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How to differentiate between CX and DX platforms

CX and DX platforms have similarities in how they manage content to produce interactive experiences, but they aren't the same. The difference is their underlying business purpose.

Definitions matter: CX and DX platforms are not the same thing.

Certainly there are similarities for managing content to produce interactive experiences, yet each uses content for a particular purpose. A customer experience platform focuses on customer engagements, while a digital experience platform targets internal business operations.

Both CX and DX platforms, however, include core content management capabilities and access a shared repository that includes workflow capabilities for structuring editorial review for content before it is approved for distribution, published and incorporated into one or more experiences.

Managing content is a multi-faceted effort. Employees and business partners create and update content as needed, and the shared repository supports multiple levels of access controls, determining which content contributors or automatic processes have permissions to make modifications to particular content items. 

The repository manages content-related metadata, ensuring that all content items are correctly tagged and categorized by relevant attributes. On occasion, contributors tag items manually, but most metadata is automatically added by contextual factors using AI. The metadata, in turn, provides the connective capabilities to transform content items into customer or digital experiences. The difference between CX and DX platforms, of course, is the underlying business purpose.

The difference between CX and DX platforms, of course, is the underlying business purpose.

A platform for customer engagement

A CX platform uses content to digitize marketing and sales experiences. This platform seeks to deliver the right information to the right customers at the right time so that they can gain insights, find answers to questions and make purchases. It seeks to reach both individual consumers as well as businesses of varying sizes, deployed as either B2C or B2B environments.

A CX platform provides many different functions, including:

  • capabilities for omnichannel delivery and marketing automation;
  • experiences for websites, mobile devices, kiosks, email offers and other digital touchpoints, including smart speakers;
  • ability to track results; and
  • ability to capture on-device data to further contextualize experiences.

A CX platform can deliver personalized experiences, ensuring customers can easily access relevant information that corresponds with their interests and intentions. It also depends on accessing customer data that organizations collect or receive from third parties. A CX platform either includes capabilities to consolidate and normalize customer data on its own, or it relies on a customer data platform provided by another vendor.

A platform for business operations

A DX platform, by comparison, uses content to simplify how work gets done. It streamlines content flows across an extended enterprise, spanning employees within an organization itself as well as business partners. It digitizes both ad hoc activities and predefined processes by reducing the number of information handoffs and approvals.

A DX platform manages all of the content required for internal -- or employee/partner-facing -- activities and processes. And it typically supports business documents and other kinds of files stored within the shared repository and optimizes content security within an enterprise -- initially by relying on enterprise directory services and file-level access controls, then by adding encryption to defend against specific risks. A DX platform must integrate with existing enterprise applications -- including CRM, sales force automation and ERP systems -- which are essential for managing routine business operations.

Typically, a DX platform:

  • weaves together information and data from existing enterprise applications and transforms content into modern digital experiences;
  • supports RESTful APIs to integrate with other microservices over the web; and
  • often supports low-code/no-code application development framework to make it easy for non-technical staffers to tailor digital experiences to address particular operational requirements.

Planning for experiences

While each has a different business purpose, both CX and DX platforms use essential content management capabilities. Business leaders, in turn, should focus on how content produces experiences, identify content sources and know who is responsible for creating and maintaining all of the information they deliver.

But most importantly, business leaders must invest considerable efforts in developing business-relevant categories and automatically tagging content items with appropriate metadata, as managing metadata with business purposes produces targeted experiences.

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