7 Secrets for Adobe AEM Implementation Success

Today many mostly large and mid-size organizations have jumped or are jumping into the bandwagon of Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). For those who are not familiar – here is a good article explaining What is AEM. If you are a leader, who would own all AEM Sites implementation from strategy development to launch, you most probably would be involved in creating the implementation teams. What are the key areas that you need to focus on? Some of them may not be so obvious to you, hence I called them “secrets.”

Secret #1 – What and When? Have Clear Answers.

Starting a grand project is not easy. You will need to have clear answer on do you want your AEM implementation to be in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc. In large organization with multiple sites, supporting few regions and languages, you may want to break down the rollout work on smaller deliverables. Setting up the scope is crucial in your sites planning process. Coming up with a strategic plan for delivering AEM sites will chart a clear road ahead and define your milestones.

Secret #2 – Business Domain Knowledge

Your AEM Web Sites will play important part of your enterprise workflows. Whether delivering an amazing marketing web site, promoting your product line, or simply delivering key components of engaging your customers, these sites will be connected with the core domain of your organization.

Hence, you will need access to the domain knowledge. Better yet, get in touch with someone in your organization, who has that knowledge and can elaborate it well for different audiences. A good start is to talk to you product managers and enterprise application architects. You might uncover some hidden gems in your sales team, product trainers, business analysts, and technical writers.

Secret #3 – Infrastructure and DevOps

You will need highly available and robust infrastructure for your new project. It is good to have line up some of your IT team members, who will administer and maintain your application infrastructure and your AEM and related applications. You would definitely want to setup a strong team of DevOps engineers. With the help of CI/CD systems like Jenkins, your code can move to any of the environments such as Dev, QA, Staging, and UAT.

Secret #4 – Legacy Application Expertise

There is a high chance that you are migrating from an old CMS, which is integrated with your B2B and Product systems. Typically, you would do the migration in stages, especially if your sites have hundreds of pages. Also do not expect AEM developers to know how to quickly understand how the old web site works. Therefore, keep some of your old site maintenance folks available to help during the migration times.

Secret #5 – AEM Technology Expertise

In your typical AEM Sites implementation, you will need the following roles:

1. User experience (UX) Design.

AEM development starts from the wire-framing stage itself. Graphic and user interface designers would typically fulfill this role. They would prepare screens designs with all page elements. In addition, they would also prepare desktop, tablet and mobile views with all web page elements.

2. Front-end Web development.

An AEM developer is also expected to know about the front-end Web development. At a minimum a good knowledge of CSS, HTML, JavaScript, jQuery is a must. In addition, Node.js, Webpack, TypeScript, and myriad of other front-end tools are available to assist and simplify the UI development.

3. AEM Component development.

AEM developers are supposed to be highly skilled at this. Component development involves either JSP or HTL templating language and in more complex scenarios – Java development. The component development also entails creating content dialogs, in order to enable content authors to replace pieces of text, images, links, and others without the developer’s involvement.

4. AEM OSGi and Servlets development.

An AEM developer is required to know about OSGi framework, annotations, and the general life-cycle of the OSGi component. Most of this knowledge comes from couple of years of Java development and also from the know-how of web development patterns.

5. AEM DevOps and Production Support.

AEM developer has a role to deliver their code in production environment and also account for production defects. Production Release are done by special teams, who would provide checklists and question every single artifact delivered in all aspects – security, architecture, dependencies, backward compatibility, performance, load test, and others.

To fill in the AEM front-end and component development roles, you may be tempted to save and find someone who has all skills from 2, 3, 4, and 5. That is understandable. Read my opinion on this topic.

Secret #6 – Know Your Key Team players

Building teams to deliver on AEM implementation is a crucial step. Recruiting proper internal or external talent needs to be done with the proper due diligence. The expectations and excitements are high. The reality is that you would nee strong leaders implanted into each team. Trust them. These folks will glue and work with team members to understand their strengths work. They will drive the team through ups and downs towards the desired deliverables and timelines.

Secret #7 – Clear the Road Ahead

The implementation engagement must stay on course and afloat. Engagement director or manager role will provide the required continuity. This person will be responsible for the ultimate delivery of the engagement.

Other key points:

  • Running the implementation – leverage a set of methodologies to drive the outcome. Most common one used today is Agile Scrum.
  • Control and track the processes – setup the needed reports and dashboards, needed to monitor the health status of the implementation.
  • Quality considerations – have process to check the quality of the work delivered by the development teams.
  • Legal considerations – perform the industry due diligence and have appropriate legal documents signed on file.

Conclusion

The above list of “secrets” is just the baseline of what you need to cover during AEM implementation. It will provide the needed initial clarity and I hope will help you to avoid the mistakes others have made before you. If you are interested in knowing more about my experience, please go to http://kbwebconsult.com/ and fill out the contact form.

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