistent user experience between your different data sources: CMS, ecommerce, customer data, product information (PIM), digital assets (DAM)... The goal is simple: to let them know which content comes from which source and is displayed on which interface.

The idea is still emerging and may overlap with the positioning of some content management platform vendors, most of whom claim to be able to fulfill this role. This is how the acronym "DXP" was born, for "Digital Experience Platform", which has become a category in its own right in Gartner. 

The idea behind DXP is to deploy a true digital marketing strategy based on the following functional bricks: content management (CMS), unified customer knowledge and segmentation (CDP), personalization, marketing automation and, for the most comprehensive, customer journey orchestration. If you think this sounds like the definition of DXC at the beginning of this paragraph, you're right!

The difference is in the details. DXP makes complete sense in a monolithic architecture (see below) where it will serve as a single point of contact for data and contribution. The question may arise in a more fragmented architecture where each solution carries its data and is responsible for its integrity. This is what we call a "composable" architecture.



Both architectures have their strengths and weaknesses. Composable has emerged in the context of complex digital ecosystems where each brick manages only a limited functional perimeter in order to avoid duplicating data on different databases, whereas a monolith is more of a Swiss Army knife, even if it means duplicating data.

The problem posed by composable systems lies in the management of the "glue" between all the bricks. Some use cases:

  • I want to mix editorial content and product pages in a coherent way to create a complex shopping experience between content (FAQ, tutorial videos, testimonials...) and products.
  • I want to leverage behavioral and contextual data from my CDP (customer data platform) both on my landing pages and on my content site.
  • I have set up a forum that needs to be mixed with my content pages in an intelligent way (related content...).
  • I want to unify the user experience of my order tunnel which integrates electronic signature and which proposes a widget with a completely different user interface.

Breakdown of the user interface

How do you manage this "glue" within a DXC? From a technical point of view, the glue allows the user interface to be broken down into small, independent and autonomous modules: this is what we call a "micro-frontend". 

The latter is developed, deployed and managed independently, which allows them to be updated or replaced without affecting the others. Micro frontends are often used to allow separate teams to work on different parts of the user interface.

Who are the editors present on the market?

Uniform is an American editor who recently raised a large amount of money. We were able to have a demonstration of the solution which seems powerful but, to date, complex to handle for a business team.

Ninetailed, based in Berlin, focuses more on personalization and recently raised 5 million euros. The editor presents itself as a leader in "data management for composable architectures".

Open-source is not left out with Entando which allows teams to create or reuse components and packaged business capabilities across all your channels with a strong focus on scalability.

Back to the future

At Smile we are particularly familiar with the issues posed by DXC. We were already working in 2014 on "ESIGate", a server-side integration service to create seamless experiences!

Don't hesitate to ask our "glue" experts who will be happy to study your issues.