DXP & CaaS: What Is CaaS and Why Is It the Foundation of a DXP?
Nov 09, 2020
By: Jason Smith
Providing the best possible customer experience should be your end goal.
Content is one of the pillars of that experience. How widely you publish useful, timely, and personalized content can make or break your efforts to help and delight customers.
Creating first-class user experiences across channels is the key to a great customer experience. After all, omnichannel visitors and shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel according to Google.
But how can brands deliver content and experiences across channels?
The solution lies in where your content lives, how you manage it, and how easily you can distribute it. Enter Content as a Service.
What is Content as a Service (CaaS)?
Content as a Service (CaaS) is a forward-thinking method of web content management. In a nutshell, it’s the idea that your content should be stored and managed separately from where it will be used.
CaaS companies and vendors propose that instead of managing content from a monolithic CMS that tightly couples content with its presentation (think WordPress and Joomla), CaaS focuses purely on managing and distributing content. So, instead of your CMS helping you create content for a very specific touchpoint, like a website, your CMS could help you build content that can go anywhere, including websites, but also voice-enabled devices, digital signage, print, mobile apps, and different devices and channels.
How Does CaaS Work?
Developers and marketers can access content stored in the CaaS via API-calls. Then, it’s possible to use the same APIs to both download and upload assets to the platform you’re using.
CaaS platforms also act as a hosted solution for content delivery networks (CDN), which guarantees low response times for your content, giving you a stress-free platform where your digital assets live, enabling quicker development times.
CaaS vs CMS Explained
The core idea behind CaaS platforms is that content management should always be decoupled from the front-end, and while several CMSs in the market are decoupled, there are a few differences between CaaS and a CMS.
- Legacy CMSs encourage users’ content to operate in chunks based on templates, forcing a page-centric experience. CaaS serves you structured content that you can use wherever you need, changing the paradigm to a content-centric experience.
- While most modern CMSs no longer impose any design limitations on the product, CaaS separates content from presentation, delivering pure content, enabling developers to decide how that content is displayed on a channel-by-channel basis.
- CaaS is not monolithic. Many have evolved into all-encompassing solutions that combine lots of functionality, including marketing automation, personalization engines, and eCommerce functionality.
What is a Digital Experience Platform (DXP)?
Not all CaaS solutions are Digital Experience Platforms (DXP), but any DXP worth its weight in code should be a solid CaaS solution. A DXP is the result of an evolution, from a traditional CMS that focuses entirely on content management for a specific channel, to a set of technologies that can provide Content as a Service, marketing automation, personalization, and more, resulting in an omnichannel customer experience.
Here’s how Gartner defines DXPs:
“An integrated set of technologies, based on a common platform, that provides a broad range of audiences with consistent, secure and personalized access to information and applications across many digital touchpoints. Organizations use DXPs to build, deploy and continually improve websites, portals, mobile and other digital experiences. DXPs manage the presentation layer based on the role, security privileges and preferences of an individual. They combine and coordinate applications, including content management, search and navigation, personalization, integration and aggregation, collaboration, workflow, analytics, mobile and multichannel support.”
DXPs have grown out of necessity, as platforms that overcome the limitations of CMSs when it comes to creating meaningful omnichannel experiences.
Simply put, DXPs power personalized cross-channel digital experience and the right one will probably replace your current martech stack and integrate with what it can’t replace.
How Do DXPs Work?
DXPs often come bundled with a headless or decoupled CMS built in, marketing automation, personalization, and analytics—at a minimum. Whatever functionality is missing can be made up with additional third-party tools, which any DXP will be able to integrate with, particularly those that are API-first.
Using APIs (usually REST APIs, but ideally GraphQL), DXPs can push content to any touchpoint, giving brands more control in how they interact with customers.
At the same time, DXPs use contextual personalization to take every customer action into account, learning their patterns so the enterprise using it can improve the customer experience
DXP vs CMS Explained
A traditional CMS supports website content first and foremost, and multichannel content delivery at a stretch. A DXP often goes beyond that, providing seamless omnichannel content delivery from a single source of content, plus a new layer of features including marketing automation, digital asset management, and personalization. DXPs also offer users insights about the results of these experiences.
Here are some differences between CMSs and DXPs:
- A DXP streamlines engagement and provides the coveted 360º view of customers, across channels, in real-time, taking the analytics of a CMS to a whole new level.
- DXPs handle content and asset management on a larger scale than a CMS. With a DXP you can sync, manage, and move content across different platforms, not only websites.
- A DXP can help you launch eCommerce sites, create intranets, and manage multiple microsites with ease, something a CMS might not easily do.
CaaS and DXP: How They Operate Together
CaaS is already being used to deliver personalized content to users, providing content to multiple channels, and tracking the performance of content across those channels.
The biggest challenge facing brands and enterprises which incorporate CaaS into their content delivery strategies may not be one of keeping up with changing technology, but of keeping up with changes in how customers prefer to consume their content.
At dotCMS, our ‘Content as Infrastructure’ philosophy helps enterprises adopt content as a Service to fuel their IoT marketing and omnichannel customer experience strategies.
We don’t just give developers RESTful API access to content, we provide access to templates, layouts, modules, pages, and workflows, allowing marketers and developers to work together to deliver engaging customers experiences.
By integrating CaaS with a DXP, marketers can personalize their customer experiences better, enhancing the dynamic delivery of their content.
Also, CaaS enhances DXPs interoperability and extensibility. This enables platforms like dotCMS to act as content hubs and to be the foundation of seamless digital experiences.
For instance, instead of delivering newsletters with rule-based personalization, leveraging a CaaS platform integrated with a DXP can help marketers deliver dynamic content. In this case, a newsletter that’s structured based on the topics that are of interest to each customer.
5 Ways CaaS Is the Foundation of an Omnichannel DXP
Remove Design Restrictions
CaaS separates the content layer from the display layer, which enables front-end developers or marketers to design and build without the restrictions of back-end code.
This means that now marketers can test the limits of the latest design trends and innovation on mobile apps, websites, in-store displays, and kiosks.
In CaaS solutions, pages are created dynamically, meaning it’s easier for editors to know which content should be personalized and to what extent.
This takes the pressure off personalizing the whole CMS, which can be complicated and time-consuming with some platforms. By doing so, marketers can now focus on only personalizing those content pieces that make the most sense to customers.
With CaaS, all content is permissioned either through inheritance or at the content level.
With CaaS platforms, content is secured with roles, and the permissions for each role are entirely configurable. This means that, no matter how the content is served, the editing capabilities are secure and managed in one platform.
Improved Digital Experience
When it comes to CaaS, user experience is not only improved because content can be displayed on the user’s device of choice, but by separating the front end and back end of a site, the front end can be easily (and continually, if need be) edited for a new look and feel without disruption or concern for the content within the DXP.
Easier to Provide Experiences to Customers
Today’s customer demands more than ever before from brands.
They expect to be able to access their content on their device of choice. CaaS enables brands and enterprises to be device agnostic, for both the current trends, like mobile and wearables, as well as the latest device to emerge from the Internet of Things.
Read More: IoT in Higher Education
dotCMS + White Castle: Serving Burgers and Cutting-edge Customer Experiences
In the year 1921, White Castle served up its first burger in Wichita, Kansas. That same burger led to White Castle becoming the first fast-food chain in the United States.
Today, almost a century after White Castle’s burger debut, the company is still innovating — except this time, it’s their excellent digital experience, rather than their mouthwatering burgers, making the impact.
To do so, White Castle chose to partner up with Ohio-based digital agency WillowTree, a dotCMS partner, to lead the reinvention of the brand’s website experience.
White Castle needed:
- New and creative ways to engage their fans
- More control over their website content and customer experience
- A modern look and feel that authentically reflected the essence of White Castle
- An inclusive digital experience in line with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) best practices
Now, thanks to dotCMS, White Castle operates more nimbly, adjusting content on-the-fly to reflect ever-changing offerings.
This level of flexibility is afforded by dotCMS’s Edit Mode Anywhere, a feature that empowers White Castle’s in-house team to continuously create and update content for their website— without having to rely on their IT department.
Also, thanks to dotCMS content tagging and personalization tools, White Castle now has more freedom and flexibility to choose what they promote and where it shows up throughout the site, with immediate examples being its focus on groceries and delivery.
Want to see what dotCMS can do for your enterprise? Contact us, and let’s get started.