Drupal Universe

How Acquia Picked an Agency for Website Redesign

Acquia Blogs - Thu, 2017-08-10 18:39

Previously in this series, Lynne Capozzi (Acquia’s CMO) explained why her team is building a new Acquia.com. Catch up and read Lynne’s post, here.

The redesign of Acquia.com has been a long time coming. As one colleague colorfully described it, “our website makes us look like we’re a ‘doctor who smokes.” Acquia supports some of the greatest digital experiences in the world, but our own site doesn’t reflect the caliber of our customers’. The last time we tackled a major redesign was six years ago, and we have needed an overhaul for some time.

This is the right time for us to kick off a redesign. Late in 2016, Lynne Capozzi re-joined Acquia as chief marketing officer (she was our first CMO in 2009). Upon her return, Lynne recognized that our website is our most underrated (but most important) marketing tool.

As Lynne recently wrote:

“The redesign is significant because Acquia.com is one of our company's most valuable marketing tools. Not only is our website the entryway to our products, but it also continues to serve as an important demand generation tool. We know we can create a bigger, better showcase for our products and services, and moving to Drupal 8 is going to get us there…. Some call it eating your own dog food, others prefer to drink their own Champagne. No matter how you spin it, the move to Drupal 8 gives us the unique opportunity to live the life of our own customers."

We need to rely more heavily on our blossoming product offerings. Currently, our website does not showcase those products nor does it give the site’s visitors a chance to experience them. So, new CMO, an executive team brimming with political will, and a stagnant site - it’s the perfect storm for a website redesign. As a creative director, I live for this.

Why it’s important for Acquia to partner with an agency

We’ve bellied up to the table, our bibs are on, and our own dog food is the only thing on the menu. Not only does this mean building a website with Acquia’s products and Drupal 8, but it also extends to experiencing how our customers approach a project of this scale. For the majority of our customers, reliance on a digital agency is a key part of the equation.

Digital agencies can range from brand strategy consultants to front-end development shops and system integrators. At Acquia, we know our partners to be builders and dreamers, doers and makers:

I hope that beyond a deeper understanding of our customer experience, we’ll also get the breakout digital experience we so badly need. Agencies help find that magic balance between creative storytelling and pushing product. They uncover the little truths that can escape the people in the trenches. They are the great simplifiers in a complex world. An experienced third-party can help an organization escape the echo chamber, and provide the objective feedback necessary to focus its goals.

For example, one of our primary goals is for the website to better communicate our brand. Over the years, our team has been busy pouring resources into engineering to support our own customer’s success. To make ends meet on the site, we’ve been following the pack. Today, our website has just about all of the same buzzwords, center-aligned responsive design style, cutesy icons, and stock images that every other B2B tech company is using.

While fast-following those that you admire is a common tactic, it’s not the right one. Sameness subverts a brand’s personality and reduces it to a commodity. We need the guts to make gut decisions. That’s a tall order for an engineering company, and it’s realistic that our priorities are not aligned with those of a marketing firm. That’s where the need for a best-in-the-world digital agency comes in. If we want to plant flags in headspace, if we want to own something beautiful, if we want to be a break-out brand, we need help.

How to choose an agency

Acquia has an amazing network of the world’s best digital agencies. We partner with creatives, creative technologists, and strategists to deliver incredibly ambitious digital experiences. We began by selecting four of these partners and sending them a pretty daring creative brief and RFP (we’ll share some tips on how to write a killer brief in a future post). In that brief, we outlined our vision, success imperatives, and our pain points. The major pain points we are trying to solve for include:

  • Overcoming flat growth on the site
  • Improving management and governance for our web team
  • Introducing the ability to demo products as part of the site experience
  • Making it easy for people to understand who we are and what we can offer them (this might be the most important)

We issued the challenge, and the feedback was stunning, sobering, and inspiring. We saw things that made us uncomfortable, things that surprised and delighted us, and things that made our neck hair stand on end (in a good way).

It was incredibly difficult to choose a final partner as we evaluated varying degrees of spec creative and gave due diligence against a scorecards we created. In the end it was really an equal mix of scoring and intuition that led us to our decision.

“When we began to think about who we wanted to work with on the acquia.com redesign, we looked at partners we had a long-standing and highly rewarding relationship with. These organizations also had a proven history of successful product deployments. The partners we engaged for this project were all well- known and highly regarded for their creative work, innovation and incredible vision. We were looking for partners who would not just deliver a website based on solely our requirements but who would challenge us” - Joe Wykes, SVP Global Channels & eCommerce at Acquia

A Huge Opportunity

As Lynne announced last week, we’ve tapped Huge to lead front-end design and development. Huge set themselves apart by showing us amazing spec creative that proved they were thinking about our problems and answering with interesting solutions. They came with a purchase path curated for the anonymous user that was fast, frictionless, and moved beyond the use of forms for lead generation. They also hacked the demo like we’ve never seen before. They came with hunger. Hunger and good mojo are table stakes for success.

“I think we were drawn to the geek appeal of Acquia. The idea that despite Acquia’s recent growth and A list roster of clients, it still has a bigger story to tell and views itself as outsiders trying to shake up a space with the usual corporate players. That edgy aspiration rooted in a strong tech heritage felt like a kindred spirit to us, and we’re now really excited to bring it to life.” - Jon Judah, VP Strategy, Huge DC

We knew when we chose Huge we needed to step our own game up. This project is a big investment for Acquia’s marketing team. The amount of institutional knowledge that has to be fed to the agency is immense. Our internal team has committed lots of time to stakeholder interviews, meetings, user sessions, meetings, testing, meetings, concept reviews, and the challenge of educating Huge about our brand. Working with an agency is not a hand-off; it’s a project that requires internal teams to be all-hands-on-deck.

That’s why it’s important for us to not be risk averse. We need to trust their gut as well as ours. Huge can do good work for anyone, but their best work happens when clients trust the gut. It’s going to be a wild ride. It will fun to share as we go.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Vote for Acquia at SXSW 2018

Acquia Blogs - Tue, 2017-08-08 17:04

South By Southwest Acquia Voting
It’s hard to believe that SXSW is upon us again. I mean, wasn’t I just in Austin, squeezing in a quick Torchy’s Tacos run between sessions at the JW Marriott? Ah, memories.

The thing about SXSW is that when you’re involved with planning and coordinating it for your company, you’re pretty much always talking about it. So even though SXSW is seven months away (conference dates are March 9-18), our work for the 2018 season is already heating up.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog. This week marks the beginning of community voting on the SXSW PanelPicker. Acquia has put forward five sessions for SXSW Interactive, each crafted with an eye toward the future -- you’ll see themes like chatbots, machine learning, the decentralized web, digital government, and personalization.

Community votes count for 30% of the selection formula, so if any of the talks sound like your cup of queso dip, please head to the PanelPicker and vote!

Starting the Internet All Over Again

On the web, all of the power seems consolidated with a few companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. Consumers are blindly exchanging personal data for services, with little regard for the long-term consequences. But there's a movement afoot to build a secondary portal to the web that relies on Blockchain technology to give users freedom over their data. Join pioneers of the first web and the second, decentralized web to discuss how we'll experience it all in the next 5 to 10 years.

Panelists:

  • Dries Buytaert, Acquia
  • Muneeb Ali, Blockstack
  • Andrei Sambra, Solid Project @ MIT
  • Joon Ian Wong, Quartz
Does Your Brand Speak for Itself?

Voice assistants and chatbots have taken the world by storm. But are you actually prepared for your brand to be conversation-friendly? Today’s organizations craft user experiences specifically for digital audiences accustomed to consuming fixed visual media. What happens whens brands need to engage with consumers in an evolving conversation, and via devices like Amazon Echo or chatbots? It’s time to become fluent in conversational UX—so your brand can speak for itself.

Panelists:

  • Preston So, Acquia
  • Deborah Harrison, Microsoft
  • Jana Eggers, Nara Logics
  • H. James Wilson, Accenture Research
United We Stand: The Case For Digital Government

2016 marked a year of dramatic political change. Yet, one commitment has managed to transcend party lines and a change in administration—the dire need to modernize government technology and digital services. Today, websites remain unresponsive, information is buried and many simple processes still require pen and paper. This panel of experts, from the left and the right, will address when, and how, governments can wake up to the digital demands of modern citizens.

Panelists:

  • Tom Cochran, Acquia
  • Ted Ross, City of Los Angeles
  • Dewand Neely, State of Indiana
  • Cecilia Kang, New York Times
How Brilliance Beats Bullsh*t in Machine Learning

Some companies that use machine learning capitalize on bullsh*t, convincing people to believe nonsensical claims about magical algorithms. However, real machine learning pioneers don’t rely on bullsh*t, but instead focus on what’s possible. With open source tools and high-quality algorithmic training data, we’re capable of solving many of the complex issues vexing today’s companies. Urging people to cut the bullsh*t, this session will reveal tangible ways machine learning can be used today.

Presenter: Katherine Bailey, Acquia

Truth, Lies & Content Strategy

What brands think they know about content strategy & personalization is a lie. They think content strategy is a sexy deliverable that will be the silver bullet to make personalization magically happen with the push of a button. Then are shocked when it fails. Content strategy doesn’t work. Content systems does. By taking an agile, systems-based approach to content, brands can regain control of narrative, understand their customers, & lay the foundation for true personalization.

Panelists:

  • Caitlin Checkett, Acquia
  • Leah Sand, VML
  • Christopher Wallen, VML

The voting is open from now until Friday, August 25.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Making a Case for Digital Transformation: Part II

Acquia Blogs - Fri, 2017-08-04 20:56

digital transformation
In my last blog post, I covered an example of why you should take digital transformation seriously. I looked at Tower Records - a disrupted business, within arguably the first disrupted industry, Media and Entertainment. Interestingly, according to McKinsey's latest research, this is now the industry with the deepest perceived digital penetration, at 62% (see diagram below).

McKinsey Chart

I’m now turning my attention to other end of the scale. If we believe McKinsey's research, automotive and assembly, together with CGP, are the two laggards when it comes to perceived digital penetration, at 32% and 31%, respectively. So, what does a ‘digital laggard’ industry look like? Here art three quick points of view for automotive (spoiler alert: digital still hits hard).

Car Manufacturers are Becoming Tech Companies

Without doubt, the automotive industry is undergoing significant disruption. This is primarily from electrification and autonomous driving;

  • Electrification: Last month, Volvo announced it would go all electric, saying that every new car will have an electric powertrain available from 2019.
  • Autonomous Driving: According to Intel, self-driving cars will create a $7 trillion-a-year industry by 2050.

But we’re also seeing new business models for automotive, enabled by digital. We have Uber, obviously - which itself has spawned a new lexicon (we’re being ‘uber-ized’). But we also have vehicle sharing apps; Zipper, Zimride, Liftshare amongst many others. And we can see other digitally-enabled transformations such as; in-car infotainment, new traffic services, and other ‘who-knows-yet’ models and services enabled through new levels of connectivity, infrastructure and channels (incl. voice activation). I wonder what our in-car experience will look like in 10 years? I doubt my six year old daughter will ever learn to drive, never mind buy a car.

Tech / Digital Disruption is Attracting New Players

In April 2017, Tesla glided past Ford in market value. The following month it was GM’s turn to be overtaken. Tesla is now the largest U.S. car maker by market capitalization. This seems absurd when we compare the business stats below. Ford and GM are automotive titans that have built nearly 1 billion cars between them in a history spanning more than a century. Tesla is less than 15 years old and has never made a profit.

Q2 Chart Car Companies are Having to Reinvent Themselves

Ford Motor Company is 114 years old. When they established their innovation centre, they didn’t build it in Detroit, their headquarters. They set-up in Silicon Valley, with the tech start-ups. They’re still struggling to keep up. This recent graphic from the Financial Times shows car makers are continuing a downward trajectory of global brand rankings, at the expense of the rising tech stars. If you thought digital was hype, or major car manufacturers could easily keep up, think again.

Digital vs Car Companies

According to McKinsey, the automotive industry is perceived to be one of the least digitial industries - but I’m not seeing it. It looks like digital penetration is well underway and will completely overhaul this industry. So, what can automotive learn from digital and what can Digital learn from automotive?

Customer Journeys

When thinking of a customer journey in the context of the automotive industry, most people probably imagine some sort of road-trip. In digital, however, we talk of customer journeys as being the primary lens through which customer experience professionals and digital marketers think about planning and building the customer experience. It is here, the automotive industry needs to focus to understand what’s driving customer experience (pun intended). A journey now means the entire brand experience, from initial consideration, to active evaluation, to the moment of purchase, to the post-purchase experience and the loyalty loop. Digital needs to play end-to-end.

Digital Factories

And what about digital learning from automotive? The automotive industry is the mainstay example of mass-production using an assembly line. It was Henry Ford who used the conveyor belt to increase speed of car production by 800%, in 1913. The very image of a “factory” depicts standardized components, processes, and management that work in a hyper-efficient factory automation mode to assemble, deliver, operate, and govern. Now the concept of a factory is gaining ground within digital.

Acquia has used the term factory for it’s multisite SaaS solution for the last few years. In May 2017 McKinsey published a report: Scaling a transformative culture through a digital factory. This both chimed well with Acquia’s messaging and endorsed the term factory. A digital factory is a highly efficient platform, or approach to assembling, manufacturing, and running the foundation for digital experiences. Organizations that are implementing digital factories are realizing a newfound efficiency, allowing them to bring sites and digital experiences to market twice as fast than they could before, using factory automation and a standard approach.

In summary, it’s surprising to me the automotive industry ranks as one of the least perceived digitally penetrated industries. It looks both digitally disrupted and transformational from here. It’s clear this industry needs to learn from digital and learn quick. This industry requires a reinterpretation of the term customer journey. But digital can also learn from the automotive industry. The concept of a digital factory continuing to gain ground.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Building a New Acquia.com

Acquia Blogs - Thu, 2017-08-03 16:38

Hi there. I’m Lynne Capozzi, Chief Marketing Officer here at Acquia. I may be a fresh face on Acquia’s blog, but I’ve been a company veteran for some time. I was Acquia’s first serving CMO in 2009 before leaving in 2011 to pursue my passion for nonprofit work full time. I returned to Acquia in late 2016 to lead our marketing organization into the next stage of growth. I oversee all global marketing functions, which gives me the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented and motivated team that spans from our headquarters in Boston, to Europe, and even Australia. My colleagues affectionately call my return to Acquia a “boomerang story”.

Around the time I rejoined the company, Acquia updated its mission to deliver “the universal platform for the greatest digital experiences”. Acquia is building the technology that supports business transformation strategy for organizations across the board. From Nasdaq to Wilson Sporting Goods and Princess Cruises, it’s inspiring to see how our customers are shaping the world with digital. As CMO, I want our own team to live that dream. That’s why I’m excited to announce that we are moving Acquia.com to Drupal 8!

The evolution of Acquia.com

During my first go around as CMO in 2009, our website looked like this:

2009 website
At the time, the website was primarily used to convert leads and to move them through the funnel. This meant our team spent a lot of time driving webinar registrations and building out nurture campaigns to keep people coming back for more. Like any other emerging startup, we had to be strategic with our resources, and for Acquia this meant being scrappy when it came to our website. As the company grew, so did our investment in our website. Throughout Acquia’s first decade, Acquia.com has seen a few different iterations:
Acquia history
In 2012, Acquia partnered with a marketing agency to develop business-level messaging for the organization. What came out of that rebranding dictated everything from PowerPoint presentations to the redesign of Acquia.com on Drupal 7. You can see that we made changes to the site over the years, but beyond that, the last time Acquia tackled a replatform was nearly six years ago.

The redesign is significant because Acquia.com is one of our company's most valuable marketing tools. Not only is our website the entryway to our products, but it also continues to serve as an important demand generation tool. We know we can create a bigger, better showcase for our products and services, and moving to Drupal 8 is going to get us there.

How are we going to do this?

Some call it eating your own dog food, others prefer to drink their own champagne. No matter how you spin it, the move to Drupal 8 gives us the unique opportunity to live the life of our own customers. Acquia’s Professional Services team will be owning the project throughout every stage of development, build, and launch. From a marketing standpoint, my team will undergo a full customer journey where we’ll get to experience what it’s like to work with Acquia and Drupal at every touch point. Walking in the shoes of our customers will allow us to better serve their needs.

We are also excited to announce that we’ve tapped partnering digital agency Huge to lead the design of our new Drupal 8 site. Huge supports brands like Pfizer and NBC, and brings the energy and expertise to push us in the right direction. We are very excited to collaborate with their team. Acquia’s Professional Services team will translate Huge’s design work into front-end development. Additionally, Acquia’s PS team will spearhead all development in the back end. For me, it was extremely important that we took advantage of Acquia’s own resources, internal expertise, and products. Today, we have 10 years of experience and improved resources under our belt. It’s a unique combination.

We will be documenting the website redesign on our blog, so consider this post the first of many. You’ll get to meet key players from the Acquia Professional Services, Marketing, and Web teams and hear their about their experiences first-hand. This won’t be the last you hear from me, and I’m excited to share more on why a project like this must be top-of-mind for a CMO. We will be reporting from the trenches, and I could not be more excited.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Getting the Commitment You Need to Succeed

Acquia Blogs - Wed, 2017-08-02 18:47

There is a right way and a wrong way to enact change
While it may be one of the toughest leadership tasks, getting commitment for change across your organization is critical for digital transformation success and the shift to a customer-centric mindset.

Some may say there are multiple ways to solicit buy-in, but that’s not the case. There is a right way and a wrong way to enact change. So what are the key (aka right) steps to successfully secure buy-in from across the organization and make a shift towards customer-centricity?

First, create a vision.

Change is hard, and inevitably some will fear it. That’s why creating a vision for change is so important. By articulating the impact said change will have on your organization will help put fears at ease. A successful vision must explain not just what the change means for the organization, but how the change is critical to gaining (and maintaining) a competitive edge.

User expectations are continuously rising thanks to tech giants and experience experts like Amazon, Uber and Netflix. They have helped define what customer-centricity looks like, even outside of their own industries. It’s time for your organization to define its own destiny, and it starts with your vision.

Once the vision is final, communicate it, present it, sell it.

To carry out the vision, put your sales hat on and sell, sell, sell; not just externally but internally. Communicate the vision in a way that not only makes it feel tangible, but also desirable to the organization at large. Undoubtedly, you will face resistance and pushback, so be prepared and show empathy. When asking others for commitment and support, show them you understand how these new processes impact them. Clearly articulate the benefits of change while demonstrating why it’s necessary will help create buy-in.

With a clear vision and the right communication approach, you are on your way to shifting your organization to becoming customer-centric.

The process doesn’t stop with just getting buy-in. See the vision all the way through and continue to communicate progress and updates (good and bad) across your organization.

Check in and check often. Have regularly scheduled check-in moments where people can provide honest feedback on how things are going; it will ensure that the support for change doesn’t waiver. It will also allow you to get a sense for how people are feeling and address their concerns meaningfully.

Highlight the successes! Proactively demonstrate the positive impacts of change (#winning!) throughout the process to keep people engaged. With each demonstration of success, your team will not only become more invested in the project, but each individual’s sense of ownership will grow thus skyrocketing motivation.

So, if you are going to enact change, do it right. Drive the vision, define goals, get your top notch management team onboard and keep everyone motivated with the wins

Stay engaged. Reach out. Ask questions. And, most importantly, stay fabulous!

Categories: Drupal Universe

D7 vs D8: To update or migrate?

Acquia Blogs - Fri, 2017-07-28 19:24

title

Out with the old and in with the new? Or is it better to stick with the tried-and-true? This sort of debate can extend to anything from cars, to clothes and even your content management platform.

With the release of Drupal 8 back in November 2015, the question for many has become whether they should update their Drupal 7 website or migrate to Drupal 8. Both have their benefits, making it a tough decision. Our friends at Symetris understand that this isn’t a decision that comes with an obvious answer. They have a few ideas to help you to make an educated choice.

Symetris, a Montreal based web development company and proud Acquia partner, builds effective and scalable digital solutions for brands facing communications and organizational challenges. Their team has worked with Drupal since 2008 and has the most certified Drupal developers in Quebec!

Symetris president, Brad Muncs, had the opportunity to present at DrupalCamp Montreal last month. His presentation set out to help you make the right decision on whether to stay on Drupal 7 or to migrate to Drupal 8. Muncs explains the answer isn’t clear cut, and that it depends on an organization’s specific needs.

Items to consider before making a decision

With a 5 year age difference, Drupal 8 offers both technical and business enhancements over Drupal 7. As for technical updates, Drupal 8 has a new configuration management system that provides back-end developers with a more intuitive configuration maintenance. Additionally, popular modules, such as Views and Multilingual are now in Drupal 8 Core. This allows more functionality out-of-the-box so site builders can build sophisticated sites without having to install multiple contributed modules.

Drupal 8 also brings an improved authoring experience for content authors. Tools such as in-place authoring, WYSIWYG editor, and content workflows make content authoring more intuitive. Drupal 8 authoring experiences are also responsive, which means that people are able to edit on mobile and on the fly. Finally, open source frameworks like Acquia Lightning, allow developers to build Drupal 8 sites and applications faster than ever before. Lightning focuses on four functional areas of authoring, layout, workflow, preview, and media.

Muncs continued on to highlight elements that could influence the risks and benefits for both scenarios:

  • Current D7 Setup
  • Quantity and complexity of data
  • Budget (time and money available)
  • Scope of upcoming enhancements
  • Projected lifetime of existing website
  • Completely new/standalone project

With these factors in mind, the benefits of D7 vs. D8 relative to your organization becomes a little clearer. Read Muncs and Symetris’ presentation to understand where your organization stands in relation to these factors, to help you make the decision to update or migrate.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Acquia a leader in 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management

Acquia Blogs - Fri, 2017-07-28 19:23

I'm on vacation this week, and I've been trying to disconnect and soak up time with my family. However, I had to make an exception to write a quick but exciting blog post, as Acquia was named a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management. This marks Acquia's placement as a leader for the fourth year in a row, solidifying our position as one of the top three vendors in Gartner's report.

The 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content ManagementAcquia recognized as a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management.

Early in my career I didn't fully understand or value the role of industry analysts like Gartner. Experience has taught me that strong analyst reports provide credibility and expose vendors to new markets and customers. It's easy to underestimate the importance of this kind of recognition for Acquia, and by extension for Drupal. If you're not familiar with the role of analyst firms, you can think of it this way: if you want to find a good coffee place, you use Yelp. If you want to find a nice hotel in New York, you use TripAdvisor. Similarly, if a CIO or CMO wants to spend $250,000 or more on enterprise software, they often consult an analyst firm like Gartner.

This year's report further cements Acquia's position as an industry leader as we received the highest marks for "Cloud Capability and Architecture". The report further highlights how Acquia enables our customers to use Drupal to the fullest extent. We enhance Drupal with services like Acquia Lift that empower organizations to not only meet the needs of their customers, but to be ambitious with digital. Today, a variety of organizations, ranging from DocuSign to the Tennessee Department of Tourism are using Acquia Lift to create significant value for their businesses.

In addition to tools like Acquia Lift, Gartner also highlighted the flexibility inherent to Acquia's platform. Acquia's emphasis on Open APIs, ranging from Drupal 8's API-first initiative to APIs for Acquia Cloud, Acquia Site Factory, and Acquia Lift, allows organizations to deliver critical capabilities faster and better integrated in their existing environments. For example, Wilson Sporting Goods delivers experiential commerce by marrying the abilities of Drupal and Magento, while Acquia supports Motorola's partnership with Demandware.

Our tenure as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management has enabled organizations across every industry to take a closer look at Acquia and Drupal. Organizations like Nasdaq, Pfizer, The City of Boston, and the YMCA continue to demonstrate the advantages of evolving their operating models with Drupal in comparison to our proprietary counterparts. Everyday, I get to witness firsthand how incredible and influential brands are shaping the world with Acquia and Drupal, and our standing in the Gartner Magic Quadrant reinforces that.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Acquia Lightning Turns One

Acquia Blogs - Thu, 2017-07-27 15:46

Happy Birthday Acquia lightning
A little over a year ago, Acquia announced the release of Lightning, an open source starter kit and framework that helps expedite building and authoring Drupal 8 sites and experiences. Also affectionately known as “Drupal Core with afterburners,” Acquia Lightning was designed to make developers’ lives easier. Lightning includes more than 100 automated tests covering its major functionality, giving developers a much more solid module base to work on and extend.

By combining Layout, Media, and Workflow capabilities into a single distribution, we’re able to offer a simplified, consistent authoring experience. By making choices about how these features are implemented, commitments to maintaining the distro, upgradability, and a suite of automated tests, we also offer an easier build and a reduced maintenance burden for developers. - John Kennedy, Open Source Product Manager at Acquia

When Lightning 1.0 went GA in June, 2016, there were around 400 sites running Lightning. As of this week, Lightning has been downloaded more than 115,000 times. Customers using Lightning include Princeton, Oregon State, Abbvie, and AMD.

As an open source project, over the last year we’ve continue to improve and expand Lightning:

Our partners have also been busy building on top of Lightning. In May, Acquia and ImageX partnered on OpenEDU, a pre-configured Drupal 8 implementation that is specifically built for higher education institutions. And at least two of our partners, Xeno Media and Phase2, have used Lightning as a base for their own distributions.

So what’s next for Lightning? In addition to the usual functional improvements, we are working on:

Here’s to another year!

Categories: Drupal Universe

Accelerating Audience Data Collection for Marketing Personalization

Acquia Blogs - Tue, 2017-07-25 17:11

Lift Analytics Connectors
Personalization has become a requirement as part of delivering an exceptional digital experience for customers. However, organizations can only be successful in their personalization strategy if they understand their customers and have a complete view of their interests and behaviors.

Gaining insights on customers through profile data such as demographics or behavioral information helps marketers determine who their target personas are and how they should segment their audiences moving forward. Without the right visitor and customer data profiles, it’s impossible to understand your buyers and deliver personalized experiences across the customer journey. Even if you have the data, oftentimes, this lives in multiple solutions – such as marketing automation, content management systems, CRM, and web analytics tools – making it extremely difficult and time-consuming to create personalized experiences for customers at scale.

With Acquia Lift, organizations can already collect and aggregate customer data across all of their systems to provide marketers with a single view of their prospects and customers in one unified customer profile – simplifying personalization efforts. Marketers can get started in their personalization efforts fast by collecting profile data and immediately gaining insight into buyer segments to see how their audience is engaging with their brand and what content assets are converting to make insights actionable and data-driven marketing personalization possible.

Now, we’re making it even easier and faster for our customers to collect and aggregate data for impactful, personalized targeting throughout the customer journey.

We’re pleased to announce the following new capabilities to Acquia Lift:

Eloqua Connector (in beta): To enable our customers to quickly and easily deliver the most personalized experiences to their customers, Acquia has a connector between Acquia Lift and Oracle Eloqua, currently in beta. Marketers can augment their web data with campaign data to create segments and deliver cohesive, cross-channel digital experiences for their customers. IT can leverage pre-built integration to seamlessly connect data between marketing tools with speed and without heavy technical resources.

Eloqua and Acquia Lift

Google Tag Manager: Acquia allows customers to leverage Google Tag Manager with Acquia Lift. Tag management systems like Google Tag Manager enable marketers to easily manage different types of tags on their sites such as analytics, advertising and marketing tags. Using Google Tag Manager, customers can easily share Acquia Lift segments, decisions and goals with other systems, and append additional visitor data and behavioral events into the Lift visitor profile - making it easier to design cross-channel experiences. This integration with Google Tag Manager makes it simple for Lift customers to instrument visitor behavioral events of interest (such as clicks, shares, submits) and exchange data with complementary platforms.

PHP SDK for Personalization: By providing a PHP SDK for personalization, developers using PHP on other platforms such as Magento or even WordPress, can easily access the rich set of APIs that Acquia Lift provides. This makes it simpler for developers to focus on use cases like exchanging visitor data with Acquia Lift or using Acquia Lift’s APIs to retrieve decisions or segments in order to build highly customized digital experiences.

Acquia Lift removes the challenges for marketing teams around having to manage customer data from different systems. With these new updates to Acquia Lift, we continue to make it as easy as possible for our customers to streamline their personalization efforts by pulling in data and taking advantage of their existing systems and campaigns. With Acquia Lift, organizations are empowered with the personalization capabilities they need to provide a cohesive customer experience that engages their audiences and leads to conversions and bottom-line results at the right time in the customer journey.

As personalized marketing continues to shift toward data-driven customer journeys, we aim to provide organizations with a common solution and approach to speed productivity and make building personalized web experiences for customers as easy, fast and efficient as possible.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Acquia, CI&T and Astellas Pharma Partner for Drupal Success in Japan

Acquia Blogs - Fri, 2017-07-21 16:55

Astellas Pharma Partner for Drupal Success in Japan
Information contained in this post originally appeared and was translated from the Markezine article Drupal 8 realizes global Web governance - Aim for Astellas Pharma to introduce CMS

Last month, Acquia and CI&T held “Acquia Day 2017”- an event for the Japanese tech community to become more familiar with Drupal 8 and hear customer success stories. One such story was Astellas Pharma and its use of Drupal and Acquia Cloud Site Factory to power its entire digital strategy.

When evaluating what CMS to build its global platform on, Astellas Pharma chose Drupal for its flexibility, ease-of-use, and multi-site management capabilities. Astellas Pharma also selected Drupal and Acquia for its corporate system because of Acquia’s ability to meet the strict security requirements of a global pharmaceutical.

Astellas Pharma actively partners with academia, research institutes, and biotech companies globally, with a sales network that covers more than 50 countries. With these partnerships and an expanding global presence, Drupal provided the critical tools for providing the latest company news and information to all stakeholders worldwide.

June saw the launch of the corporate site for a global audience with English and Japanese as the two initial languages. Using Site Factory, Astellas Pharma will continue to deliver more than 30 regional sites serving the Americas, EMEA, and Asian markets, which are all independently operated.

Speaking with Markezine, Mr. Takaaki Matsuda, part of the public relations department at Astellas Pharma, said "By unifying and managing websites of each country around the corporate site, Astellas' (digital properties are) centered around vision, standing at the cutting edge, changing medical care and scientific advances into patient value."

Astellas Pharma corporate site replatform was broken into three phases. The first was establishing web governance. The second was the application of new branding guidelines as part of the global expansion. Third was the global optimization of web / IT infrastructure in relation to the overall system strategy. In addition, the site needed to be responsive and easy to manage and scale without increasing resources.

Governance was an incredibly important aspect to the success of the project. By unifying systems into Drupal and Site Factory, changes are universally tracked, managed and acted upon by a core group. This oversight and security gives Astellas the ability to launch new country sites in a timely manner with the full knowledge that every site is fully protected by rigorous security and monitoring systems.

Along with governance, security was also a core requirement. Astellas Pharma needed a site that was secure, reliable and managed. Mr. Yoichiro Kawami, section manager of the information system department, told Markezine “When deploying a global site, Drupal fit exactly into our information system strategy, meeting our business requirements and providing an architecture that is simple and easy to organise a global operation system on. (In addition) Acquia’s cloud platform has all of the functions necessary to use Drupal in the enterprise, and because it also includes cloud service expenses and infrastructure operation resources on a fixed basis, cost management is easy."

With the use of Acquia Cloud Site Factory, Astellas Pharma has been able to increase operational efficiency such as server configuration, capacity support corresponding to multiple load balancers, and so on. Acquia’s global operations team fully manages the entire cloud platform to ensure high availability and to proactively respond to any threats.

“We guarantee platform operation on 24 hours and 365 days, we also manage surveillance and operating environments,” Mr. Kawami said, “So we have a complete system for troubleshooting. Security measures for WAF and CDN functions are provided through Acquia Cloud Edge Protect which can block malicious attacks.”

According to Mr. Kawami, with its flexibility, security and dedicated community, Drupal and Acquia will become the standard of the future for enterprises in Japan and the wider Asia Pacific region.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Bringing Control, Consistency and Compliance to Global Multisite Management

Acquia Blogs - Thu, 2017-07-20 16:12

Acquia Brings Control, Consistency and Compliance to Global Digital Experience Management
Acquia is a leader in multisite delivery and governance tools for IT digital teams to deliver and centrally manage all of their sites, digital experiences, and applications across multiple brands. Our solution, Acquia Cloud Site Factory, solves the complexities around managing hundreds or even thousands of sites – making global site governance, delivery, and brand consistency possible at scale.

In September 2016, we added Stacks to Acquia Cloud Site Factory to bring greater scalability and agility to multisite management. With Stacks, groups of sites with similar digital business needs such as functionality, infrastructure, or corporate requirements, can be provisioned to independent Stacks where disparate teams across regions and brands can still centrally govern them. Teams can deploy and manage multiple Stacks within a central management console for all of their sites and experiences, each with their own dedicated cloud infrastructure and shared codebase. Sites running on multiple versions of Drupal can also be managed independently on the same platform in a common console. New sites can be launched (in minutes!) and legacy apps and services can be integrated through the platform’s open APIs. The result is more flexibility and speed to delivery, without loss of control.

Digital governance continues to be a top priority for enterprise organizations [CIOs and IT digital platform owners] as laws around data privacy and sovereignty evolve. Enterprises managing multiple brands across regions may prefer to isolate [separately govern] their business units’ digital properties, including processes, sites and technologies, so digital marketing and business teams only have access to the tools they use locally to make meeting compliance requirements easier. For instance, organizations may want data and hardware hosted in a specific region to maintain local data privacy or sovereignty requirements. Or, they may want to split hosting between regions so that some of their digital properties live in one location while other digital assets are stored in another. Unfortunately, this practice may result in redundant systems and platforms, a fragmented user experience across brands and geos, and ultimately, high maintenance cost.

Multi-region governance starts to address the challenges around how organizations can better implement and enforce compliance standards locally. To further empower IT digital teams to easily centralize digital governance best practices, we are pleased to announce new multi-region governance capabilities available today within Acquia Cloud Site Factory. These new features solve the complexities that organizations face around digital governance by giving IT digital teams more flexibility when building, delivering, and managing digital experiences at scale so they can reduce risk, ensure compliance, and minimize costs.

New features to Acquia Cloud Site Factory include:

Multi-region Functionality for Stacks

Multi-region functionality is now available within Acquia Cloud Site Factory Stacks to make it even easier for organizations to implement governance standards in local regions. When it comes to managing data and digital content across multiple countries or regions, organizations may want to take a proactive approach to complying with local regulations, privacy laws or corporate requirements. Multi-region Stacks supports delivery and governance for multiple sites and experiences, allowing organizations to both manage, and host, all of their digital properties in the particular region their brand and site are located from one central management console. Multiple code bases with a dedicated cloud infrastructure for each Stack can be supported, making it faster for IT digital teams to get new sites up and running in their local region quickly. Organizations can manage multiple sites in each Stack and simply ‘turn on’ a particular region for a Stack to fulfill local regulatory requirements. Each Stack functions as a separate space of dedicated resources and a fine-tuned distribution with a common set of codebases. Multi-region Stacks provides IT digital platform owners with a common platform and governance approach to managing digital experiences across various regions, which translates into reduced costs, minimized risk, and greater oversight over all of the organization’s digital applications.

ACSF Management Console New Centralized Role Management for Drupal 8

Acquia Cloud Site Factory now provides more flexible identity management for all of our customers’ websites. Customers have the option to use centralized role management for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 websites. This enables IT digital to have more granular control over who in their organization or broader partner network has access to their sites. Customers can make identity management changes to users in Site Factory that can be sent to the Drupal environment. For example, customers can make name and email address changes from Site Factory directly to their websites. In addition, customers can integrate Site Factory with their own identity provider(s) to authenticate users by means of security tokens, such as SAML 2.0, for ease of adoption and use.

Role Management for Acquia Cloud Site Factory REST API Updates

We continue to evolve and deliver on APIs, support them, and make them compatible with existing solutions and tools; this enables customers to have greater flexibility and control over their management console to support open integration possibilities while still maintaining stringent compliance requirements over all of their digital applications. There are three new REST API endpoints that are responsible for adding a site to a site collection, removing a site from a site collection, and making a site primary in a site collection. Organizations can extend APIs to any of their digital technologies in an automated fashion, lowering the complexity and risk of managing multiple systems globally, while increasing velocity. APIs can be used to connect Acquia Cloud Site Factory with a customer’s in-house tools (such as an existing reporting or internal dashboard) to build unified management consoles for the business, increasing visibility, further automating, and enforcing governance standards.

ACSF RESTful API

With evolving rulings around data privacy and sovereignty, and how digital information is used and shared, it will be important for organizations to invest in a digital governance strategy and digital platform in order to manage their sites and content effectively.

Acquia Cloud Site Factory offers a powerful advantage for enterprises that want to move fast and build and deploy new sites and campaigns to maintain a competitive edge in the market, while still maintaining governance over all of their digital experiences and applications. Our new multi-region governance capabilities help further address the common challenges enterprise organizations face around building, delivering, and managing digital experiences globally.

Acquia Cloud Site Factory is the only digital platform for multisite management that has the flexibility to support multiple development teams, compliance standards, and versions of Drupal – all within a single delivery and management solution. With these new updates, we continue to enable different teams, brands, and regions to easily implement and govern all of their digital experiences globally at scale, now and in the future.

Want to learn more? See how customers like Nasdaq, Warner Music Group, Australian Department of Finance, and SABMiller are using Acquia Cloud Site Factory to manage and govern all of their digital experience initiatives.

Categories: Drupal Universe

How the Denver Botanic Gardens are growing with Drupal

Acquia Blogs - Wed, 2017-07-19 15:38

Garden Banner
Last month, Elevated Third shared its best practices for helping nonprofits be successful with Drupal. The team at Elevated Third offered some sage advice, including why it’s important for nonprofit organizations to invest in open source and to prioritize integrating with existing tools. If you need a refresher, here are 6 things to consider during a nonprofit web design project.

Doing more with less is always important for nonprofit organizations. With a defined budget and a small staff, nonprofits must make the most out of their limited resources to build digital experiences that make an impact. However, the ability for nonprofits to extend invaluable resources with digital doesn’t stop there. In partnership with Elevated Third, the Denver Botanic Gardens discovered how they could use Drupal to grow its mission beyond the physical space.

Growing with Drupal

Since its founding in 1951, the Denver Botanic Gardens has emerged as a cultural staple of the city. What started as a 100 acre plot has grown into two distinct locations at York Street and Chatfield Farms. In addition to the flora and fauna, the Denver Botanic Gardens offers a variety of programing including a summer concert series, classes, exhibitions, research opportunities and more. However, these unique programs weren’t easily visible to first time visitors. As the Botanic Gardens was reaching the conclusion of their physical expansion, they recognized the importance of using digital to not only elevate their mission, but to expand their audience.

As if budget and mission weren’t already enough to balance, departmental goals, business objectives and user needs also needed to work in harmony. The Botanic Gardens looked to long time partner, Elevated Third, to help build a site that satisfied business and departmental requirements, while making user experience the priority.

Letting the Garden speak for itself

Elevated Third began with thorough user research and analysis of the current website in order to architect and plan a new site that would flatten navigation, reduce irrelevant content and expose the previously hidden offerings of the Gardens. In keeping the website user friendly, Elevated Third wanted to let the beauty of the Gardens speak for itself.

After partnering with Elevated Third for nearly six years, the Gardens has been able to grow their website in the right way. Using Drupal and Acquia Cloud, a refreshed botanicgardens.org makes it easier to browse events, see classes and buy tickets online with a filtered events calendar. The Botanic Gardens uses third-party management system ATMS+ to track calendar and class data with internal systems. While the website runs on Drupal, the team at Elevated Third wasn't afraid to integrate with existing tools and systems. Elevated Third built a digital ecosystem to integrate the data consumed with ATMS+ with the public site. To better grow their donation and membership base, the team also developed a non-profit fundraising tool for their corporate giving page.

gardens image

A key component of making the new site user-centric was to ensure that users could engage with it via mobile devices. Basic information, such as open hours, free days, parking and events all needed to be easily consumable with responsive design. Data has shown that return visitors needed this kind of information right away to take advantage of all of the Gardens’ offerings upon arrival. Mobile was imperative to meeting the needs of this group. It was also necessary to clarify what was happening at the Gardens' two unique locations. To do this, Elevated Third worked with the Gardens to design a visual system to separate the Chatfield and York Street locations.

The refreshed Drupal website has seen budding reviews and continues to support the success of the Gardens. By building a site that is intuitive to use and prioritizes responsive design, users are more likely to spend more time on the site. Elevated Third created a taxonomy categorization system that bundles related classes, artwork, and garden exhibitions together on a single page to engage users past their initial search. By coupling programing with highly visual content, the Gardens has been able to expose users to new offerings, which not only extends community engagement but revenue. The Gardens’ work with Drupal has enabled them to extend their mission and grow new guests into loyal community members.

In partnership with Elevated Third, the Gardens will continue to iterate and improve the site to make it easy for visitors to see and experience everything that the gardens has to offer. In addition to York Street and Chatfield Farms, www.botanicgardens.org represents the newest location available for guests to engage with the Gardens.

"Elevated Third team created an impressive user experience for visitors with our website redesign projects. Our world-class website encompasses best practice from the beautiful visual separation of our two physical locations to ticketing and calendar implementation." - Doris Boardman, Website and SEO Manager

How to do more with less

Elevated Third has a tenured history of working with nonprofits, and supports programs that connect Drupal developers, designers, and out-of-the-box thinkers to their community, in addition to taking on several pro bono projects each year. Elevated Third’s partnership with the Denver Botanic Gardens has extended beyond site launch, as Elevated Third will continue to partner with the Gardens through site iteration, planning, and future strategy.

Inspired by the open source tenets of the Drupal community, the Botanic Gardens is committed to collaborating with other nonprofit organizations to help them become successful with Drupal. To share their knowledge with others in the community, The Botanic Gardens partnered with Elevated Third and Acquia to host “Digital Marketing: Do More with Less,” an educational networking event which helped nonprofit and higher education organizations leverage digital. Here, Elevated Third shared how working with nonprofit teams allows them to put mission, passion, and drive first, and connect with some of the most dedicated people in Colorado.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Deception and discrimination in Drupal

Deception and discrimination in Drupal

Well, here we are again.

Most have by now seen the latest post from Dries Buytaert and Megan Sanicki about the reasons they saw fit to remove me from Drupal. Unfortunately, as has been the pattern it seems to raise even more questions than it answers, including from me.

Larry 19 July 2017 - 12:47am Personal
Categories: Drupal Universe

When Rethinking Your CMS, Build for the Future

Acquia Blogs - Tue, 2017-07-18 15:00

3 Market Trends That Make You Rethink Your CMS

For a decade, companies have focused on building and optimizing websites for multiple channels, including mobile and social. Despite new tools to help adjust, demands have forced companies to shift toward customer experience for emerging technologies, such as such as Internet of Things devices, conversational interfaces, and digital signage. Thus, a new question has surfaced: Which technologies should they focus on?

We have multiple connected devices on hand - laptops, tablets, and smartphones are ubiquitous - and new types of devices are on the horizon. Identifying the next big thing is the challenge. Is it wearables (smartwatches, fitness trackers), augmented reality (think Pokemon Go!), or conversational interfaces (Siri, Cortana and Alexa) that you’ll need to stretch both your budget and development time between? Maybe it is all of the above. The truth is, none of us really knows which of these things are going to take off and be adopted or when. We also don’t know when the next version of these devices will be ready, how long they’ll be around, or and when the next new channel will become available to augment these devices or replace them. The best way to stay ahead of the changing digital environment is to invest in a platform that enables flexibility to support the changing demands of your customers, one that can deliver your brand’s digital experiences across any channel, even those devices that haven’t been built yet.

So, as we think of all of these, let’s look at some trends in terms of technology and development that will enable your team to build digital experiences for the future.

Decoupling drives developer innovation

Whether you call it headless or decoupled, your new CMS must allow developers a choice in how to render the front-end experience so ambitious digital experiences (or elements of them) can be created once and delivered across any device or channel -- whether that be web, digital signage or even conversational interfaces. For example, decoupled Drupal delivers a strong content management service to serve to modern front-end applications. Node.js enables the developer to create applications in a modular fashion. Pieces of functionality are built independently and this allows both scale and flexibility to the development team. Plus, the modules you create can be reused in other applications, meaning updates can happen in a module and flow to many apps. This is why developers like using tools like Node.js, Angular, or Swift. They can deliver more functionality faster and with greater quality. Acquia Cloud supports decoupled Drupal as a content service. The Drupal back end exposes content to other systems, such as native applications, JavaScript, and IoT devices. Drupal itself also supports a robust offering of web services, including the core REST API, JSON API, and GraphQL, in addition to software development kits like Waterwheel.js (JavaScript) and Waterwheel.swift (Swift). This means that any system can consume content from the cloud with ease.

Chatbots: The next user interface?

We have a lot of cool stuff happening at Acquia Labs. We’ve been experimenting with new types of channels for digital experiences like conversational interfaces, augmented and virtual reality, and IoT devices just to see what’s possible. Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal and CTO of Acquia, recently posted a blog about some of the things they have been working on, including the integration of chatbots into the digital experience. If you haven’t already, check out the video here. We think that chatbots will become an integral way in which organizations interact with their customers. Chatbots extend beyond a single platform to become a more ubiquitous way to interact digitally. This technology is still in its infancy, but the reality is that the third interface is upon us, the conversational UI powered by a chatbot.

Developers tools: Build the future

There is a lot of growth in digital channels to support. This doesn’t translate to growth in teams or budgets immediately. Developers need tools to increase efficiency. There is a lot of work involved in getting a complex system of developer tools operating correctly - despite that the benefits are exponential when you are all set up. Local development tools are available from most platforms as are prebuilt integrations with GitHub or BitBucket. Connect these to a pipeline automation tool (Jenkins, Travis or Bamboo) to automate loading and testing in an environment that closely mirrors production, then complete hands-on testing before pushing to production, keeping an eye on the whole thing through reports.

These types of tools make development teams more efficient through processes that enable continuous delivery. With the right architecture and tools, you can really start to improve the speed and quality of code delivery across all channels. That’s why we launched Acquia Cloud CD, which integrates the automation of your code pipelines with our cloud in production-like environments. Acquia eliminated all of the set up work by adding the code pipelines tools and continuous delivery environments to our subscriptions.

So what does it take to deliver on all of these trends?

In our opinion it takes a robust cloud platform that was designed to scale for the evolution of customer experiences. The cloud because of its scalability and a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) because it enables your teams to focus on developing, delivering and managing applications rather than hardware and operating systems. Second, your PaaS needs to make supporting decoupled architecture easy. Free yourself to design for the delivery channel with a common, robust backend. Finally, give your developers the tools to be efficient when managing all of these new experiences so you can quickly evolve your digital experience to a true omnichannel journey for your customer.

Categories: Drupal Universe

How to Effectively Scale Content Marketing Personalization

Acquia Blogs - Wed, 2017-07-12 17:05

4 Steps for Scaling Personalized Content Marketing
You can’t personalize content without knowing the interests and behaviors of your audience. And you won’t be able to understand their preferences without first having a holistic view of customer data across systems. In our last blog post, we talked about 1:1 personalization and how you should take a data-driven approach to segmenting your audience. Now that you have a basic understanding of what data to look for and who your buyers are, combined with their specific interests, you are ready to tackle the challenge of developing and executing on a persona-based content strategy, at scale.

When it comes to persona-based content marketing, you need to be armed with enough content to support all of your personas at each stage of the buyer’s journey. This can feel like a daunting task to many, with frequent limitations around both time and resources as well as inefficient processes that inhibit marketers from scaling their content efforts.

So let’s jump right in. Here are our tips for accelerating your content creation and delivery in order to continuously drive engagement and conversions across all of your individual segments.

Determine value propositions for each of your individual personas

While determining value propositions for your buyers sounds straightforward, marketers often make the mistake of looking at value propositions from the perspective of “what do I want to tell my customers?” The harsh reality is, this is not about you as the marketer, or even about the products and services you provide. This is about your customer and how your offering will impact their life in a positive way. Make sure that when determining the value propositions that will align with each persona, taking a customer-centric approach to this process by focusing on the value you provide them.

Pro tip: It may be helpful to garner feedback from your existing customers for validation that you are on the right track.

Create diverse types of content to support each stage of the buyer’s journey

Once you have identified the value propositions mapped to each persona, it is important to understand the types of content you will need to support visitors across the buyer’s journey. For example, to gain awareness in the market, you may want to use content in the form of social posts or email campaigns. As buyers become more familiar with your offering, they might request third party content, a short whitepaper or one-page overview for further detail. Case studies or customer reviews are often essential at later stages in the buying cycle. In order to meet the demands of your customers, you must ensure that you are prepared with the most relevant content at the right time during their path to purchase.

Pro tip: To save time and resources, extend your content by turning a blog series into an eBook or breaking down a long form asset into several smaller ones.

Increase content efficiency by repurposing relevant materials

It is not uncommon for marketers to recreate the wheel every time they require a new piece of content. This unfortunately is inefficient, wasting both time and resources. With frequent silos across departments, web sites, and technologies, discovering and repurposing content is often a cumbersome process for marketers. In order successfully execute on your content strategy, you will require a central repository to store the all content available for reuse as well as technology that will enable you to quickly and easily search for content by persona, topic, or keywords. These are must-have capabilities if you are looking to streamline your content planning and distribution process. This will also allow teams access to all of your available resources so content can be used, translated, or shared as needed.

Pro-tip: To make it easier for your teams to find relevant content, make sure your content management or syndication tool can support content organization and tagging of assets.

Test, revise, repeat

Once you distribute content to various digital channels as part of your content marketing strategy, evaluate its effectiveness. For instance, in areas where you see a lack of engagement or conversion, make the necessary changes and redistribute. Key metrics to leverage in this process may include:

  • Web traffic
  • Unique page views
  • Time spent on page
  • Click-throughs
  • Conversions
  • Social engagement

Continue to evaluate and iterate in order to capitalize on your content marketing efforts and provide your customers with the most impactful experience.

Pro tip: To make analyzing your content marketing efforts a little easier, integrate your CRM, web, email, and social analytics with your personalization and content syndication tool so you can get a holistic view of your customers’ journeys across channels and devices.

Best of luck on your content marketing journey!

Categories: Drupal Universe

The reason why Acquia supports Net Neutrality

Acquia Blogs - Wed, 2017-07-12 13:31

If you visit Acquia's homepage today, you will be greeted by this banner:

Acquia supports net neutrality

We've published this banner in solidarity with the hundreds of companies who are voicing their support of net neutrality.

Net neutrality regulations ensure that web users are free to enjoy whatever sites they choose without interference from Internet Service Providers (ISPs). These protections establish an open web where people can explore and express their ideas. Under the current administration, the U.S. Federal Communications Commision favors less-strict regulation of net neutrality, which could drastically alter the way that people experience and access the web. Today, Acquia is joining the ranks of companies like Amazon, Atlassian, Netflix and Vimeo to advocate for strong net neutrality regulations.

Why the FCC wants to soften net neutrality regulations

In 2015, the United States implemented strong protections favoring net neutrality after ISPs were classified as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. This classification catalogs broadband as an "essential communication service", which means that services are to be delivered equitably and costs kept reasonable. Title II was the same classification granted to telcos decades ago to ensure consumers had fair access to phone service. Today, the Title II classification of ISPs protects the open internet by making paid prioritization, blocking or throttling of traffic unlawful.

The issue of net neutrality is coming under scrutiny since to the appointment of Ajit Pai as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Pai favors less regulation and has suggested that the net neutrality laws of 2015 impede the ISP market. He argues that while people may support net neutrality, the market requires more competition to establish faster and cheaper access to the Internet. Pai believes that net neutrality regulations have the potential to curb investment in innovation and could heighten the digital divide. As FCC Chairman, Pai wants to reclassify broadband services under less-restrictive regulations and to eliminate definitive protections for the open internet.

In May 2017, the three members of the Federal Communications Commission voted 2-1 to advance a plan to remove Title II classification from broadband services. That vote launched a public comment period, which is open until mid August. After this period the commission will take a final vote.

Why net neutrality protections are good

I strongly disagree with Pai's proposed reclassification of net neutrality. Without net neutrality, ISPs can determine how users access websites, applications and other digital content. Today, both the free flow of information, and exchange of ideas benefit from 'open highways'. Net neutrality regulations ensure equal access at the point of delivery, and promote what I believe to be the fairest competition for content and service providers.

If the FCC rolls back net neutrality protections, ISPs would be free to charge site owners for priority service. This goes directly against the idea of an open web, which guarantees a unfettered and decentralized platform to share and access information. There are many challenges in maintaining an open web, including "walled gardens" like Facebook and Google.
We call them "walled gardens" because they control the applications, content and media on their platform. While these closed web providers have accelerated access and adoption of the web, they also raise concerns around content control and privacy. Issues of net neutrality contribute a similar challenge.

When certain websites have degraded performance because they can't afford the premiums asked by ISPs, it affects how we explore and express ideas online. Not only does it drive up the cost of maintaining a website, but it undermines the internet as an open space where people can explore and express their ideas. It creates a class system that puts smaller sites or less funded organizations at a disadvantage. Dismantling net neutrality regulations raises the barrier for entry when sharing information on the web as ISPs would control what we see and do online. Congruent with the challenge of "walled gardens", when too few organizations control the media and flow of information, we must be concerned.

In the end, net neutrality affects how people, including you and me, experience the web. The internet's vast growth is largely a result of its openness. Contrary to Pai's reasoning, the open web has cultivated creativity, spawned new industries, and protects the free expression of ideas. At Acquia, we believe in supporting choice, competition and free speech on the internet. The "light touch" regulations now proposed by the FCC may threaten that very foundation.

What you can do today

If you're also concerned about the future of net neutrality, you can share your comments with the FCC and the U.S. Congress (it will only take you a minute!). You can do so through Fight for the Future, who organized today's day of action. The 2015 ruling that classified broadband service under Title II came after the FCC received more than 4 million comments on the topic, so let your voice be heard.

Categories: Drupal Universe

The Multi-Everything Stress of Digital Marketing

Acquia Blogs - Mon, 2017-07-10 20:34

One of the fastest growing digital marketing challenges is managing the ‘multi-everything’ world. Multiple brands, multiple websites, multiple touchpoints, multiple consumer devices — the list seems endless, and it shows no sign of slowing down with the emergence of augmented reality and virtual reality already disrupting industries.

The growth of the multi-everything world, while being a huge opportunity for digital marketers, makes mapping the consumer journey an almighty headache. Even in the pre-internet days, customer journeys were never straightforward — and now they start, stop, weave and vanish, using mobile one moment, desktop another, social media, in-store visits, word of mouth, and connected devices of all kinds. And you have to keep track of all that to deliver a solid digital experience.

And as if tracking customers isn’t hard enough, recent Acquia research in a report entitled Beyond the hype found that large corporations (more than £250 million turnover) have on average 13 corporate websites, 12 brand sites, 12 campaign sites, 12 portals, 12 intranets, 13 transactional sites and 12 social channels.

The challenges these corporations are facing are therefore considerable. A huge 90% struggle to manage multiple sites across multiple brands. More than two thirds use a different framework for each of their websites, and more than half complain that it makes everything take too long to edit.

The problems don’t stop once sites are live. 47% struggle to keep content up to date, 45% say the resulting sites’ quality is variable, damaging their brand, and 33% say they’ve lost direct control over the design and content

In an age of brand fragmentation, this is good news for nobody. The customer loses out through a poor digital experience, and you miss out on potential sales.

Clearly, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. But where can you start?

Download the report

For one thing, download the Beyond the hype report for free. Beyond the hype is based on our research of 450 digital leaders across the UK, France and Germany. The report uncovers exactly what’s holding digital marketers back from delivering top digital experiences to customers, and separates the digital dreamers from the digital doers.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Making a Custom, Acquia-Hosted Site Affordable for Higher Ed

Acquia Blogs - Fri, 2017-07-07 15:15

With budget cuts and rising expectations, higher education websites have become a challenging balancing act of function and affordability.

As one of the main marketing tools to prospective students, higher ed websites increasingly need to do it all.

They have to be responsive, accessible, easily navigated, support the brand, contain large bodies of complex content that often require custom functionality not standard in CMSes, and be future-proof enough to last 5-7 years -- the next time funds might be available to rework the website.

Infographic illustrating rising web development costs of responsive sites vs. dropping higher ed budgets

And if those hurdles aren’t enough, institutions typically have limited budgets and limited staff to maintain their web presences.

Over the past decade we’ve seen patterns in the needs, challenges, and wants of our higher ed clients. There is clearly a need for a virtual “off-the-shelf” website solution that:

  1. Specifically meets the content and functional needs of higher ed institutions
  2. Allows room to infuse websites with a strategic foundation and content strategy
  3. Helps institutions develop a process for managing their web presence
  4. Alleviates the burden of hosting, security, and technical updates; AND
  5. Does 1-4 all on a tight budget
The Solution:

Late in 2016, we set out on a journey to build that website solution and we named it Lectronimo®. The name came from an episode of the old cartoon, The Jetsons, when the family got a robotic dog named ‘Lectronimo. It sounded futuristic, forward-thinking, and rhymed with “Geronimo!!!!” which matched our level of excitement about taking this big leap into building a new product for higher ed.

Lectronimo displayed on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.

The requirements for Lectronimo were to:

  • Leverage a CMS to create a repeatable, flexible website solution that meets current expectations in higher ed clients and leaves room for them to make it their own -- without requiring custom development for each client
  • Ensure it can be deployed for under $50,000 (including support with strategy, branding, information architecture, and content work)
  • Put the work of managing and maintaining the site into the hands of the “content” team
  • Build it for a low-recurring cost to the client to include:
    • Technical site maintenance (with little-to-no dependence on the client’s IT/Developer staff)
    • Secure, reliable, affordable hosting
    • Ability to deploy updates to all clients fairly easily (this is the MVP after all)
    • Access to our consultants to help them protect their investment and build a process to manage their web presence
  • We built out our functional specs to ensure the site would have all the things our higher-ed clients need:
    • Ability to present academic offerings in meaningful ways to prospective students
    • Ability to drill down in academic offerings from Areas of Study, Programs, Courses, and Classes
    • Optimized responsive design for all devices
    • Includes content types for news, events, promos and spotlights
    • Robust faculty and staff profiles
    • Content approval workflow
    • Ability to integrate social media
    • Multi-level alert system
    • Easy to implement webforms
    • Modular page layouts
    • Ability for non-design folks to edit images for banners, carousels, and other areas where images appear on the site
    • Plus all the usual content types you see on a site

Selecting a CMS is a service we often offer our clients, so we weighed pros and cons of each one and looked at our past experiences. After careful consideration we chose Drupal because:

  • It’s incredibly flexible and extendable, and the open source community is vibrant, strong, and incredibly dedicated.
  • Drupal makes building in user workflows flexible, and the content editor experience tests very highly with non-technical users.
  • The Panelizer module would allow us to build amazingly flexible page templates that are easy for content editors to configure on their own.
  • Drupal is open-source, so there are no ongoing licensing expenses, contributing to making it a low cost option to maintain.
  • 26% of the higher-ed institutions in the US are already using it, including Harvard, Rutgers, and George Mason University.

As we worked on Lectronimo we also had to figure out how to make sure the solution could be maintained, hosted, and achieve our goal to provide updates and support for the long term -- to protect the client’s investment. We looked at comparable models and realized we’d need to offer this following a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. With this approach, we can offer an affordable monthly fee to cover loads of great services.

When it came to hosting, we’ve had several Drupal clients host with Acquia Cloud. We knew that's what we wanted for Lectronimo. But how could we make that work and keep the cost down?

We worked with Acquia’s team and their expertise guided us towards a cloud solution that allows us to host multiple sites off one code base. Effectively, this allows us to host many Lectronimo sites and divide the expense among those clients. This also leaves us room to ensure we can provide ongoing support, updates, and consultation without going broke! By hosting all the sites on Acquia we’ve made it easy for us to push updates out to all our clients simultaneously. If we have a new front-end theme, make some minor feature updates, or create a new page template, we can make it available to our clients and they can immediately take advantage of it.

Acquia Cloud is exactly what we needed to help bring a website solution like Lectronimo to market and we’re pumped about what Acquia and Digital Wave can accomplish together.

If you’re interested in learning more about our journey to develop our Lectronimo solution stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 to this blog series: Custom Theming that is Impressive and Flexible Enough to Continue to Impress, & Template Doesn’t Mean Cookie Cutter

We’re excited to bring Lectronimo to market! If you’re a higher ed institution exploring options for your upcoming redesign and want to know more about Lectronimo, or if you’re in another market and want to talk about your next project, Digital Wave’s team is happy to help.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Build a Platform, Not a Site Part II: The Factory Automation

Acquia Blogs - Thu, 2017-07-06 17:58

ACSF Automation
To build and deliver digital experience content and applications across multiple brands, products or regions at scale, companies must focus on building a platform, not a site.

Building a digital factory platform that manufactures, delivers, and runs all of your company’s digital sites and governs content delivery will provide IT with a central view of your organization's digital experiences globally; this also enables digital marketers to roll out new experiences and site updates faster and more efficiently than before.

In part one of this series, I explained what a digital factory platform is, and the approach organizations should follow in preparing for a successful digital transformation to become factory-ready. Transformation requires two parts: the factory approach and the automation approach. The factory approach is the foundational framework, behavior, and culture both technically and organizationally. It encompasses adoption and the organizational requirements within your IT digital team to keep your factory operating smoothly; this entails the roles and responsibilities of the digital factory team including assembly, delivery, operations, and governance.

The second part of the transformation, the automation approach, is the platform technology and automation of the digital factory, which we call the ‘Site Factory’. This is made up of all the non-human components of the factory including the shared Drupal CMS distribution, the management console, the management application, the Cloud PaaS, and Stacks for enabling groups of sites to be spun off from multiple codebases.

It’s important to note that unlike the factory approach, there is less flexibility on the automation approach as there are few substitutes for many of the required technology components of the digital factory as described below.

5 Components of the Digital Factory

Acquia Cloud Site Factory (Site Factory) provides the fastest way to deliver and govern digital sites at global scale. Site Factory is the digital factory automation for you to create your own digital site factory. The Site Factory contains:

1. Site Factory Shared Drupal CMS Distribution: A Drupal CMS distribution is a configured Drupal CMS containing a core platform, selected integration modules, and deployment of specific configurations. Acquia Lightning is an Acquia provided Drupal distribution for customers to use as a starting digital platform. The Digital Factory governance and assembly teams can start with Lightning as a baseline and add their company specific components, configurations, and requirements, to assemble their standard company CMS Distribution. This is “building a platform and not a site,” and is a key transformation in becoming a hyper-efficient digital site manufacturer for your organization. The shared CMS distribution is the strategic, factory asset. Each Site Factory customer creates digital sites based on a shared CMS distribution.

2. Site Factory Management Console: The Site Factory management console is the user-friendly interface and front-end application to the Digital Factory. The console user interface provides a Factory dashboard for working with sites, users, and administration. The management console is a centralized, browser application that provides a unified view of all digital sites, who in the organization has access to these sites, and reports on sites, users, and digital applications. From the management console, you can also execute all site provisioning and management functions. No longer does the IT or web teams need to build sites. The Site Factory management console and application automatically “builds the sites” just like a Factory rapidly assembles and delivers products. Sites are the products of the Site Factory. No complexities and much lower learning curve when the Factory builds the sites. For example, using the management console you can assign role-based profiles for controlling how your digital experience team works with sites. The standard roles are:

  • Platform admin: Provides overall responsibility for deployment within Acquia Cloud Site Factory, including management of websites and OpenID accounts
  • Site builder: Allows for website and content creation and management
  • Developer: Enables updating for PaaS development and staging environments with new and updated code
  • Release engineer: Grants access to the PaaS production environment for code pushes and updates for status monitoring

ACSF Management Console
3. Site Factory Management Application: Together with the management console, the management application provides the orchestration services for automating creating, copying, cloning, backing up, changing, and securing digital sites. The delivery and operations teams use the Site Factory management console and application as their interface to all the digital experience teams internally and their partners externally. For example, the management application is pre-built with all of the required delivery and management functions so that even non-technical users can deliver and manage sites. Here are some of the functions available from the management console:
  • Establish site actions and organization
  • Organize your websites, collections, and groups
  • Create sites and site groups
  • Manage site groups
  • Create site collections
  • Manage site group users
  • Find sites with filters
  • Manage sites on a cluster
  • Duplicate a site
  • Delete a site
  • Back up sites
  • Restore a site from a backup
  • Transfer site ownership
  • Refresh website thumbnail images
  • Set the terms of service statement

ACSF Management application
4. Site Factory Cloud Service Management: The operations team becomes a trusted and automated site service provider using the built-in cloud service management automation based on the Acquia Cloud Platform-as-a-Service. The Digital operations team does not need to configure infrastructure to power their site and digital experience deployments. Site Factory runs based on capacity needs across the number of sites and is easily optimized for specific digital deployments. This is the power system of the factory. Acquia provides the entire service. For example, the service management provides each Factory:
  • Automated cloud monitoring: Provides high-availability hosting and monitoring infrastructure across multiple web servers, with Varnish caching and replicated database servers.
  • Provisioning environments: Automates development, staging, and production Site Factory platform deployments.
  • SLA-driven, managed services: Operations team on call 24/7 to test your website and keep it up-to-date with relevant updates and security patches.

5. Site Factory Stacks: A Site Factory Stack contains a complete Factory including the Site Factory-ready Drupal CMS Distribution, the Acquia Cloud PaaS, and dedicated Cloud infrastructure resources. The delivery and operations team needs flexibility and control when:

  • Supporting the digital needs of global organizations
  • Ensuring IT compliance and security
  • Optimizing the CMS distribution for specific digital experiences and applications such as: branding, commerce, and customer service

The Site Factory management console makes it easy for delivery and operations teams to centrally provision and manage all sites across multiple Site Factory Stacks, even when deployed in different cloud regions.

Content Syndication, Governance, and Sites

For organizations that want to extend site governance into content governance, they can use Acquia Lift’s content syndication functionality together with Site Factory automation. Acquia Lift gives organizations the ability to manage and update all content within their network, and distribute content out to relevant sites across the network. This enables the IT digital platform team to control content consistency and maintain governance with automation.

Pairing Acquia Lift content syndication with Site Factory increases efficiencies for building, deploying and updating digital experiences within your organization and across your network, so you can mitigate risk, maintain brand consistency, and easily manage multilingual and/or global sites. Check out our eBook to learn best practices around how to prepare and automate content and site governance.

Site Factory provides digital experience teams with an adoption process and the platform automation to transition from continuing to build ad hoc, unmanaged websites to delivering managed, digital sites as a service to the digital business and marketing teams. As a result, the IT digital platform team transitions to becoming an IT-managed digital site service provider measured on speed to delivery and overall service level availability. While the digital marketing team becomes site consumers focused on content creation and digital programs that drive business goals. Together, both teams become experts in controlling the platform and innovating the digital experience. This is the roadmap for hyper efficiency and the foundation for accelerating digital business success.

Categories: Drupal Universe

Taking On the Personalisation Challenge

Acquia Blogs - Wed, 2017-07-05 15:59

Personalisation is without a doubt one of the fastest moving areas of digital marketing, and it is quickly becoming a must-have. Indeed, for the most part, consumers expect it and welcome more personal digital experiences — as long as it’s not creepy and doesn’t cross into intrusiveness.

Effective personalisation is a key differentiator for success, but how easy is it for brands to get personalisation right? Acquia recently spoke to 450 digital leaders to find out about their experiences and challenges of incorporating personalisation as part of their digital strategies.

More than 90% of the digital leaders we spoke to agreed that delivering a personalised experience is important. However, at the same time 89% admitted they find executing successful personalisation difficult.

The key challenges brands face with personalisation are varied, but they are all fundamental elements of ensuring the success of any digital teams:

  • Lack of insight in the preferences or identities of visitors
  • Lack of budget for the necessary technology
  • Lack of board buy in

The lack of board buy in is somewhat surprising. 81% of business leaders state that their digital strategies and corporate strategies are closely aligned, so the lack of support around personalisation is potentially a sign that many efforts are doomed to fail before even getting started.

Another major hurdle is the challenge of not having enough content as well as the willingness from customers to part with personal information. The scaremongering around online privacy may have a part to play in consumer unwillingness to share their details, but as personalised content is pushed to more users, these concerns are likely to ease.

Despite these challenges, it is important to remember that the benefits of getting personalisation right can be essential to a brand’s success. More than half of the leaders and respondents we spoke to who had successfully implemented personalisation reported that they had seen an increase in viewing times, greater engagement with calls to action and increased sales as a direct result of effective personalisation.

But personalisation doesn’t just happen overnight. If brands are to successfully implement personalisation as part of a digital strategy, they need to break away from seeing their website as a summary of what the organisation has to offer. Instead they must focus much more on the overall experience they are creating for customers.

Ultimately this means that organisations need the right technology in place to provide the right experiences to the right customers, to recommend content, to pull and analyse customer data and to automate those processes. This requires tools that merge content and customer data in one place and that empower businesses to deliver the most cohesive and personalised experiences across not just the channels and devices available today, but any new ones that become popular in the future.

To find out more on business leaders’ experiences with personalisation and digital transformation, download the free Acquia report ‘Beyond the hype’.

Download the report
Categories: Drupal Universe

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