Boost your program with an Optimizely solutions partner

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This article is part of The Optimization Methodology series.

Optimizely Experimentation makes it easy to A/B test and personalize your website or mobile app. However, building an optimization program that increases your company's use of data can be challenging. While you can build an in-house team to help you, you can also work with an Optimizely solutions partner to build experiments and turn your program into a center of excellence. Optimizely Experimentation works with a global network of solutions partners who are certified platform and strategic experts.

Depending on your needs and level of commitment, a partner can help you:

  • Identify opportunities and create a strategic roadmap for testing and personalization.
  • Design and build tests to efficiently answer the questions you are interested in and ensure that you are making gains.
  • Evaluate your results and leverage insights for further optimization.
  • Connect your program to company goals.
  • Accelerate experience optimization at your company.

Evaluate your organizational readiness

Although building an in-house program can foster innovation and optimization at your company, a solutions partner can help you integrate optimization into processes across your business units.

Start by evaluating your company’s organizational readiness for building a full program. Consider the skill sets and resources that you need on your team. You can build your first tests without developer resources, for example, but over time, you will likely need a developer to help create more sophisticated tests and campaigns and drive a strategic roadmap. Additionally, teams with strong group dynamics and functional processes can collaborate faster to deliver value through optimization. If speed-to-value is important to your company and you are not ready to launch a full, functional team, work with a partner to accelerate your program.

Here are a few questions to help you evaluate your organizational readiness.

Program timeline:

  • When do you plan to run your first test?
  • How many tests do you plan to run per month?

Developer resources:

  • Do you have technical resources available to you?
  • Do you have developer resources that are dedicated to testing and personalization?
  • Do you plan to run tests that require technical resources to implement (for example, test lightboxes versus banners, experiment with new modules, or test a search algorithm)?

Strategic experience:

  • Do you have an analyst who can evaluate site performance and identify testing opportunities?
  • Do you have an executive sponsor who will ensure that the optimization plan aligns to the company’s strategic initiatives?
  • Does someone on your team have experience in building an optimization roadmap?
  • Do you have a process in place for documenting tests and campaigns?

A solutions partner may help you reach your goals faster.

Decide between a solutions partner and an in-house team

Solutions partners have years of industry experience and technical expertise and provide a wide range of services and packages. They can help you solve problems like change management or overcome technical hurdles.

Some companies partner with an agency for a limited term. For example, a small program might develop a more sophisticated roadmap by partnering with a digital agency for better analytics integrations. The agency implements the set up and recommends a few additional custom solutions that they know are effective. The program can now optimize and iterate again with better tools.

Other companies rely on full-service digital agencies to deliver ROI through optimization. A large, traditional company optimizing for the first time may use the agency to develop the strategy and run the program so key stakeholders can focus on the new business model. The company and agency work together to build a business that delivers value to customers.

Signs that you should work with a partner

  • You want to prioritize speed to value.
  • Your team does not have all skill sets needed for your roadmap.
  • You need to jump-start a new program and show ROI quickly.
  • Your program has hit a plateau (for example, you only build experiments with the Visual Editor, or most of your tests target the same pages on your site).
  • You want to pay for consulting and have a professional services culture.

Signs that you should build a team in-house

  • Your company embraces new technologies and is willing to invest in creating an optimization center of excellence.
  • You have important skill sets available in your team or company or are willing to build or acquire them.
  • Your company has a culture of experimentation and innovation.
  • You are interested in working with Customer Success to build a strong program.
  • The digital experience is central to your business.

You can also do both: build a team internally and work with a solutions partner at the same time. When you partner with an agency, you pay for their expertise and ability to deliver value quickly. They can help you identify the best approach for your program’s needs.

Find a partner

Each solutions partner is different. Look for a partner whose strengths match the service you need the most. When interviewing an agency, share your expectations and what you want to accomplish. The more insight you can provide around your goals and needs, the better you can evaluate the potential relationship.

These questions may help:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • What goals are your top priority?
  • What pain points do you face?
  • If you have an existing program, what is going well and what is not working?
  • What would you like to achieve in the next six months?
  • What trends are driving your business?
  • What are your key metrics?

Use these details to evaluate whether the partner is a good fit. You can also let the partner facilitate an open discovery session to determine the best way forward.

Consider geography – Having a partner nearby can facilitate certain tasks, such as face-to-face whiteboarding sessions. It can also protect against communication lag from time zones.

Define the roles in the partnership – Which parts of the roadmap do you expect to own? Many solutions partners specialize in building effective processes and can provide insights for your roadmap. They can help guide your program. If you need a specific skill set, such as technical skills, consider hiring a junior developer instead.

Work with a partner

Every agency is different, so you may find that one partner has strengths in a certain type of work but another does not. There are, however, a few areas that commonly cause friction.

To avoid complications, pay attention to the scope of your contract. For example, a partner may be able to optimize your website with Optimizely Experimentation but might not be able to build email campaigns that send traffic to the experiences you deliver on the landing page through Optimizely. 

Perhaps you hire a solutions partner to help your program with research and results analysis for three months before transitioning the job to a team member. Agencies will help you grow your program, but some may not have the time to mentor an individual directly.

You can still learn from working closely with the agency and its deliverables. Notice how they approach different problems. A partner can help your program launch and grow and deliver value with velocity.