What is Composable DXP?
New buzzword alert! We know, there are endless buzzwords and abbreviations in the industry and here comes another one, but one that is well worth keeping an eye on. DXP - Digital Experience Platform - is a term that is becoming more common when talking about CMS and of course it is interesting from an Umbraco perspective. The research and consulting company Gartner addresses DXP as one of the hottest trends of the 2020s, and especially "Composable DXP". In the tech world, as you know, there are as many abbreviations as there are days in the year, so we thought we'd start 2023 by explaining what DXP is, as well as Composable DXP, and why it's something to keep an eye on.
Compose your own platform
In DXP, the focus is on digital communication as a whole and how users should have a better experience, both those who work in the systems but of course also the end user.
Broadly speaking, it is about moving from large "monolithic" platforms (with ready-made functionality) to platforms that enable you to "plug in", and over time, easily change components in the system and tailor your solution with a focus on the digital experience for the user. Something that was not completely obvious before. In other words, it’s about being able to compose your own system - hence the term "Composable DXP".
Composable plugins in a DXP can be payment solutions, analysis tools, support and CRM systems, campaign tools, etc. The point is that you yourself as a customer should be able to "compose" the systems and functions you want from the best suppliers. A bit like going into a self-picking store and choosing yourself instead of taking the ready-made candy bag.
Umbraco puts a lot of effort into facilitating the implementation of Composable DXP and being able to act as a hub in these solutions and can already be used as a Composable DXP today.
How does a Monolithic DXP work?
Traditionally, Monolithic DXP is the way that turned a CMS into a full-fledged DXP. Often it is simply a packaged software suite. This gives you an all-in-one programs and are pre-programmed to work in a specific way. With a Monolithic DXP, the provider of the platform has control over all functions and is located in the same dashboard.
The monolithic approach is good if you manage everything from one place. It also offers the advantage that it requires less work to install because it is all tightly integrated and controlled by the same supplier. However, changing one of the tools to another tool that is not part of the vendor's suite can be tricky. Then it is often at a standstill or requires large investments to implement.
If you want more control and flexibility over your technology, you should look at a Composable DXP instead.
What makes Composable DXP better than Monolithic DXP?
With Composable DXP, you can create a DXP with "best-of-breed" solutions. Which means the best software in its niche or category that performs specialized functionality better than a system that tries to have all functions in one system. It doesn't try to be a swiss army knife and instead is the best tool for the purpose.
The term "composable" comes from the software architecture concept of composability. It is an approach where services and components are decoupled but have a mutual modular dependency.
When it comes to Composable DXP, it is based on the principles of MACH architecture. MACH stands for Microservices, API, Cloud-native and Headless architecture. These are the cornerstones of the software solution. The architecture must follow a modular approach to create context-based and personalized user experiences. Everything to be able to efficiently replace parts and components when new requirements are made without building completely new.
What are the benefits of a Composable DXP?
We covered the definition of Composable DXP, but what are the largest benefits for you and your business?
The technological landscape is changing at an ever-increasing rate, and for a company to be successful in the digital landscape, a web solution needs to be flexible.
A Composable DXP is customizable due to its architecture. This means you don't have to base your strategy on the platforms you use.
Every business wants to put its customer first, and your DXP solution should reflect that. Forcing customers into some pre-defined journey is not the way to go.
- Fast implementation
You can quickly turn the perfect idea or prototype into a selling marketing campaign.
Can I use Umbraco in my Composable DXP?
Yes, you can use Umbraco as the basis of your Composable DXP solution. DXP will then have a CMS as its core function. If you choose that approach, a headless CMS might be one of the first things you need to consider if you need one.
Umbraco's Open Source CMS, which is operated in the Umbraco Cloud including Umbraco Headless (Umbraco Heartcore), forms the basis of Umbraco's DXP solution.
For the editor, this provides a CMS with the experience in focus. For the developer, it is ready to use with open RESTful APIs and GraphQL that you can connect to any frontend. And with Cloudflare CDN included and a managed API, the developer doesn't need to maintain another codebase or API.
It is possible to use Umbraco's open APIs or one of the many extensions and integrations, or some of the many "packages" available on the Umbraco Marketplace, to extend and integrate with your digital systems and create your Composable DXP.
The advantages are thus many and most of all it opens up flexibility and the possibility to tailor your company's digital ecosystem based on your needs and conditions.