Planning an AEM implementation? Here are 4 considerations

Author: MengKhong Tong

Enterprises are looking to deliver a seamless, omni-channel digital experience for their clients. They want to capitalize on data to drive personalization at scale and grow business. And they want to use the leading platform on the market: Adobe Experience Manager (AEM).

But like many technologies, implementing AEM is not always smooth sailing. Faulty platform integrations and performance issues can eat into return on investment (ROI). Security issues can put your organization at risk. And underestimating future needs can lead to problems down the road.

However, most challenges can be sidestepped with careful planning. In this article, I’ll share four planning considerations that can help you set up your AEM system for greater success.

1. Nail down performance requirements

When planning an AEM implementation, it’s important to fully understand requirements around performance in key areas. Questions to ask might include:

  • How long should it take to open a page?
  • How many content editors will be making concurrent edits?
  • How long should it take to process a transaction if there are plans to have a booking or payment system?
  • How will your system handle images, and what kinds of caching mechanisms need to be put into place?

Your answers to these and other performance-related questions will impact how you build out your AEM architecture. In addition to current needs, organizations also need to think about these questions in terms of future scaling. For example, I’ve seen situations where one AEM instance was working fine for content editors. But as the organization grew, they began to have serious performance issues because they hadn’t planned to scale.

2. Build in end-to-end security

Hackers are always inventing new ways to wreak havoc, which means that end-to-end security must planned from the start. Unfortunately, AEM is not completely secure out of the box, so it’s essential to research and incorporate best practice guidance when planning your AEM architecture. It’s also important to take advantage of AEM security checklists to avoid misconfigurations and loopholes, comply with intended usage guidelines, and to ensure, for example, that AEM instances or custom URLs are not available externally to those who might exploit them.

3. Anticipate product integrations

Will your AEM implementation integrate with other products? Planning for integrations upfront is critical to avoiding issues down the road. For each integration that you identify, make sure your system can accommodate data volume requirements, integration protocols, file transfers, messaging queues, and future scaling needs.

Case in point: I encountered one difficult situation where AEM pulled product information from SAP Hybris. But because the organization had not accurately anticipated data volumes, the system was unable to accommodate the amount of data coming through, leading to lost messages, data errors and inconsistencies, and repository corruption.

4. Plan for content delivery

Make sure you have plans in place for content delivery and that production content is replicated back to development servers. The reason for this is that once content goes into production, you continue to add new templates, pages, functionalities and use cases. This content, in essence, takes on a life of its own. And if you don’t make plans to replicate it back to development servers, it can lead to all sorts of issues.

For example, I know of one organization that added new functionality to auto-generate images to accommodate different screen sizes—and assumed that existing production images could be adjusted. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and images stopped appearing on the website.

Additional AEM implementation considerations

Of course, there are plenty of other questions to ask during the planning phase to ensure you’ve accommodated your business needs. Such questions might include:

  • How many languages do you need?
  • In which countries will you be running websites, and how will these sites integrate with your other systems?
  • Do you need to customize the implementation, and if so, what happens to those customizations when AEM is upgraded?

The key is to involve the right people and think through all the questions you can in advance.

Create an implementation roadmap with a Beyondsoft AEM assessment

Establishing a roadmap should be the first step in your AEM implementation. Seeking out professional AEM expertise during the planning phase can save money and stress in the long run—and ensure an optimal user experience.

As a strategic IT firm, Beyondsoft has been empowering global customers through emerging and disruptive technologies like AEM since 1995. In fact, some of the world’s leading corporations have relied on our certified AEM experts to plan, secure, implement, and optimize their AEM deployments.

With an AEM Assessment from Beyondsoft, our experienced experts will work with you to understand your business goals now and in the future, examine your existing infrastructure, assess your requirements, and build a step-by-step roadmap to help you get the most out of your AEM investment. To learn more, contact one of our experts. If you’ve already implemented AEM, Beyondsoft considering looking into out AEM Health Check & Performance Tuning engagement to identify vulnerabilities and ensure your system is secure and performing optimally.

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