So have you decided on Sitecore? What’s next?

Sometimes an organisation will choose their digital platform first and this can take time and be a weighty consideration. Choosing the Implementer should also be given due thought since they are likely to be your on-going digital partner for a few years. It’s a bit like the fiancé…the important choice but then there’s the wedding, the first property and other big personal choices that have a lasting impact.

Sitecore is a brilliant development platform that is both robust and flexible (good life partner choice!). Depending on the deployment however, it is not a true out-of-the-box solution but instead is tailored and built to best practice in line with client requirements. It is engineered for independent technicians to deploy.

Even if you have .net expertise in-house, a technical advisor sitting with your team may be advantageous. They can ensure the technical and information architecture is scalable. Sitecore themselves have excellent pre-sales teams with great real world experience to get you started. However Sitecore won’t do branding, design, integration, optimisation or a host of other clever stuff that your Implementation Partners need to excel at longer term.

They specialise in Sitecore and User Experience

Sitecore is much more than just a CMS. The primary differentiator is the excellent Digital Experience Platform. Often this, the very reason for purchasing Sitecore, gets pushed back to a secondary phase (“We’ll build the exciting new site first…then”). That’s why it’s important to hire a partner with depth and experience, not just as technically proficient — but also someone who understands the core around customer journeys and digital marketing.

Such a proficient agency is a rarer beast. While you may prefer a certain type of agency for your project, here are some general questions to ask:

  • 1. How many Sitecore projects have they completed on version 7 or 8? (Go back too far to the ancient days before mobile and the experience is irrelevant.)
  • 2. How many Sitecore-certified developers do they have on the payroll?
  • 3. What other CMS’s and marketing platforms do they have experience with?
  • 4. Ask them to demonstrate marketing savvy. Do they partner for this or have in-house SEO, UX and optimisation experts? Do they get multi channel campaigning?
  • 5. How well do they know Sitecore personnel? This gives an idea on their capability to get ‘under-the-covers’ support direct from Sitecore.
  • 6. How long do they retain existing customers for?
  • 7. Do you like them?

No going back

Possibly the most painful mistake would be to implement Sitecore through a cool brand agency (that impressed in the pitch by arriving on skateboards and being oh-so trendy with the big pitch idea) that lack technical depth. Unpicking a poor deployment is a significant challenge and a fresh rebuild may be necessary. At least interview their  technical partners.

“Consider how much integration to back-end business systems such as CRM do you need? Ask for more references.”

Driving your business objectives

Look to Sitecore Partners, of the nearly 120 in the UK,  that are willing to invest in understanding your business requirements. They should demonstrate attentiveness, ask good questions and even challenge your existing strategy. They will understand the digital maturity model and tailor it to meet your organisations resources. They should listen, politely provoke and then suggest. Their cleverness should be broad and inclusive. Like a good courtship it will feel right but only after ticking boxes.

On-Going Support

Once your Sitecore website has launched and marketing objectives are up and running further development along the agreed strategic journey should be implemented.

Ensure your Implementation Partner has a proper help-desk. Check that the team that built your site are included in the support framework. A support contract makes them responsible and more diligent in the build. Get references for their support processes, response times and willingness to upgrade clients.

Conclusion

Don’t issue a broad RFP. Date and court IADigital. Then marry them. They are brilliant Sitecore Life Partners©.

Get in touch with us now info@iadigital.com // 01202 555124