Introduction to the Optimization Checklist Series
Sitecore Business Optimization Strategies™ (SBOS) has been helping customers and partners across industries and around the world plan, implement and measure optimization capabilities on Sitecore for over 15 years. Over that time we have developed a set of best practices which are strongly recommended to achieve business value.
The SBOS Readiness Checklists are a resource which distil this knowledge into a series of tasks and checks to undertake at various stages of your optimization program. At SBOS, this is the process we follow and the milestones we achieve when we work with Sitecore customers to help them achieve business value using Sitecore Experience Platform.
Beginning with the research and preparation for optimization, and guiding you through to embedding optimization as an ongoing, business-as-usual organizational process, the checklists are provided as a guide for you to step you through each stage.
Using the Checklists
Each checklist has an introduction and some reference information to be filled out at the top: Organization/Customer name, Date, Site URL and Sitecore version.
The checklists are divided into clear sections with a number of items underneath. Each item has the following to be recorded against it:
- Priority: A recommended priority for each item of critical, recommended or nice-to-have is provided, but you can adjust this for your organization as required.
- Status: Is the item status OK, OK*, N/A, Need Info or Flag? Keeping this up to date is crucial as you address tasks in your optimization program.
- Comments: For each item, you can make notes against it. For example, if you’re seeing some missing data in the visits, you may mark that as OK* because you are tracking visits, but with a note that some visits are missing, and this should be checked.
Finally, under each section is a Notes field for any additional information.
We recommend that the checklists are kept as a living document and as a record of your program. They will provide a valuable source of information when you wish to review your results, and for future reference as your optimization program continues to grow and scale.
Pre-Optimization Organization Checklist
Personalization and optimization of your Sitecore platform is a key objective for most customers, and the first step towards that is creating a Roadmap — a detailed plan of foundational datapoints, customer segments, and optimization tactics tailored to your business objectives, customer data, and content.
Before you start creating a Roadmap, use this checklist to ensure you've got everything you need to inform the plan. Covering both strategy and planning documents, and organizational requirements, this checklist will help you assess your readiness to begin planning an optimization program, including:
- Have you identified important user segments and journeys?
- Do you have a clear picture of your organization’s strategic and marketing objectives?
- Are you able to identify the necessary stakeholders for the project?
Understand which items are critical, which are recommended, which are nice-to-have, and where you need to do some preparation work to fill any gaps with the SBOS Pre-Optimization Organization Checklist.
Roadmap Readiness Checklist
Your Optimization Roadmap is the document which details exactly how you’ll use Sitecore tools to achieve your desired customer experience objectives. It should include detailed documentation of exactly how you’ll configure the taxonomies of Sitecore’s Marketing Control Panel to achieve the Optimization Plan. The Roadmap is quite different from a strategic digital transformation document; it is rather a blend of deep Sitecore expertise and knowledge of your business’s objectives and priorities.
Using the resources identified in the Pre-Optimization Organization checklist, you will begin with a Strategic Objectives Framework and include details on how your organization will implement aligned configurations such as:
- Digital Goals and Engagement Value Scale
- Campaign Activities and Taxonomy
- Profiling Strategy
- Customer Segments and data dependencies
- Personalization Tactics, including content, data and technical dependencies
The Roadmap should also include organizational and governance recommendations, and may also include marketing automation plans, custom development work, or technical roadblocks identified to optimization.
Whether you've created the Roadmap yourself, or have one created by a partner or even SBOS, this checklist will help you make sure you've got the solid plan you need to prove ROI from optimization through providing a better customer experience.
Homework: Download Roadmap Readiness Checklist
Optimization Readiness Checklist
The Optimization Readiness Checklist is a guiding framework used to ensure customizations or technical oversights are not blocking the set-up of personalization, reporting of analytics, and the launch of tests in Sitecore instances. Commonly referred to as the marketing “scan check,” this process has been used across various industries and unique implementations of Sitecore XP.
This checklist includes five sections, which cover:
- Experience Analytics
- Experience Profile
- Experience Editor
- The Marketing Control Panel
- Personalization and Testing
After completing the Optimization Readiness checklist, the worksheet will operate as a follow-up report which contains the results for use by development teams. Once all items in the checklist are functioning as expected, you should be confident that your site is ready to personalize using out-of-the-box Sitecore functionality.
Homework: Access the Optimization Readiness Checklist, guide and how-to videos
Roadmap Implementation Checklist
Once you have confirmed that your build is ready for optimization and you have a finalized Roadmap with all the necessary information, it is time to implement the datapoints and review the results to be ready for optimization.
The Roadmap Implementation Checklist steps you through the activities required to implement and verify the foundational datapoints in your Roadmap, as well as implementing your quick-win personalization and testing tactics.
Beginning with the Taxonomies section of the Marketing Control Panel, the Checklist runs through each of the items you’ll need to set up to get the data you need to identify customer segments, measure the outcomes of optimization tactics, and identify new candidates for optimization.
Ongoing Optimization Organization and Governance Checklist
When you've implemented your roadmap and gained some successful quick wins, the key to ongoing, scalable optimization will be the organization and governance changes you make.
Scaling an initial optimization program and continuing the momentum often requires some adjustments to your processes, resourcing and operations.
Based on the Sitecore guide "Digital Experience Management: Organization and Governance," this checklist follows best practice for high-performance digital experience programs, with items including:
- How to adopt an Agile experience optimization process
- Regular tasks for your experience optimization team to undertake
- How to ensure your program has continued momentum
Homework: Download Ongoing Optimization Checklist