Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week, Ian Truscott discusses some strong opinions on Digital Experience Platforms.
Today’s rant is not really my rant at all, as a couple of the grand dukes of our industry have already had a tilt at the Digital Experience Platform (DXP) space this week. Specifically, Forrester’s coverage concerning its latest Wave has been asking is it really a thing? I thought I might add a couple of thoughts.
By ‘thing’ I mean a software category, and one that (if you are Forrester) you can build a Wave report on. Now normally when industry chums take to commenting about analysts’ rankings of vendors it’s normally to question the precise positing of vendor X over vendor Y, and why Big Company Inc. is always on top.
But over the last week, industry chum, Co-Founder/CEO of Digital Clarity Group and former brother in arms of mine at Gilbane Group, Scott Liewher , and Tony Byrne , professional cynic, Founder of Real Story Group and the thorn in the side of vendors for as long as I’ve been in this industry, have both questioned not just whether vendor x deserves a bigger blob or a wavier wave, but whether this category should exist in its own right at all.
Tony is the most adroit with his " There is no such thing as DXP ", describing in a short pithy post the work of some very esteemed Forrester analysts as “dumb” in their consideration of the leaders. Scott is only ever so slightly more considered in his blog post which presents the report as ‘nonsensical’ (although at some point he does refer to ‘poo’).
Both articles are a super read – Tony plucks at my old school CMS heart strings with his reference to the folly that was ECM suites back in the day – a strategic direction which, as he points out, failed the customer. From my recollection, however, it was also analyst contrivance which failed the vendors and effectively killed WCM leaders like Vignette and Interwoven as they chased ECM fool’s gold.
Scott smartly justifies his ire at this report by chucking some of Forrester’s own analysis back at it, asking:
Haven’t they heard that enterprises are not afraid of integration? Don’t they know that customers don’t buy, much less implement, all the parts of these “platforms” that they’re rating? Don’t they remember that they told us four years ago that organizations that are most mature when it comes to digital experience delivery, 'have best-of-breed tools in place and clear provisioning policies open to cloud and open solutions and third parties when appropriate'?
From my industry and agency experience, despite how much I respect Forrester’s perspective, both Tony and Scott have a point. DXP is clearly not so easy to pin down and define, it’s not an off the rail item. It’s a bespoke suit, cut and sewn to fit the enterprise buying it. And as I ranted about on CMSWire recently , some of the suits being considered by Forrester are not so neatly sewn together.
It is more of a customer led initiative, like digital transformation, creating a digital customer experience solution architecture that always has elements of their own legacy software inventory tightly integrated with new shiny bits.
As a vendor, we certainly play a role in this space. On this website we describe our own product in the context of a client implementing a Digital Experience Platform . I know there are analysts that look kindly upon our capabilities there.
Its beholden on us to be clear about the value of our software for the clients building these solutions, to emphasize that we offer broad functionality (of course) but also that we can be stitched seamlessly into the fabric of a client’s existing infrastructure.
So, is DXP a thing? Yes. But it’s the client’s thing, not the vendor’s.
Thanks @Scott and you have a long memory of my suit analogies! If I interpret your words correctly - with great influence that these guys have over the market comes great responsibility. Thanks again for your comment, glad you enjoyed the article.
Great post, Ian, and thanks for the shout-out. As you know, I fully agree. As someone who's forgotten more about the vendors in some of those analyst plot graphs than most ever knew, I used to get really worked up about them. Not just the location of the dots, but the fact that the graphs even existed. You've sat through more than enough of my rants on this topic, but my concern was that these large firms were over-simplifying everything. But, in my wiser years, I've come to learn that these graphs make things simple for folks -- hopefully no one makes a purchase decision on the graph alone, but it really helps them to create shortlist and get off to a good start. But that's why I have such an issue with this one...the premise of the category is all wrong (where "better" = more parts), and thus buyers are honing in on exactly the wrong shortlists. It's misinformation. Frankly, even irresponsible. I tried to stay quiet until a number of clients asked whether they should reconsider their shortlists. That did it for me.
Great post by you. And while I know how badly you've abused the suit analogy over the years, it's a "perfect fit " here, Good Sir!