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What is a digital experience cloud?

Siw Grinaker on

Digital experience platforms are well-known, but what are digital experience clouds?

The history of CMS shows a trend toward more advanced features and a more integrated user experience—often in the form of comprehensive marketing suites and holistic digital platforms. As Celerity points out, customers today expect more—they expect smooth, consistent, and personalised digital experience across all platforms.

That is one of the main reasons why digital experience platforms—which manages user experience across different digital touchpoints in the customer journey—are now evolving into digital experience clouds.

But what exactly is a digital experience cloud? Here are the essentials:

Essentials of a digital experience cloud

A digital experience cloud is a fully managed platform to build and run digital experiences. Traditional content management and platform services are offered in one solution, and lets you create, scale, and deliver content and digital experiences to any digital channel and touchpoint in your customer journey.

Experience clouds are offered by vendors like Adobe, Episerver, Enonic, and Acquia. Some vendors offer unified marketing, advertising, and analytics suites in one, while others offer a managed experience platform together with best of breed integrations.

What can you do with it?

With a digital experience cloud your organisation can build digital experiences like websites and web apps, or deliver headless content to support your customer journey. While a traditional CMS can be compared to a manual car, a digital experience platform can be compared to an automatic car, and a digital experience cloud to a self-driving car.

Everything you need to know about headless CMS:

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With a digital experience cloud the technical matters and operations are left to the experts. You can still drive the car as usual—you can still manage content and handle platform services—but now with the ease of automation and expert orchestration in the background.

The vendor will be responsible for taking care of traffic spikes, security issues, and smooth performance, while your organisation can focus on making engaging content or developing new features.

Why should you adopt it?

A digital experience cloud can help you save time and money by assigning cumbersome and demanding tasks like security, operations, deployment, back-ups, upgrades, and scaling to experts. The vendors have experience and specialisation in specific cloud-related tasks and problems, and will have more in-depth knowledge of the matter than your inhouse DevOps.

Also, as Rackspace points out: a managed experience cloud allows your organisation to focus on your core business—on building applications, products, services, or methods that can attract and retain customers. A digital experience cloud can therefore stay fast and lean, instead of inflating payrolls with additional DevOps and other professionals.

See also: 6 keys to unlock business value with digital transformation »

What are some possible pitfalls?

Even though there are many advantages with a digital experience cloud, there are of course disadvantages, or pitfalls. One such pitfall includes much responsibility being put on the shoulders of one vendor. With everything from operations to scaling now being put into one basket, you should investigate and choose vendor carefully. Be sure to review or test security, and find out how well the platform will integrate with your internal systems.

On the topic of integrations, a cloud platform does not necessarily have to offer every feature you require out of the box. In the same way your organisation can’t be an expert in everything and probably should outsource operations, the cloud platform itself can’t be an expert in everything.

A vendor promising an integrated suite of analytics, web and app experience management, advertising, audience management, testing, personalisation, marketing automation, eCommerce, video, social, and campaign management tools might not deliver the best tools available.

One strategy in this regard is to check whether a potential cloud vendor offers integrations with third-party best of breed tools and solutions instead. In this way, your eggs may be smartly distributed in several robust baskets, instead of placing everything on one bet.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a digital experience cloud?

A digital experience cloud is a fully managed platform to build and run digital experiences.

What can you do with a digital experience cloud?

A digital experience cloud lets you create, scale, and deliver content and services to any digital channel and touchpoint in your customer journey.

Why should you adopt a digital experience cloud?

Leaving security, operations, deployment, back-ups, upgrades, and scaling to cloud vendor experts means that you can focus on developing core business and save money.

What disadvantages are there with a digital experience cloud?

A lot of responsibility falls upon the cloud vendor. Also make sure to understand the difference between full-suite vendors and vendors offering integrations with third-party best-of-breed tools.

Topics: 
experience cloud
digital experiences
headless cms
operations
customer journey