Best Practices For Building a Composable DXP

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Sara Williams

Enterprises that decide to go the composable software route when selecting a digital experience platform have a right to be excited about future possibilities. Ditching a legacy or monolithic suite can give users more control over the tools and capabilities they include in their tech stack. It also means more adaptability and flexibility when responding to changing conditions and customer preferences. 

However, because there are so many benefits to adopting a composable DXP doesn’t mean there aren’t pitfalls either. To help, we’ve outlined the best practices that enterprises should follow when orchestrating their composable technology stacks, including the importance of selecting the right headless CMS for your DXP. 

Before You Start on Your Composable Journey

The benefits of adopting headless architecture and embracing composability might blind some enterprises into thinking that they absolutely need to use the technology. 

While Gartner states that 70% of large and medium-sized enterprises will have composability as a key criteria for new application planning by 2024, that doesn’t mean you have to adopt it, at least not immediately. Here are some things to consider before you choose to embrace composability. 

1. Decide Whether Composable is Right For Your Enterprise

Depending on the makeup of your organization, your existing technology stack, current capabilities, and your business’s digital maturity level, now might not be the right time to implement a composable DXP. Composability should come into play when determining your next steps and future requirements, but that doesn’t mean you should seek to adopt it immediately if it doesn’t align. 

2. Clarify Your Business Goals 

Another important consideration when building a composable DXP is how it relates to your business goals. Evaluating applications that enable and support composability allows your business to gain clarity on which pieces make the most sense. For example, you might be better served by picking a set of capabilities that are right for the composable approach. Such as selecting your content management capabilities with a headless CMS first due to the importance in orchestrating digital experiences. 

Best Practices For Building a Composable DXP

Once you’ve established that a composable DXP is the next step your business should take, there are some best practices to be followed. 

1. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Most businesses don’t begin from ground zero but operate within preexisting architectures and systems. These could be monolithic structures, legacy implementations, or a partial composable technology stack. 

Therefore, transitioning to a composable architecture is typically an evolutionary process. Adopting an agile or iterative process is recommended to effectively evolve towards this approach, where new components can be gradually introduced as PBCs. For example, you can start with a headless CMS to revamp and improve the content experience for your customers. Afterward, you can integrate a personalization engine or CDP to take things further. 

2. Be Aware of the Granularity of PBCs

The concept of composability brings about the notion of granularity. When implementing this approach, it’s important to determine the appropriate size for a PBC. As with service orientation, we must balance between not going too small, which can cause management difficulties, and not going too large, which can result in another monolithic platform that’s hard to manage.

3. Be Aware of the Technology Mix

It’s important to consider the technology mix when implementing PBCs, which allow businesses to integrate various technologies. While these self-contained PBCs are designed to integrate seamlessly, ensuring a consistent user experience is crucial. 

You don’t want a situation where you implement a new piece of technology. Still, when your business users attempt to toggle between systems, they feel as if they’re having a completely different experience that complicates matters rather than simplifies them. That’s where selecting the right content management component comes into play. 

Choose the Right Content Management Capability 

The content management system, or CMS, is a central hub for all digital content, providing a foundation for managing, creating, and delivering content across multiple channels. As a central hub for all types of experiences and channels, a headless CMS platform is a must.

It is often the central piece of a composable DXP, as managed content can be found throughout the customer journey. Various frontend technologies, including JavaScript frameworks, are used to access managed content and deliver engaging digital experiences. 

As such, the headless CMS chosen should have some key functionality:

  • User-friendly Content Authoring: Drag-and-drop tools and visual authoring capabilities that simplify content creation, editing, reviews and publishing using the CMS. 
  • Tool Aggregation Capabilities: The ability for the content authors to plug in additional PBCs into the content authoring ‘cockpit’ so that they can be given an integrated authoring experience. 
  • DevOps Friendly: Tools capable of being included in the DevOps lifecycle to support development velocity without introducing content management/publishing bottlenecks, and to facilitate the easy movement of content and configuration between environments. 
  • Open Source: Open source software offers more security, more agility, higher ROI and prevents vendor lock-in. 

CrafterCMS: The Foundation for Your Composable Digital Experience Platform 

CrafterCMS is an open-source headless CMS geared towards both large-scale enterprises and fast-growing medium-sized organizations. It offers channel-agnostic authoring capabilities that can be used with any front-end technology. 

Crafter Studio is the starting point, offering a range of user-friendly content creation tools such as WYSIWYG content authoring, drag-and-drop experience building, and in-context editing and previews. By utilizing Crafter Studio, content authors and editors can focus on creating exceptional content experiences. Underneath, CrafterCMS leverages Git to deliver powerful versioning, branching, auditing, and much more. 

Enterprises can also leverage additional built-in features when building their composable DXP, including built-in search, server-side rendering support, personalization, and access to the Crafter Marketplace, containing over 60 PBCs ready to be deployed. 

Learn more about how CrafterCMS supports your composable DXP efforts by signing up for a free cloud trial today.

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