If you are a current Sitecore customer, you are likely eyeballing version 8. The enhanced enablement and scalability story has huge promise for creating an engaging customer experience. However, with an upgrade to Sitecore 8, many of our customers found they had to change their internal analytic and reporting strategies, as well as solve for utilizing historic analytics data from multiple sources, before they could take advantage of the full feature set. When we are brought on board to strategize a Sitecore migration, we use this as an opportunity to evaluate our client’s complete Sitecore ecosystem. We have seen some recurring pain points across different organizations. As we developed solutions, I realized that Sitecore’s customer engagement message was so compelling, it pushed some of Sitecore’s other strengths to the background. So while we are as excited as anyone about Sitecore’s capabilities to enhance the customer experience, we also want to shine a spotlight on three “E’s” for maximizing your Sitecore investment.
With so much focus directed towards the end-user experience, the internal users who maintain the Sitecore ecosystem are often overlooked after the initial implementation. As a partner, we are always listening for opportunities to improve the overall satisfaction of these key team members:
- Can content authors maintain and self-manage the web property? Can they execute tasks that result in unexpected behavior and loss of functionality?
- Are developers aware of how their solutions are performing in production environments? Is the business satisfied with the development to production process? How often are new development solutions needed?
Evaluating the experience of these Sitecore ecosystem users can help identify places to expand Sitecore solutions.
One of Sitecore’s earliest differentiators was the ease with which developers could enhance its native functionality and provide customized solutions for unique, client-specific needs. This can benefit content authors, particularly when there is a range in content management familiarity within the organization. Developers also value the ability to create reusable libraries and deployment scripts to transform configurations per environment. Creating custom rules and pipelines to automatically assign workflow based on tree location, retitle item keys to URL friendly names based on template type, and impose Sitecore media file size restrictions per folder all are minor enhancements with major impact.
Having a strong Sitecore partner is great. Having a partner who is willing to help push the limits of what your CMS can do, while keeping core functionality intact is invaluable. When trying to enhance your contributors’ experience with Sitecore, it’s a good idea to leverage your partner, at minimum, for a whiteboard session to discuss pros and cons, challenges, and solutions, even if internal teams will ultimately execute those solutions. Spending the time up front can save you from the headache of trying to upgrade to a much more robust version of the platform.
Evaluating your team’s experience, expanding the platform’s offerings and leveraging outside expertise when needed will keep your Sitecore platform evolving with your business needs.