Unlocking the Power of Composable DXPs

Unlocking the Power of Composable DXPs

No matter where you look, composability seems to be everywhere. And while we at Magnolia certainly welcome that the industry as a whole finally starts to embrace composable digital experience platforms (DXPs), we find that the first part is often used as a buzzword to lure users in, not to enhance the customer experience.

At the same time, business users are getting buried under a continuously growing tech stack where every tool is meant to deliver great ROI individually, but they combine into a total mess when you actually want to build a digital experience.

If you want your enterprise to be ready for the future of content marketing and evolving customer needs, composability is an absolute must-have. That said, everyone has their own composable DXP approach. When everyone says that they’re composable, knowing how your platform provider interprets it is key to guaranteeing a seamless customer journey and business success.

If you’re considering changing your DXP, you’re probably doing this with specific pain points or objectives in mind, whether that’s lead generation and customer retention or cumbersome editing workflows. It takes a lot of work and planning in the background to make a customer journey seem seamless. The more of that effort can be automated or eliminated without sacrificing customer satisfaction, the better. At Magnolia, we’ve made that goal the foundation of our composable strategy from the start.

Magnolia’s unique approach to composable architecture

Magnolia’s journey into composability wasn’t a response to industry buzz; it was a strategic decision made right from the start. It was clear early on that offering an all-encompassing suite with packaged business capabilities wasn’t economically viable for any DXP vendor. That only left the path Magnolia’s team has been following to this day: integration. For us, a composable platform goes beyond a technical philosophy or an approach to coding. It’s about seamlessly integrating diverse systems while ensuring editors can effortlessly incorporate them into daily workflows.

It might seem like the most logical thing to do, but it’s not a common approach by any measurement. Most monolithic DXP vendors offer a big suite that tries to cover every feature and digital channel imaginable, from email marketing to analytics. There’s a lot of financial incentive to do this, of course, but the technical consequence is that those suites have to try to do everything. While that sounds great at first, it often means users have to familiarize themselves with a variety of applications that follow different design languages and philosophies because they were acquired and rebranded rather than built from the same philosophy. This can also lead to a confusing overlap of functionality within parts of a suite. This all adds up to a steep learning curve in the suite, making it hard to release content and onboard team members.

Plus, at this scale, developers often lose sight of the actual workflow. We found that this one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t reflect the actual tasks marketers have to follow in reality. The technical requirements actually stand in the way of marketing automation.

On top of this, nobody truly starts from scratch. Most clients are looking for a composable DXP solution to counteract the pure mass of tools and customer data hubs they have accumulated. However, that also means no one will just throw their entire setup out the window to avoid migration costs. That means for real world use cases every DXP needs to be composable, whether it was built that way or not.

Compared to those monoliths, Magnolia takes a very lean and flexible approach to a personalized experience and content management — an approach that’s rooted in well-thought-out integration patterns. This ensures that embedding a new component isn’t overly complex, making it accessible even to those without expert knowledge. Maintaining these user-friendly workflows for users at any skill level is extremely important to us. As an example, our REST client app facilitates seamless integration with various systems, allowing developers to interact effortlessly.

Magnolia may have evolved from Java-centric integrations, but we’ve long moved on to a contemporary no-code configuration approach. We feel this is the only way we can ensure simplicity in achieving truly composable DXP applications, although it’s always an ongoing battle.

Core principles informing Magnolia’s composable DXP

Our lean and user-friendly approach ensures that your organization can seamlessly integrate diverse systems tailored to your needs and your existing technology stack without throwing away years of investment or expertise. That’s not a coincidence; it’s an integral part of Magnolia’s origins.

In the early days, Magnolia used to advertise its platform under the mantra, “Simple is beautiful.” That was at a time when three or four integrations were already a lot and a bare-bones content management system was still common. Nowadays, ten times more will often be the norm. Naturally, that makes the environment in which our clients operate more complex, but we still want to maintain that core principle of simplicity.

While our messaging has since evolved, it continues to influence our decision-making process every day. The challenge today lies in managing the growing intricacy of integrations while ensuring a consistent user experience (UX) and technical foundation.

We don’t want to deliver bloatware that only suits the needs of a few experts. Magnolia strives to strike a balance, acknowledging the increasing complexity of the digital landscape while delivering a user-friendly composable solution that resonates with every customer’s business and marketing goals.

It’s only too tempting to develop individual apps for every single task, each one in a slightly different style, which is what you see most often in DXP suites. We’re very much aware each of these apps requires an additional learning curve, making it confusing for the user. That’s why we not only want to be an open and integrative platform but also maintain consistent workflow patterns in everything we do. If we do our job right, then a user who understands the workflow in one module will know how to operate every other application on the platform.

We also need to do this in a way that allows us to respect the needs of our clients in various industries. A ticketing system, for example, might stay fairly consistent across different customers, but we can’t allow ourselves to assume the same for other tools. There’s no one-size-fits-all for every tool. The number of available digital experience solutions is practically endless, and they keep coming at an increasing speed.

The idea that the most dedicated team could attempt to design a solution that covers everything is entirely unrealistic. And even if we did achieve it, it would only work for a short time. Magnolia’s strength doesn’t lie in its range of included applications but in its adaptability. For us, composability translates to a content hub that’s open, flexible, easy to integrate, and straightforward to use for humans. We never introduce a new feature or core updates without having editors’ needs in mind.

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The development process and benchmarks behind a seamless digital experience

Developing new features involves a nuanced process of determining simplicity. Magnolia doesn’t follow a rigid playbook because we’ve found that the world isn’t black and white. It’s a bit of an art form that requires the input of various team members. We can’t guarantee a seamless UX by checking off ten points on a checklist and considering the job done. Instead, we rely on extensive internal discussions to adjust our composable approach as the digital landscape around us changes.

As a rule, we try to offer features for every core aspect of content management ourselves. We encourage all our partners to adopt our enterprise open-source modular system, so they can come up with the most efficient workflows. In some instances, we simply won’t have the necessary industry knowledge and expertise to provide a suitable solution, and we gladly admit that. At this point, our partners can jump in and propose solutions tailored to these scenarios.

As long as we focus on interoperability and openness, we don’t have to be the platform that does it all. And we feel grateful for that because even the attempt would soon prove unrealistic.

We also lean on our core integration framework as a foundation that keeps serving customers across industries and grows as they encounter new challenges. Taking integration to the user interface level is where our customers see the power of Magnolia over a monolith suite or disparate SaaS options.

By combining trusted tools with a flexible onboarding process, Magnolia can ensure both technical and editorial consistency throughout industries. And since we make it a point to maintain a certain level of predictability in the way workflows work across updates, we can prevent editors from having to go through a steep learning curve after every update.

Tools and technologies for the digital transformation

While the fantasies of entirely automated workflows remain a dream, we already see how artificial intelligence (AI) is drastically shifting the responsibilities of marketing teams. Right now, the entire marketing industry is at the tipping point and content management workflows are about to change drastically. You used to depend on content teams to create a whole landing page around a new product launch, localize, and fine-tune it for different target audiences.

Most of those responsibilities will shift, as editors can increasingly rely on tools like Magnolia’s Hyper Prompts that tremendously speeds up content production and shifts the focus toward review and distribution processes that still require human interaction. For some of Magnolia’s clients, that has helped to lower content marketing costs by 90%.

As the very notion of content management evolves, Magnolia has to recognize the impact of AI. While not every client will be able to include it in their workflows, many rightfully expect it because of its transformative capabilities.

At the same time, no business operates in a vacuum, and we’re already seeing how the rise of large language models is changing the way we interact with search results. As users change the ways in which they interact with online content, marketing strategies have to adapt. Today, even a search query ends in a rather static list of links that you still need to click. As Google and other search engines apply generative artificial intelligence, many websites will experience a decline in visitors, and the nature of the web as a whole will change.

At Magnolia, we have to observe all of those trends closely, of course, to ensure we can leverage innovative technologies while maintaining a streamlined UX. So far, we’ve made some big leaps in including AI functionality in our Digital Asset Management (DAM) Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. It only takes a few clicks or a short text prompt to auto-classify content assets or adjust a banner image for another target audience. For years, hyper-personalization was the big goal in the industry, and we finally see it becoming a reality. With just the click of a button, you can now make personalized content feasible even for smaller marketing teams.

In doing all this, we remain committed to offering a hands-on approach through its What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) interface — which is rare in headless SaaS tools. It’s also different to MACH-based stack that can make you jump back and forth between different products to access your assets in various applications. Sometimes, workflows are even based on content type rather than workflow, forcing editors to work around clunky processes that follow technical details over practical applications.

While we appreciate that certain technically inclined users don’t mind switching back and forth between applications or working in workflows that are grouped by content type, that’s not how most editors or marketers operate as it’s distracting and it can even make it a challenge to keep their branding consistent. In dedicating ourselves to a streamlined workflow that follows the natural rhythm of marketing tasks rather than technical requirements, we want to welcome more users to our platform, no matter their technical skill level.

Recently, many organizations have prioritized data consolidation, whether that’s to improve customer satisfaction or cloud data security. In practical terms, that means those users will draw all their product data into a centralized product information management (PIM) system and all their client data into a customer data platform. The same holds true for commercial information, marketing automation, or even industry-specific data sources, like approved content published by pharmaceutical companies. For us at Magnolia, that suggests we need to maintain our platform’s interoperability to tap into these systems and gather the necessary data for each client’s most recent content updates.

Develop your composable DXP strategy now

In an industry where plenty of companies will say they can sell the solution to every problem under the sun, Magnolia celebrates taking its own path.

Whether you’re navigating the challenges of content management, embracing the future of AI, or consolidating data for improved efficiency, Magnolia is here to empower your journey.

Ready to witness the Magnolia difference firsthand? Book your personal demo with one of our experts and explore how our composable DXP can elevate your digital experiences.

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