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Rapid Site Launch With Site Factory & Site Studio
We supported our partner Acquia by collaboratively engineering a tool to help a big pharma company rapidly launch new brand websites. Harnessing the power of Drupal and Acquia’s products, Site Factory and Site Studio, the tool lets the customer offer consistent brand experiences and personalized user journeys to site visitors.
About the customer
With 400+ companies in almost 100 countries and a focus in healthcare and agriculture, this life sciences leader is known for innovative R&D activities focused on preventing and treating diseases around the world. It is also a supplier of quality animal feed and organic materials and more.
countries in operation
The customer needed to create a large number of websites (approximately 1500) for its varied brands in different geographies.
Prior to working with an Acquia and Axelerant partnership, the customer had been working with another vendor using Site Factory. Unfortunately, their users in local markets and brand agencies were facing difficulties with the more technical aspects of Drupal and Site Factory, and the velocity of site deployment was slower than expected.
The customer wanted to build a powerful and scalable multisite platform on Drupal with an intuitive and easy to use UI. They decided to work with Acquia to create a self-service platform which would enable local markets to create sites without the need for any technical intervention, project management, or development teams. Site Factory provided the multisite platform support. It also provided the hosting and monitoring infrastructure.
The customer chose Acquia’s Site Studio as their low code site builder tool. Site Studio offers an intuitive and easy to use user interface for content editors along with portable configurations. These configurations can be captured and exported as packages, and reused on other sites. We leveraged this aspect and created packages that could be reused as applicable.
Site launches could happen faster with this simplified process, while ensuring a consistent look and feel across sites. At the same time, sites built on site studio are less prone to developer errors. in addition to their goal of achieving sustainable inhouse self-service to decrease dependencies, the customer wanted to achieve the following objectives:
01. Reduce Time to Launch
02. Achieve Cost Savings
03. Improve Experience
04. Achieve Successful Governance
The customer needed to significantly reduce the time needed to launch a simple site as well as build a site specific look and feel.
They also wanted to achieve cost savings in site building, and decrease the percentage of defects found in user acceptance testing (UAT).
The websites needed to be WCAG 2.1 compliant, integrated into their existing ecosystem, and offer an improved collaboration experience.
They also wanted to achieve successful governance of the sites in terms of design and other aspects.
The large number of sites, need for personalized user journeys and need for identity management added to the complexity of the project.
The Website Factory is a tool that the customer wanted to allow users to build and manage sites in a consolidated UI. This would involve Drupal, Site Studio, decoupled components, and a Self Service Portal (SSP) to accelerate site building.
The team created this platform on top of the Site Factory API, ensuring it was simple enough to be used by non-technical users. They began by dividing the websites into a number of groups. Then they created a set number of templates with enough extension points built in. Each template defined the Site Studio components used, while everything else was managed on top of the Site Factory API.
Creating a package and a set of components for one group of sites was significantly faster than creating a theme by doing actual development. The team chose the automated Site Studio package import mechanism during site installation and update to manage Site Studio configurations. In this system, while Site Factory handles site creation and the backend is handled by Drupal, Site Studio substitutes the theming effort completely, adding extra features like a ready to use content editor, enabling users to create content and style it.
All users have to do is go to the tool, initiate the site creation process, choose which site template to use (this will instruct Site Factory to create a site with that profile), and then select which Site Studio package to use.
At the beginning of the engagement, there were around 2,000 bugs that had accumulated over a period of time. Through this engagement, we were able to provide the customer with a stable platform, high velocity site creation, and fewer issues reported.
The project was begun in September 2019, and close to 400 sites are already live.
Large Number Of Sites
Of the approximately 1500 sites that needed to be built on Drupal, some were for brands in multiple markets, which posed the need for multilingual support. Consequently, the sites had some common and some unique requirements.
The team identified the common requirements and created a base Site Studio package for individual sites to use. Then, based on the unique needs of the sites, they added brand and style Site Studio packages. Unique collections of base, brand and style packages constituted the site templates which are used on the SSP to create a site.
These are the key steps the team undertook:
- Created a base Site Studio package for all the sites.
- Created a brand package (on top of the base package) for individual brand sites with personalized design and UI requirements.
- Created multiple site templates in the SSP, which consisted of installation profiles and Site Studio package information to use during site creation.
- Other metadata, like language, brands, target country, site-specific credentials and configuration, etc, can be specified during site creation and are not part of the SSP template itself.
In the healthcare space, multiple countries have individual identity providers (IDPs) for certified professional services. The customer wanted these professionals to be able to easily adopt and be onboarded to their sites.
Gigya is a third party integration which provided the Custom Identity and Access Management (CIAM) platform where some of these IDPs were already integrated. It also allows for custom IDP integrations.
The team used Gigya CIAM in federated identity management system (FIDM) mode, which allows subscribers to use the same identification data to get access to multiple domains on the network.
Gigya integrates with common social media identity providers such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, etc. It also integrates with domain specific identity providers such as SwissRX, DocCheck for European countries, etc, and provides a platform which enables it to integrate with custom identity providers.
The team used Gigya FIDM as their uniform Identity provider and connected to it using the OpenID logging mechanism.
Personalized Customer Journey
Platform sites are targeted to multiple user types. These are identified via user information like profession, country, etc. This information is gathered from user profile data coming via Gigya CIAM, or the user explicitly providing the information via consent buttons, CTA buttons, passcode values, etc.
Based on this user information, personalization includes:
- Personalized journey and navigation
- Personalized content delivery
- Content access control
At the time of writing, there was no integration between Site Studio and Acquia Lift to fulfill personalization needs. The team used the Context module to its fullest to personalize the user journey and content.
Site Studio has an OOTB integration with the Drupal Context module. Site Studio-Context integration allows conditional visibility of page building elements.
Using Context In Site Studio To Drive Drupal Site Personalization
Personalization has started to become a common requirement for most websites. Learn how to personalize your Drupal site by leveraging Site Studio context integration.