A common question that we receive from potential new clients and partners is "What makes an Experience Data Platform (XDP) different from a traditional integration platform or an enterprise service bus (ESB)?"
It’s a great question, and I can see why Occtoo's Experience Data Platform (XDP) could be mistaken for an integration platform at a first glance. Just like traditional integration platforms, an XDP does integrate with almost any kind of system available, and it handles a lot of data which is made available through APIs. However, whilst an integration platform transfers the data horizontally across the enterprise into other systems, an XDP moves it vertically, up to a frontend where it is transformed into an experience/application. Let me explain...
Firstly, let's look at typical Integration platforms
Integration platforms come in various forms and are offered by different vendors, such as: Mulesoft, Apigee or Microsoft Integration Services. No matter the vendor, their main use is the same: It is about setting up business processes for moving data between various systems within or between organizations. When I use the term horizontal (above) I refer to these enterprise systems residing on the same business level within the organization, they are mostly back-end systems, communicating on internal processes.
Here are a few examples:
- Extraction and analysis of system log files from various systems
- Create records in ERP and PIM for products created in PLM
- Pull sales numbers from multiple ERPs into the joined reporting tool
- Process orders coming from a commerce or POS system into the ERP
What these different scenarios have in common is that there are seldom any performance-critical operations; actions can run in due time. Also, single data sources are moved from one system to another and are normally only aggregated at the end system.
How does this compare to an Experience Data Platform?
Existing backend systems such as CRM, PIM, DAM etc. are designed to produce and store data, but not to activate it and make it available in a frontend experience. An Experience Data Platform (XDP) is built to feed new digital experiences in the frontend layer. To do this, it unifies data from CRM, PIM, ERP and other backend systems with behavioural data from digital destinations.
An XDP lets you scale your enterprise data so that it can serve a multitude of simultaneous users spread out across the globe. Furthermore, it pulls together data from different sources and unifies them in one single API, customized for the specific application or use case.
Read more here for a further explanation of an Experience Data Platform.
So, when I say that an Experience Data Platform moves the data vertically, I mean that it brings the enterprise data from its slow state in the backend system and lift it up to a real-time state where it is geo-scaled, indexed, relevant, performant, and ready for building new customer-facing experiences! We call these endpoints Dynamic Destinations.
Dynamic Destinations are designed for multiple simultaneous users, fast response times and geo-scaling, ready to power virtually any customer facing digital experience. They are, at their very core, web APIs, ready to be consumed by your front-end facing application.
The beauty of an Experience Data Platform is that our clients can leverage existing investments in CMS, Commerce, PIM, and ERP platforms. By adding this to our customers’ technology ecosystems, we rapidly combine and segment data from those existing platforms and build any type of frontend experience – a website, mobile app, service portal – much quicker than ever before. Most importantly, it enables contextual relevance across everything we design and build. - Markus Bereflod, CEO, Nansen
An Experience Data Platform is cloud native
Many iPaaS' were originally built to be run as on-premises solutions, some of them have since migrated their platforms to the cloud for better manageability, uptime, and flexibility but there is often a lot of legacy code making their platforms slower and harder to work with. Occtoo’s Experience Data Platform (XDP) is cloud native and was built cloud first with modern technology on a serverless architecture. Occtoo is a solution for the future and not a system from the past!
An Experience Data Platform uses purpose-built APIs
By setting up well designed and purpose-built API’s, your developers can work faster and don’t have to compromise on performance, and because all the correct data is served to them, they have a one stop shop for all relevant data and can spend less time on integrations and more time on building compelling experiences! Read my previous blog post on this.
Building a full experience requires full data
When building a new digital experience today, media is a key factor. In contrast to many integration platforms, an Experience Data Platform also handles this part. It is important that any media loads fast and in the right format for the device where it is consumed. An Experience Data Platform can service any type of media, around the world in any format needed. This enables your developers to develop your solutions faster without the hassle of setting up advanced caching or CDNs.
Both systems fuel Static Destinations
There is one similarity between Occtoo's Experience Data Platform and some features of an integration platform: this is described by Occtoo’s concept of Static Destinations. Just like integration platforms pushing data into various systems, you can set up Static Destinations with Occtoo that are more to be seen as machine-to-machine interactions. They are typically used for feeding channels such as marketplaces or e-commerce solutions with data individually specified for each channel.
This feature allows you to fuel data to other systems, very similar to an integration platform or enterprise service bus. Most of our customers use it to feed products and prices to online marketing platforms such as Amazon and the likes, but it could also be used to push specific customer data from a CDP to an ERP, update the digital signage system with the latest product data, or enrich the reporting system with customer profile information.
The main benefits of an Experience Data Platform:
- Fuel data and content into a frontend experience in real-time
- Combine data from many sources
- Improve customer experience by strengthening relevance
- Spend less time on integration
- Scale your experiences globally in milliseconds!
Read more about the benefits of an Experienced Data Platform
An Experience Data Platform can power all your different digital initiatives, no matter if they are simply internal tools or intended for a wider audience spread across the world.
Occtoo is a packaged solution, ready to go and simple to use. You don’t have to think about setting up any infrastructure or building tools to handle authentication, segmentation, media management, or security; because we have thought about that, and it is all part of the Occtoo Experience!