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When it comes to Sitecore, you can find “resources” all over the globe, but experts are not a commodity. You should expect to pay a premium if you want to work with the best and brightest, and especially if they’re a pleasure to work with.
But how do you know if you’ve found the “best and brightest,” or if this a Sitecore partner who plans to rush through your implementation and under deliver, nickel and diming you along the way?
In other words, how do you find the right Sitecore partner for you? The kind of Sitecore partner who wants to be a trusted collaborator, who works with you to establish a clear, mutual understanding of what you want to get out of Sitecore, and how they can help you achieve it—on time and on budget.
To get the full value out of Sitecore, you need a partner you can trust. Here are four signs that you’ve selected the right Sitecore partner.
1. There’s a clear plan and you’re all sticking to it
A clearly defined plan is essential for a successful implementation. In order to create a plan that fits your needs, an experienced Sitecore partner will begin with an in-depth discovery process. They’ll take the time to understand your business, your goals for your Sitecore implementation, and the way various members of your team plan to edit and publish content within Sitecore.
Next, they’ll kick things off with a thorough Sitecore Architecture Document.
This vital piece of documentation will provide a clear plan for your Sitecore implementation and the project as a whole. It will be comprehensive and in-depth, including details for how you want the content to be structured, what modules you’ll need, and what editing permissions will be required. During this stage of the process, you’ll agree on the implementation design, and the processes and workflows.
Your partner will also take this time to structure a plan for executing the implementation, using Sitecore best practices. They’ll determine how best to achieve your goals, while still ensuring high-performance from the technical perspective. They’ll define the server configuration requirements for front-end performance features, and construct a plan for implementing things in a way that optimizes your page load time and code efficiency. They’ll also establish which performance monitoring and benchmarking tools you’ll be using to ensure deployments go according to plan.
This planning stage is critical for ensuring that you, the Sitecore partner, and your entire team are on the same page. That’s a formula for ensuring your Sitecore implementation is completed exactly to spec, on time, and on budget.
2. Your deployments go smoothly
During the planning stage, your Sitecore partner will also have outlined and secured your approval for a QA process they’ll follow for all deployments.
Like everything else, this will be detailed. It will clearly define which stakeholders need to be involved for approval at various stages, and how to advance the code from a staging to a live environment, step by step.
Well before a deployment ever reaches you for approval, the code will have been comprehensively tested and verified by your Sitecore partner. They’ll work diligently to catch all potential bugs, so once it reaches the staging environment, your feedback should be mostly cosmetic.
Then, your Sitecore partner will implement your changes, and repeat the rigorous testing process once more. Once you feel fully satisfied with how things look and function, they’ll publish to a live environment.
Building a Sitecore implementation is a complex process with many moving parts. Bugs can always come up, but the key to reducing their frequency and minimizing their impact is having a solid QA process that’s consistently followed every time.
A reliable Sitecore partner won’t rush implementations or deployments. They’ll follow a detailed QA process to prevent bugs from interfering with you or your visitors’ site experience.
3. You’ll receive full training and documentation
Sitecore sites aren’t one-size-fits-all. Your Sitecore partner will have implemented a Sitecore site that’s unique to your business needs, content management requirements, customer experience, and information architecture.
The key to self-sufficiency is receiving personalized training from the Sitecore vendor who architected and built your site. They want you to feel fully satisfied with your Sitecore implementation. That means giving you all the necessary training and documentation you need to complete your job confidently and in a headache-free manner.
An empathic Sitecore partner will work with you to understand the unique learning styles of your team, the job functions of each team member, and how they’ll be expected to use Sitecore. Then, they’ll develop customized training plans and illustrated training guides—personalized for your site—which detail exactly how they can use Sitecore to efficiently do their job.
Some Sitecore partners go the extra distance, providing recordings of online training that you can keep for posterity to share with future team members.
4. You feel confident and self-sufficient moving forward
If your Sitecore implementation was built by a knowledgeable partner who follows Sitecore best practices, it should be easy and intuitive to use—especially if they provided you with extensive training.
A successful Sitecore implementation ends when a client feels completely self-sufficient to create, manage, edit, and otherwise make changes to their site. Here’s what that looks like:
Adding or editing content is a simple, painless process.
Everyone has the right permissions to adjust the content they’re responsible for.
You’re comfortable creating new sections of the site, and managing content modules all on your own.
You delight in using the Sitecore Experience Editor interface, which lets you edit content in-line and preview exactly what the page will look like while you’re working on it.
If you requested the ability to run A/B and multivariate tests, you’ll be able to quickly set these up and optimize content.
Sitecore is designed to give marketers and content managers the freedom and flexibility to build out new sections of your site, any way you like, all on your own. It’s as simple as selecting a layout and assigning a variety of reusable modules.
Of course, due to the number of things you can do with Sitecore and its extensive personalization capabilities, you may forget how to do things from time to time. That’s where having a Sitecore partner you can trust comes in. You’ll want to be able to call up your Sitecore partner whenever you’re having an issue, and feel welcome to ask them any questions.
Finding the right Sitecore partner
The right Sitecore partner will work with you to understand your expectations, so they can exceed them. When you have the right Sitecore partner on your side, your deployments go smoothly, and your implementation is delivered on time and on budget. They’ll get you up to speed on everything you need to know, so you can feel fully confident using your site moving forward to achieve your marketing goals.
At Engagency, that’s what we’re all about. We know that Sitecore is a powerfully flexible platform that can meet the needs of any organization, and we’re here to show you what it can do for your business. Thanks to our hands-on training, our customers feel empowered to grow their Sitecore sites. They also feel confident knowing that we’re only a phone call away if they need anything.
Learn more about how Engagency can help your business. Click here to schedule a time to talk.