Enterprise Digital Experiences
In early 2020, just before the Covid pandemic struck, Gartner made a groundbreaking move: they abandoned their magic quadrant for web content management, essentially replacing it with the DXP (Digital Experience Platform) quadrant.
In hindsight, this came right at the perfect moment, serving almost as a kind of prophecy of the omnipresence of digital experiences 2020 was to bring about.
With more and more businesses expanding into every digital channel, enterprise digital experiences are also transforming and becoming more clearly defined.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the main characteristics of enterprise digital experiences to see how they differ from traditional digital experiences, and provide some examples of robust platforms and frameworks for powering high-level enterprise digital experiences.
Must-haves of enterprise digital experiences
As opposed to, say, a relatively simple WordPress blog, enterprise digital experiences require more consideration and a much more streamlined, cohesive approach. In this section, we’ll go through the essential characteristics of enterprise digital experiences.
Of course security is important for any kind of online experience. The larger the business, though, the more devastating an impact a potential security breach can have, even ignoring the multi-layered implications such as audience backlash.
Both internal and customer-facing digital experiences, e.g. respectively staff security protocols and e-commerce check-out processes, need to be optimized for maximum security in order to minimize risks at all touchpoints.
While a personal blogging website may get away with a few accessibility issues, if you’re an enterprise providing essential digital services on a large scale, to a large and varied audience, you must prioritize accessibility - it would be illegal not to. Check out more reasons why accessibility benefits a business.
This is especially important for any company providing a physical service - in this case, every user should get an equal right to accessing your service and receive an equally satisfactory experience.
Experience - both user/customer and marketer/developer
Another important factor of enterprise digital experiences is, well, the experience itself. The last point on accessibility is related to this, in that the user or customer experiences should always be put first, a kind of human-centered approach.
What’s also crucial here, however, is the experience of those who are creating and managing these user-focused experiences. In other words, all the teams responsible for delivering your digital experiences should be enabled to do so in the best possible way.
Each department will need the optimal tools and processes for executing their role most effectively. Marketing automation, design systems, DevOps, an excellent content editor experience - these are all essential factors in providing enterprise digital experiences at scale.
Multichannel / omnichannel
Not that long ago, it might have been enough for a business to have a website where they could be reached online - optimized for mobile, if possible. In the post-Covid era, however, it’s become apparent that a website, in most cases, may not be enough anymore.
With the explosion of digital channels, the abundance of options all vying for users’ attention, businesses must go to great lengths to reach them at all possible touchpoints of their digital journey and stay relevant amid the fierce competition.
A strong social media presence and mobile optimization are now essential elements for a brand, but options are even more plentiful. Targeted advertising in particular enables companies to stay in touch with their customers as they move throughout the web; and this leads neatly into the next point:
Despite the recent and upcoming privacy regulations, data remains king, likely even more so post- than pre-Covid. For a digitally-first business wanting to deliver exceptional digital experiences, leveraging data in marketing and decision-making is an absolute must.
After all, the best customer experiences, those truly heartfelt personalized ones, depend heavily on data, and with the insane amount of data we have access to, it would be even more insane not to make use of it.
That said, just having data is not enough - you need to know how to make the best use of it, which starts with collecting and analyzing it in the right ways. Moreover, there’s a thin line between great personalization and creepiness, so make sure to keep that in mind as well.
Integration with multiple systems / APIs
One of the main things enabling effective data usage is integration, the bread and butter of enterprise digital experiences. With platforms often using different services that are tied together, and even those very services depending on different third-party technologies, integrations are literally that which makes everything function properly.
The API connection between your front- and back-end, integrations with e-commerce and CRM - can you even imagine your business continuing operating if all of these things haven’t been taken care of?
Integrations are becoming the life force of the latest wave of digital experiences, enabling omni- and multichannel experiences through easy data flow and sharing, and resulting in enhanced digital journeys which meet users’ needs and desires.
You may have noticed that we haven’t yet mentioned some of the absolutely key elements of digital experiences - don’t worry, we’ll be covering those in this next section, we just wanted to first highlight the ones that are more specific to enterprise digital experiences.
In contrast with the above list, most of these should be top-of-mind even for more personal digital experiences, e.g. blogging, or small local businesses, as they’ve become a mainstay of experiences on the web and a baseline for users’ expectations.
This is probably the number one thing for any kind of digital experience. We’re sure you’ve heard or read countless times how many seconds it takes for which percent of visitors to abandon your site, so we won’t reiterate on that.
Just keep the need for speed top of mind, no matter if you sell a global SaaS product or provide local knitting services.
Again, this is something that’s common to all sizes of businesses and websites. When it comes down to it, it’s actually all the web is about: content.
Sure, the nature of content is different with a small personal blog than with a large international business, but in both cases, it’s one of the key elements of a good online experience.
Speaking of content - what good is good content if no one knows about it? People search for everything on Google, and if your high-quality article is lurking on page 4, that’s essentially the same as it not even existing.
How deep into SEO you’ll go largely depends on what position in the market you want to achieve, but even if you’re just content with 10 people reading your food blog each month, performing some baseline optimization for search engines definitely won’t hurt.
Being able to purchase things online has become an absolute must for digital experiences - especially post-Covid. No matter what kind of product or service you offer, you’ll want to ensure that your customers can access it digitally.
E-commerce is the one area that really requires a top-notch customer experience in every aspect. And since we’re dealing with financial transactions here, even smaller local businesses will want to ensure a maximum level of security for their checkout processes, for example.
Platforms and frameworks
Next up, we’ll take a look at some digital experience frameworks that are particularly suited towards enterprise digital experiences.
Drupal is the leading CMS for enterprise digital experiences, especially with the latest version 9 released in June 2020. It can serve as a robust back-end that integrates with a custom front-end, or a fully-fledged digital experience platform which is optimized for security and accessibility.
For large businesses, Drupal is definitely the number one choice in terms of a content management, or rather, digital experience management system. It is capable of powering future-proof multisite platforms and introduces streamlined editorial workflows that can be tailored to even the most complex business processes.
It’s no surprise, then, that so many companies and organizations requiring the highest level of digital experience opt for Drupal. This includes a majority of government and educational institutions, but also corporations such as Pfizer, who are both users of as well as heavy contributors to Drupal.
As far as back-end web frameworks go, you can hardly do better than Laravel. Based on the most widely used back-end language for the web, PHP, it’s by far the most popular framework in that ecosystem, and with good reason.
Not only does Laravel provide an enhanced developer experience, it’s also optimized for security and very customizable. Similarly to Drupal, it is often seen as part of a decoupled application with React or Vue for the front-end.
Its biggest benefit for enterprises, however, is the increased speed and consequently reduced cost of development thanks to its streamlining of some of the most frequent tasks in web development, e.g. user authentication and caching.
When it comes to enterprise e-commerce, the Spryker Cloud Commerce OS ticks all the boxes, with the latest generation being particularly optimized for enterprise customer experiences.
Not only are digital experiences created with Spryker highly secure, scalable and performant, the framework also enables excellent integration with third-party systems and thus allows your brand to be present and reach your customers on any channel they frequent.
On top of everything, Spryker offers a high level of customization and personalization to cater to the needs of the next-generation digital shopper, thanks to its flexible content management system and API support.
We hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of enterprise digital experiences, their main requirements and some of the top technologies for crafting them.
If you’re looking to enhance your enterprise’s digital presence and are looking for a development partner to help you create advanced digital experiences, reach out to us and we’ll help you select the right technology for your business case as well as take care of the implementation.