CMS vs. DXP - What`s the Difference?

Traditional Content Management Systems that enabled multiple users to collaborate on the same content have long morphed into advanced Content Management Systems. A CMS overcomes content management challenges by providing specific functionality for organizing, publishing, and controlling digital content.


But today, organizations are forced to accelerate their digital experience efforts. The majority of organizations are factoring in customer experience as a critical differentiator. As a result, there is an upward trend in translating content management strategies into digital experience platform (DXP) requirements.


What You’ll Learn From This Insight:


I.   The Limits of CMS and The Need of DXP

II.  Trends Driving the Market

III. Capability Difference Between CMS and DXP

IV. Core Capabilities of DXP

V.  DXP Myth Busters

VI.  Benefits of Open Source DXP

VII. The Future of DXP: Where Are We Heading?

The Limits of CMS and The Need of DXP

CMS has its limitations. It does not consider experience and fails to address today's demands of personalized, yet consistent content across all online touchpoints. That's why many organizations now don't see CMS as the core technology that drives their digital experience.

A Digital Experience Platform (DXP), on the other hand, is a step ahead of a CMS in terms of helping a brand produce digital experiences through websites, apps, portals, IoT devices, and more. DXPs provide an integrated and rationalized framework for delivering a unified and contextual Digital Customer Experience (CX). As a result, it can be seen as the ideal solution for businesses to digitize operations and gather actionable customer insight. 

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DXP Trends and Developments

Trends Driving the Market

1. Content Management Systems are Evolving into DXPs

While CMS provides collaboration, enabling users to manage documents and output for multi-author editing and participation, it generally uses a content repository or a database to store page content, metadata, and other information assets. DXP goes beyond this – connecting the entire data architecture and all the platforms involved in the value chain. DXPs are gaining popularity, and many vendors are providing CMS with a DXP to ensure complete information visibility and accessibility. While CMS continues to be at the center of technology stacks that support customer experience initiatives, people are favouring integrated architectures needed to operate large enterprises at the speed of ever-evolving customer expectations.

2. Hybrid Headless Approach is the Future of Digital Experiences

Global organizations increasingly seek systems that are not purely headless but can provide head-on and head-optional capabilities from the same platform. A DXP fits this equation perfectly with interfaces that allow the timely segregation of front-end (presentation layer) and back-end (development layer). It also facilitates enterprises that have developers and marketers collaborating on the digital experience and those that need to integrate back-end and front-end systems to meet the needs of their customers. It emphasizes interoperability and cross-channel continuity across the entire customer journey. Therefore, it offers a complex suite of solutions, including cross-channel integration for multichannel publishing, the ability to manage inventory across various locations, and seamless integration of all analytics tools. This dynamic, flexible attribute makes a DXP more attractive for businesses seeking to streamline their marketing with single-source content delivery.

3. The Demand for Architecture and Infrastructure Agility

Customers are increasingly demanding CMS solutions built-in modern frameworks like Mesh App and Service Architecture (MASA), microservices, serverless, and containerized models. This need for innovation is furthering the phasing out of CMS. Organizations want an architecture designed to deliver a global, high-availability, high-security service from the cloud – a native cloud architecture. Above all, they want agility and IT independence. DXP platforms answer the need of the hour with capabilities like experience composition and orchestration, management and delivery, and analytics and customer data management. They also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and allow multichannel support – both mainstream (web, mobile web) and emerging (IoT, VR/AR, wearables, conversational interfaces, etc.). 

Capability Difference Between CMS and DXP

The legacy CMS provided site control to businesses. Multiple stakeholders along the value chain could view and access the content. It, however, offered a siloed solution without a central view of the system. CMS provided a single view of all the content to everyone but reduced the IT maintainability. A DXP, however, takes a different approach. It is designed to provide a fully integrated experience using APIs and other communication protocols. It is the complete set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery, and optimization of contextualized digital experiences. That is just one system taking care of everything, combining the capabilities of CMS with a radically open platform.

DXP engages a broad array of audiences across a broad range of digital touchpoints. The platform combines and coordinates applications, including content management, search and navigation, personalization, integration and aggregation, collaboration, workflow, analytics, and mobile and multichannel support. It can also bring disparate local and remote content applications, such as web, mobile, IoT, and so on, under one cohesive umbrella. This improves individual digital experiences via practices like persona modeling, journey mapping, responsive layout, and data-driven design. Organizations are, therefore, adopting DXPs at an accelerated rate to build, deploy, and continually improve brand touchpoints and digital experiences.

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Core Capabilities of DXP



  • Rich and responsive experience orchestration
  • Context-based personalization
  • Analytics and optimization across customer touchpoints
  • Search, navigation, and discovery





  • Flexible architecture and application development
  • API-based integration, interoperability, and extensibility
  • Multichannel support
  • Headless approach
  • Applied AI and ML

DXP Myth Busters

What is a DXP?

  • A central platform that facilitates end-to-end customer lifecycle across any channel continually.
  • Multichannel API integration of several digital touchpoints.

  • A platform that supports headless, hybrid and head-optional delivery, microservices, and DevOps.

  • A way of interacting with the customers - DXP enables a continuous conversation with customers (as well as other stakeholders) that leads to push-oriented channels.

  • An integrated, unified platform on which an experience (like that of a website/customer/ employee) can be deployed.

  • A central, common system for both the business and IT developers to work on and improve customer experience.

What is not a DXP?

  • A combination of new or existing platforms/technologies
  • Either a website, mobile app, or responsive mobile website.
  • A configuration tool or development platform like Platform As A Service (PaaS) or multi-experience development application.

  • A unidirectional communication channel (with customers) that can be plugged into your system for instant outcome.

  • A stand-alone monolithic intranet package that doesn’t undergo optimization and/or refinement.

  • Either an IT system or a marketing system.

Benefits of Open Source DXP

While DXP is the modern solution to manage almost all the touchpoints in the customer lifecycle, many DXP options are prone to fall short in operations. The reasons can range from lack of flexibility, too little configurability, and added hidden costs. This is easily avoidable with an alternative deployment that integrates well with the other parts of the business — open-sourcing! Building and working with open-source DXP systems have multiple advantages over traditional or proprietary solutions.

Flexibility: Be it an integration of any level, or a specific feature for an enterprise digital strategy, a DXP platform cannot yield its true benefits when restricted in a boxed ecosystem. It requires multi-platform communication and caters to a wide range of enterprise-level data. As a result, it is advisable to ensure that the system is flexible enough for on-demand scaling and future optimizations. Open source flexibility enables businesses to cater precisely to this requirement.

Innovation: The core idea of DXP is to be able to develop with changing times. It is a dynamic platform that needs to be lean and agile to provide customers seamless, timely, and continuous access to relevant information, interactions, and applications. It is, therefore, an innovation layer core to the unified digital experience delivery. Open-sourcing can act as a valuable quotient in innovation since it allows building ideas quickly, without investing lots of time, money, and effort in trying to implement it from scratch – all by yourself. The universal access to technology and prototyping tools enables creativity and drives innovative ideas at increasingly faster rates. 

Cost: Open source DXPs have a clear-cut edge over proprietary software in terms of license cost, development cost, and operational cost. Consequentially, they have reduced the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in the long run. Open Source eliminates the chances of vendor lock-ins and allows ownership of the intellectual property (IP).

Explore the Benefits of Pimcore DXP

The Future of DXP: Where Are We Heading?

The natural evolution of technology becoming increasingly agile with an ability to handle more complex tasks is driving the shift towards DXP.  It is also getting a push from the growing need of a fully connected experience where every customer interaction with any touchpoint is fed back to optimize the next interaction. Customer Experience (CX) has now evolved into full-fledged relationship management, and a DXP can help you manage every step of the journey. The ‘omni-experience’ mandate and integrations with adjacent technologies are driving further expansion of DXPs. Thus, it is safe to say that DXP will soon become the technological ‘center of digital customer experience’, affecting the entire organization.

If you are one of those early adopters who can gauge the market trends wisely, we at Pimcore have the perfect solution. Pimcore offers an open-source DXP with inbuilt data management and experience management capabilities that can enable you to seamlessly connect people, data, technology, business, and things in the fabric of digital. You can unleash newer possibilities with a single 'trusted view' of information to deliver engaging experience across the entire customer journey. Pimcore DXP is hyperconnected and integrates with any external software or infrastructure to manage any data and streamline any process—quickly and efficiently.

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