Managing Multi-Experience Digital Platform

Posted / 18 March, 2021

Author / Enginess

Managing Multi-Experience Digital Platform

Despite recent changes by Apple and Google, we continue to live in an interconnected, interwoven world. Digital experiences are increasingly integral, and COVID-19 has only accelerated a shift to true online / offline living. Brands who can provide this experience stand to gain - those who can’t will lose.

But in the background, satisfying the insatiable demand for a truly seamless experience is quite the technical quandary.

enter Multi-Experience Digital Platforms, or MXDP.

MXDP’s are how brands like Domino’s are launching experiences that connect with their customers wherever they are.

Today, we’re going to dig into how to manage an MXDP, some common challenges, and a few solutions we’ve seen prove effective.

 

What’s the point in an MXDP?

The whole point of an MXDP is to make it possible to deliver cohesive experiences across a wide range of platforms. 

Of course, we didn’t all wake up yesterday and discover, lo and behold, that people interact with our businesses and organizations across multiple dimensions.

Historically, the solution has been to, at a small scale, run parallel but disconnected solutions, and as you grow, to start to build out dedicated teams. 

For example, a product might have a dedicated team for managing their mobile app alongside their main product.

This solution inherently causes two problems:

  • It’s really hard to create a genuinely seamless experience. You’re working across teams, dealing with data and organizational silos, not to mention internal politics, the design standards of each format - it’s a mess.

  • It’s inherently unscalable. The number of experiences a brand is now responsible for being present on has exploded. Keeping up with the unique design, technology, and even ways of engaging (e.g. social norms) on each platform to create a quality experience is a truly massive amount of work. This problem will get worse as our love for devices goes on.

A MXPD addresses these problems by allowing you to create a single application that engages the platform-specific functionality of all the devices and modalities your users are consuming it in.

For example, instead of building a web application, an iOS application, and an Alexa application of an ecommerce store, you would build a single application that has the capabilities to serve all those unique modalities of engagement (click, swipe, and talk, respectively).

This ends up streamlining both app development but also app and user experience management by funneling data streams, security requirements, and more all through a single application.


How to manage an MXDP

There are a few key things to think about when you’re managing development with an MXDP. 

First off, you need to ask: how many platforms are your customers on?
 
If you’re selling shoes direct to consumer, for example, then an MXDP makes a lot of sense, since consumers are present on tons of different platforms. 

However, if you’re selling deep sea drilling equipment, then your deep sea executives might only really be engaging with your business across a handful of platforms, so you might not need a full MXDP suite.

By first evaluating your needs, you can get a better sense of how best to work with your MXDP.

Assuming an MXDP is the best option for you, you need to think about your organizational structure. In particular, you need to think about how different teams work together if you’re used to developing on your own and now need to develop as a more cohesive unit.

Naturally, your MXDP will take care of a lot of the technical challenges (e.g. enforcing cross-platform standards) but there’s a broader social change that needs to happen. It’s often worthwhile creating more collaborative cells, especially early on, to break the trend of siloed development. 

Finally, evaluate your own capabilities and requirements. An MXDP is a huge asset in driving cross-platform development. But the reason for that is that there’s structure built into the back end, deliberately restricting development. So when you’re managing your MXDP make sure you’re controlling expectations of what’s possible (and selecting a partner who can deliver on that goal). 


Wrap Up

Rising expectations and increasingly complex development requirements have created a world where organizations are struggling to meet the needs of their customers. While some are leaning into that fact by reducing the number of platforms they’re on with “do one thing really, really well”-type logic, others are determined to solve this challenge at its core. 

Enter the MXDP — a suite of tools to help teams deliver their solution anywhere and everywhere.

However, before you jump on board, there are a few things to think about from a management perspective. First, you need to determine it’s the right approach for you. Are you developing across multiple platforms that are sufficiently unique to make it worth the trouble?

Second, you need to think through your organizational structure. Is your organization ready for the shift to more centralized development? 

And finally, you need to communicate the parameters that a MXDP naturally enforces - if not, then you’ll invariably end up disappointing your stakeholders.

An MXDP can be a powerful tool and is key to truly delivering the omnichannel experience that customers expect. If that’s your objective, then it’s likely the solution for you.

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