How is a CMS Different from a Digital Experience Platform?

How is a CMS Different from a Digital Experience Platform?

Posted on August 02, 2023 0 Comments

CMS manages content, while DXP elevates user experience with engagement and personalization tools. Choose the right solution for your goals.

CMS, WCM, ECM, LCMS—you’ve probably come across these acronyms at one time or another. They all have different applications but fall under the category of content management systems.

For example, ECM means Enterprise Content Management, LCMS means Learning Content Management System and WCM means Web Content Management. This shows that CMS is more of a generic name that refers to software applications that are used to create, manage and publish content.

Unfortunately, traditional CMSs are failing to meet up the expectations of customers in terms of delivering personalized and better digital experiences across multiple touchpoints. This is why we now have Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs). But the question remains—how is a CMS different (or similar) from a DXP? We’ll answer that in this blog post.

What is a CMS?

A CMS is a basic content management system that allows content creators to upload and modify information to websites without coding knowledge. A good category of CMS is WCM. WCMs, which are like CMSes on steroids, are built to create and publish web content. They include features such as web page creation and editing, content publishing and web analytics.

According to BuiltWith, the most popular CMS in the world is WordPress, which powers over 40% of all websites. Other popular CMSs include Shopify, Wix and Squarespace.

Features of a CMS

A CMS typically includes features such as content creation, editing, publishing and archiving, as well as user management, workflow management and version control. Other features may include:

  • Templates and themes for customizing the look and feel of a website
  • SEO tools for optimizing content for search engines
  • Ecommerce functionality for selling products or services online
  • Integration with third-party tools and services
  • Analytics and reporting tools for tracking website performance

What is a DXP?

A Digital Experience Platform (DXP) is a software suite that helps organizations deliver seamless, personalized and engaging digital experiences to their customers across multiple channels and touchpoints. Gartner defines it as an integrated set of technology designed to enable the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys.

DXPs combine the capabilities of a content management system (CMS) with other tools such as analytics, personalization and marketing automation to provide a holistic solution for managing the entire customer journey.

Features of DXP

A DXP offers a wide range of features that enable organizations to deliver exceptional digital experiences. Some of the key features of a DXP include:

  • Personalization capabilities for delivering tailored experiences to users
  • Omnichannel delivery capabilities for delivering consistent experiences across multiple channels
  • Advanced analytics and reporting tools for measuring the impact of digital experiences
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities for delivering predictive and prescriptive experiences
  • A/B testing and experimentation capabilities for testing and optimizing digital experiences.

CMS vs. DXP: Which Should You Go for?

The CMS was traditionally tied heavily to digital experiences, powering organizations’ websites and, in some cases, their applications. However, with the scope of digital experiences expanding and expectations on the rise, the conventional CMS isn’t adequately equipped to deliver all the capabilities required.

Due to the limitations of CMSes, we’re seeing the rise of DXPs. According to Grand View Research, the global digital experience platform market size was valued at USD 11.17 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9% from 2023 to 2030.

Modern customers want personalized interactions, proactive service and connected experiences across multiple channels, and unlike CMSes, DXPs allow you to address the entire customer journey from pre- to post-conversion. In other words, a DXP is a CMS that has evolved to meet the needs of modern content teams.

So, what factors should influence your decision?


For startups with limited budgets, a CMS might be useful. A small business or startup with a limited budget that needs a simple website may have to do with basic content management capabilities. But for bigger enterprises with a complicated digital ecosystem, a DXP comes in to help with advanced personalization, optimization and integration capabilities.


Scalability should be a crucial factor if you anticipate significant growth in your digital presence, s. DXPs are designed to handle complex digital ecosystems and can scale more efficiently than CMS platforms.


DXPs are designed to integrate with a wide range of third-party applications and systems, making them more flexible than CMS platforms.

User Experience

A DXP may be the better option if your primary focus is creating exceptional digital experiences for your users DXPs provide more advanced personalization and optimization capabilities than CMS platforms.

Case Study

Spectrum Health Lakeland, a healthcare provider in southwest Michigan, turned to Progress Sitefinity to improve their website’s user experience and streamline content management. Lakeland needed a new CMS that could set the foundation for success and integrate with different services. Working with Sitefinity partner Enqbator, Lakeland was able to launch its new website in record time using Sitefinity’s headless capabilities and robust APIs.

Sitefinity empowered Lakeland to be more agile, allowing them to edit and deploy content easily across all 32 of Lakeland’s different microsites. Sitefinity had a significant impact on Lakeland’s workflow processes and operational efficiency, leading to a dramatic growth in mobile visitors and a shift of content update burden from development to stakeholders. Lakeland can now create everything from health risk assessment tools to new video modules, enabling them to improve the patient journey. Learn how Lakeland Health manages and updates 30+ microsites with Sitefinity headless CMS.

Get Started with Progress Sitefinity

Sitefinity is a Digital Experience Platform that offers both CMS and DXP capabilities. Sitefinity CMS provides a strong foundation for managing and delivering content backed up by solid capabilities for advanced personalization, omnichannel delivery and analytics capabilities. As part of the wider Progress DXP offering, customers can take advantage of forms and rules management and decisioning as well as secure file transfer tooling.

Sitefinity offers a user-friendly interface for managing content, along with features such as multisite management, workflow and versioning. It also offers integrations with popular marketing tools such as Marketo and Salesforce, making it a good choice for businesses looking for a CMS with marketing capabilities. The software takes personalization to another level with features such as machine learning, A/B testing and segmentation.

John Iwuozor

John Iwuozor is a freelance writer for cybersecurity and B2B SaaS brands. He has written for a host of top brands, the likes of ForbesAdvisor, Technologyadvice and Tripwire, among others. He’s an avid chess player and loves exploring new domains.


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