AEM Platform Operations: An ounce of prevention can help maximize your return on investment


Rackspace empowers and enables several enterprise customers to take advantage of AdobeĀ® Experience Manager (AEM) and the larger Adobe marketing and commerce ecosystem daily.

Introduction

We frequently get asked the following questions, especially after an incident, outage, or upgrade activity:

  • How can we be better prepared for these challenges in future?
  • Does our architecture and delivery follow best practices?
  • How can we reduce chaos and improve our operational readiness?
  • Is our AEM implementation cloud compatible?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - Benjamin Franklin

AEM is a dynamic and highly customizable content delivery system. Each installation is different, and a heavily used AEM Platform changes constantly. Because companies constantly update and use digital assets, content, configuration elements, and code, Adobe releases service packs, security fixes, version upgrades, and improvements on a regular basis.

What is Health Assessment?

AEM Platform Health Assessment is a detailed review of current implementation and operations compared with available and planned platform features, best practices, and innovation in customer experience delivery. The goal is to enhance the customer experience, improve operational capabilities, and enable the future roadmap, while reducing risk and downtime. Health Assessment also evaluates non-functional aspects such as security, performance, and scalability against established KPIs.

Look at it as a yearly comprehensive doctor visit complete with full panel blood work along with recommendations for improving your long-term health. Or perhaps a comprehensive, multi-point inspection of your vehicle complete with color coded list of items recommended for replacement ordered by priority and risk.

How does it benefit the organization?

A properly engineered and executed Health Assessment helps uncover and highlight potential issues, identify opportunities for optimization, and minimize unscheduled downtime with the following benefits:

  • Improved customer experience: Delivering optimal customer experiences demands optimal performance and operations of your AEM platform. Health Check Assessment recommendations can help improve performance and operational capabilities, leading to better customer experience.

  • Reduced risk: AEM assessments and recommendations, based on Adobe best practices, can reduce security risk when implemented properly.

  • Provide a clear path to reaching goals: The Health Assessment exercise should help establish and track progress toward achieving your business and technical goals, delivering value through:

    • AEM cost optimization.
    • Opportunities to improve content velocity and customer experience.
    • Identified opportunities for reuse in order to reduce custom development.
    • Full utilization of AEM Platform features.
    • Better alignment with the AEM Platform Roadmap.
    • Platform performance optimization and improved customer experience.
    • Security optimization.
    • Managed services operations optimization.

What areas of assessment should you include?

You wouldnā€™t want your vehicle inspection to evaluate only the front half of the vehicle, would you?

An effective Health Assessment should target all the critical aspects of AEM Platform. It should evaluate current state, platform provided features and future state evolution. Additional assessment topics might include specific areas of customization and features of interest for upcoming programs and initiatives.

You can include the following features and topics in the assessment:

  1. Platform and infrastructure
  2. Platform architecture
  3. Development practices and methodology
  4. Application performance and tuning
  5. Security assessment and best practices
  6. Site implementation
  7. Digital asset management, implementation, and use
  8. Configuration management frameworks
  9. Operations and maintenance capabilities
  10. Content delivery network and content cache strategy
  11. Application platform monitoring and alerting

Who should you involve?

A successful and effective AEM Health Assessment is the result of collaborative work across teams. An experienced, senior AEM Architect with experience in all aspects of AEM Platform features, development, delivery, operations, and marketing enablement across multiple projects should perform the primary assessment. Additional AEM resources can help with specific areas of evaluation. Technical and business leads from various teams across the organization play an important role in providing documentation, historical context, KPIs, and established business processes.

What is the outcome?

The Health Assessment provides simple to understand deliverables, highlighting findings by risk level and how actionable they are. Recommendations should provide an appropriate level of context, data collected and analyzed, and include reference documentation. You should treat findings requiring further discovery or remediation activity as separate project or program.

The Assessment report should address the following questions:

  • How is our AEM Platform doing in the context of meeting our objectives?
  • Are there high-risk items that need immediate attention?
  • Are we taking advantage of all the features we invested in?
  • What are the opportunities for cost optimization?
  • What are the opportunities for enhancing our Customer Experience?
  • How can we improve our development velocity?
  • How can we improve our content and experience velocity?
  • How can we be better prepared for AEM Roadmap?
  • What should we be doing to be better compatible with cloud offerings?
  • What are our operational capabilities and how can we improve them?

Sample report

A sample executive summary report might look like the following:

What is next?

AEM Health Assessment recommendations provide valuable insight into current situation and highlight opportunities for improvement. The platform owner should review these recommendations with various stakeholders including enterprise architecture, security, development, operations, and content management leads.

Evaluate each recommendation against business impact and organizational goals and remediate critical items as soon as possible. Your organization might choose to accept certain risk levels and identified items and include non-critical items in ongoing project activities as appropriate.

How can Rackspace help?

As the leading multi-cloud specialists with extensive AEM expertise, Rackspace Technology offers advice and recommendations based on industry-leading best practices, delivered by a large, global pool of technology talent that is dedicated to not just meeting but exceeding your business objectives.

Rackspace offers a comprehensive AEM Health Assessment program. An Adobe Experience Manager Implementation Assessment can take as little as a week to complete, depending on your goals. During the assessment, Rackspace Technology learns about your current business and technical goals through joint workshops and discovers challenges, strategies, and positions related to the use of the AEM application. After we complete all requirements and deep dives, Rackspace Technology creates a detailed findings summary report that provides recommendations and insight into your current position.

Learn more about the AEM Implementation Assessment.

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post avatar
Srini Abbaraju

Srini is Adobe Certified AEM Architect, and brings years of experience in solution design, architecture, development and delivery aspects of Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Experience Platform, eCommerce and other enterprise platforms. Customer success in delivering best-in-class marketing, experience, and commerce experiences is of primary importance to Srini.

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