Choosing the Right Headless CMS Implementation Partner

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Adna Tuzlak
April 14, 2021 5 min read
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Migrating to a headless CMS is a thorough and demanding process. Each step requires careful consideration – from deciding whether to switch in the first place, to finding the right vendor, to implementing the platform and adapting to it. Having discussed headless before, we’ve touched on all the steps except implementation. 

Namely, there’s no doubt that many teams can handle the implementation of a new headless CMS on their own. However, it’s always best to find an experienced implementation partner to work with. 

In this blog, we will shed light on how you can select a partner you’ll be more than happy with.  


Choose a certified partner 

In our blog on choosing a headless CMS vendor, we suggested you check whether your vendors of choice have any certified partners. That’s because it really matters. If you’ve decided to make such a big change, surely you’d want the implementation to go as seamlessly as possible so you can start this new venture properly. 

Selecting a vendor’s certified partner for the implementation of your new CMS means that you can rest assured that the process will go smoothly. Certified partners are acquainted with all the latest developments and changes to a particular CMS, they’re trained to excel in working with the platform, and they follow all the best practices. 

The issue is, there are many fish in the sea of web development and digital agencies partnered with CMS vendors. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused as to how to make the right choice. Here are 5 things that’ll help you narrow down your list. 


1. Vendor-partner relationship 

The relationship between your headless CMS vendor and implementation partner is likely to influence your migration process. It will show you what to expect from your partner in terms of approach and proficiency. 

First, you should check how long the partnership has lasted. Naturally, the longer your partner has worked with the vendor, the more experience with the platform the team will have. Moreover, a long-standing partnership indicates professionalism and expertise on both ends. 

In addition, you can check both the vendor’s and partner’s social media profiles. See if they are sharing content about one another. While a purely professional relationship is perfectly sufficient, social media posts are a bonus because they may be a sign of an even deeper sense of mutual trust and support between the two. 

Of course, the most significant thing to consider is the in-house team’s skill alone. Discuss with them to see how long they’ve been working with your platform of choice and see if they have any previous projects to show you. It’s crucial that your agency knows the platform inside out and is genuinely dedicated to it. 


2. Experience with previous CMS 

Switching to a new platform hardly means simply “transferring” content from one system to another. That’s why your implementation partner’s knowledge of your previous platform is just as important as their skill with the CMS you’ve selected. 

The agency you’re working with should be well-acquainted with the framework and tools previously involved in your content management. This will streamline the integration process and minimise the risk of compromising your migration to headless. 

Proficiency with your previous systems also means that the team are dedicated to positioning themselves as authority figures in the industry. Instead of assembling a one-note agency, they are aiming for diversity in skill. That way, they can ultimately be ready to help with any given issue their client may have. 


3. Beyond the technical 

We’ve already stated that a relationship beyond the professional/technical between the vendor and partner means a lot. The same goes for the partnership between your implementation specialist and you. While the technical expertise is the topmost part of your migration process, you should choose an agency that does more than just get the job done. 

One of the factors to look at is communication; see if the implementation team are striving to communicate with you in a healthy and effective manner. If so, it means they want to fully understand your ultimate goals and do their best to meet your demands and expectations. If you’re uncertain about something, they can help you get to a crystal-clear idea of what it is your business would benefit most from.  

Aside from successfully implementing your headless CMS, your agency should consider the future of your brand and business. A good agency will provide advice on how to boost your digital strategy and strengthen your online presence. Besides, a solid implementation partner will always keep the end user experience in mind, because your digital presence is ultimately supposed to serve your potential customers.   


4. Support and guidance 

You should insist on a partner who will offer guidance to you and your own team. It’s nice to have an expert take care of everything while you sit back, but gaining an understanding of the platform while the migration is taking place can make your getting used to easier later on. 

The implementation team walking you through the process and answering questions is part of establishing a relationship beyond the technical. It means they’re genuinely invested in helping you grow on multiple levels. The more familiar you are with your CMS/DXP (digital experience platform), the more you’ll be able to leverage its benefits. 

Furthermore, their readiness to support and guide you from the outset also foreshadows their attitude to helping you in the future. In a perfect world, systems would work impeccably for as long as you need them. However, in reality, it’s highly likely that you’ll need assistance at some point. Having a partner you can count on for that is crucial for your business success.  


5. Qualifications & certifications 

We suggest you check whether the members of the implementation team have any specific certifications and/or qualifications. It’s a great sign if the agency as a whole has been certified, licensed and/or awarded within the industry, but you should be especially familiar with the individuals that are actually working on the project.  

So, you should see whether the implementation team members have been accredited any way by authoritative institutions in the field. After all, they’ll be the ones behind the wheel on your journey towards headless, so you’ll want to ensure that their competencies are exceptional. 


Conclusion 

It may be challenging to pick the right implementation partner to make your business vision come to life. Without a doubt, it pays off to carefully consider your options and keep in mind the advice we presented. Making a good decision doesn’t only mean your online presence will pop – you’ll also gain a long-term partner who will make sure to never let your business fall into the background. 


If you have any further questions or need help implementing your headless platform, digital agency GRM Digital can assist you in making the process as smooth as possible and future-proofing your CMS.