AEM Consultants: The Best Resources for Your Implementation Needs

AEM | January 19, 2017

One of the biggest issues facing any company looking to either create a website using AEM, or building out their current AEM implementation, is finding the right people for the job. Because AEM has many different technical capabilities, looking for developers to build or utilize an AEM platform that will help you achieve your business goals can be difficult because of the lack of resources with AEM development experience. You can look for seasoned developers or resources with other WCM experience, but due to the vast amount of different technologies (e.g. sling, osgi, and jsp) available, systems utilized, and need for customization, AEM development will still have a steep learning curve.

One of the most common ways to address this issue is to create a team of hired consultants or simply augment your existing staff. Depending on your situation, either of these solutions can be just what you need to add the right resources; i.e. those with an existing knowledge of the AEM system and the add-ons available to enhance the platform. Our experts at iCiDIGITAL are those right resources, and have both the skills and experience to develop the best system for your success.

AEM is one of the more complex but powerful WCM systems for an enterprise level business. It is made up of quite a few technologies that work cohesively to create the system and can seem very daunting for a developer trying to work with it for the first time. It took me almost two full weeks to fully understand and develop my first component.

Knowledge is Paramount

The development process can be delayed significantly while inexperienced developers spend time pouring over documentation and writing less than ‘AEM best-practice’ code that must be rewritten later by a more experienced AEM developer.

Many times other useful pieces of the Adobe Marketing Cloud will be utilized alongside AEM. The marketing cloud includes products such as Adobe’s analytics, campaigns and audience manager. Each of these have their own unique nuances that need to be accounted for when creating a complete AEM solution. 

Hire Real-World Experience

In addition to having a solid knowledge base, good consultants have worked on a variety of different projects and for many of those needed to create a somewhat customized solution for each. When they are working on your implementation, this experience can be extremely useful because the problems you face may have already been successfully tackled in their other projects.

And there will be problems. The variety of issues that can occur is rather vast; such as getting all your bundles to resolve correctly, personalization working exactly as you would like and why some of the out of the box components require so much authoring. Solutions can include re-writing entire parts of the initial implementation from scratch to improving or enhancing existing functionality to fit a customer’s needs.

Be Aware of Possible Issues

A big piece to the work required to move to AEM from static or other CMS based sites is how to get the content from the previous system. Content migration is not merely an extraction of data from one system and injecting it into another. The complexities of maintaining content integrity and accuracy are numerous.

At iCiDigital we have consultants who have worked on big, complicated, data migrations. We know that poorly planned and executed data migrations lead to cost overruns, project delays, and potential data corruption, among other issues.

A Developer’s Culture Matters to You

Along with the consultant’s personal previous project experience, it’s important to remember that essentially you are tapping into the entire knowledge base of the company as well. So it’s to your benefit to start with a company that has a solid foundation of development work.

At iCiDigital we cultivate a culture conducive to sharing knowledge and discussing the different issues we work through with our colleagues.  This allows us to fully utilize the company’s combined experience and give better products to our customers. If there is an issue that a consultant has trouble figuring out, they can tap into the knowledge of the other consultants within our company for help.

While hiring a staff from a variety of firms could sound like the ideal solution, the investment required may not outweigh the experience and cohesiveness of one firm and what that brings to your project.

AEM can be a daunting system to work with, but at its full capability, it can be one of the most powerful tools for providing an amazing web experience for your customers. Integrated with components like analytics or content targeting can also increase the effectiveness of the user experience. Unfortunately, due to the general lack of experienced developers and AEM’s steep learning curve, this level of performance can be difficult to achieve.

Consider the knowledge and experience an expert-rich company like iCiDIGITAL can bring to your project.  Your success depends on the capabilities of the developers you enlist to properly utilize the system and create the best solution to meet your business needs and ultimately give your customers a great experience.

Ryan Cude is an AEM consultant with experience in both front and back end design and development. He has over a year of experience with Java and AEM development. Is certified in Adobe CQ5.5 Component Development and has worked on multiple projects. In his free time he enjoys concerts, cooking, and investigating different technologies for personal projects.