Your website is not unique. You have invested large piles of money, time, & resources to create a web site that is just like every other one on the planet. You do not spend time on creative, instead you look at what your leading competi­tor site is doing and copy their design. You take the money set aside on differ­en­ti­at­ing your company, soak it in gaso­line and light it on fire.

Sound like your busi­ness approach?

No?

Yet in almost every conver­sa­tion about differ­ent TMS vendors the how-many-templates-do-you-have metric is tossed around like a badge of honor; as if the sheer number of pre-defined, non-custom, rigid scripts is some­thing to be proud of.

Template Time

This knife has 432 differ­ent things (not really, I made that up) with sharp edges to cut things.  And yet every single one of these tools is a poor stand-in for its real equiv­a­lent. Lousy scis­sors are not scis­sors when you need scis­sors. A 116″ wide screw­driver tip is useless when you’re build­ing a skyscraper. Your busi­ness isn’t an erector set; it’s the real deal. You need real, full-sized, enter­prise-grade tools. Minia­ture stand-ins won’t cut it, and truth be told, you’ll just throw them away when you get to real work.

Why does this matter?

My frus­tra­tion is genuine. When I was on the consult­ing side of the busi­ness, I had the oppor­tu­nity to work with most all TMS vendors on projects that ranged from a few hundred to a few thou­sand hours.  One of the most frus­trat­ing things that would happen on nearly every project was false expec­ta­tions from the client about how easy utiliz­ing the templates would be.  In all of those projects, we actu­ally NEVER used a single template for a client site. In real-world use, they were simply not flex­i­ble, power­ful, or durable enough to meet our needs.

Every template or prede­fined frame­work we eval­u­ated was either over-engi­neered and tried to do too many things, or was not able to be easily modi­fied by the end user. All of this is great to feed hungry consul­tants who survive off of more service & support hours, but if the goal is to give the client a flex­i­ble frame­work that is supposed to actu­ally deliver on the promise of stream­lin­ing their work­flow and processes, then a template-driven approach is not for you.

I hear what you are think­ing.  You think that I have been drink­ing too much of the Satel­lite Kool-Aid. While it is deli­cious, the truth is this comes from my expe­ri­ence in the real world, like the follow­ing use case of some­thing simple like adding Google Adwords conver­sion code to your site.

Satellite Implementation Steps

Step 1.  Copy the entire code snippet of the Google Adwords conver­sion code.  That’s right, all of it.  With other tools, you need to worry about convert­ing this tag to the raw javascript, parsing out all of the account id’s, and making other modi­fi­ca­tions to make a template work. With Satel­lite, just copy the entire code.