Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Sitecore’s Experience Platform is a pretty amazing piece of digital marketing technology. Its Web Content Management System (CMS) is powerful and incredibly versatile, and its Digital Marketing System (DMS) is top for digital marketing analytics and personalization.
When implemented and used correctly, Sitecore can radically transform your digital marketing effectiveness while saving you lots of time and money.
But there’s the problem: proper implementation is not guaranteed. In fact, there are dozens of ways that you or your implementation firm can mess this up. When that happens, you’ll not only shell out big bucks to fix the problem, you’ll miss out on so much of the efficiency and functionality that drew you to this software in the first place.
I can speak from experience on this working at Verndale, a premier Sitecore partner who’s implemented more than 100 Sitecore sites. But we’ve also had to provide remediation on dozens of other Sitecore sites, cleaning up the mistakes others have made during a misguided implementation.
The following are some of the most common mistakes that we see.
Trying to “fix” Sitecore
Some organizations ask developers to modify Sitecore by writing code for some highly specific bit of functionality.
Perhaps some users prefer to do things one way and see to much unfamiliarity in the way Sitecore functions. And instead of asking users to understand how Sitecore works, the company asks their implementation team to add custom features, and problems ensue.
Pages may load very slowly. Upgrades can become quite costly. And most importantly, custom code may drastically limit many of Sitecore’s best features.
Taking short cuts
Sometimes, it’s the developers that don’t really understand Sitecore’s platform and try to take short cuts around it instead of working with it. Rather than using the tools Sitecore provides, developers write their own code to solve a problem simply because it feels more comfortable to them, and they think it’s faster than taking the time to dig into what Sitecore offers or how it works. Or in their haste to get the site up, they fail to follow through on some of the really important details – stuff that may not make the page prettier at this very moment, but that will add tremendous functionality down the road.
Eventually, these ways of working around Sitecore lead to problems that require remediation – and that means lots of money and a big loss in productivity.
But all is not lost. There are ways to mitigate these risks from the start, for started, choosing the right implementation partner. And by that, I mean somebody who really understands Sitecore.
Just because a firm has implemented lots of other CMS applications doesn’t mean they’ll get Sitecore right the first time out of the gate. Look for a partner with a strong history of successful implementations, who has a staff that is trained and certified in Sitecore and, ideally, that is led by one or more Sitecore MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) – the people who know Sitecore inside and out.
For more on this – including what to look for in an implementation partner and the specific mistakes you should make sure your firm avoids – download our White Paper: Sitecore CMS Implementation:The 4 Mistakes That Will Blow Your Budget.