External Sitecore Development for the Fortune 500 Clinical Research Company
Solution Sneak Peek
Nowadays everybody goes online, thus, creating a whole new space for delivering information to the Target Audience (TA). In order to stay competitive in this field one of our clients, a Fortune 500 Clinical Research Company, needed a good platform for amplification of its online presence that could be also used for better conversion rates.
To address this issue, they decided to build an external platform that would be able to handle high load and have strong security, while providing a solid tool for communication with their TA and customers.
The solution presented by Softwarium as a web-site was fully based on Sitecore and was built from scratch. Let’s take a look at the Sitecore case study on how our team approached such a project.
Why Sitecore CMS?
There are dozens of different content management systems (CMS) to fulfill the purpose stated above. So, why did Softwarium after making thorough analysis of the client’s needs opted for Sitecore CMS? And what are the benefits of Sitecore among all of the alternatives?
The first and the main reason why Sitecore solution was chosen is that it provides fast time-to-market platform with ease of the support. The Fortune 500 Clinical Research Company required the CMS implementation to be integrated with a really condensed time limit to keep pace with the market. How does Sitecore solve the problem of time limits without conceding the quality? The secret behind is that Sitecore CMS is a boxed platform with “ready for use” modules in it. For more information please refer to the Features chapter below, where the uniqueness of the platform is described in more detail.
As for security - Sitecore is built on ASP.NET Microsoft stack that offers a lot of security features such as authentication, authorization, data protection, HTTPS enforcement, app secrets, anti-request forgery protection, and CORS management. These security features and techniques allow avoiding the most common vulnerabilities in web applications.
Another good reason is that Sitecore CMS goes with its version of SOLR with all the entities, thus, it is indexed fast. That provides the ability to enable powerful matching capabilities for extremely large scales web apps and has the advantage of better vertical and horizontal scaling. Horizontal scaling (scale out) is an increase of machinery into the pool of resources of the company, and vertical scaling (scale up) is an approach where a single machine (or an existing set of them) is upgraded by adding more power capabilities, such as CPU, GPU, RAM, memory, etc. An important thing is to know which approach suits better for a different business model. Scaling out is more complex and costly, but brings better performance, thus, suiting for the bigger projects. Nevertheless, it is important to note that many enterprises like our client opt for a mixed model, where both approaches are combined.
Also, it can be easily deployed and has high levels of fault tolerance. In our case, the system is deployed on their private servers of the intranet.
Sitecore also gives the “boxed” off-the-shelf solution for work with text indexes. It is fast and fault tolerant, and allows inserting an intermediate stage into the indexing process. The pipeline of indexing and the pipeline of responses can be supplemented with additional stages. The specific indexes used for successful integration in Fortune 500 Clinical Research Company are Lucidworks, Coveo, Azure.
Fortune 500 Clinical Research Company needed a powerful tool for the analytics of the whole process, and it was just where Sitecore is one of the best solutions on the marketplace. The reason is that Sitecore does analytics of everything: from simple things like the website traffic up to the number of user clicks and their position. This is a powerful tool for more data generation and further analysis and improvement. The analysis results combined with many triggers for customized content bring unbelievable results for client generation, thus increasing revenue.
Another reason why Sitecore CMS stands out over other competitors is that it gives adequate and responsive User Interface for editing. The client gets a convenient and easy to use tool to edit the content on the website.
Last but not least, Sitecore stands for quality. This is exactly what Softwarium claims to be good at, and therefore prefers products that can be relied on. Combined with the team’s expertise, the product was delivered with great interface performance and stability of the whole system.
Vital Features for Success
Sitecore CMS boasts many useful features. Softwarium’s developers were able to successfully identify and implement the needed features thus uncovering the entire potential of Sitecore.
For starters, it has an option to create and hold multiple websites which is mainly used for A/B testing. If the web site was edited and the result did not match the expectations – there is always a backup, which is able to restore the initial web site immediately. Another Sitecore CMS implementation is seasonality: a new web-site is created for summer without sacrificing its previous version.
A really outstanding feature of Sitecore is an opportunity of machine learning – adapting AI to environment for outperforming. For example, several users visited the blog about skin beauty, downloaded an eBook about sensitive skin care, and opted to participate in the upcoming event dedicated to the newest trends in the field. The likelihood the further users might do the same procedure is high, therefore AI adjusts to the environment and suggests the participation for this event even before the user (that has already read the blog and downloaded an eBook) decides to check the events page. Such outperformance brings more conversion rates as well as builds strong relationship between the company and the client. We implemented AI with the Coveo module.
So, if Sitecore is built from boxed modules, why the company might need the developers? It’s all about coding. Firstly, the rules need to be coded for personalization and integration of the system. Secondly, those boxed modules have to be implemented as renderings and widgets. The typical page in Sitecore is a template of margins.
Those templates are coded by developers: they adjust the margins, and the data that will be displayed there. Then, a set of different renderings is made for these templates and margins. Rendering is a component of the page, a module, presented as reusable code. After being created, it is inserted and adjusted to the needed part of a page by content editor. The adjustments and their availability are also created by developers.
For instance, there is a web site with an events listing page. The developer specifies that on this page, or even a single part of it, the editor will be able to insert only the renderings that were set and adjusted for that specific element.
What comes next is the personalization of content, where Softwarium developers create personalization rules, and the content editor adjusts them according to the needs of the company. Coming back to the example of Events and Webinars – the rules are adjusted to the events so that the visitor of the web-site sees the content according to the needed criteria: the time left to the nearest event, his geo-location, and other factors that might influence the content specification for that user, such as presentation of interests to certain topic (this used started following the blog page, downloaded eBooks on certain topic, etc.). That allows providing the content adjusted for the users’ wants and needs, their pain points and desires.
Among all its great deliverables, Sitecore possesses a powerful Mail Experience Manager presented in a boxed module. This manager itself has a strong and unique set of tools: adjustment of feeds, on-demand scheduling of mail distribution, personalization, tracking, and saving to analytics. As it was already noted, every piece of data in Sitecore is brought to analytics for further improvement and better results.
Softwarium Expertise and Outcomes
The reason why Softwarium was chosen for this project lies behind deep expertise in the field of software development and deployment as well as vast industry experience. These are the results provided to the client in the frame of the Sitecore case study:
Set up Sitecore CMS from scratch
Sitecore CMS implementation in condensed time limits
Data migration (from an old platform to Sitecore)
Connect and integrate different indexing systems and have expertise in working with these systems (record management)
Solve the task of scaling of the system (both vertical and horizontal)
Personalization – case brings to the user personalized content