Work the ‘SOCs’ off your Sitecore investment.


Let me paint you a picture… you invest heavily in a luxury Supercar [insert your dream car here], it returns 0-60 in 2.5 seconds flat and to quote Viv (a la Pretty Woman… yes, I went there, ok), ‘it corners like it's on rails’. You have dreams of cruising down that ‘bucket list’ mountain pass to the riviera, fine-tuning the engine and tucking it away at night in a temperature-controlled garage. Life is gooooood. You’ve made the big time.

You wake up one day to a stark reality. Although you did successfully manage to buy the car itself, the little beauty is crammed into a small, leaking garage. You barely have space to open the door and the furthest you’ve driven it is to get milk from the co-op. Unsure of how to drive such a thorough-bred and adding insult to injury you accidentally scuffed the alloys on every high curb in sight (ooops). Your better half is pretty mad about it all, that money was supposed to pay for a flat-roofed extension (yawn). Life… is not so good.

OK, fine… we’ve all heard that analogy 100 times, but it still holds true. When did opportunity become so disposable? Simply buying the car is not enough.

During my time working with the Sitecore Experience Platform, I have worked very closely with many and varied brands, across different sectors, with different audiences and regional locations - all of whom demonstrate the same limiting factors. They have a Ferrari they use to pop to the shops in. It’s frustrating all round. Marketing teams are desperate to bleed the platform dry to evidence better ROI and meet demanding KPIs. IT teams drowning in change requests to complete theoretically simple ‘out of the box’ CMS tasks. Who is winning?

Enabling brands to succeed is a core objective of our business. In fact not just to succeed, but to be remarkable. As such, over time our strategic thinking and enablement work with clients has continued to evolve... and eventually, my baby (ummm… professional baby) was born... Just one short (or long) year ago we officially launched our Sitecore Optimisation Consultancy (SOC) pillar, aimed purely at working directly with Sitecore customers to better align their business objectives with the abilities of their Sitecore platform. From initial strategic concepts, through to building sites with marketing operations front of mind and even hands-on training.

Baking in business and marketing objectives at the start of a project drives better results and enables the users of the platform, the marketing teams, to pivot comms and customer experiences with ease and agility. In tandem we are upskilling teams by way of the Sagittarius Academy, to enable them to (nod to Kingsley our CTO) “get sh*t done”.

We’ve discussed in multiple blogs, webinars, videos and so on that 2020 has forced organisations to level up, adapt to change quickly, learn to pivot, invest now and so on. In a climate where brands are being forced to truly reconsider the shape of their teams, their tech stack and investments. Learning to leverage what’s at your fingertips, i.e. your digital experience platform (DXP) and its toolset is imperative as customer needs, demands and emotional states rapidly shift throughout the year that was. My advice? Get supercar driving lessons… yes, that’s a thing.

‘I thought it was out of the box’… how many times have I heard that? As a Consultant it’s our responsibility to deliver the bitter truth sometimes... ‘yes, but…’. Whilst functionality is out of the box, bespoke configuration and strategic direction are not. Why are enterprise-level DXPs so valuable? They allow organisations to drive return in line with unique business objectives. It's that simple. Who wouldn’t want to do that right?

Our Sitecore Optimisation Consultancy team works with brands on building and implementing strategies to achieve success. As an agency we build with marketing and personalisation in mind, it forms part of our scoping, our functional specs and our go-live flight checks as directed by SOC. Therefore, we mitigate against future obstacles thus allowing brands to do more with Sitecore. Our strategic consultancy enables marketing teams to adapt to change - mixing up the customer experience in line with evolving demands, segments and need-states. At the click of a button, our clients use adaptive on-site messaging and automated and personalised emails comms. In fact, we can then scale this success further forming part of an augmented team, where we are truly an extension of our client’s teams.

If 2020 has taught us anything in the digital space, customer experience is crucial, relevance and timeliness is expected. It’s, therefore, my opinion that ~10% of your platform investment should be focussed on leveraging that opportunity. It’s no different than the 10% running costs that come as part of the expectation when you buy a Super Yacht. Sitecore is a serious piece of kit.

Learn to drive your Ferrari. Get out onto the autobahn and press the pedal to the metal. All that joy from just 10% more spend. Otherwise, you run the risk that your initial 100% investment is at a standstill.

Build a solid strategy and invest in, without a strategy and methodology to deliver against it, you risk failure. Your progression will stagnate and your hefty investment into tech that delivers ‘out of the box’ personalisation will fail to deliver the returns your business needs. In all likelihood, you’ll then go through a lengthy process to replace it with a slightly less capable toolset and neglect that too. Now is the time, the time to take a step back, do the groundwork and get your platform set up to deliver.

If you’re not portioning out a percentage of your tech investment to ‘learn to drive’, or looking down the back of the sofa for the extras… you should be. Standing still is a very genuine threat in a world that is changing direction more times than an NBA player in the closing seconds of the league final.

If this article has got you thinking about how you can put your Ferrari (other Supercars are available) to work, we’d love to hear from you. It all starts with a conversation so get in touch via phone or email and let's get you learning to drive your brand to the next level!

Natalie Waite
Natalie Waite
Experience Director

Natalie Waite

Natalie Waite

16 Sep 2020 - 7 minute read
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