You probably purchased the Sitecore CMS with every intention of leveraging all the robust features that make it a fully-integrated digital marketing platform. Cross-channel data analysis! Real-time personalization! Marketing automation!
That all sounds great but many teams become derailed implementing these capabilities due to a higher focus on maintaining website operations. It’s really hard work to get through the process of achieving such powerful features, and organizations often develop fatigue, run out of budget, and are overtaken by operational backlog when they are done.
Sitecore has recognized the gap between its customers’ goals and the reality of what many have been able to implement, and has laid out an extensive program to move clients up their Customer Experience Maturity Model. While this maturity model provides a nice roadmap, it does not address how to fill the skill and resource gaps that may limit an organization’s ability to execute.
As a Sitecore partner, Celerity has identified the following three foundational elements that can remove the barriers for organizations to move up the maturity model and generate greater return on their .NET CMS investment.
1. Align People and Processes
In many organizations the responsibility for planning, implementing, and maintaining CMS websites is falling on marketing and communication teams that support business stakeholders, coordinate with technical teams, and make all or most of the updates to the site. Typically these are relatively small teams that require a broad range of expertise such as content production and curation, graphic design, front-end development, and system administration and operations.
We believe that for most organizations the first step is to align your people and processes by:
- Organizing your digital team for efficient website operation and maintenance
- Implementing processes for effective intake, prioritization, and planning (for new requirements)
Clearly identifying roles and responsibilities and providing appropriate training for your internal team is critical. The right consultant can help set up the process and structure to provide required service levels and help determine the best CMS website design. You may also consider augmenting your internal team with outside resources if they lack some of the necessary skills or are understaffed.
2. Develop a Content Model & Strategy
High-quality content is the backbone of your marketing and communications platform. Keeping your websites up to date with engaging and relevant content is the primary purpose of your web CMS. If you want to use the Sitecore CMS to implement effective content marketing you have to understand both your content and your audiences.
Think about your CMS as a platform to facilitate getting the right content to the right people on the right device at the right time. To do that you must know how to align your content with the needs of your audiences across all of the channels they interact with your organization.
A content model identifies the specific components that are part of a content type and breaking your content into components (“structuring your content”) allows for better reuse across devices. If you haven’t done it already, going through a content modeling process will enable you to get the right content to the right people in the right format. Revisit your content model and extend it to support reuse of content across as many of your customer touch points as possible. Avoid building silos for mobile, social media, and organizational microsites when you can get efficiency and consistency by managing all of your digital content in one place.
3. Integrate the Platform
Your CMS sits at the heart of your digital infrastructure, delivering the online experience that controls your interactions with prospects, customers, partners, investors, and employees. You should be thinking about your CMS as a key part of a larger digital ecosystem for supporting cross-channel interactions with your key audiences.
After organizing your team, setting up efficient processes for prioritizing requirements, and thinking through your content strategy it is likely that you have identified opportunities to integrate the Sitecore CMS with other systems to eliminate redundancies, break down information silos, improve the user experience, and make your organization more efficient.
Integrating the Sitecore CMS with other pieces of your digital ecosystem such as CRM, Marketing Automation, eCommerce, Intranet, and ERP will enable a consistent, contextually aware, and personalized experience whether users interact with you on the web, through a mobile device, with a call center or directly with your salesforce or channel partners.
Addressing these foundational elements of your CMS implementation should put you in a position to move up the Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model, while helping you streamline your digital operations and improving online engagement.