Why choose Stage Two to help with your SDL upgrade?

Upgrading SDL Web / SDL Tridon can seem like a daunting task, but it really is not as big a challenge as you might think. This has never been more true than with the improvements made in SDL Tridion 2013+ and staged upgrades.

Our team of experienced consultants have over 40 years of combined SDL experience, starting with SDL Tridion 5.2 back in 2005. Included in our core team are several 5+ year SDL veterans and two SDL Web MVP’s (both for four years running).

We’ve seen our fair share of upgrades over the years, and are familiar with the process (and the potential problems).

First, Why Upgrade At All?

Besides the obvious, new features, why else would you want to upgrade? Upgrading to get new features is great, but realistically it will take time to implement and get value from those new features, so what are the immediate benefits you can enjoy?

  • Product support - SDL now supports major versions for four years, which means SDL Tridion 2013 installs are coming to the end of their included support
  • Security - Upgrading the CMS is a good opportunity to update the underlying operating systems, database servers, Java version and hardware providers. Staying upto date helps keep your data safe
  • Cloud readiness - with each release SDL improves its Cloud compatibility. In the latest release (SDL Web 8.5) you can take advantage of cloud databases like RDS and SQL Azure
  • Performance - Each version of SDL has performance improvements which users will begin to see immediately. SDL Web 8.5 has an enhancement which allows multimedia assets to be stored outside of the database
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Choosing the Right Type of Upgrade?

No two upgrades are the same, and the upgrade strategy has to fit to your business. At a high level, you can look at the following options (depending on current and target versions):

  • In-place upgrade - upgrade the existing system in-place on the same hardware (or virtual environment) - this is normally not very desirable, as it will have the biggest downtime and maximum risk
  • Parallel upgrade - build parallel environments on new hardware (or virtual servers) that can be fully configured and tested while business as usual proceeds on the legacy system. Only once each environment is ready and tested is traffic diverted to the new environment - this is currently the most common approach
  • Content Manager first - Upgrade the Content Manager portion of the environment, and have it publish to the legacy Content Delivery (upgraded later) - this is a great option to quickly get new Content Manager features in a short timeline
  • Content Delivery first - Upgrade the Content Delivery portion of the environment, leaving the Content Manager on the legacy version (upgraded later) - again a great option to take advantage of new Content Delivery features quickly

In most scenarios, this also includes some adoption (if not all) of the Cloud, with either Content Manager and/or Content Delivery moving off premise.

As part of your upgrade process, we’ll help with the infrastructure selection so the upgrade is as smooth as possible with minimal downtime.

Our SDL Upgrade Process

We have a four-step upgrade process:

Step 1 – The Audit

During this audit, every aspect of the system in analysed, including additional modules, customizations, implementation architecture, content manager architecture, user base, known problems & bottlenecks etc… No stone is left un-turned.

Spending time on the audit helps us predict and mitigate for unwanted surprises during the upgrade.

Step 2 – The Plan

From the audit we build a plan - together with yourselves.

The plan covers immediate actions (quick wins), upgrade process (and type), middle-term actions, on-going maintenance, and longer-term improvements, so that you can align with your business objectives and key delivery dates.

Here we can also agree any high level goals we’d like to improve upon, like environment refresh process, continuous delivery or automated testing.

Step 3 – Execute

Once the plan is agreed, taking into account other business activities and important milestones, it is time to execute.

Together we work as a team, to get the best results. Working openly and collaboratively is the key to success.

Step 4 – Take advantage of the new features

Again, looking back to the plan this is where we’d look at the middle to long-term goals and taking advantage of the new platform we’ve deployed.

These actions will be prioritized based on the business objectives you’re trying to achieve.

If you’d like to discuss an upgrade, and how Stage Two could support you, please get in touch. Our contact details are below

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Packages

To get the ball rolling, step one is the audit. We believe in being transparent, and therefore offer the following audit package to all new and existing customers.

Analysis (5 days) & Report (5 days)

Ideally onsite, with your teams support, but possible remotely with the correct level of access, our team will review your current implementation. We'll leave no stone unturned, looking into the following, amongst other things:

  • Infrastructure
  • BluePrint
  • Back Office Architecture & Implementation
  • Front Office Architecture & Implementation
  • HTML & Frontend Performance
  • Team interviews to identify quick wins
  • Modules

Deliverables

A detailed report, covering amongst other things:

  • Analysis of current system & implementation
  • Risks & steps needed for upgrade
  • Middle & long term enhancements to be considered alongside other business objectives
  • A draft plan for next steps, to be refined collaboratively

Pricing

$10,000 / £7500

* Prices accurate for 2017 and exclusive of travel & expenses. The timings specified in this package should cover 90% of implementations; if your solution is too large (or too small) for this we can work together to adjust accordingly.