- Andrew Kos
- Bill Burlein
- Bryan Williams
- Christian Vozar
- Jeff Brown
- John Kraus
- Joseph Mak
- Josh Durbin
- Mark Daugherty
- Matt Van Bergen
- Melissa Geoffrion
- Michael Kang
- Michael Chan
- Michael Hodgdon
- Mike Motherway
- Molly McDaniel
- Nadia Maciulis
- Pat McLoughlin
- Paul Michelotti
- Puru Hemnani
- Rohit Srinath
- Ryan Lunka
- Tom Kelly
Why You Should Get the WCM Experts Involved Early
Thursday, January 31, 2013
An organization does itself a disservice when it decides not to involve the WCM experts until the implementation phase of a project. You spent hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes more) on a platform that the salesperson insisted would solve all your problems. Don’t you want to maximize its value? I argue that an organization that hands requirements to an implementer to build a site is starting on the wrong foot. At CITYTECH, we absolutely want to help organizations unlock every square inch of potential value from their WCM platform. I want to share my point of view about why involving a WCM implementer/expert like CITYTECH as early as possible will help your organization to unlock that value.
My favorite point to iterate is: When you implement a WCM platform, you are not just building a website. You are creating a set of tools to enable non-developers (typically marketers) to build a website. I believe that missing this point is the root of most problems when it comes to unlocking value from your WCM. Don’t forget this idea.
Why is it beneficial to involve the WCM experts earlier than the implementation phase?
In your WCM project’s infancy, you probably identified a business problem to kick this whole thing off. Maybe your website smells like 2001. Maybe your current WCM is old, slow, and clunky. Maybe you don’t even have a WCM and all changes require developer intervention. Maybe you’ve decided that you’re ready for a more mature platform that allows you to segment and personalize your user experience. The realization of these problems is the pivotal point in time where you should begin to work with a WCM expert who can help in the following ways…
- The WCM expert can help you identify and refine your core requirements for a new platform. They can also help you really understand if you need a new one.
- The WCM expert can help you through the purchasing process. Salespeople will tell you what you want to hear, because it’s their job. An expert can help to identify how much customization is really necessary or how the final product might look.
- The WCM expert can help you understand how you can/should re-engineer your business processes around the new platform.
- The WCM expert can help you synthesize everything. How do analytics play a part? How can/would the platform integrate with other systems? Where should I host the platform? What about <insert today’s buzzword>?
With a big picture drawn, it becomes time to figure out what actually needs to be built to make that half-million dollar purchase worth it. Someone’s job (or their sanity) depends on success, so you want to get this right. This is the point where an agency typically gets involved to design the user experience for the site(s) that will run on the WCM platform. This is also where my favorite point is often lost. The WCM expert’s role becomes one of a consultant to the agency in addition to the platform customer. Here’s how:
- The WCM expert can help remind everyone that you are building a set of tools for someone else to build a website. YOU ARE NOT JUST BUILDING A WEBSITE! Should I say it again?
- The agency is concerned with user experience and design. Yes, this is incredibly important, but it cannot be done in isolation. The WCM expert should help to steer that user experience within the context of what can/should/shouldn’t be done with the platform (“shouldn’t” is often overlooked).
- The WCM expert can work with the agency to ensure that the design doesn’t create any fun surprises later down the road. By “fun” I mean frustrating and expensive.
- The WCM expert can work with the agency to identify SEO concerns, more specific analytics requirements, and information architecture.
- Re-read the first bullet. Don’t forget it.
When the WCM implementer/expert helps an organization through this entire process, they'll reach the implementation phase with a more holistic, executable plan. The implementer also won’t have to create their own “requirements” phase where they have to re-orient everything from “here’s the website we want to build” to “here are the tools we need to build a website.” The necessary shift in perspective will happen eventually. It will be in everyone’s interest if it happens as early as possible.
Some organizations call upon a WCM analyst to fill the shoes I’ve been describing. This is an acceptable solution, and (compared to doing nothing) it will help you unlock more value from your new WCM. Even with a WCM analyst in the picture, I insist that you should select an implementer early, and base the relationship on trust and cultural fit. The implementer will bring the necessary technical context to the conversation from day one. You don’t need to bring in a whole team (maybe just one or two consultants), so the cost won’t be outstanding. The bonus is that when you get to the implementation phase you’ve already built a trusting relationship to take to the next step. If you’ve picked a good implementer you will not regret the decision.
I hear those CITYTECH guys are pretty good.
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