How We Support The Biggest Name In Drupal
November 6, 2018
Acquia provides the leading cloud platform for building, delivering, and optimizing digital experiences for hundreds of global organizations, like Intuit, Nokia, Johnson and Johnson, and Warner Music Group. Clients like these from various industries use the Acquia Platform to deliver world-class customer experiences.
Significantly, a large part of these solutions involve developing custom platforms on, migrating from legacy systems to, and enabling app extension and ease through, Drupal. Acquia has its own teams to manage technical architecture, project management and development regionally. However, they often require additional development resources to be part of their team to ensure timely and expert delivery.
This leads Acquia to search for reliable partners who have demonstrated expertise in Drupal development. And these partners must be flexible enough to navigate the technical, process and uncertainty challenges that come with creating innovative solutions, on an ongoing basis.
Axelerant has been one of the champions of the Drupal community in India. With hundreds of commits in D7 and in D8 core and international Drupal event sponsorship and attendance since 2005. Acquia was well exposed to Axelerant’s fierce commitment to Drupal support, particularly demonstrated by the proactive involvement and high technical competencies of our team members.
"Axelerant understands and collaborates with us, even when the end-client changes requirements. The test of a partnership is when things are not ideal."
Axelerant has worked on a number of projects for Acquia over the years. These include working for a telecom giant in Europe, a food safety authority, a leading name in the tire industry in Europe, an eCommerce company in the Middle East, a food company based in the UK, and more. This also involves working on a range of technologies:
- Migration from Fatwire, and a CMS built on C#
- Migrations from previous versions of Drupal
- Integrations with SalesForce, Magento
- Implementation of web services and APIs
- Apache Solr implementations
For all projects that Axelerant works on with Acquia, the team consists of front-end and back-end developers and QA resources. Acquia’s team typically leads the technical architecture and project management roles, as well as takes care of part of the development. Examples of our projects include:
Massive Migration From Fatwire CMS To Drupal 7
For a food safety authority challenged with an inflexible, non-responsive implementation of Fatwire, Axelerant helped in the development of a Drupal 7 website, which included the massive migration of 40,000 content nodes in four languages. In the first phase, the D7 website was built while retained the old designs, and the second phase involved theming the front-end based on new web designs supplied by Acquia. The project involved Apache Solr integration to enable rapid, nuanced search, as well as customizations that enabled sending notifications to specific set of subscribers.
Drupal 8 Website With Reusable Components & Salesforce Integration
For a large food company, our team built a new Drupal 8 website with reusable components, such that blocks can be moved across the website without impacting the design. The project involved creating web services to communicate with Salesforce to pull out info on food ingredients, implementing Apache Solr for search across 5,000 nodes, and migration from the earlier CMS built in C#.
One of the key achievements in this project was the customization done for the Web forms module in Drupal 8. These were suggested to the Drupal 8 team at Drupal.org. On acceptance, the developments were done by our team, and are now credited to Axelerant.
Drupal Commerce Implementation with User Specific Dashboards
A leading telecom giant in Europe required its website to be built in Drupal 7 with an implementation of Drupal Commerce to enable its eCommerce features. Axelerant team worked on this project, and also integrated SugarCRM with Drupal. This pulled in information from the CRM to the front end to display relevant information for each user regarding payments, bandwidth usage, billing cycle, and so on.
The team also built a web service that enabled content synchronization, so that any change in SugarCRM would reflect in Drupal as well in real time. Further, the Commerce checkout process was heavily customized to meet atypical needs.
Four Websites Deployed, One Source Base
A very large and challenging project for a tire company involved creating four Drupal 7 websites using a single source base, and pulling information in real time from a master website that housed vendor datasheets generated by restaurant-level third-party software.
The project also originally involved integration of a third party booking system, but became a redevelopment project that our team was part of.
The project was challenging also because it saw a lot of changes at the Product Owner level and at the client’s end; therefore constant changes in requirements became a norm. While the technical architect at Acquia managed the challenges, the Axelerant team pushed in more stringent continuous integration and deployment processes to reduce inefficiencies brought by the constant changes.
Drupal Site Development & Magento Integration
For an international eCommerce company, serving 75+ consumer retail brands to the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, Turkey and Europe, the Axelerant team deployed a highly-responsive, mobile-first system with a Drupal front-end and a Magento backend. The Drupal 7 website is made up of a configuration system that enables deploying new stores quickly.
Special requirements included an animated product display and a special mobile emphasis with rendering for Android's UC browser. Despite challenges brought from the client, the team delivered to expectations.
Achieving Partnership Success with Process & Culture
The success of a partnership as long as over four years is built upon mature processes that align to Acquia’s expectations.
|When the Acquia team a personnel requirement, they might ask for as a specific person on the team. If that person is already engaged elsewhere, Axelerant picks out another with skills and capabilities meeting Acquia's needs. Acquia interviews that person and on approval, we move to next step of the project.
If Acquia needs a person with different skills, Axelerant will assign a different person. Once the team is set, Acquia shares timelines and kicks off the project.
|Axelerant has a dedicated Success Manager for Acquia, who conducts weekly calls with the Acquia team to know how the project is shaping up, the challenges faced, and if any new requirements are expected. The Success Manager also has a similar call with the Axelerant delivery team to identify challenges, foresee issues, and work on solutions to ensure smooth delivery.|
|Axelerant and Acquia follow Scrum processes to ensure great collaboration during the project. If, for any reason, the Acquia team slips on any processes, the Axelerant team ensures that all ceremonies are adhered to. This ensures regular feedback, continuous communication, and easier delivery.|
|Managing overlap work times with European clients, Acquia India and Axelerant team members isn't a problem. It is only when a Product Owner, an Acquia Project Manager or client, is based out of the US that some challenges have cropped up. In these cases, the Axelerant’s Success Manager aligns with the Product Owner’s expectations and fills in the role of a regular project manager to communicate with the team.|
|Both Acquia and Axelerant have telecommuting experience, and follow similar processes to conduct meetings, demos, and retrospectives. Acquia’s team finds working with Axelerant really easy. When Acquia requires in-person meetings for project discussions, Axelerant team members attend.|
|Axelerant has a huge focus on updating its people on technology skills. This helps Acquia get a team that is continuously improving, and doesn’t have to worry about bridging future technology gaps.|
|If Acquia faces any challenges, they can trust Axelerant to respond the right way. Their Regional Director and Axelerant’s leadership have fostered this relationship overtime by demonstrating flexibility and an ease of escalation when it counts.|
Axelerant has a dedicated Success Manager for Acquia, who conducts weekly calls with the Acquia team to know how the project is shaping up, the challenges faced, and if any new requirements are expected.
The Success Manager also has a similar call with the Axelerant delivery team to identify challenges, foresee issues, and work on solutions to ensure smooth delivery.
Axelerant and Acquia follow Scrum processes to ensure great collaboration during the project. If, for any reason, the Acquia team slips on any processes, the Axelerant team ensures that all ceremonies are adhered to.
This ensures regular feedback, continuous communication, and easier delivery.
Managing overlap work times with European clients, Acquia India and Axelerant team members isn't a problem. It is only when a Product Owner, an Acquia Project Manager or client, is based out of the US that some challenges have cropped up.
In these cases, the Axelerant’s Success Manager aligns with the Product Owner’s expectations and fills in the role of a regular project manager to communicate with the team.
Both Acquia and Axelerant have telecommuting experience, and follow similar processes to conduct meetings, demos, and retrospectives. Acquia’s team finds working with Axelerant really easy.
When Acquia requires in-person meetings for project discussions, Axelerant team members attend.
Axelerant has a huge focus on updating its people on technology skills.
This helps Acquia get a team that is continuously improving, and doesn’t have to worry about bridging future technology gaps.
If Acquia faces any challenges, they can trust Axelerant to respond the right way.
Their Regional Director and Axelerant’s leadership have fostered this relationship overtime by demonstrating flexibility and an ease of escalation when it counts.
Agency Relationships Take Work
Acquia’s key challenge with Axelerant was the consistent forecasting of staffing. This was a concern because Axelerant follows a rigorous hiring process, which occasionally meant, sudden increases in demand incurred a lead time.
One of the solutions Acquia and Axelerant discussed to overcome staffing was to operate with dedicated teams for projects to improve predictability and reliability. Ultimately, the staffing challenge was addressed by enacting more effective needs forecasting towards engaged people and an idle bench.
Technical Competence, Responsiveness & Trust
Acquia India maintains that when they have a staffing requirement, their first choice is Axelerant. “The base expectation from a partnership for us is trust,” says Shashank, “and transparency.”
Acquia finds Axelerant not just committed to the success of the project, but also flexible enough to accommodate the changes that keep coming up and being highly responsive throughout. One of the main reasons why Acquia India has worked with Axelerant for over four years is our commitment to growing technical expertise: “I don’t want to spend time bridging the technical gap.”
Acquia’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) For Axelerant: 10/10
Internally at Axelerant we gauge engagement success (which is based on a variety of factors) and we do this twice a quarter with our established partner feedback process we isolate our success metric. Previously, our success metric was a Customer Happiness Index (CHI), but since December 2016 we moved to using NPS.
The Net Promoter Score is an index that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. It’s used as a proxy for gauging the client’s overall satisfaction with a company’s product or service and their loyalty to the brand.
To date we have received four NPS ratings from Acquia—and all were 10 out of 10 with the following comments provided:
“Axelerant is a bunch of dedicated, smart professionals. They gel well with the team and are always ready to take on challenging work and deliver quality work. They are a highly knowledgeable and technically strong—dedicated members to take up and own tasks.”