Sitecore Business Optimization Strategies SBOS™ — Perspectives from Partners & Customers
According to Sitecore’s Vice President of Strategy & Industries, Vijayanta Gupta, SBOS was born out of a need. If you're unfamiliar with Sitecore Business Optimization Strategies (SBOS™), it’s a service that connects Sitecore experts with Sitecore partners and clients to mutually ensure that the platform’s features and functionalities are fully realized to meet customers’ business purpose and goals. The SBOS methodology engages customers first to outline their objectives and then employ Sitecore’s tools to fulfill their needs. The SBOS program has enabled many customers to achieve optimal results while using Sitecore’s best-of-suite platform. You can get some background information on the initiative from CMS-Connected’s Q & A with Sitecore's SBOS team from earlier this year.
The opportunity to delve deeper into the SBOS model presented itself while CMS-Connected attended Sitecore’s premier annual event, Sitecore Symposium 2019. While at the conference, I met with an array of Sitecore customers and partners that have worked with SBOS to glean firsthand knowledge of how the program is delivering. Additionally, I was privileged to sit down with Vijayanta Gupta. I was keen to learn what exactly SBOS is and understand when the ideal time is for customers or partners to begin taking advantage of the program. Keep reading for more and exclusive video interviews.
Catch up on our Sitecore Symposium 2019 coverage:
From the Customer Perspective
I had the pleasure of speaking with three Sitecore customers who have had direct experience working with the SBOS team. They were George Tucker, Developer Team Lead at RAC Western Australia, Oscar Tillander, Global Digital Project Manager at Husqvarna Construction, and Luke Williams, Associate Director at Australian Catholic University. Joining Luke Williams in our chat, was Alison Sainsbury, Senior Marketing Consultant with SBOS, to add the Sitecore vantage.
RAC Western Australia has been using SBOS for around four years. They are a customer of Insight, whom we had also interviewed for the partner angle (keep reading to find the partner angle), and it was interesting to hear both viewpoints as to how SBOS is working for them. “We’re really looking to SBOS to be able to provide that really deep knowledge and insight and to help out our digital strategies going forward and make sure that we’re headed the right direction as well,” George Tucker from RAC explained to us. “To make sure that teams across our entire digital platform knew exactly what the capabilities were and also how to implement that as well.”
Australian Catholic University (ACU) has been using Sitecore as their CMS and DXP for about two-and-a-half years, working with the SBOS team to help them on their journey in the recruitment space. The university brought the SBOS team in two-thirds of the way through the implementation process, which gave ACU time to implement what they learned from their SBOS engagement, and effectively facilitate the transition into operations.
When asked why ACU decided to invest in SBOS, Luke Williams explained, “I could see that the SBOS program would be a really good way to align our internal IT, the business, the requirements, the strategy and also working with our partners to help get everyone on the same page.”
The support of the SBOS experts has given the means for Australian Catholic University to use Sitecore to its full potential, and Williams says it helped to, “really achieve our vision for personalized student recruitment.”
After working with SBOS for one year, Oscar Tillander said that Husqvarna Construction avails themselves of SBOS services conjointly with their own IT department. “We have a direct dialogue with the SBOS team, especially around personalization, and also when it comes to the strategic framework that has been developed by Sitecore,” says Tillander. “We’re using that for our internal alignment with our strategies towards our digital goals that will be the foundation of our personalization journey.”
One resounding take away from the customer interviews was just how hands-on the SBOS team truly is. To me, it was evident that the program strives to empower its customers to harness all that Sitecore has to offer. Sitecore also takes the time necessary to sit down and ensure that everyone is fully trained and comfortable with the Sitecore products.
“They (SBOS) come in and do workshops with our people, sit down and go one on one and go through our strategies that we've got in place and also literally sit there and help us out trying to set things up when things just aren't quite right,” says George Tucker on the SBOS engagement.
To tie it in to the partner relationships, Oscar Tillander explained the benefit of having everyone refreshed on the numerous Sitecore capabilities. “Many partners might be good at development work, but they lack the understanding of the capabilities of the platform,” says Tillander. “We don’t want to use kind of a state-of-the-art platform and just utilize 10% of its capabilities. I mean, we could use any platform then. That is why we want to use the capabilities of SBOS.”
SBOS works because it gets everyone on the same page and ensures that the implementation partner and the customer’s internal IT department are all fully versed in the Sitecore capabilities. “We’re there to help them and work it out and go okay you have this huge vision, this is exactly how we're going to put it in place and I’m going to sit with you and I am going to show you how to do that,” Alison Sainsbury.
“Our ambition is to lead the sector; our ambition is to use Sitecore to its full potential...to get the full potential out of it, you have to invest in the expertise.” — Luke Williams, Australian Catholic University
From the Partner Perspective
Sitecore has a large network of partners with many involved in the SBOS program. At Symposium 2019, I met with three Sitecore partners who have participated in the SBOS program in mutual effort with their customers. My conversations included Damon Kelly, CEO of Enlighten Designs, Andy Parry, Sitecore Architect & CX Capability Lead at Insight, and Troy Outtram, Director at Deloitte Digital. Joining Troy Outtram in his interview was, once again, Alison Sainsbury, Senior Marketing Consultant with SBOS.
The group of partners detailed stories about their relationship with Sitecore and how SBOS has benefited them in utilizing the full capabilities of the Sitecore platform. As is the focus of many companies, SBOS has made prioritizing personalization the main pillar in their mentoring to encourage companies to be successful in that outcome from the start. “If we actually lead with a service such as SBOS, that tends to set up the project so that they’ve got personalization thinking by default, and that tends to give them a far better outcome,” said Damon Kelly, CEO of Enlighten Designs, who worked with Sitecore for over five years.
SBOS empowers customers by having them initially define their objectives so that they can leverage Sitecore’s technology to its fullest to achieve their goals. In turn, these specifications greatly assist the partners because it brings everyone involved together on the same page. “We leverage the expertise of SBOS on our customer engagements to kind of complement what we do because that’s their specialty that’s what they're really good at and we focus on what we’re good at so SBOS really helps us then deliver a sort of full service for our customers,” said Andy Parry, from Insight, a Sitecore Platinum Partner.
“I think one of the main things that you want to make sure with your clients is that they're going to ultimately be successful, so if you lead with an SBOS engagement, you really are setting up the client for success.” — Damon Kelly, Enlighten Designs
We were interested in finding out how the Sitecore partners and the SBOS team cofunction during their interactions. The answers varied, but it was clear that it was a joint effort to benefit their mutual clients.
“At some points we've had Sitecore and the SBOS team come in, project manage it themselves [and] really kind of just run that engagement kind of in collaboration with us but more with them taking the lead,” Damon Kelly told us. “Then we’ve had some engagements where we have jointly come in and delivered SBOS. The other way that we’ve also been doing it is because there is so much demand for SBOS within [the] Asia Pacific, we’ve been having the SBOS team train our own consultants so that we can roll that out as well.”
The partners expressed similar ideas about when they include SBOS in a customer project — near the beginning, so that everyone is on the same page from the outset. “It really brings another aspect that we don’t bring. It’s having them involved right from the start of the project and really working with the customer and us to leverage those features that are in Sitecore that is what people buy the platform for,” said Andy Perry. “Make sure that our development and our integration work is aligned with those digital marketing goals. At the end of the day, it is about customer success and making it more effective.”
Not only is the SBOS team working in tandem with their partners, but they are also now training Sitecore partners in the SBOS methodology and the initiative to expand the program and reach more Sitecore customers.
“What I’ve now been doing with Deloitte is doing enablement with them and teaching their staff, people who've had a lot of experience with Sitecore and even those who have actually never used it at all and taking them through the SBOS training and the SBOS methodology and giving them a really good grounding in that,” Alison Sainsbury from Sitecore tells us about their partnership with Deloitte Digital. “The idea now is as they go forth and start doing personalization and optimization projects that I’ll continue to consult and be there to back them up if they need it, but now their team is now fully enabled.”
From the Sitecore partner perspective, they see the benefit in the SBOS program and want it to progress and grow with the platform. “What we would be hoping for from a partner perspective is that as these other offerings come alive in the product which are things around managing content and managing artificial intelligence that there are similar offerings that we can get from SBOS to help clients but also get trained in ourselves so that we can help the entire SBOS team,” said Damon Kelly.
Not only do the partners want it to progress, but they also recognize the benefit of keeping pace with the training for their clients on an ongoing basis. “We could definitely run this program with all of our clients every year and if we’re getting return on investment and they're getting value out of it, then that’s just amazing,” Troy Outtram from Deloitte explained.
“At the end of the day, the key alignment for us is that it's about the customer.” — Alison Sainsbury, SBOS
From Sitecore’s Perspective
Having seen how SBOS works between Sitecore customers and partners, we examined what Sitecore had to say. For a look into SBOS, CMS-Connected presents our video interview with Vijayanta Gupta. Gupta has been with Sitecore for just over one year. He shared that throughout his time thus far, he and the SBOS team have been diligently working towards delivering “more data-driven, value-driven approaches within SBOS.” Gupta expanded further by saying, “we have refreshed our DX maturity model which is one of the tools we use — and our partners use — to figure out where our clients are and where they can go to when they want to deliver great experiences and what steps they might need to take. And also, we have brought in more industry specificity. So, over the last year, we have been rounding off this great team of SBOS experts for our partners as well as for our customers.”
In describing how important partners are to the Sitecore ecosystem and the vital role partners play in the SBOS venture, Gupta stated, "...we are heavily partner focused and we are dependent on our partners to give us scale. Everything that we do — all the tools that we create, the models that we create, any white paper, any best practices that we synthesize — all [of] that is shared with our partners. We actually go and train our partners...we give them one to one training on how to use those tools [and] those methodologies."
Gupta made it clear that Sitecore always wants the implementation partner in the room when SBOS interactions are taking place. The success of the program’s initiative is for everyone involved to have all of the information they need to ensure they are using the software to its full potential for the benefit of the end-user.