In part 1 of this series, we examined some considerations when looking to upgrade your Content Cloud instance to V12. If you are reading this post, you have likely made up your mind it is something you want to do. The #1 difficulty you will encounter in discussing with your stakeholders is cost. Whether this is time or money, you will need to prove this is a critical step that should be undertaken now to justify the time and money investment. So let’s break down some of the benefits of the upgrade and equip you with some points to make this argument!
One Time Pain … Long Term Benefit
How often do you upgrade currently? Whether it is weekly, monthly, or yearly, the average upgrade is quite painless. Your stakeholders and clients may not even realize the platform is being upgraded. Some teams do this so seamlessly that the product can appear to be a SaaS platform to their end users. Only when undertaking major version upgrades does the process feel like work. Code is broken and code needs to be updated. So the release is more than packages, requires time, requires testing, and a planned deployment.
While this upgrade is not that, it should be explained to your stakeholders 2 of the considerations we previously outlined – .NET Core and Infrastructure are one-time shifts. These are not just Optimizely obstacles. These are Microsoft strategic shifts. The development of these initiatives has been in motion for well over 3 years and going back to the inception of .NET (over 20 years ago) we have been developing on the .NET framework.
My point is that this shift was strategic for Microsoft and Optimizely has chosen this line in the sand to make a single adjustment to both framework and infrastructure. There are huge benefits to this long term. But if the argument is that this feels heavy and something that will pop up regularly, remember just how fundamental this upgrade is to the platform and how long those pieces have remained in place.
Don’t expect this to be a normal thing. Think of this as breaking through a barrier that enables you to take advantage of the latest framework updates and be ahead of the curve instead of behind it.
Think back to why you purchased Optimizely in the first place. For most, this started as a solid CMS purchase that made it easy for your editors to build pages. Furthermore, many can & do take advantage of the many connectors such as CRM, asset management, analytics, and others.
Ultimately most customers move onto the platform for the ability to engage with customers through personalization, content recommendations, & experimentation. After all, customer engagement is the fun stuff and likely the end goal you envisioned when you purchased the CMS in the beginning. To get beyond the programming & development and advance into direct engagement with your customers.
How far are you on this journey today?
How far do you plan to be in 2-3 years?
Are there new products such as Content Marketing (Welcome), Feature Flags (Full-stack experimentation), or other Optimizely tools you are looking to add to your solution?
Can you imagine getting there without upgrading the CMS?
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Will upgrading today make this vision easier to execute?
Will delaying the upgrade add to the list of things that will need to be redone and make a later upgrade a more difficult project?
Remind your stakeholders why you purchased Optimizely in the first place. Upgrading now puts you in control of future decisions and enables you to continue to build towards your vision in small, achievable steps.
While strategic considerations help make a long term argument, what can you expect from the upgrade that would make an immediate impact? One word – performance. The upgrade will make your site faster. We have yet to see a case where it hasn’t made immediate improvements over previous page speeds and in some cases the returns are massive. We’ve seen cases where pages load 2-3 times their previous speeds. For simple and non-dramatic comparison, we took a few lighthouse scores to show the difference.
These side-by-sides are 2 samples of the exact same component pre & post upgrade.
These examples weren’t picked to showcase the high end of performance gains. They were 2 simple components and represent the average gains to be expected from the upgrade alone. It’s easy to see why Microsoft and Opti chose to go this direction in framework shift. It’s leaner and more performant. The results speak for themselves. If your site is not performing to expectations, this upgrade can make a noticeable and immediate impact.
I want to leave you with one final argument as to why the upgrade makes sense to do this year. It’s behavioral and almost everyone who has been in technology for over 10 years has seen this play out in one way, shape, or form. When we decide to put something off once, we tend to repeat it indefinitely until we are no longer able to address it.
Have you ever been involved in a situation where a system is left as is for more than a year? What happened to that system? More than likely, it was put into maintenance mode. Maybe the developers who used to support it left the organization or became scared to change any kind of code or configurations out of fear of breaking something. Rumors and theories are stated that the platform is unable to provide a requested feature, when it is the current implementation or version that is really holding back the ability to build this feature. Eventually the platform voids its terms of service due to being on an unsupported version. In these cases, the product is often painted as a failure and a new product selection, licensing, and implementation effort is undertaken.
How costly will such an endeavor be in the long run?
Do you think that eventual cost justifies the one-time cost of performing the upgrade this year?
How do you think you will feel about the platform in 1 year if you do not perform the upgrade?
What about 2 years?
Can you see this becoming the scenario described above?
Reverse the situation. How might you take advantage of the platform post-upgrade?
You have an opportunity to stay in control of your platform. Optimizely is an amazing product. They are finding ways to add value constantly. Be one of the customers that embraces these changes and gets the most out of their investment!