5 tips for guiding your clients (and your agency) through Adobe Business Catalyst End Of Life
Enginate is a Siteglide Gold Expert agency based in Chicago with over 18 years of experience building, supporting, and growing online businesses.
In the past year we’ve had many conversations with fellow Business Catalyst Partners who are navigating how to move their clients off Adobe’s platform and onto a new platform.
Our platform of choice has been Siteglide, and with this deadline fast approaching, we wanted to share what we’ve learned working on these projects so far.
1) You’re “rebuilding”, not “migrating”
We’ve stopped using the word 'migration' completely. We replaced it with Rebuild. That’s what’s needed. People coming off of Adobe BC need to rebuild their site, because their site is often much more than just HTML/CSS.
Here’s an analogy...one day you find out that your custom house is on land that will soon be reclaimed. There’s nothing you can do to stop this, and if you don’t move your house, it will be torn down. Yes, you could potentially pick up the house and move it to another piece of land. But it would be much more involved to rebuild your plumbing, electrical and systems within your house.
In this analogy, your house is the website. The land is your platform (Adobe BC in this case). And the plumbing is all the workflows, web apps, processes and BC specific code in the online business.
The good news is that rebuilding has its benefits. You end up building a modern, up to date version of an online business that serves your client better. In cases where a site had modern HTML/CSS we were even able to move all of it, and spend our time rebuilding the “plumbing and electrical” on Siteglide.
2) Will you add or subtract complexity when you rebuild?
Chances are your client’s website was built a few years ago, when their business was different. Are there things that are no longer needed, or some missing pieces to their online infrastructure?
It’s ok to rebuild simpler (less budget). For instance, in one case we replaced a multi-page website with a single page sales page and some payment functionality. It was all the business needed right now.
Siteglide lets us scale things in the future as needed, all on the same platform, so we end up saying “yes that can be done” more often.
Lastly, we’ve also leveraged Sitegurus.io for some of the development work. It's worth checking out their model as they can help with anything from a tiny task to a custom build, it's reliable and great value.
3) Be fair to your client AND your agency
Many agency owners I’ve spoken with say they’re struggling with how to break the news to their clients that they need to rebuild their online business elsewhere. Some even say they are sharing the financial burden of these migrations with their clients because, as their client has put it, “this was not their choice”.
A healthy dose of empathy goes a long way here - picture the two of you on the SAME side of the table working to figure out the best path forward. And as an agency owner remember to be fair to yourself in this process - this change was out of your hands as well.
Businesses and non-profits are used to decisions like this. In a given month they may be confronted with 10 other things outside of their control, and they navigate those regularly - paying for many of them.
This is no different - but you can make it easier by learning the platform, doing some solid Discovery, and being realistic with timelines. Always give your client a “simple” option (often a smaller investment) and see if it will solve their needs.
4) Does it make sense to move right now and rebuild later?
Let’s say you’re in a situation where you do not have time for an entire rebuild. You need to get a site off of BC in a matter of days or weeks, not months.
You do have the option of moving the existing design and front-end code (HTML/CSS) over to Siteglide quickly using their Site Importer tool (often with immediate speed gains which is great for SEO).
This would get your existing site over, and then you can work on the backend “plumbing” and integration into Siteglide to make client editing easier and more efficient as time permits.
5) Prepare for a better agency experience
We worked with Adobe for over 10 years, and experienced a wide range of service. In years where BC had a large team, we often spoke directly with engineers. At this point in time, minimal support resources have been much more difficult to work with.
Our experience with Siteglide has been completely different. Since becoming partners, we’ve experienced very responsive support, a receptive product development team, and leadership committed to listening to those who use the system day to day.
Best of all, the days of waiting 6-12 months for new features (common with Adobe) are over. Siteglide ships new features and fixes at an impressive rate.
Hopefully these tips will make your experience moving sites off of Adobe BC better. We’ll continue sharing our experience with the community as we learn more.