There are a wealth of Sitecore support services out there, from ad-hoc improvements to 24/7 support.
When you begin evaluating Sitecore support vendors, you’ll quickly realize how many options you have to choose from—and how different partners call the same thing by different names. To find the best Sitecore support services for your company, it’s helpful to first think about what your organization needs.
Knowing what you need allows you to narrow in on the essential support services you want to be included. Then, it’s simply a matter of learning the nomenclature, and finding the most qualified Sitecore partner to provide that support.
The 7 most common Sitecore support scenarios
Below we describe the various scenarios that lead a company to purchase Sitecore support services. Then we identify the best level of support for each scenario, and describe the features you should expect to receive.
Consider this your checklist for finding and evaluating not only the best support services for your needs, but the best Sitecore partner who can reliably provide them for you.
Scenario #1: I need my content editors and marketers to be able to use Sitecore confidently.
If you want your marketers and content editors to be self-sufficient, you need personalized Sitecore user training customized to your implementation. You need a Sitecore partner to provide them with detailed training documents, videos, and illustrated step-by-step guides.
With any user training, the following should be included:
Hands-on training customized to your implementation and your team’s individual needs.
A step-by-step illustrated training guide personalized to each individual’s job responsibilities, which features screenshots of your specific implementation.
Video recording of the live training administered by the Sitecore partner to your team.
Scenario #2: I need my own IT team to be self-sufficient.
If you want your internal developers and your IT team to be completely self-sufficient, consider Sitecore co-development and consulting. In this scenario, a team of experts would assist with writing a Sitecore architecture document, performing code reviews, filling in and augmenting your development team where necessary, and being on call to answer any questions and troubleshoot issues.
The following should be included with Sitecore co-development and consulting services:
Guidance and education on Sitecore solution architecture and development planning.
Side-by-side developer coaching and code reviews.
Remote staff augmentation as needed.
Scenario #3: I need a team to manage our deployments.
Anytime you make an enhancement to your site, you’ll need to deploy it—first to a QA or UAT environment and then to production. You need an expert to figure out the proper process and protocol you should follow to deploy enhancements to your particular Sitecore implementation. This is where deployment support comes in.
The following should be included with deployment support:
Proper setup of a code repository that includes specific consideration of each deployment target.
A well documented, easy-to-follow process for moving code, database, configuration, and content changes through the various deployment targets.
A proper strategy for keeping the site live while deployments are underway. This may include using database backups, load balancer configurations, and taking servers on and offline in a specific order.
Scenario #4: I need a team of Sitecore developers to be continually adding new functionality and content to my website.
If you’re struggling to build (or you don’t want to build) your own internal Sitecore development and support team, but your marketers and content managers need someone to implement their vision, you need a team of Sitecore developers who can be on call during regular business hours.
The following should be included with this form of 9 to 5 support:
Sitecore-certified developers who live and breathe Sitecore, who are assigned to work on your company’s implementation.
You and these developers should know each other on a first-name basis, and they should care deeply about responding to your needs in a timely and professional manner.
A dedicated project manager that is familiar with Sitecore, who can respond to questions on the fly, and ensure your developers are making promises they can keep.
Scenario #5: I need a team of Sitecore experts who can identify performance issues with my site and fix them as needed.
As your business grows and more visitors hit your site, performance will degrade—even when your site was implemented properly the first time. On a well-built site, there is always degradation to be expected over time as your traffic grows. If, on the other hand, you have a poorly-implemented site, there are a whole host of things that can go wrong from the beginning.
Either way, you need a dedicated Sitecore partner who understands all of the things that affect site performance and can implement solutions that optimize yours.
The following should be included with Sitecore performance optimization services:
A Sitecore audit that is specifically designed to identify performance issues. The audit should include a priority list that shows which items will make the biggest impact and what order you should address them in.
The audit should be conducted by senior-level Sitecore experts who are deeply familiar with the various aspects of optimizing Sitecore performance.
Performance optimization services should only be conducted by Sitecore-certified developers who are exclusively focused on Sitecore development, server configuration, and performance optimization in particular. These developers should be dedicated to your account and deeply familiar with your particular implementation from participating in the Sitecore audit– not just assigned to you by round robin.
Scenario #6: I need a team of Sitecore pros I can call on in emergencies.
Have you ever accidentally taken down your entire site, or made a change you didn’t know how to undo? If not yet, it will happen eventually. And when it does, you’re going to need a team of Sitecore specialists, on-call and ready to respond and remedy the issue whenever there’s an emergency.
The following should be included in Sitecore emergency support:
Less than one hour response times.
Full system access and the ability to directly make changes to your environment.
Deep familiarity with your specific Sitecore implementation.
Training and documentation on how to avoid another potential mishap in the future.
Scenario #7: I want to sleep soundly at night, knowing I have a team available after-hours.
If your site has a history of stability issues, and you can’t afford to have it go down in the middle of the night, you need 24/7 Sitecore support. You need a team of Sitecore experts dedicated to monitoring your servers 24 hours a day, and ready to take action 7 days a week, in the event of an outage.
The following should be included with 24/7 Sitecore support services:
Enhanced server monitoring that alerts your Sitecore partner before you even know there’s an issue.
Reliable, extremely knowledgeable, and highly experienced Sitecore-certified developers who will begin addressing and fixing the issue immediately upon receiving server monitoring alerts.
Full system access and the ability to directly make changes to your environment.
Deep familiarity with your specific Sitecore implementation from participating in the Sitecore audit or reviewing audit documentation.
Where can I find Sitecore support?
As you can see, there are Sitecore support services to fit every need. At Engagency, we provide all of the support services we discussed above, from user training to 24/7 emergency support.
Additionally, Sitecore offers their own support, including Sitecore 24/7 Premium Support. This is an upgrade you can purchase that gives you access to a 24/7 hotline for help with business-critical issues. There’s also Sitecore Managed Cloud, where Sitecore manages your Sitecore application hosting environment and responds to any related emergencies.
For help determining the best level of Sitecore support for your needs, contact Engagency. We look forward to discussing your options and helping you find the support that you need.
Click here to download a PDF version of this article.