The Business Case For AEM: 4 Steps to Make a Winning Case For Migration

These four ways will bolster your AEM business case and make it ready for intense scrutiny from executives!
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Written by Katelyn Booth

April 8, 2021

At this point, you’ve considered an Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) migration. You’ve evaluated the functionality of AEM and determined your company is ready for this transformation. 

Now, you need a strong business case and buy-in from leadership and stakeholders to move forward with the migration.

Here are four steps to create a winning business case and a surefire plan for a successful AEM migration.

Step #1 — Form a strong alliance between IT, Marketing and Sales

Whether you’re using WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore or another CMS right now, you likely have relationships between IT, marketing and sales already.

But, migrating to AEM is a big investment and a change management initiative. To make the strongest business case for AEM migration and set your company up for the most success, you need these three teams aligned on goals and the processes to achieve them.

IT owns and manages the tech platform. Marketing owns the content and brand, like design guidelines and brand voice. Sales is also an important ally if you’re using your website for inbound sales and connecting customers directly with the sales team.

Migrating to AEM and using the platform is a cross-functional effort. Start by identifying the key leaders on these teams who will help you champion AEM.

Step #2 — Collectively assess your current CMS and DAM

What opportunities are you missing because of the functionality of your current system? What inefficiencies are costing your company? Create a comprehensive list of the pitfalls and challenges of the current CMS/DAM with insight from IT, marketing and sales.

Related: Our MarTech consulting services can streamline your stack!

Marketing should assess your current CMS/DAM by answering the following questions and providing specific examples.

  • Is the digital customer experience strategic and consistent across multiple platforms? Or, is it fragmented because you can’t manage content across these platforms in your current system?
  • Does your team often do duplicative work with content creation that you could avoid if you could store all assets across channels in one place?
  • Are you able to create content at the rate the market demands with your current system? Or are there inefficiencies that are holding you back from creating and delivering content quickly?
  • What are your engagement and KPI metrics throughout the customer journey? And, how is your current system impacting these metrics? Are the inefficiencies or lack of functionality directly impacting points in the customer journey? For example, are you not able to edit a form based on results without development time? 
  • Is your customer experience falling behind competitors? How so? How is your current system preventing you from effectively improving this customer experience?

IT should assess your current CMS/DAM by answering the following questions and providing specific examples.

  • How long does your IT team spend planning infrastructure and implementing platform upgrades? How would AEM Cloud reduce this time?
  • Is IT a bottleneck in the current content creation and deployment process? How so?
  • Is the current system too rigid? Do you need the ability to create or update templates without development? Are even minors edits to forms causing lengthy and expensive deployment cycles?
  • Are you lacking the open-source framework you need to build the completely customized customer experience that marketing is requesting?
  • Does your CMS allow developers and content authors to work independently while maintaining a proper continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD)?
  • When it comes to deploying new functionality, do you have a connected and secure CI/CD pipeline? Or is your current system leading to long and sometimes error- or vulnerability-prone deployments?
  • If you’re currently using WordPress or Drupal, what are the inefficiencies created by the development, QA and production instance? Try this exercise — choose a single piece of content or functionality and track the inefficiencies through the separate development > QA > production environments.
  • How could your organization benefit from allocating more development time toward innovation instead of lengthy, inefficient deployments?

Sales might also weigh in on this assessment if there’s functionality or inefficiencies currently inhibiting them from effectively connecting with customers.

Use the pitfalls of your current CMS/DAM assessment to reinforce the urgency to move forward with AEM.

Step #3 — Align this initiative to bottom-line goals

The big-picture goal of AEM migration is two-fold:

  1. Increase revenue by drastically improving the customer experience
  2. Achieve operational excellence by reducing inefficiencies and IT resources

Overall, this initiative will drive profitable growth. To make a winning business case, this point needs to be at the forefront of the conversation with executives.

Start by defining the bottom-line goals that the CMO and CTO or CIO are responsible for achieving. Connect your AEM migration plan to those goals by focusing on the ROI and results that are possible for your organization with AEM’s three major components: Sites, Assets and Forms.

Your business case for Adobe Experience Manager needs these stats!

For a CMO, they’ll care most about the proof points that impact the customer experience and revenue acquisition, like how AEM Sites helps companies deliver 78% more content on average.

Or how companies surveyed by IDC generated an additional $2.2 million in revenue per year by migrating to AEM.

Related: Build your AEM business case

Also, reference your assessment to show how your current system is preventing your organization from hitting your revenue goals. The customer experience is at the forefront of today’s competitive battleground.

If your brand is falling behind, you’re risking staying behind if you don’t move forward with a migration. 

For a CTO or CIO, they’ll care most about how AEM will:

  • Allow the marketing team to be self-sufficient in creating content without IT intervention.
  • Streamline feature deployment allowing the IT team to develop and push out new features, functionality and components without marketing creating a bottleneck.
  • Reduce operational costs and risks, particularly with AEM Cloud.

Ultimately, they’ll want to know how much cost savings they can expect from the migration and all the efficiencies. You can reference statistics from Adobe that show average savings from other companies using AEM, but you can also estimate your organization’s specific cost savings in other ways: 

Collaboration Efficiency: Put together a simple project plan flow, like a Gantt chart. Compare how much time your team is spending on back-and-forth communication and delays versus a best-in-class AEM content lifecycle flow. The data will speak for itself.

Maintenance Cost and Efficiency: Quantify the costs and time your IT team is spending on server maintenance, platform upgrades, server scaling and cost management of the server, such as hardware, software and bandwidth/hosting costs. Most importantly, quantify the people who have to maintain the server and upgrades now. Then, compare those costs to the projected costs of AEM.

Step #4 — Develop the roadmap to success

When you’re presenting the business case to executives, they might be impressed with the bottom-line goals you could achieve with an AEM migration. Then, they’ll want to know the how. “How are we going to achieve this migration and make sure this migration translates into these results as quickly as possible?”

Developing a strategic, well-thought-out roadmap to AEM success is a critical step in making a winning business case. It shows transparency in the process, sets clear expectations and instills confidence that you’re able to achieve your goals.

For marketing, you need to make sure you have the right team and strategy in place to set yourself up for success once you’ve migrated to AEM. That includes:

  • Having a UX designer and content strategist as well as marketing operations roles on your team.
  • Making sure you have the right customer-focused strategy that will allow you to accelerate results once you’ve migrated.
  • Creating an adoption plan to ensure proper AEM training across your team.

For IT, you’ll need to consider your team and current tech architecture to develop your roadmap to success and build in potential roadblocks. That includes:

  • Having IT staff who are well-versed in both front-end technologies, Java web development, Adobe and its partners. (Or, consider backfilling any talent gaps with contracted talent, like our managed services.)
  • Creating ample training materials and programs to onboard your team and become AEM certified as necessary.
  • Evaluating your tech infrastructure for platforms that you need to integrate into AEM. Build those integrations into your budget and timeline.

The Bottom Line

AEM helps corporate and enterprise organizations drive profitable growth by generating more revenue and decreasing operational resources. It takes a collaborative, strategic, cross-functional effort to migrate and be successful with AEM. Each team plays a critical role.

To present the strongest business case, you need IT, marketing and sales aligned on the bottom-line goals of this migration and committed to taking the action steps to ensure success.

Need expert help?

You’ll want to read these four things you need to know when planning an AEM migration and our primer on AEM as a cloud service, an alternative to the typical on-premise offering for software.

And if you need a team of experts, we’re a trusted Adobe Platinum Partner!

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