Every business is different, though when choosing a platform like Sitecore there are often common requirements that businesses are looking to satisfy.
After engaging with Dataweavers and through the discovery phase, we derive information from the business on how best to use the platform to satisfy all the business requirements that the customer is looking for. We’ve listed a few of the most common we come across below.
Key Requirement 1: Total Cost of Ownership
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a common theme among Marketing and Technology teams when looking at their Martech stack. Not only do teams have to pay for their subscription costs of the platform itself (along with any extras that aren’t included), but also the hosting of the platform. Where Sitecore platforms are hosted on premise, businesses are finding that it may be costing more money and man-hours to maintain than necessary.
The KPI we strive for when addressing TCO is cost of the hosting platform – such as Azure (see why Azure PaaS is our hosting platform of choice here). We ensure the environment is sized and scaled no larger than required to achieve the agreed response times and availability of the platform for that business. This can be vastly different across platforms, requirements, industries and business types.
Key Requirement 2: Licence Compliance
It is imperative that every Sitecore environment is documented, with compliance and sign off achieved by Sitecore before deployment. While this may seem like an obvious requirement – we have seen businesses get into trouble for having the wrong subscription type to match their business requirements.
Ensuring the solutions design and implementation does not exceed the licence entitlement will ensure the licence use is not in breach, and the business can carry on with business as usual without having to worry about the legitimacy of their platform.
Key Requirement 3: Deployment Speed
We have seen businesses require a coordinated effort of 3 people in 3 different teams to deploy a release to Production, or weeklong content freezes prior to deployments. These sorts of processes are very high risk due to requiring multiple manual steps executed in a specific order with particular timing in order to deploy.
The agility of deployment is a key requirement for any business with a Sitecore platform. For Dataweavers, key outcomes of any project will include automating and streamlining the release process, reduce risk of failure during deployment, increased stability of the platform, happier employees and overall improvement in agility.
Complexity in deployment is wrapped up in a couple of key areas:
- Creating clear lines of separation between development teams, projects and environments is critical to smooth development operations (DevOps). By delivering infrastructure as code, environmental changes will be in source control which provides repeatability and transparency.
- The heart of any environment is the ability to continually build the solution into a ready-to-deploy state. Well-designed CI solutions allow developers working across multiple streams of work to be clinically isolated from each other, yet still able to build their code, fail fast and test the solution end-to-end at any point in the project lifecycle, all the time not affecting BAU.
CD, different to CI, allows teams to deploy code to a given environment. Typically this is in an automated fashion, if only up until quality assurance. Moving an organisation to CD for Production is a leap of faith that many organisations are not fully prepared to make, however automating significant parts of the deployment process is important to create efficiency and reduce risk.
We see success when there is confidence in the ability to continually deploy Sitecore to given environments in both an automated and manual way, as well as ensuring that resources responsible for deployment see both an observable and measurable benefit.
Key Requirement 4: Availability and Performance
Every Sitecore platform must provide uptime and response time that supports the business-critical nature of and business’ digital operations. Availability is defined in terms of both uptime and restores time should an unprecedented event occur. Response time is defined by the speed at which digital services are rendered and presented to the end user.
We see the key drivers for availability and performance as being:
- Customer Experience, ensuring that all stakeholders are able to access digital services.
- Competition, presenting the public website has a measurable impact on perception, should a digital environment experience downtime, this will have multiple negative effects on brand and/or regulations.
- Internal satisfaction, giving our marketer, designer, infrastructure and developer resource a platform that is responsive and available has an observable benefit, resulting in happier employees.
Key Requirement 5: PII Security
In order to enable the Sitecore marketing features, personally identifiable information (PII) data may be collected within the system. Sitecore provides features to achieve PII compliance where businesses require this level of security. A business that does have a PII security requirement need the best possible solution that applies a risk-based approach to PII data handling.
It’s important to note that when increasing security protocols across environments, costs associated with SQL Servers typically increases.
If you’re struggling to meet any of the above key business requirements from your Martech platform or have another one you’d like to talk to us about, please get in touch and see how we can help.