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What is the Difference Between a CMS & a DXP?

What is the Difference Between a CMS & a DXP?

Where do you store, manage, and deliver your content? A CMS, of course! Or perhaps it’s really a DXP… Actually, what’s the difference between the two? 

If you’re looking for the simple answer; one that gets you ⅓ on a test for showing your answer but not your explanation, here you go:

  • A content management system (CMS) is software that sets the foundation for a digital identity, a strategy for content publication, and an avenue for engagement.
    Examples include WordPress and Contentful.
  • A digital experience platform (DXP) is the tower of digital tools that is built on top of the CMS foundations, enabling the delivery of personalized online experiences across platforms, locations, and languages.
    Examples include Adobe Experience Manager and Kentico Xperience.

So there’s your cheatsheet! For those of you with a pinch more of extra time, carry on reading for a deeper dive into these two vowel-negative abbreviations.

CMS and DXP deeper dive

At the basic level you would build a business out of WordPress (the world’s most popular content management system) and plug in WooCommerce (WordPress’ inhouse ecommerce extension).

But the more you delve into the digital world the thicker the trees become, to a point where you’re enclosed by limitless platforms. Within your company, over the years you may catch regular glimpses of the towering tech stack that has been accumulated throughout the years of expansion and adoption.

What is the Difference Between a CMS & a DXP?As such, it’s important to pinpoint each platform and understand the differences, and particularly the nuances among them.

A content management system is the engine that powers a website and accompanying apps, providing the tools to deliver content. In essence, it is the building blocks and cement for a digital presence.

A digital experience platform is the full suite of tools to enhance the power of content via personalized experiences that are both scalable and connected among multiple platforms and channels.

What this truly means is that a CMS and DXP are two circles on a Venn diagram that overlap.

Let’s look at the nuances.

The content management system

Sorry for stating this point for the third time: stripped to its core operational abilities, a content management system hosts a website and its extensions such as apps. You have to be able to create, organize, and publish content, and a CMS structures the workflow, admin, reporting, and organizing capabilities.

Here is a list of CMS capabilities:

  • Content publishing
    Relatively easy to create, edit and view content pre-publication, post-publication, and the ability to schedule publication.
  • Managing workflow
    Being able to adapt to differing needs, it enables staging, translation, publishing, promotion, reporting, and editing – all available within a simple dashboard, along with the ability to tag content and add metadata.
  • Provides safety
    In order to provide security, a CMS will authenticate users and hold levels of access. Also, many if not most businesses would need a CMS that has a security focus, which provides data encryption, third-party authentication systems, and personal identifying information compliance.
  • Omnichannel enabler
    We as digital explorers, readers, and shoppers, don’t exclusively head to a company’s website. We reach shops, brands, and retailers from a network of pathways and on multiple platforms. We have come to expect to meet a brand anywhere we go digitally – laptop or mobile, search engines or social media.
  • Scalability
    A 21st century CMS has the ability to scale for anticipated average visits, seasonal spikes in visits (for example holiday season or a much-hyped product launch), expanding into new markets, new websites, and fresh campaigns.
  • Commerce capabilities
    Who creates content without connecting it to commerce? A modern CMS includes a fully connected commerce capability, with corresponding tools for migration and inventory management.
    These are pretty much the fundamental blocks that are included within a content management system. And they are required parts for doing business in the digital-first world.
    Among these capabilities, it is this integration of content and commerce where the characteristics of a content management system merge and form into the characteristics of a digital experience platform.

Here is a list of DXP capabilities:

  • Does CMS stuff
    To be clear, a digital experience platform always includes a content management system, which is the foundations of a DXP.
  • Stretches omnichannel
    Reaching audiences where they are, within the proliferation of IoT devices, has never been easier yet harder. With so many platforms it’s so simple to connect; but with so many platforms it’s difficult to stretch across all of them and maintain communication airways with the whole spectrum of your customers. A DXP dives more into digital capabilities and personalization abilities.
  • Build better relationships
    With better personalization capabilities, you can enhance methods of communication with customers by providing them with more accurate info, more relevant offers, etc. A DXP can track engagement through the whole lifecycle, from browsing to post-purchase.
  • A great integrator
    Data silos can be frustratingly limiting, like 5 different conversations among a group of 5 individuals. Conversations are more fulfilling – and based on better comprehension and connectedness – when the 5 individuals are not only talking but talking with the others. A DXP is able to integrate with multiple platforms, say Adobe Experience Manager with other Adobe services like is ecommerce platform Magento, as well as integrating with external platforms such as Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud. So that data from each platform can be integrated and viewed together.
  • Commerce ready
    The capabilities for shopping, product content management, payment and billing functionalities.
  • Enhanced communication
    From a customer profile engine it provides contextual intelligence and relevance, such as language translation abilities.
  • Clever machines
    To compliment the humans skill and potential, a DXP injects robotic intelligence into its platform, everything from marketing automation and recommendation to apps and chatbots.

What is the Difference Between a CMS & a DXP?In short a digital experience platform provides a holistic view of a brand’s customers, which spans channels, and powers personalization content. And with the rising expectations of consumers in today’s commerce environment, it’s helping to drive the current digital revolution. And while a content management system is an absolute requirement for any live site, a digital experience platform steers further down the automation and AI road that anchors digital experiences to personalization, and across platforms, providing a unified brand communication.

PS: UV is one of the world’s leading Adobe Experience Manager and Contentful experts. Contact us to see how we can work together.

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