A few weeks ago I was delighted to host a panel session at our inaugural CMO Series Live event in London. If anyone has been involved in a website build before, you will know they are huge projects which have the ability to cause a lot of headaches. We thought it would be great to invite a firm who were in the midst of a website build to speak with us and share their experience first hand, so we were delighted when Phil Tyler (Digital Lead, Marketing Communications) and Alex Walker (Digital Marketing & Performance Manager) from Lewis Silkin accepted our invite. We were also thrilled to be joined by Bryan Archer from 3chillies (co-founder), who was able to add a more technical view from an agency perspective.
There were 3 key takeaways from the session:
#1 Where do you start when taking on a website build?
- Phil and Alex both talked about the importance of understanding why you need to update your website and setting clear goals.
- In the case of Lewis Silkin, the firm was evolving and reviewing how they go to market. They had clear goals at the start of the website build which included: overhauling accessibility, unifying multiple platforms and consolidating microsites.
- When Lewis Silkin got 3chillies involved, Bryan and his team were able to carry out an audit of the website. Bryan explained how the old website was monolithic and didn't use the full features of Sitecore. Monolithic websites typically lack flexibility and scalability so it was clear that a new approach was needed.
- All three panelists agreed that reviewing the old website and setting clear goals for the new website was a great place to get started.
#2 How do you manage the needs of different stakeholders?
- For Phil and Alex, an important part of building the new website was getting buy in from a variety of stakeholders. It was vital for Phil and Alex to involve stakeholders in the discussion and understand what the website needs to do for each of them.
- Phil and Alex spoke about how they involved all stakeholders in the business, including international stakeholders. They also collected client feedback.
- Whilst this stage (discovery) took a long time, this was essential for success and Alex and Phil both advised anyone taking on a website project to allow enough time for the discovery stage.
#3 How do you seamlessly integrate different technologies into the website?
- One of the challenges for Phil and Alex was how to integrate different technologies into the new website seamlessly. They wanted to use best in class platforms but also needed them all to be connected. Phil described this as an agile approach to leverage integrations. If they needed to remove one technology from their stack, they didn't want the whole website to fall down.
- Bryan and his team were able to build the new website with a composable architecture approach. In Bryan's words the aim for the new website was to "evolve instead of revolutionise". With this approach a new website won't have to be build every 3/4 years. Technologies can easily be added or removed without impacting the entire site.
- This composable approach has allowed Phil and Alex to pick the best in class technologies for their new website. You can read more on composable architecture HERE.