What is a Composable DXP?
Composability and composable DXPs have been gaining more traction year after year in the software architecture and content management spaces. So, what does it mean? What are the benefits of composability, and how can you implement it into your software stack?
Software developers have historically relied on monolithic architectures where one layer depends on another layer, causing bottlenecks. Through a composable DXP, developers can focus on small functionalities instead of the entire complex system.
So what does this mean for digital experience platforms? Let’s find out.
What is a Composable DXP?
To understand what composable DXP is, let’s first define DXP. A digital experience platform helps businesses to personalize and enhance their digital service offerings and experiences. It serves as a centralized hub for managing content and campaigns.
Composability is a software development paradigm that decouples components or services into modular, interdependent units. It builds on MACH, which promotes a microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless architecture.
In that regard, composable DXP enables the creation of the best-in-breed systems and components to deliver personalized, reusable, and scalable experiences and quickly respond to changing consumer demands. It’s an API-first solution that provides a specific set of tailored features that are independently deployable.
According to Gartner, “by 2024, 70% of large and medium-sized organizations will have composability as a key criteria for new application planning.” One such platform is Sitecore. Sitecore envisions a future of SaaS offerings that incorporate a modular DXP model. With the market’s continual evolution, Sitecore delivers a combination of composable DXP and a fully integrated DXP solution that can help to drive business growth and eCommerce experiences.
Similarly, Adobe also offers the MACH-based architecture required of a composable DXP. enabling businesses to connect additional tools and extend the functionality of the platform with best-of-breed software.
The Anatomy of a Composable DXP
A composable or modular DXP integrates several functionalities into delivering the best-in-breed digital experiences. It comprises the following components:
Content management system (CMS)
Search engine connectivity
Customer data platforms
Content delivery networks
Frontend libraries to build UI
To be truly modular, a DXP needs to be:
Modular: Each component of your DXP needs to be divided into smaller units that are independent and deployable on their own.
Autonomous: The components must be self-sufficient and autonomous, working independently of the other.
Orchestrated: They require packaging before APIs can consume them.
Discoverable: Designed to be easy-to-use, intuitive, and accessible.
Monolithic DXP vs. Composable DXP
|Monolithic DXP||Composable DXP|
Rigid architecture that is only as customizable as the offering of the platform itself.
|Easily customizable with an API-first approach that enables you to integrate and remove components.|
|Scalability||Monoliths make it difficult—almost impossible—to scale your resources.||You can easily scale up or scale down resources and components as you want.|
|Cost-Effective||A system that combines all features into a singular large unit, either you need it or you don't.||In this system, you only need to integrate the services you need, making it a cost-effective solution.|
|Modularity||One large integrated architecture.||Small, modular components that are interdependent.|
|Failure Management||A single failure in a service can bring down the entire system. The cost of downtime can be devastating.||A failure in a component only affects that component and doesn’t bring down the entire system, potentially reducing the blast radius for damage.|
Benefits of A Composable DXP
Traditional DXPs make it challenging to tailor digital experiences to meet customer needs. On the other hand, composability allows companies to prioritize their customers’ needs. You can leverage a monitoring tool to track uptime and ensure you’re delivering the best experience to customers at all times.
You can improve customer experience by adopting best-in-breed approaches and tracking all customer interactions.
Composable DXP makes it easy to customize your entire platform. A monolithic DXP limits your ability to customize your architecture, in turn forcing you to alter your strategy to match the vendor’s specifications—
A composable DXP gives you a holistic view of your customers throughout the customer journey, making it easier to tailor and adopt services that suit them.
With the move towards a modern architecture that enables you to deliver experiences across multiple touch points and integrate the advanced technologies and approaches, monolithic DXPs fall short. A composable DXP provides you with the flexibility to deliver the best-of-breed services through its modular, API-first approach.
With that, you can deliver innovative solutions and advanced technologies across your platform. That means you’ll always be ready to adopt new technologies and leverage any service or tech stack as part of your entire architecture.
Break the Upgrade Cycle
When customers buy into a monolithic or legacy CMS platform, they buy into it. Five years later, they need to figure out what to do, whether upgrading to the latest version or migrating to a new platform. Sometimes they discover that the platform no longer works for them because their business requirements have changed. With headless or composable architecture, migrating to a new CMS and achieving future business flexibility becomes a reality.
No Vendor Lock
The biggest issue with monolithic DXP is that you can only grow as far as the platform allows. In addition to that, you can only integrate the services the platform supports, making it very difficult to grow your business or adapt to consumer needs.
A composable DXP allows you to add, remove, update and change your tech stack, meaning you’re not locked into the vendor’s software and have complete control over your architecture.
How MACH Architecture Drives Composability
Composable, best-of-breed, or modular are often used interchangeably, but they all indicate the same trend towards modularity, microservices, and APIs that enable independent and interoperable connectivity. Composability represents a significant step towards aligning a business with the MACH approach.
Microservices: By embracing microservices, you can achieve modularity in your architecture. That means you can break down each functionality into small units that connect through APIs.
API-first: This approach enables you to connect and consume any component or service you choose. That will help you break out of vendor lock-in, granting you greater control in integrating or discontinuing services.
Cloud-native: By leveraging the cloud, you can enable scalability, innovation, and agility by delivering solutions immediately upon demand.
Headless Architecture: This approach helps to decouple the frontend layer of architecture from the backend logic, making it easier to make changes. In addition to that, it enables you to create personalized experiences across several digital touch points with no disruptions or adjustments to the backend.
Composable DXPs help you keep up with the ever-changing technological environment by seamlessly integrating new technologies, delivering omnichannel experiences, and creating effective digital marketing campaigns. The movement toward this approach highlights how market trends will shape future business practices and how digital experiences will evolve.
Build a Composable DXP With Oshyn
The journey from a traditional, monolithic architecture to composable DXP has been underway for a couple of years now. It’s a journey towards delivering a customizable, agile, easy-to-use, and accessible platform. Composable solutions enable organizations to select the best-in-class tools they wish to include in their tech stack.
To deliver composable digital experiences, you can leverage leading solutions Sitecore, Optimizely, Adobe or build the foundation using a headless CMS. That means you’ll need a partner such as Oshyn to help.
Oshyn is a recognized Optimizely, Sitecore and Adobe Partner. However, we also understand that these solutions might not be the best for your business. With our decades of experience in the CMS industry and knowledge of headless solutions we can analyze your business and suggest the best way forward after a technical audit.
How AudioDigest Benefits From Composability
AudioDigest had been suffering from an outdated and broken customer journey that negatively impacted their conversions and sales. They needed a way to simplify the commerce experience and generate more revenue.
With Oshyn’s help, they built a new headless commerce platform using Optimizely (formerly Episerver). They successfully integrated existing ERP systems, other backend tools, and composable gateways that helped improve conversion performance.
Read more about how AudioDigest embraced composability in our case study: New Optimizely B2B Headless and Composable Commerce Platform Drives Sales Across Web and Mobile.