How can you achieve proper Time to Value with AEM?
As we discussed in a previous article, focusing on Time to Value is a critical piece that many people often ignore or don’t realize the benefits that can be gained. Rather than focusing on delivering a complex project that is everything your marketing team ever imagined, instead break it up into smaller pieces that allow you to start succeeding with the marketing goals early. This is what Adobe’s Digital Foundation Blueprint is focused on.
Adobe Experience Manager is the premier content management system for medium to large scale organizations. Its tool set is vast and varied to accommodate a wide variety of marketing goals. However, just because you purchased AEM doesn’t mean that it is going to work perfectly and that you will start gaining value from it “out of the box". It needs to be set up in the right way before you can begin to realize its potential value. This flexibility can sometimes lead to complex and lengthy implementations because so much must be configured in order to accomplish the intended goal of being able to reach customers through a variety of channels, not to mention analyzing traffic data and usage patterns through Adobe Analytics, or personalizing the content through Adobe Target.
Many organizations will be concerned about how long it will take them to start to see any value from their AEM purchase. Others worry that it can take so long to get implemented that the software is already out of date by the time their marketing teams are using it. These are good things to consider. What you might consider asking yourself is, how can I succeed with AEM now?
Because it can be so difficult to get the most value out of AEM quickly we’ve made a list of techniques and things to consider to help bring down your time to value:
- Align with what Adobe provides you - Don’t reinvent the systems that already exist in AEM. You need to align with what Adobe provides you. Specifically we recommend these items:
- Use the Core Components - Have your team get to know these components, including your design team, so that they know what is ready to use out of the box.
- Use Style Systems - Style systems allow authors to change the complete look of a component within the component dialog without relying on a developer to create a custom component.
- Use Editable Templates - AEM allows authors to have a lot more control over their content than they realize. Leverage editable templates to take back control. Don’t wait on a development release to implement new content.
- Layout Containers - This provides a grid-paragraph system to allow authors to add and position components within a responsive grid. These column controls make it possible to align components side by side, in a row, on a page.
- Stay up to date with the latest software releases - Historically this has been a challenge because of custom development that needed to be tested to ensure that critical systems were functional or weren’t deprecated in the new version. Making the right decisions early in your project to avoid unnecessary customizations of the platform will pay large dividends in this area.
- Don’t reinvent the cloud - AEM has its own particular way of answering many of the important security, scalability, and availability issues common to experience management systems. AEM as a Cloud Service is the best option to avoid having to deal with these security and infrastructure headaches.
- Train team members on how to use it - Often we have seen organizations fail to invest the necessary time and resources into training their authoring team so that they are empowered to make the changes that would bring success.
- Find people that understand the software - Don’t try and do it by yourself at first. Rely on experts to set you up for success. AEM might be brand new to your team and they won’t know how it all works at the start. A skilled implementation partner can help set your organization on the right path to long term success.
- Don’t wait for perfection - Shift your expectation away from “perfection first” to “perfection eventually”. Along the path to perfection a lot of success can happen, if you think iteratively. Don’t give up on perfection, just focus on delivering value at every step along the way to achieving it.
- Build something simple, lovable, and complete - Don’t think of the project in terms of "minimal deliverables." Think of it as determining the starting point of further iterative development. Deliver early and iterate off of that.
- Organize your design system - An organized design system allows designers and web developers to collaborate and use a common platform from the early phases of the project. A great way to start is to use the Design Kit for XD, which directly ties to the core components for AEM. Additionally, you could use the ACME tool to bring down the time it takes to design new things.
- Custom development - Think twice about the value you will gain from it vs the investment it demands. Customized tools are powerful, but they can be costly to implement and maintain, and in many cases will lead you to violate one or more of the previous principles. Does the overall success of the project truly demand a customized solution, or would you perhaps be better served by reframing your goals in terms of what is available to you today?
You may have heard of the saying “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” This is a critical concept which will help you minimize Time to Value in your AEM implementation. You can’t have any return on investment until you have something ready to be used. Don’t let the desire for a perfect tool get in the way of your organization succeeding in their marketing goals by using a tool that is 80% effective out of the gate. Start with 80% NOW and iterate on the last 20% to improve things so that you can start to claim your ROI sooner.
Here is an example of how we helped one of our customers reduce their time to value, succeeding early by using Adobe’s Digital Foundation Blueprint. If you are looking to find ways to bring your TTV down in your Adobe Experience Cloud projects then let us help you. Are you looking for an implementation partner that understands how to use the Digital Foundation Blueprint to bring down your Time to Value on AEM?
We do. We’re Hoodoo.