Global Tech giants such as Adobe, Sitecore, Shopify have their network of Solution Partners spreading all around the world as they are key for business owners everywhere to get the most out of eCommerce technology advancements. Take Sitecore for example, these implementation experts work with you - business owners to implement and grow your Sitecore platform, but there is a huge pool of Sitecore Solution Partners spreading all over the world to choose from. With all the glory coming from such a small bandage of recognition, you may ask - what makes Gold Solution Partners stand out and be the Goal ones? What’s in it if you choose to work with them?
Among thousands of companies all over the world implementing Sitecore’s software and seemingly have the same advantages: information, relationships and support needed to drive success to a client's business. So how do you choose the right technology vendor for your eCommerce ambition? In this article, SmartOSC will point out key features of Sitecore Gold Solution Partner and what you should expect from them
Sitecore Solution Partners are those fully committed to leveraging Sitecore products and understanding best practices, as well as flawlessly executing and collaborating on Sitecore’s vision to drive shared business value.
The tier Gold Partnership is awarded to agencies that stand out among those with proven portfolios to help businesses leverage the power of the Sitecore platform.
See more: SmartOSC Proudly Achieves Sitecore Gold Solution Partner Status
Sitecore has set up a range of titles for their partner, from Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum and even bandages that can be used to recognize product-specialized Partner practices. Specialization badges are distributed after the partner successfully completed a rigorous assessment, verifying that they have met the product enablement requirements with a dedicated and scalable practice and proven customer satisfaction.
Bandage for Gold Solution Partner
Gold Partners often has big and complex projects requiring a strategic mindset, comprehensive consultancy backed by a robust team of experienced IT Talents. See how Sitecore Gold Solution Partners SmartoSC tackles RICOH’s ambition of eCommerce website global implementation along with a personalized customer experience and centralized content management for the “Single Source of Product Truth” requirement: Here
When Sitecore sells its Sitecore software license, it is of great importance for them to fully understand the company implementing the Sitecore Experience Platform software. This is to ensure they can be trusted to develop a premier digital solution.
Gold Solution Partners are for exclusive firms that have earned Sitecore’s most coveted trust and have proven again and again to be reliable and innovative partners to their clients.
Tier Gold and above are the best assurance for business owners, confirming that this agency has been consistently delivering outstanding results, client after client, month after month, and year after year. Committing to in-depth Sitecore CMS and XP development, implementation, and customization experience, they have a collection of complex, enterprise-grade projects that integrate with a multitude of third-party integrations and ERP systems. Technical experiences and customer portfolios are among the most sought-after things when business owners consider between vendors.
SmartOSC has been given an Honorable Mention for Most Sophisticated Implementation in the 2020 Sitecore Experience Awards for its work with Ricoh Asia Pacific. Following on from winning the award in 2018, SmartOSC was recognized this year for its use of Sitecore’s powerful eCommerce tools to deploy a new digital platform for Ricoh Asia Pacific, which Sitecore said showcased “the complex capabilities and scalability that Sitecore enables for organizations and brands”.
More detail about the Award-winning Ricoh Project: HERE
Sitecore is committed to being both a thought leader and a technical expert in the marketplace, so their partners, from Gold to Platinum tiers are under the same commitment. Thus, these firms will strive to stay ahead of the curve by building multiple MVPs, establishing events joined by people at the forefront of developing new technology and business leaders.
You can see that SmartOSC is passionate about what we do and share it with our clients and the Sitecore community; the results speak for themselves.
Any experienced Sitecore partner will give you a clearly defined plan of action, listing all details, from the number of personnel, time, phase details to risk control, etc. To ensure this plan adapts to your needs, they will begin with an in-depth discovery process to understand your business, goals for your Sitecore implementation, and the way your Marketing members build content plan, edit and publish content on Sitecore.
Expect them to have a clear plan and all sticking to it
You will expect them to kick things off with a thorough Sitecore Architecture Document - a vital piece of documentation to offer a clear plan for the Sitecore implementation. Those with experience will prove their comprehensive and in-depth expertise through this, including details for how you want the content to be structured, what modules you’ll need, and what editing permissions will be required. During this stage of the process, you and your chosen Sitecore partner will agree on the implementation design, and the processes and workflows.
This planning stage is critical for ensuring that you, the Sitecore partner, and your internal team are all looking at the same ultimate goal, ensuring your joint efforts can be completed exactly to spec, on time, and on budget.
During the planning phase, you will receive a well-outlined process, which clearly defines who will need to be involved for approval at which stages, and how to advance the code from a staging to a live environment, step by step.
A reliable Sitecore partner won’t rush implementations or deployments. Before reaching you for approval and process forwards, an experienced and careful Sitecore partner will do a comprehensive test to verify the code. They need to have a defined QA process to prevent bugs from interfering with you or your visitors’ site experience and making sure all potential bugs are caught, so once it reaches the staging environment, customer feedback should be mostly cosmetic. In the next step, they will implement any changes you want and repeat the whole rigorous testing process once more until you feel fully satisfied with how things look and function. Only after this will they publish to a live environment.
Before deciding which vendors to go with, check out their previous work for customers to see if they are measuring page load times in seconds or milliseconds? For the best results, you need to have them begin the Performance Optimization process with a thorough Sitecore Implementation Audit.
There are a wide variety of issues that cause slow load websites, but all of them can be addressed. So next time, when hearing your vendor says they’ve done everything they can, you may translate it into “they may not be willing or able to fix the underlying issues”.
Working with an experienced Sitecore Gold Solution Partner, they will have the personnel to solve your performance problems using an in-depth understanding of Sitecore’s performance features and optimization techniques, front-end performance best practices, server configuration requirements, and performance monitoring and benchmarking tools.
If your recent Sitecore partners are making your Marketing department dependent on them to manage and update content on your site, they’ve completely defeated the purpose of investing in a CMS. One thing to note to yourself is that Sitecore is designed to give marketers the freedom to manage any piece of content, build out new sections, and do much more on their site.
Expect them to empower you to control your content
The Sitecore Experience Editor is Sitecore’s preferred interface for marketing and content publishers to test, manage A/B and multivariate tests. Therefore, the right Sitecore partners are those giving you the ability to set up and run A/B and multivariate tests on your own.
Doing this requires them to have proper implementation and enough training. An experienced Sitecore Partner will work with you to clarify if this requirement should be your priority or not. If so, they will then provide you with the training you need to run tests and optimize content, on any page of your site, on your own.
At the end of the day, self-sufficiency roots from proper and adequate personalized training from the Sitecore vendor who architected and built your site. You can’t harness your site effectively without their support as no two Sitecore sites are alike. When Sitecore is implemented properly, it’s custom-tailored to reflect your unique information architecture (IA), user experience (UX), content management requirements, business processes, and more.
That’s why having a step-by-step illustrated training guide with screenshots of your own site is so critical. Keep in mind that this guide will have to explain in detail how to do what you need to do, within your specific site.
In terms of the training, SmartOSC recommends that customers opt for online training for its several perks such as cost-effectiveness, compared to on-site training, and easier for future reference and on-boarding.
Mystays Hotel Management is the 3rd largest hotel management company in Japan, overseeing 6,708 rooms at 51 properties in the Greater Tokyo Area, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and Fukuoka. Mystays is the only hotel management company in Japan with a business model that enables its guests to freely select the length of stay at its four brands’ properties. Their one-stop shop approach provides users with the information and resources they need to prepare them for their stay.
A case of success: MyStays Japan
They needed a website that felt more modern, functional and offered a premium online experience that reflected their brand positioning.
Sitecore proved to be the best choice for MyStays’ needs because of its capability to handle a content-heavy website quickly and efficiently. In addition to this, Sitecore enabled users to accelerate management and administration in the backend. The key Sitecore advantages as they relate to Mystays goals:
SmartOSC has proved to be the experienced and all-rounder solution provider as we successfully deployed and integrated:
The SmartOSC team also helped MyStays yield considerable growth.
See how we did it in detail HERE
As with any other software project, you can find eCommerce “resources” and service providers all over the globe, but experts that are fit for your business need, ambition and ultimate goal are not a commodity. What we have to warn you is that don’t expect to pay the least to gain the best but instead, you should expect to pay a premium if you want to work with the best and brightest, especially if they’re a pleasure to work with.
That said, many Sitecore Partners tend to take it too far with outrageous “minimum spend” requirements, nickel and diming, overcharging and under-delivering. You should expect to start each project with a clear, mutual understanding of what you will get for your budget, and, most importantly, you should get what you expect every time they deliver - and who will qualify that, by which framework or KPIs.
Building trust and providing good value make good business sense for both parties. It allows the buyer and the seller to create a long-term relationship, which is necessary if you want to advance your digital maturity and get the full value out of Sitecore.