What's your UXP?

As I’ve previously discussed Gartner are helping organisations to understand the technologies, processes and skills required to manage and master all their user experiences. For CTO/CIOs sorting out which technologies to use for content...

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As I’ve previously discussed Gartner are helping organisations to understand the technologies, processes and skills required to manage and master all their user experiences.

For CTO/CIOs sorting out which technologies to use for content management, social, collaboration, search and web/mobile applications will be key, as more emphasis is placed on customer experience by the business.

Essentially they have two choices: single vendor or best of breed. Building your own solution would be insane.

The main appeal for a single vendor approach is that it simplifies vendor management, with one relationship for all your UXP needs. You would also expect that the vendor has proven the integration of all components, and there is consistency throughout the toolset.

The challenge with a single vendor approach is that the UXP is a new concept that has arrived after most vendors had already designed their solutions. Some of these may have been developed, and some have been acquired. Typically they have been individual components, not originally part of an overall framework like UXP, so for many products, marketing will be way ahead of the software itself.

Currently the majority of key players on the single vendor approach will make you decide between a Java or Microsoft environment, in a world where heterogeneity is a must.

The key advantage of a best of breed approach is that organisations can make use of components they already have, and implementation of a full platform can be staged as products as selected.

Clearly the downside of this approach is the need to evaluate vendors for each component of the UXP and then integration of the overall solution. If you remember my previous blog, you could look for a vendor to provide content and maybe even collaboration requirements, and another to provide your apps.

However before deciding on the technology it is important to understand the business requirements in totality and what support is required for underlying processes. For example, you might find that you need your search technology to work across your content (CMS) and your social and collaborations solutions. Similarly, you may find that there are disparate needs for a rules engine to drive dynamic behaviour in web/mobile applications as well as content for example to drive multi-variant testing for marketing.

The most likely approach for larger companies is a best of breed approach, given that they will undoubtedly have existing investments in many of these technologies; for smaller companies though, a single vendor approach would offer simplification and fast track implementation.

Whichever way you go, I would recommend that the decision needs to be driven by a clear understanding of requirements from all parts of the business (marketing, sales, IT, etc.) and an understanding of underlying supporting business processes.

I also can’t see many companies making wholesale implementations, so a phased implementation will be the norm. UXP provides a good framework for organisations to manage all their web requirements, I would highly recommend to use it to plan your architecture going forward.