Path to MVP – How did I start my new Sitecore feature idea?
I feel the need to say that I am a Sitecore client – not a developer, designer or agency partner. I actively use the CMS every day, but I also play an important role in Sitecore development. It’s that familiarity and sense of ownership that inspired my Sitecore module idea. I thought it would be vaulable to provide a bit more information about how this idea came about and what I decided to do with it.
Sitecore is a very powerful CMS platform, as illustrated by Gartner’s decision to place it in the “leaders” quadrant in July of 2015 and keep it there in 2016. As powerful as it is, it’s also widely regarded as a “blank canvas” CMS that doesn’t come with a lot of features out of the box. As marketers, it’s up to us to tell our Sitecore environment what we need it to do, and that can be intimidating for some.
Treating a website as a software product that can be modified, updated and extended, may be unfamiliar to marketers that expect more out-of-the-box functionality, features and design aspects to be present on installation.
It’s important to remember that Sitecore is software, not just a CMS. Sitecore can do anything we want it to do. We just need to have the vision to build it.
My Sitecore Implementation Backstory
I’ve spent the past four years or so completely immersed in the Sitecore CMS environment. I was able to take a large Sitecore implementation from concept to completion and see it evolve over that period of time.
Four years ago, I was a digital strategist working at an agency. My client was a medium-sized regional hospital system that wanted to re-build their website on a new, more modern CMS platform. The agency and I recommended Sitecore and we began to build out our plan to deploy their new website.
Well, one website turned into three. Then three websites turned into seven, and eventually twelve websites were re-launched on the consolidated Sitecore platform. We’ve built a whole ecosystem on the Sitecore platform, and yet, we’re just getting started.
As a software professional, the Sitecore CMS offers up a lot of potential along with a lot of work. As a marketer, if I can dream it, I can do it with Sitecore. As both a marketer and a software pro, I saw tremendous potential but also a lot of opportunity to improve my product to do more for me.
Necessity, Invention and My (It’s Complicated) Relationship With Sitecore
Sitecore, to marketers, is similar to a relationship between two people. Sitecore gives and Sitecore takes – it gives advanced functionality, and a powerful platform to build upon. But it can take resources, time and sweat equity, too. Sitecore, like a relationship, will only give back what you put into it.
The more I became familiar with Sitecore, the more I knew what it was capable of, but also what its flaws were. I found work-arounds to some of the flaws, and found other complementary products to solve a few of the gaps as well. But when I realized that cobbling together tools across platforms and outside of my environment was only making my team and I less efficient, I decided to design and architect my own product for Sitecore. Why settle for one-size-fits-all solutions when I could build one that met my needs?
Marketers – It’s Time For Us to “Own” Sitecore
The Sitecore development community gets a lot of attention – and it should. It’s growing larger and stronger by the month. Sitecore MVP’s have their own pre-Symposium gathering and are the driving force behind much of Sitecore’s success in recent years.
But when you take a step back, Sitecore developers and technology MVP’s are just a part of the Sitecore ecosphere and community. Its the business that drives what a Sitecore environment is built to serve. It’s the business that often makes the decision to choose Sitecore or opt for another CMS platform. It is also up to the marketing side to understand what Sitecore is, what it’s capable of and to help set the long-term direction of the CMS as a whole.
The more I learned about Sitecore, the more I wanted to learn. The more I used it, the more I saw that could be improved. At first, I simply considered myself a user of the platform, but eventually that changed. Eventually, I considered myself a manager and then owner of my implementation. After all, who else drove the strategy and direction of the site, if not me? I was the best person to make Sitecore live up to its potential. I was the only one that could grow it into the marketing engine that it wanted to be.
My sense of participation has since gone beyond my own implementation and into the broader platform. I’m not afraid to participate in discussions about functionality. No, I’m not a developer, but I am a user. I do have skin in this game and I choose to participate. I choose to own my experience platform.
The Story Behind the PhotoBalloons on the Water - Gaylord Palms Resort - Orlando, FL
Balloons on the Water - Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando, FL
I'm working on a Sitecore Strategist MVP nomination.
More posts about my path to Sitecore Strategist MVP:
I visited Chicago, Illinois in May of 2019. I stayed at the Sheraton Grand, went to a Cub’s game, explored the Riverwalk and ate at some fantastic restaurants. Here’s my trip in photos.
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