In the last couple of years, analysts, such as Gartner, have observed a very important trend emerging in the world of portal software development: The rise of the user experience platform (UXP). As a prominent and leading vendor in field, we’ve been at the forefront of blending the latest UX developments with next-generation portal software to create our own vision of online customer experience management. But, before we get to that, let’s take a look at what Gartner has to say about UXPs and what they mean for today’s enterprises.
According to Gartner, the emerging UXP finally delivers (after more than 15 years of portal development) what modern enterprises need by combining technological advancement with a practical, user-centric approach. Here’s how they describe it:
Users have complained for years about the multitude of technologies and tools that they must use to deliver the variety of UXs necessary. The demand for the UXP comes from users who are frustrated by the effort it takes to take technologies from different vendors, or perhaps from the same vendor, and integrate them for a complete UX solution.
The lack of usability of traditional Web and portals is another demand driver for the UXP. Many websites and portals significantly underperform due to poor usability. While the UXP doesn’t guarantee usable websites and portals, the UX design and management features of the UXP, coupled with usability-centered design and usability testing, will result in levels of usability not generally attained.
The fact that fast-time-to-market is a clear value proposition for enterprises isn’t a huge surprise. Gartner notes that in the past, any portal project was immediately associated with blown budgets, missed deadlines, overpaid consultants, and general misery. However, back then enterprises had no choice but to struggle to implement large, bloated suites, full solutions for problems they didn’t even have… until they began a portal project anyway. As Gartner shows in other reports, lean portal technologies and lean approach created a successful alternative to the above. These lean portals provide “just” the indispensable functionalities that the organization needs the most, without compromising extendibility when needed. Naturally, lean portals became the ideal choice for projects where being able to demonstrate ROI was a project need. They turned the idea that a portal would be up and running within 3 – 6 months into a reality. Finally the nightmare reign of portal projects that devoured years was over.
The User Experience platform is a natural progression of the evolution of the portal market. Learning from the leading web enterprises, vendors began to put emphasize on user experience. Successful organizations like Google and Amazon demonstrated the profound importance of user-centricity to the business and the product cycle. In the last few years every CMO and CIO has realized that in the future customer satisfaction and loyalty will be decided in the digital arena alone, and in some cases that’s already happening. Being unable to meet and engage consumers successfully online will certainly lead to losing customers to the competition. A user experience platform, designed with the user experience in mind, is the answer. It puts emphasis on the core elements like personalization, mobile delivery, and self-customization that put the user in control.
However, user experience platforms of different vendors did not clean their bloat. In their struggle to provide the most comprehensive solution as possible, some vendors, more often than not, failed in their attempt to seamlessly integrate different solutions and products outside their code base into their offerings. (This post of The Real Story Group takes Oracle as an instructive case of this approach.) While all the necessary parts of the UX puzzle are at hand in theory, in reality developers are struggling to connect the dots (especially when it comes to mobile delivery).
The Backbase approach: The Customer Experience Platform
Backbase Customer Experience Platform, together with Launchpad, its out-of-the-box portal solution, exemplifies a lean approach to the user experience platform concept. Intended to revolutionize the way enterprises interact with their customers, Backbase places an emphasis on five core elements that will help enterprises to create an unbeatable customer experience, improve engagement, and reach high ROI – all in one integrated package:
- Lean Portal: At the heart of the CXP is the Backbase lean portal architecture, based on Widgets and the REST model. It includes services for security management, application integration, personalization, cross-device delivery and highly flexible widgets to create composite applications.
- Web Content Management: Manage content lifecycle and empower editorial teams with easy to use ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) editing tools to alter, approve, and publish content across multiple channels.
- Mobile Delivery: Create and manage mobile websites and native/hybrid apps while radically reducing development costs and time-to-market. Empower non-technical staff to maintain and update your mobile apps easily, without IT support.
- Digital Marketing: Backbase provides integrated capabilities for personalization, customization, targeting, social integration, integrated web analytics (3rd party), A/B testing, and lead generation campaigns.
- Digital Forms: Enable self-service and smooth application processes throughout your digital channels. Backbase Forms helps you to create and edit forms, but most importantly it helps you manage the business logic and straight-through processing behind them.
Widgets, HTML5 and REST architecture are all part of the next wave of technology that will result in new portal mashups, overtaking the old, stale Java standards (Gartner predicts that “by 2015, widgets will surpass portlets as the most prevalent portal component model”). Although development with java portlets and widgets may ultimately arrive at the same destination, how they get there differs greatly. The agility of modern web-based technologies and the flexibility provided by open standards on which widgets are based, drastically decreases development cycles, lowers costs and makes mobile app development far simpler and cost-effective. It is easy to see why we believe that “Lean UXP” will become the best bet of enterprises: It provides the most essential customer experience management functionalities in one package and code base, backed up with lean web technologies that ensure maximum flexibility and superb user experience.
To learn more on our approach to customer experience and user experience platform, download our Lean Portal White Paper or watch our webinar The Emerging Customer Experience Platform Trend: