Should You Adopt Headless DXPs for the Future of Apps?
The idea of transforming experiences through technology is nothing new. We have seen tremendous technological advancements over time. However, it is changing how we interact with every aspect of life. Everything around us is becoming connected through sensors and devices. Our homes, cars, phones, appliances, and even ourselves are now being transformed into more intelligent systems.
As far as the future goes, the digital revolution will take center stage. It now allows us to interact with objects around us in a way never before possible. It will unlock newer possibilities in retail, manufacturing, entertainment, commerce, healthcare, and many other sectors.
However, successful digital initiatives require engaging digital experiences, flexible interaction options, sound analytical insights, omnichannel support, and continuous optimization functionality. This is where you can consider the DXP as the centerpiece of your digital experience strategy execution.
Digital experience encompasses the entire customer journey from discovery to purchase and brand loyalty. This means digital experiences should be designed to engage customers at every buying cycle stage.
According to Gartner, a digital experience platform (DXP) is a well-integrated and cohesive set of technologies designed to enable the composition, management, delivery, and optimization of contextualized digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys.
But with growing interest in composable business, digital experience platform is facing disruption due to a headless approach.
What Exactly Is Headless DXP? And Why Should You Care?
In simple terms, “headless” is an approach where you do not use the UI capabilities of the enterprise application to build customer-facing UI. Headless DXP is a software solution that enables enterprises to manage their digital experiences across multiple touchpoints without bothering too much about the technical aspects of the solution. They can focus on building engaging customer experiences instead of worrying about development and IT infrastructure.
For example, you can use your preferred frameworks and libraries to provide rich custom components for the UI. You can also use a mediated API architecture to provide flexible integrations, scalability, and agility.
DXPs can be used to improve any digital interaction, including mobile apps, websites, social media, video, voice, IoT, wearables, kiosks, connected cars, smart cities, eCommerce sites, and more.
One of the key advantages of Headless DXP is that it allows you to create personalized user journeys through the web, mobile apps, social media platforms, etc., using data from various sources. Moreover, it offers API connectivity to “headless” services to execute specific capabilities and functions such as content management systems (CMS), search, or digital commerce.
Another primary benefit of a headless approach to DXP is to improve the speed and agility to adapt the digital experience to changing expectations of customers. Further, it gives the flexibility to use lighter components in a modular and decoupled manner so that both front and back ends can be optimized independently.
What Are the Use Cases of a DXP Solution?
- Compose your own digital experiences using different data sources and multiple API-first, often SaaS products and services.
- Enable non-technical users to get better control over the disparate technologies that come into play for fueling digital experience.
- Allows front-end engineers, back-end developers, and business users to collaborate better, with shorter cycles between ideation and deployment.
- Minimize the prolonged turnarounds that can impact the overall development processes.
- Iterate and add new functionality to fulfill unique customer needs in today’s very fast-moving landscape.
In addition, the adoption of headless DXP is the next step for both technical teams and business users to adopt modern standards for delivering high performance and handling client-side sophistication.
Driving Factors for Headless DXP Adoption
Enterprises must modernize their technology stack approach to meet market demands. Here are key factors that encourage teams to adopt a headless approach:
- Growing demand for unique and highly productive user interfaces to stay abreast of customer and employee expectations.
- Ever-increasing demands for interoperability to improve time to market, data quality, reduce costs, and enhance customer experiences.
- Adopting API-first architecture to accelerate digital transformation initiatives.
- Getting more solidarity in how apps communicate with each other in unconventional ways.
- Improving data presentation and aggregation capability to manage data from multiple enterprise applications.
Additionally, WCM, DXP, and digital commerce suites are being disrupted by headless solutions offering agility and the separation of the digital experience delivery from the systems of management.
What to Consider Before Headless DXP Implementation
Suppose you currently use a “traditional” WCM, DXP, or commerce platform. In that case, it will be appropriate to collaborate with your DXP vendor to understand their solution roadmap, technical capabilities, and cost implications.
It would help if you also examined your digital maturity to place the interaction and experience layer right in a complex, extensive, and interconnected technology landscape.
It means UI separation, development, and integration implementation require different tools, design, and implementation skills. So, when you consider the headless approach, it can vary significantly from your current setup. You must ensure you have the right expertise and resources to implement and manage the additional complexity.
Many stakeholders make the mistake of believing in headless digital experiences from a purely technical or architectural perspective. Instead, implement composable digital experiences with full consideration for business users, ensuring your tools are aligned with a UI that offers the level of control required to meet your customers' needs.
The goal should be to balance technical flexibility with the end customers’ ease of use. Plus, it should also positively impact your business by increasing productivity through improving collaboration and reducing costs through increased efficiency.
Enterprises still wrestle with poor digital experience, often provided in siloed environments, leading to consumer and employee frustration. However, the adoption rate of headless DXP is slowly but steadily gaining momentum among digitally mature businesses. Though it is still emerging, innovations from many DXP vendors provide significant steps along the journey.