Building the perfect tech stack – one that meets company goals, delights customers, and achieves ROI targets – is the goal of every brand, including Sitecore! Like you, we are taking a journey to composable, and we’ve learned valuable lessons about building the tech stack that is perfect for us. Our team of experts took to the stage at Sitecore Symposium to share takeaways and recommendations with customers and partners alike.
What approach is Sitecore taking with its own tech stack?
Megan Engard, Digital Strategist: Like many of our customers, we’re on a journey from monolithic to composable. Our selection of martech software is driven by our need to deliver on a complete Digital Buyers' Journey, and in pursuit of that, we’re mapping data, identifying gaps in visibility and deliverability, and looking for software that can fill those gaps. Sometimes that software is our own, sometimes it’s not. In either case, we are looking for the best in class to deliver exceptional experiences to our customers.
Derek Hunziker, Director of Technology: It’s incredible to think about how our own tech stack has changed. Within the last year, we’ve implemented multiple new platforms from Sitecore and from other vendors. I believe the “perfect tech stack” is one that fits your business, customer journey, budget, and resources and matches your brand's needs. That’s why Sitecore’s stack has changed so much and continues to evolve – as business needs change, the stack does too.
Jill Roberson, Sr Director Portfolio Marketing: For Sitecore, our customer is always top of mind, which guides our tech stack and strategy. We follow the same advice we give our customers: you need to understand what you want to deliver for your customers. The use cases of the digital buyers' journey need to be constantly updated, and the stack should be constantly under evaluation. That’s the essence and advantage of composability – that businesses can move functionality in and out. At Sitecore, we’ve really appreciated the flexibility of a composable approach.
What are the best questions to ask when evaluating your tech stack?
Derek: It’s important to think about where you need to be, not just where you are right now. Look two years down the road – where will you be with this piece of tech? Will it grow with you and mature with the business? It’s not just cost and compatibility, but the cost of upfront and ongoing resources - can your organization handle the platform in its current state, or will you have to staff or contract around it?
Jill: Having that long-term vision so you don’t throw good money after bad is critical so ask yourself, “Is this the tech I need for today as well as tomorrow?” Introducing a regularly scheduled tech audit into your process can help to identify overlap and redundancy in your tech stack – some overlap is inevitable, but you don’t want platforms doing the same thing. Build your stack so you can add and remove what’s needed.
Megan: One thing that is often overlooked when evaluating a platform is the relationship with the vendor, and it’s important to pull that into the process as well. Will the vendor support you and give you the service you need? Is it a good cultural fit? Do you want to work with these people every day? Find a vendor who will challenge you to get the most out of your investment and encourage you to accomplish more.
Who should be involved in these decisions and when?
Jill: You want to make sure you have a cross-functional team and ensure you can find the right size of group; 15 people is not a tiger team, it’s the entire zoo. Identify your champions, sponsors, and decision-makers and ensure clarity of roles and responsibilities. Make sure you’re taking your users into account, be sure to have a customer advocate, and go into it with an open mind.
Derek: Think beyond implementation to maintenance. You need a diversity of viewpoints. Having that diversity is your best insurance policy because everyone comes into the martech buying process with a different context; it’s crucial for adoption and ROI. Bring your users and your tech team in early – the technical buyer on your team can help you identify any red flags that will trip you up. Whenever possible, avoid a HIPPO (highest-paid person’s opinion) decision; it never ends well.
Megan: Involving the people who will be responsible for implementing the tool is crucial; they’ll be able to accurately advise on timelines and the ability to deliver. At the same time, you should consider who will use the tool and what their bandwidth might be. The teams purchasing and implementing may well differ completely from your internal end users. Does this new tool fit into their current processes, or will things need to change? Who will be responsible for the change management if they do? Being clear on these things at the outset will help ensure you avoid making assumptions about usability and the true ROI of your decision.