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Fallen out with Sitecore? Rediscovering your love of the platform

Just like our relationships with other people, it’s very easy to fall out of love with the technology we use everyday. This can include your Content Management System (CMS) or Digital Experience Platform (DXP) when it fails to deliver what you need, becomes too much effort to use or even becomes too heavily associated with the things you don’t like doing in your job.

It can occur with Sitecore. Over the years we’ve worked with clients who tell us that they have ceased to enjoy working with the platform and have effectively fallen out of love with it. What’s remarkable is often how similar some of the symptoms and underlying causes are for the “deterioration” in the relationship.

The important thing to think about is why you have fallen out of love with Sitecore. This can be more complex than it seems and in reality can be for multiple reasons; these can also proliferate as a person gets more frustrated with the platform. Of course, working out the ‘why’ means you can take some kind of action in order to start to enjoy using your CMS again and create amazing customer experiences.

When trying to think about the “why” there a couple of things to consider:

1.     The reason you may have fallen out with your Sitecore might not necessarily be a technology issue or only partly a technology issue.

2.     Sitecore is a very powerful and flexible platform and there are usually things you can do with the platform to rectify a situation and repair your relationship.

Why have you fallen out of love?

Let’s look at some of the common reasons why people fall out of love with Sitecore.

1.     Poor performance

Using Sitecore should be a very good experience so if your installation is buggy, slow or subject to outages, then it sounds like something may be wrong. When poor performance happens on a daily basis it can be immensely frustrating.

2.     Difficult to use

Sitecore is powerful and you can do many complex things. However, some can find it difficult to use or lack confidence in using all the features.

3.     Not delivering results

Perhaps your experience of using Sitecore is actually OK in terms of performance of ease or use, but actually it’s not delivering the customer experiences or the results from your website that you want. When this happens over an extended period it can be possible to lose confidence in the effectiveness of Sitecore as a CMS.

4.     Not getting ROI

Sitecore can be expensive, particularly if you invest in all its capabilities, but actually you may be finding that you’re not getting the ROI you want because you never actually get to use it for the advanced digital marketing capabilities that made it attractive in the first place such as personalization and marketing automation.

5.     Lack of control

Some installations of Sitecore may lean too heavily on involving your digital agency. This can be immensely frustrating (and expensive) when you lack autonomy and control and need to rely on your  digital agency for the slightest change.

6.     Too much control

Perhaps using Sitecore means you have to have too much central control, because your current installation means it is difficult to allow other members of your digital team or content publishers to use the CMS directly. For example, if you have to do too much hand holding for the slightest change, it sometimes is less time-consuming and less effort to make the change yourself; however, this approach is rarely sustainable and can end up eating all of your time.

7.     I prefer another CMS or DXP

Perhaps Sitecore was previously installed before you joined a digital marketing team and you much prefer the CMS you used in your previous role.

8.     Our licensing agreement lacks flexibility

Perhaps your licensing agreement you are locked into lacks flexibility and doesn’t support you in the strategic aims of your website.

How can we repair the relationship?

The good news is that all of the above situations can be usually dealt with in some way. Let’s look at some of the ways you can start to look at potential solutions so you can get the most out of Sitecore.

1.      Optimize your instance of Sitecore for performance

There could be multiple reasons why your Sitecore instance is not performing or is buggy; it could be to do with the way it is configured, the way your website has been coded or even an underlying caching or database issue. The point to remember is that Sitecore should not be running slow or causing you any performance issues and if this is the case, something is wrong. Our recommendation would be to review your Sitecore instance either with your current provider or get an independent expert in to check, identify the problem and then implement a fix.

2.      Optimize your hosting and connectivity arrangements

If the root of your problems are in performance it may also be less to do with Sitecore and more to do with either your website hosting and it’s relative configuration, or even to do with connectivity issues you are experiencing through your workplace. Here it is definitely worth speaking to your IT function. Also, any review of your current installation of Sitecore should also take these considerations into account.

3.      Upgrade Sitecore or licensing arrangements

The Sitecore platform is constantly evolving so if you are on an older version of the platform it can potentially limit the opportunities for your website, cause some unwanted issues (if you’re on a really old version) or be not quite as easy to use. It may also be struggling to deliver your vision for your customer experience.  

At the same time, you may also want to review your licensing arrangements if they are limiting your ability to evolve your website in the way you want to, for example in your arrangement that govern how you set up your UAT and Staging environments.

4.      Configure Sitecore for more autonomy

It’s always worth remembering that you are in charge of your website, not your digital agency. If you have to do too much via your agency because the capabilities are locked down or because making some changes is too “risky”, it means there is likely to be something wrong with the way Sitecore is configured or coded. Again, work with your agency to make changes to allow you to be more self-sufficient.

5.      Change Sitecore to make it easier on your content owners

Likewise, you may want to look to change Sitecore so your content owners can be more confident in managing their own pages. For example, you could lock down the Sitecore experience for them so they can only use the Experience Editor to edit their pages. Again, you should be able to work with your agency to achieve this.

6.      Change your mindset to get started on personalization or automation

Not being able to get started on either personalization or automation when those were key reasons why you chose Sitecore in the first place is very frustrating, but sometimes the barrier to this is the mindset of the digital team. It’s actually easier to get started than you think, especially if you start small, and then take small steps to build up knowledge and confidence. Recently we wrote about getting started with automation and with personalization.

7.      Acquire knowledge and confidence

Sometimes you just need to get better acquainted with the platform. Here there are multiple options for training, either through Sitecore or through an independent party. For example, here at Cylogy we offer training options.

8.      Change other aspects of how you manage your website

The root of the problem to may not be Sitecore itself. It may be to do with the relationship with your current provider, aspects of the service you receive, your internal level of resourcing, your current website, your website strategy, your content, your content providers or even your own career ambitions. Whatever you do, have a think, make changes and see if you can get back on track. Sitecore is an excellent platform and it should be serving you well.

Improving your relationship with Sitecore

If you’ve fallen out of love with Sitecore, it’s time to get things back on track! We hope you’ve found some of these suggestions useful. If you’d like to discuss any aspects of how you experience using Sitecore and want to improve your relationship, then get in touch!

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