We are in the Experience Economy, meaning that how your customers, users, partners, and stakeholders experience your brand at every touchpoint determines your market relevance and, ultimately, the success of your enterprise. Technology gives you the agility needed to provide a seamless, integrated, unified user experience across multiple channels and connected devices, which is mission-critical due to the Internet of Things (IoT). Specifically, a digital experience platform (DXP) orchestrates all the various functionalities needed to build, deploy and continually improve websites, portals, mobile, and other digital experiences.
The History of DXP
Historically, these functionalities fell into one of three main categories: web content management systems, portal technologies, and commerce engines. As the providers of these technologies grew to meet the evolving needs of enterprise by adding to their base technology, multiple functionalities were delivered within one platform and, thus, digital experience platforms were born.
The term itself is recent, being coined in 2012 by research firm Gartner. According to Gartner, DXPs combine and coordinate applications as a set of rationalized, integrated services 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. Essentially, Gartner says DXP capabilities fall into three categories: Audience Experience, DXP Management and Platform Architecture (source).
What is Enterprise Open Source?
Before moving on, there is one other term that will be helpful to define regarding a specific DXP that XTIVIA works with and that is the term ‘enterprise open source’. While most people are probably familiar with open source, and your development teams are probably using open source libraries and frameworks already, many enterprises have concerns about using community-supported software products to run mission-critical websites and applications. Here is where enterprise open source comes in – it has all the advantages of open source software (such as lower cost, security, no vendor lock-in, and better quality) while adding the safety net of being backed by a company (commercial venture) that provides subscription and support services to back any deployment, including mission-critical applications that need 24×7 support.
Liferay, the world’s leading DXP provider, came from a portal technologies background and is now recognized by Gartner as a leader in the Magic Quadrant (their annual report to rate proprietary technology vendors). Competitors include IBM, Adobe and Sitecore so they are in good company.
The enterprise open source version of Liferay has been implemented worldwide with over 1,800 customers, including many Fortune 500 companies, in many vertical markets (financial services, healthcare, government, retail, insurance, manufacturing, and multiple other industries), often in mission-critical use cases. Additionally, the free open source version powers many tens of thousands of digital implementations. Liferay’s key differentiators include the open source background, agility and lower total cost of ownership through a subscription model.
XTIVIA has a long track record of success within the digital experience space – web content management, portals, e-commerce, etc. – since 1999, and with Liferay since 2006 (the 3.6 community edition). Since then XTIVIA has implemented more than 200 individual engagements with customers. XTIVIA’s experience is second to none with Liferay in the U.S. and XTIVIA currently has the largest Liferay practice in the U.S.
Liferay has awarded XTIVIA ten times for achievements with their technology, including multiple North America Partner of the Year awards. XTIVIA considers it our ‘calling’ to work with organizations where we grow with their multi-year digital transformation initiatives – covering public-facing to internal initiatives and anywhere within their digital continuum. Liferay is a platform you can grow into for mutual constituent and use cases.
Digital Transformation and Liferay
Enterprises must transform to next-level operations to deliver seamless experiences to customers, users, leaders, and stakeholders. To do so, consider what is needed to transform your business in terms of people, process and tools. If your tools – your technologies – are outdated and don’t give you the agility to meet real-time needs, be faster in going to market or reinventing your customer/user/partner experiences, the future of your enterprise may be compromised. These experiences are what enterprise lives or dies by, given today’s digital business environment.
People, in general, are conditioned and expect to have ‘new age’ experiences through Facebook and Google and Amazon; their last best experience is the measurement of success for your brand. Employees have learned to expect that same seamless functionality when at work with their digital enterprise and interacting with B2B customers. The reality is that it’s very difficult to achieve that kind of functionality. As a result, you get multiple products and projects and they lop on top of each other without really solving the whole picture.
That’s where a DXP empowers you by having a unified platform that creates unified user experiences. You can leverage multiple backend systems across different parts of the business to create one experience that leverages:
- web content management,
- audience targeting (so you can ad hoc target audiences within your site even if they come in anonymously),
- role-based access control (giving access to the right people at the right time for their needs),
- identity management,
- providing single sign-on capabilities,
- community and collaboration capabilities such as message boards, blogs, knowledge base,
- and more.
Benefits of Liferay
In Liferay 7.1, the newest release, you have new features that enable full-scale B2B digital commerce and analytics. The plethora of tools that Liferay brings into one are what it takes to build a seamless digital experience for your user base. For example, take a healthcare organization with a multi-year digital roadmap to upgrade the patient, provider, and employer group experiences. It is difficult, if not impossible to do all those all at once; instead, you need to grow it out, provide internal knowledge and know-how and have a legacy of success on the platform with agility to meet growing needs and the needs that surface during the project. Liferay offers that opportunity.
Another fortunate case might be when you need to create something for a constituent in a tight timeframe – say, 3-6 months, because you can set up a new project quickly. Why? Because you have the platform and the team. The framework has been built so it’s a quicker go-to-market project.
Liferay offers faster go-to-market capability, and the ability to leverage knowledge and experience to meet fast-changing business needs quickly. In fact, business needs change faster than IT can typically accommodate so you can empower business users to handle business functions while IT focuses on upgrading applications and innovating new solutions to provide more seamless experience (vs. busywork and routine tasks).
These types of platforms, especially Liferay, have been very successful for our customers. Liferay’s ability to reinvent itself and add new features, like in 7.1, is exemplary. We at XTIVIA work alongside Liferay to implement new features as they are developed.
What Use Cases Does Liferay DXP Solve?
There are exponential use cases where Liferay DXP can play a significant role. Following are a few to jumpstart the conversation about where to invest your digital dollars.
Customer Portals – Modern customer experience, regardless of the vertical, must be clean, easy and have single sign-on capabilities. For example, we have a property/casualty insurance looking to upgrade the experience for agents and policyholders with quicker service functionality, frictionless operations, and self-service experiences, as well as new mobile applications that run on iOS and Android – XTIVIA can help with the entire range of that kind of program.
Partner Portals – For many businesses, the partner ecosystem is mission-critical. For example, Schneider Electric is a $30 billion/year company with a large eco-buildings division that works through a wide partner network and chose XTIVIA to help reimagine their experience for their partners.
Intranets – Employees are the #1 asset of any business. Taking care of your employees and making sure they have the right content and assets to serve your customers and communicate within your organization effectively has to be a priority. For just one consideration, employees need to access everything they need to be efficient through a single sign-on; research shows that strong intranets can increase efficiency by 10% through decreased employee turnover, increased employee collaboration, using in-house expertise more effectively and focusing on priorities collectively in a timely way.
Marketing Sites – Large organizations should not be building public-facing sites with unsecured, non-enterprise grade technology; instead, large multi-national corporations need to mesh the needs of IT with the needs of marketing. Liferay meets the marketing teams’ needs with approval from the IT team due to a stable Java-based infrastructure, meeting best practices and leveraging their legacy of working with organizations that need to be FTC-compliant (such as banks, insurance, etc.). Other platforms based on PHP or WordPress may not be a good fit for a large enterprise.
Digital Commerce – Digital commerce is about transacting business on the web as well as providing assets and managing content to handle your business. For example, a manufacturer will likely want to have commerce with B2B partners so they can order online through their system, get product updates and access the most recent information available. XTIVIA can help address those capabilities through the Liferay DXP.
A Case Study: Spire Energy
Spire Energy originally started as a respected gas company in the St. Louis area; they acquired Alabama Gas Co and some smaller entities. From those mergers, they created Spire Energy as the new brand and are currently servicing 1.7 million customers. Spire Energy is now the 5th largest publicly traded gas company in the U.S.
As you might imagine, one of the many challenges of acquiring organizations is bringing the accounting books together. In Spire’s case, they had two major ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems (SAP and Oracle) with historical data and established business processes. The integration had to happen across multiple systems and organizations and, in the backend, it was a bit hodgepodge. However, the user experience needed to remove all the intricacies of the backend for a clean and easy experience. For example, if a Spire customer had multiple locations, they would – in the past – need to access multiple portals that were not unified or branded to see their account status and pay their bill. However, as a result of working with XTIVIA’s experts, all their account holders now only need a single sign-on to see all their account activity for all their locations. It’s a game-changer for Spire.
“This solution delivers an engaging user experience and homogenizes our complex back-end systems.”
– Deborah Banks, Director at Spire
In the Experience Economy, enterprises cannot afford to have fragmented data or confusing customer, user, partner or stakeholder experiences. Using a digital experience platform, like Liferay, can streamline operations, ensure you can accommodate future needs (even those not yet known) and empower your business users to handle on-the-go needs without IT intervention. At the same time, the IT team has the confidence that comes from a stable IT environment, where permissions can be assigned for security and functionalities integrated easily. An enterprise open source platform, like Liferay, gives you the reliability, security, and agility you need to meet the Experience Economy for seamless success.
You can learn more about XTIVIA and Liferay Solutions here.