What to Ask Your Adobe Solution Partner Before Saying Yes

To make it to the other side of an AEM upgrade and be in better shape than before, you need to find the right partner to be successful. Choosing the wrong partner could lead to incomplete work, unreliable deliverables, and continual change orders that expand the scope of the upgrade and rip through your budget. To find the right partner, you need to ask the right questions before saying “yes.” Here are five questions you should ask potential Adobe solution partners to figure out if they’re the right fit for you.

Are your solutions custom or off-the-rack?

Your business is unique and so are your problems. If an AEM partner isn’t dedicated to understanding your business and the unique challenges you’re facing, then the answer should be a solid “no.”

A solutions provider should always begin the upgrade process with a requirements-gathering and discovery phase. An expert with experience in upgrading AEM should lead the way and design a custom solution based on your custom problems. Very few upgrades go “by the book,” and a good partner should highlight this.

After a solution is designed, what are the next steps? Does the partner provide an end-to-end implementation that includes architecture, development, design, testing, and hosting? It’s important to know that your partner will be with you throughout the whole process and not leave you to do the implementation yourself.

How much experience do they have with upgrading AEM versions?

This may seem like an obvious question, but it’s an essential one. Knowing that your Adobe solution partner has led successful AEM upgrades helps sell that partner to any decision-makers involved.

AEM upgrades can be a huge task that has business risks. If you have custom components in your current AEM environment, they can break during upgrades, leading to a cascading effect of problems that build on top of each other.

To avoid these issues, work with an experienced partner who can see potential pitfalls that may occur during the upgrade process and make adjustments to ensure flawless delivery.

What training and education do they provide regarding AEM?

New versions of AEM have improved performance, UX, and administrative features that are the driving force behind why AEM updates are so important. Maximizing the value of upgrading your AEM version involves using those new features.

The right Adobe solution partner is one who knows all about the new features and can train you and your team to add those features to your tool kit. The right partner will showcase the new features and provide comparisons of the old ones to highlight why it’s crucial to upgrade AEM versions.

Also, it’s not enough to complete the upgrade; you still have projects to create. Learning how to use your new version likely requires training and education that lasts longer than the initial upgrade.

Who will be working on your upgrade, in-house staff or outsourced contractors?

According to a study conducted by Stripe and Harris Poll, companies collectively lose upward of $300 billion a year dealing with technical debt or lousy code. Since AEM environments are set up by developers, having bad code can cause your upgrade to be unpredictable, difficult to change, and unusable.

That’s why it’s important to know that your partner has in-house staff that is held accountable for their deliveries. Contractors can deliver a finished product, but that product may be barely usable, the code unreadable, and the contractor can move onto their next project, leaving you scrambling to fix a problem you didn’t create.

What experience do you have with third-party tools?

The digital business landscape is full of tools that many companies use and rely on. Rarely do you see a company that doesn’t use CRM, ERP, or other marketing tools.

AEM itself is one part of a larger Adobe Marketing Cloud platform that provides end-to-end digital marketing.

Which third-party tools does your company use? Can they be integrated with AEM or Adobe Marketing Cloud? Can your partner make full usage of the entire Adobe Marketing Cloud platform? These are essential questions to consider to maximize the value of an AEM investment.

Final thoughts

The right partner can lead a successful upgrade, which results in better ROI on your AEM investment. The wrong partner can turn an AEM upgrade into a risky decision and a cascading series of issues that birth new problems.

There are ways to mitigate the risk of a failed upgrade. Asking the right questions and knowing what to expect out of a potential partner can provide peace of mind knowing that you’ve made the right decision.

Atypical Digital is an Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Preferred Partner specializing in helping enterprise brands leverage Adobe’s AEM platform to optimize their productivity and efficiency, free up IT-related tasks to make teams more productive, and maximize AEM stability and security.

To see how Atypical Digital can help your brand improve its back-end foundation to reduce critical errors during AEM upgrades, contact our knowledgeable team of AEM upgrade specialists today!

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