Gone are the days when designing a webpage required a technical expert to manage it. Now we have Experience Management Platforms (EMPs) or more precisely content management platforms to cater to this need. More and more businesses are now realising that using EMPs is a great way to manage customer experience across all channels and devices.
The market no doubt is flooded with numerous platforms offering amazing business friendly capabilities. It’s a different debate as to which EMP is better for your business and what you need to look for. Of course thorough vetting & choosing the right platform for your business model is critical, the key however lies in how you sail through the implementation and that largely depends on the implementation model you choose.
The concept of multi-vendor engagement to execute the whole implementation has been in practice for a long time now where typically businesses choose 2 different agencies to perform UX design & platform implementation. It’s hard to believe there is any advantage to this, on the contrary, this model has proved to be risky & expensive. The only reason I would go with a multi-vendor engagement is when any one agency does not possess the end to end capability or even if one does, I am not confident enough in their capability. My skepticism is based on factual truths that encompasses this model:
- Project Scope: Since the teams are diversified they are unlikely to be on the same page from the project scope perspective which is a huge risk right from the beginning. There are more chances of project going haywire due to this than anything else.
- UX & Platform Understanding: UX agencies are simply clueless about platform capabilities and they hardly consider the technical challenges and on-going management of the experience by the business users. While they are more ingrained on achieving the right customer experience they imagine it’s all doable from a functional perspective resulting in designs which might be too complicated to achieve from a technical perspective creating more differences between design & tech.
- Resolution Mechanics: Resolving differences & triaging becomes nightmare and, in most cases, fail because of the impasse situation between the two agencies.
- Cultural Differences: Not to forget the blame games that follow due to the cultural differences between the teams!!
The overall impact results in project schedules going haywire, higher costs and client getting frustrated.
The obvious option to overcome the above risks is to find a full spectrum solution provider who can render end to end services including UX & platform implementation. Even though the risks are not completely ruled out, it will be considerably less and manageable with a single SI. I am not going to talk about where or how to look for a full spectrum SI, the point I am trying to make is how it is going to benefit the clients at the end of the day.
Having a full spectrum solution provider (in-house) will help in:
- Seamless Collaboration: With a Full spectrum SI the UX & Tech teams enables greater collaboration right from the beginning which considerably reduces the risk of scope & solution misunderstanding. Eliminating this risk is key to a successful project execution because the teams are working towards what has been committed to deliver.
- Knowledge Sharing: With greater collaboration, UX & Tech can hash out the technicalities to be considered while finalizing the UX designs thereby reducing the risk of over-engineering by the UX team. This does not mean the UX team is fine without platform knowledge. While it’s unfair to expect an UX designer to know end to end platform capabilities, a fair understanding of basic functionalities is a must, and this can be easily accomplished if the teams are in-house. This will result in formulating a conducive experience design which can be realized technically without conflicts.
- Project Ownership: With a full spectrum SI there is usually a Project Manager who takes ownership of the entire project delivery. A Project Manager aligns all the different departments to work towards a common goal. This benefits the client stakeholders because they have a single team and a single POC to reach out to for anything related to the project. There is no denial that there can be intra team conflicts and that team dynamics can change over time, but this does not impact the client any way from a project deliverable perspective, it is still better than having to deal with inter-company conflicts.
- Seamless Transition & Business Enablement: Assuming all has gone well during the implementation stages, business enablement — a key activity to empower the clients to operate on the new platform, becomes much simpler and easier because the entire implementation team is available to take care of client requests, fixes, deployments without any dependencies.
The multi-vendor model has been tried, tested and the verdict is not in favor of it because of the complexities it brings. On the other hand, the unified model is being increasingly re-embraced because of the complexities it mitigates. So next time you are up for another experience platform implementation make an informed decision considering the insights I have shed some light on!