Migration doesn't have to be a burden -- when you have the right team in place.
A website is a very important marketing tool -- possibly the most important marketing tool for your business. It can help you connect with potential customers, promote your products and services, and build your brand. A well-designed website can make it easy for people to find you, learn more about what you offer, and buy what they need.
Because web development is an ever-growing field and because your customer base evolves, too, the average lifespan of a website is around two years. That means that every two years you should be evaluating your site's design, interface, and the platform it's built on. It's not unusual for a site to start in one place and outgrow its original design. One of the more popular frameworks that a site can be based on is a CMS, such as Sitefinity.
About Sitefinity & Progress Software
Sitefinity is a CMS platform built using .NET programming language. It was originally developed by Telerik, a Bulgarian SAAS (software as a service) company that was founded in 2002. In 2014, Telerik was acquired by Progress Software, an American public company that offers enterprise-level software solutions for organizations. Progress has a wide range of product solutions to address organizational needs including:
- Digital Experience (Sitefinity, MOVEit, Sitefinity Insight, etc.)
- Infrastructure Management & Operations (WhatsUp Gold, iMacros, Kemp Loadmaster, etc.)
- Mission-Critical Apps (OpenEdge, Kinvey)
- Secure File Transfer (DataDirect Connectors, OpenAccess, Hybrid Data Pipeline)
- Secure Data Connectivity & Integration (Corticon.js, MOVEit, MOVEit Cloud, etc.)
- UI/UX Tools (Kendo UI, Telerik, Unite UX, etc.)
InGen specialists are expertly trained as .NET developers among other programming technologies and we can help you navigate through the options that Progress offers to build a system that works best for you. One of the great benefits of working with InGen is that while we value Progress software products, we work with many different options that can cater to your business needs and we want to build the best solution for you and not just sell you on a piece of software.
Sitefinity has a lot of benefits as an enterprise-level CMS. The platform provides digital asset management, personalization options, powerful forms, and omnichannel functionality. It's a great tool for both marketers and developers. The interface is intuitive and feature-rich, plus Sitefinity empowers teams to be independent and create content that delivers a powerful digital experience for their customer base.
Sitefinity is --
- Simple but Powerful: Superbly equipped for enterprise-grade performance, scalability, and growth. A rich, contemporary toolset to build, automate and extend. A flexible, API-driven platform built for speed and productivity.
- Easy to Use: Consistently praised for its outstanding ease of use, Sitefinity puts the right tools in the right hands. Whether you're writing content or code, it's a platform that fosters collaboration and creativity.
- Highly Customizable: A mobile-first platform with rich styling and templating. Multichannel delivery, adaptive UX, and content personalization. Powerful add-ons and integrations to enhance the out-of-the-box experience.
How do you migrate your current system to Sitefinity?
If you are considering using Sitefinity and you are building a brand new site, great! Starting from scratch is often the easiest choice. However, if you already have a well-established site, you probably don't want to chance losing any of your invested resources or SEO by starting anew. Good news! Site migration is possible and it's not as complicated as you might think. Here is a checklist you should follow if you are ready to take the plunge and migrate to Sitefinity (or any other CMS).
Engage a support team.
The first thing you will want to do is find a reliable, professional support team. While you might have an internal IT department, that doesn't necessarily mean you have people on your staff that are developers. There is a strong distinction between an IT professional and a Software Developer.
IT roles usually range from Help Desk Support to Network Administrators. And, while there might be overlapping skills between the different types of technical roles, the truth is the people in your IT department already have other roles to fill in your organization. While a site migration doesn't have to be as stressful as one might think, it is good to have a dedicated, trained professional (or team of professionals) who can be focused on that task and not be interrupted by other daily assignments. This is what InGen provides.
Not only do InGen professionals have the skills to complete even the most complicated site migrations, but we also collaborate with our internal team to get feedback from other areas such as design and content to make suggestions to our clients when we see where a system could be improved.
Complete a pre-migration audit of your current site.
This is actually the first step in InGen's process. We will complete a discovery phase where a complete audit of your current site will be performed. From that audit, we will look for potential 'red flags' where there might be concerns to look at as the migration moves forward and we will find out exactly how deep your site is. If you have a website that has been running for many, many years and it hasn't been properly maintained, updated, or reviewed on a regular basis, there could be security issues, unused pages that are taking up bandwidth/resources that can be eliminated, or any variety of additional issues that pile up on a site that isn't being monitored regularly.
Regular audits are good standard practice for any website. If you just want an audit completed, contact us to have one done at no charge! So, what is the difference between a Site Assessment (or audit) and a Discovery Phase (or engagement)? Think of a Site Assessment as if it were the tour of a house when you are looking to buy one. The Discovery Phase is the house inspection. As a home buyer, you get a look at what the house can offer and the house inspection tells you exactly what is behind the walls, under the house, etc. so you know what improvements you are looking at as you walk into the sale.
A full discovery phase is typically a 40-hour (or one entire week) engagement, but a simple audit of your site can usually be completed within a single 8-hour day depending on the breadth and depth of your site. The site assessment is the first step of the discovery phase of a website migration project and it really just scratches the surface of what is needed to build the full road map of your migration or upgrade. Additional steps to the Discovery Phase might include content audit, integration of third-party systems, URL redirect mapping, web style analysis, and risk assessment.
Hold a migration kickoff meeting & create the plan.
This is an essential part of the process. During this meeting (or meetings) the analysis of your Discovery Phase will be discussed and your internal project team, timeline, and budget should be defined. The reason we suggest this as a jumping-off point is that the results of the Discovery Phase should guide the remainder of the process. Going back to the home-buying analogy, after a home inspection is completed, the buyer will submit an addendum to their original purchase agreement that outlines any price adjustments they feel should be made and an estimated/updated moving timeline based on the results of the inspection.
The same is true for the project kickoff timeline and budget. Even though those items might be estimated before entering the Discovery Phase, they will be fleshed out after the results show exactly what is going on with your site. There are many different factors that can't be accounted for until a developer (whether it is an InGen Specialist or someone else) looks under the hood.
At the conclusion of this meeting, a preliminary plan should be in place and the next steps should be scheduled. It's important to go into a project like this with an open mind and some flexibility. A website is organic and ever-changing. Best-laid plans might need to be changed on the fly and if you have the right type of agile professionals engaged for the project they should be able to adapt quickly and without any of your time lost.
Run the project and get trained.
At this point in the process, it's really about following the project plan. A backup of your current site should start the migration process and after the migration is completed, the site should be tested and monitored for any glitches that might occur. There is always the chance that some styles might not carry over from one system to the next and it's important to identify those quickly so that the user experience isn't affected. In addition to final testing and monitoring, your team should receive some training on Sitefinity (or whatever new CMS platform you are using).
You should have a Content Editor defined - whether this is an individual on your marketing team or IT department - a champion for your website is crucial to the long-term success of your site. InGen does provide training to ensure your team is empowered to be successful into the future. In addition to our development roles, we can also provide Content Editing services. This is something that can be discussed as the project begins its final phases.
A CMS migration -- especially to a brand new system such as Sitefinity -- can be overwhelming. The important thing to remember is that it is manageable and if you engage the right migration partner, most of the stress should be off your plate. It should be a seamless experience for you and your users. InGen has nearly 40 years of experience with software development and our specialists were among the first partners with Progress Software to provide direct service to Sitefinity customers. If you are ready to get started, contact us today.