On May 21, 2015, Hanson Dodge Creative, Active Commerce and Sitecore presented E-Commerce Success with Sitecore, a half-day educational seminar, at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. The seminar featured four sessions covering topics that included e-commerce platforms Active Commerce and Commerce Server, the importance of choosing the right implementation partner and keys to integrated digital commerce success.
Following are some high-level takeaways from the seminar’s guest speakers, three business leaders who have experienced Sitecore and Active Commerce implementation firsthand. For more information on the seminar content or to learn more about how e-commerce and Sitecore can help transform your business, email Tom Flierl or call him at 414-270-8398.
Ron Klyn, CIO, Universal Forest Products, Inc.
1. Partner with an Active Commerce business associate. Don’t go it alone.
“Make sure you get somebody that's experienced to help you. I can teach you how to swing a golf club but you probably wouldn't swing it good for many, many years. And the same is true when you're dealing with Active Commerce, or you're dealing with Sitecore. As much as you think you'd be an expert on it right away, you're not going to be. Don't even try to be. We partnered with Hanson Dodge Creative, Active Commerce and Sitecore and now everything that we put in place is rock solid, runs the first day and runs everyday for us. The problems have really diminished since we partnered with Hanson Dodge Creative.”
2. Start your migration “yesterday.”
“Once you get into this thing, you get down the path far enough, you start to see the benefits that come out of it, you'd wish you'd done it a long time ago.”
3. Standardize on Active Commerce and enforce that standard across the corporation.
“Once you get on this platform, stay on it. Do everything you can in it, because as soon as you release a website—we’ve done about 30 of them so far—as soon as you get to about the tenth one, the first one you released has to be re-released. And then, of course, you see the benefit of having standardized on a platform, standardized on a tool set, standardized on a demo and methodology.”
Sam Farajian, CIO, Toastmasters International
1. Choose the right implementation partner
“I cannot emphasize how critical that is. We had a partner for the implementation that was not on par with our culture and the things that we needed to do implement at the time. So, it kind of delayed our implementation.”
2. Obtain Active Commerce and Sitecore certification. Knowledge is power.
“Going through the Active Commerce certification process, will definitely help you. If an implementation partner comes to you and puts something on your desk as way of proposal or recommendation, it's such a great feeling to tell them, ‘No. You're wrong.’ The only way for us to do that was going through that certification process with Sitecore as well as Active Commerce of course.”
3. Take advantage of Active Commerce’s and Sitecore’s out-of-box capabilities.
“In order to save ourselves headaches and resources in the long run, the best thing for us to do was adopt an out-of-box solution with as little customization required as possible. The out-of-box was a key factor for us and a great benefit. User experience definitely was built into the out-of-box concept for Active Commerce and Sitecore.”
4. Active Commerce and Sitecore implementation is a journey, not a destination.
“I say, ‘journey,’ because many people think that it's a project, it's a destination, you're done. I think that's the worst frame of mind that you can put yourself in. These type of projects are not destinations. It's a journey that we go through. That journey for us, is a journey that we're trying to build and create for our members as well, from the time they come to our website all the way until they become a DTM, Distinguished Toastmaster, which is the highest achievement they can get from Toastmasters. And that could take up to five to eight years.”
Warren Roper, Director of IT, Elliott Wave International
1. A committed internal team with willingness to change is crucial.
“For us, things that have mattered and helped us is we had a team that was committed to working with each other toward the best solution. We had a willingness to change at all levels within our company.”
2. Find a compatible implementation partner.
“The other key was finding an implementation partner that met our needs, who listened, who got us and that we could work with. I think there are a lot of great Sitecore implementation partners and Active Commerce partners out there.”
3. Increase speed to market with vendor-supported solutions.
“We wanted to move away from the dependency on our in-house solutions. It was not because they were not necessarily good, or because we were concerned about our developers leaving, or didn't have talented developers. We felt that moving to a vendor-supported solution would bring new features at a faster rate and position us to use our internal creativity and talent to develop custom solutions that we couldn't find out of the box anywhere else. We think moving to Sitecore and Active Commerce will allow us to do this and let us focus on what we do best.”
4. Crawl, walk, run.
“Sitecore's a big implementation for us. We couldn't go to the end of the customer experience maturity model on day one. We knew that. It would reduce our focus. It was too big for us as a small company to do. We wanted to get somewhere in the middle. We're already doing that, so we want to go a couple of steps beyond that. Pick the areas that you think will have the biggest impact and break it up into smaller pieces. Then, in phase two and phase three, move on to the others.”