Learn from a panel of senior reps from Brightspot and technology integrator WayPath about integration challenges digital customers face today and how a composable DXP approach requires the ability to integrate seamlessly across systems and applications.
The intent of an integration is typically to deliver simplicity or rationalize the complexity between different systems. In this sense, integration can appear straightforward. After all, it’s the stitching together of two or more software systems—typically from multiple providers—in such a way that they work together seamlessly.
But the seamless experience belies the underlying work required to deliver the end experience, a topic which was discussed in our recent webinar on the subject of content management system (CMS) integrations and composable digital experience platforms (DXPs), featuring our special integrations partner, WayPath.
The right way to fit integrations into your composable DXP puzzle
Once you’ve decided to connect your content seamlessly to an automated language translation service, for example, you want the connection to be automated effectively so that it "just happens" as required.
By the same token, if you could also hook your CMS to Google Analytics or your e-commerce stack to a great new syndication service, similar efficiencies could soon come flooding in. But integrating such functionality can be challenging. Our webinar panelists offer some valuable insights to make sure you get it right at the first time of asking.
The idea of integration is to take different systems and make them work together seamlessly in such a way that the end user—in this case, a CMS—doesn’t even have to be aware of the fact they come from separate companies.
A big problem is that the applications themselves are trying to offer more options to users. For sure, this promotes customer choice and flexibility, but it also creates challenges.
Jeff Hansen, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at WayPath, says it forces you to be an integrator at a level you may not be used to.
“When you buy a big suite, you use maybe 20% of it,” he says. “What we're seeing is that even big service providers that traditionally had a monolithic suite are beginning to break up their offerings into individual composable units that can be glued together through integrations.”
That’s leading to a situation of less "best-of-breed" and more "best-of-fit" for each customer, he states. “Customers can figure out what fits for them for analytics, what fits for them for personalization, what's best for them for CDP or for email, campaign marketing and what fits together their content, and all of those things are kind of interrelated."
Everybody's goal right now is to try to create the ultimate composable digital experience platform—the buzzword is 'composable DXP.' That's where everyone’s trying to get to ... A trend that we're seeing for those providers wanting to be part of the composable landscape is becoming MACH compliant, which stands for Microservices, API-driven, Cloud native and Headless. It’s all part of an effort to get you up and running with their platforms faster and be open to the integrations with other platforms.
But that means someone has to complete these integrations. Paul Abdool, Chief Revenue Officer at WayPath, says some users don’t feel they have the skills to know how to get started with integrations.
He comments: “I hear CIOs say they don’t have the internal skillsets to make this sort of decision. It’s a real 'look in the mirror and put your hand up and admit' situation, which takes them months to get to, as they’re talking to all these different departments and trying to include everybody. They need a leader to decide what they're actually going to do next.”
The good news is that while integration skills may be rare in mainstream business, operations like Brightspot and experienced integration project managers like WayPath really can help.
James Clark, VP Platform Development at Brightspot, explains: “Frequently, an integration process needs to be an expert-led discovery process. I’m working with a prospective customer in the in the B2B media space who’s unhappy with two core components of their tech stack and wanted a recommendation. And I had to say back, 'it could take weeks to understand those integrations, as they are so deep in your tech stack.'
“I really think you need experts in to do that with you, or you're likely to end up making a choice you're unhappy with.”
The benefits of composable DXP explained
Companies want integrations of all different types because they let them create digital experiences that are tailored specifically to their customers. Incorporating these integrations as part of a composable DXP also avoids the idea of vendor "lock in," which is a risk to a system that promises an all-inclusive, best-of-breed solution.
4 key benefits of composable DXP
The webinar dissects examples of some simple integrations as well as those that are more complex.
The panelists discuss the integrations you’d ideally want in place when a visitor lands on your web page, such as those enabling you to find out if they are already a customer or not.
You might want to tempt them with a new video to watch or give them access to some new marketing copy, which is then followed up with an email. It’s not an overly complex use case, but the webinar explains that to work effectively, such an integration might need six separate systems to be stitched together.
And, as we also hear, solid integrations will really help your content teams. “My favorite integration is an email service provider integration we offer,” says Clark. “It lets you create a newsletter featuring all the content you want to distribute, and without ever reading a piece of content you can test it, schedule it, deploy it, preview it and then immediately see how it's performing.
Clark says part of the pleasure he gets from his role is watching editorial and marketing teams explain how much time a new integration saves them. He comments, “They can just press a couple of buttons, never leave the application, never have to copy or paste. I love to hear them saying, ‘This saved me so much time.’”
Clark concludes: “I really like the idea of being able to do integrations that make people's workflows noticeably easier to the point where they actually smile. That's what I really, really like to see.” And that’s on top of the improvements they make to the operating capabilities of the organization.
If you’d like to give your content teams this sort of boost, then watch the full webinar here to find out how.