The Struggles are Real: How to Avoid Implementation and Re-Platforming Pitfalls
After Episerver Ascend, there is always a flurry of activity related to re-platforming and redesigning. The excitement of new features and functionality gets the wheels turning around adding new products to a MarTech Stack, customers start talking about redesign needs and CX enhancements, and prospects who were on the fence are now fully invested in Epi. And while all of this can be fun, whenever you are thinking about a new implementation, things quickly become that much more complicated because both IT and marketing have a lot at stake and frictions often arise. While everyone agrees that the project needs to be successful, how stakeholders define success can vary significantly across departments.
While Epi is hands down one of the most straightforward systems I have worked with in my years in the business, there are still common pitfalls that you see across technologies that you need to be aware of (and avoid) when it comes to replatforming on Episerver. In many cases, CMS implementation struggles and failures are due to poor planning, lack of follow-through, or merely misaligned expectations. By making planning a top priority, you can head off many of the problems you are likely to encounter and set yourself up for success.
- Setting Yourself Up For Success: Remember why you selected Epi and how the platform will support your organization goals. My most successful projects have started with having my clients take a step back, clearly identifying their goals, and then using those goals as a constant reminder throughout an implementation project. With goals defined, we tackle the “what does success looks like” question. This in turn informs our tracking metrics, reporting, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This groundwork is crucial. Investing time and effort in planning upfront will save you from pouring time and money into a platform you will be unable to use in the long run and will make sure you are collecting data from the get-go so you can start using some of the amazing features like Perform and Advance sooner than you thought.
- Communication is Crucial: Another key area is communication and expectation setting. Failing to set goals with team members can also lead to a disparity in the expectations of those involved with the results. It is imperative that you take time to ensure everyone affected has a clear understanding of your goals. Some people may be initially resistant to change, or even the specific platform you chose. To counter this, help them connect the dots. In a broader sense how will the chosen CMS help your organization? Precisely how will the changes impact them personally? Also make sure to take a look at your training plan so that you are tailoring trainings for each audience affected by the implementation. Everyone learns differently so a quick hour or two of desktop sharing isn't guaranteed to get everyone up to speed. Ideally, you will want to give a series of smaller training sessions, as many employees learn best in a small group setting. Don’t forget to build in time for follow-up workshops as necessary. The more effective the training the higher your adoption rates will be.
- Hope is Not a Strategy: Not all implementation failures occur before or during launch. The success of your Epi adoption depends heavily on what you do post-launch. Unfortunately, just implementing the platform and hoping everything goes smoothly is insufficient. It is vital for you to monitor how users respond to the changes you have put forth, and to optimize the experience accordingly.
To execute a successful Epi implementation and avoid disastrous post-launch failures, ensure that you have a clear plan in place at the outset of the project, a plan in place for what to do when issues arise and a plan for training employees. And finally - because it cannot be said enough - never stop re-evaluating against your success criteria. Epi has a lot of to offer, so making sure you are maximizing your investment and using the appropriate features to achieve goals will ensure you're delivering the best customer experience and contributing to business growth.