ABB was using a legacy CMS system, which is still in service for some of the company’s content. “We had a custom platform, developed by ABB, and an external delivery partner,” explained Niklas Kämpe, Head of Digital Communications at ABB. “The maintenance responsibilities had been passed on to a team in Krakow, Poland. We recognized that the custom platform was becoming an increasing burden to maintain, and it would not be able to meet the strategic future demands of ABB's web presence in a sustainable way.”
The legacy system was based on Lotus Notes (for content management) and .NET (for the presentation layer). “Our legacy CMS had a 15-plus year-old codebase and lacked a web interface,” Kämpe added. “We had to code the HTML by hand, even for the most basic operations, which was tedious and error-prone. We needed a new web-based platform that was user-friendly so users could quickly update content and make changes. And it needed to be developer-friendly, so our teams in Krakow could quickly develop and deploy new functionalities.”
Kämpe’s team evaluated solutions available on the market, and shortlisted a few to provide a proof of concept. “We wanted to recreate portions of www.abb.com in the new platforms and see how long it took and how easy the platforms were to work with,” he said.
“We needed a solution that could be built on top of .NET. On the shortlist were Umbraco, Sitecore, EpiServer and Sitefinity CMS. More than 170 people provided input using a crowd-sourcing tool.
Although some of ABB's developers were impressed by a few of the features of the shortlisted options, they felt the backend lacked appeal and none would satisfy our growth projections. But when we saw the Sitefinity CMS, we knew on a conceptual level that it could take us further.”
Using Sitefinity CMS’s multi-site functionality, the team was able to implement all 111 sites, consisting of country sites, solutions’ sites and multiple portals used for intranets and ecommerce, including languages and personalization, in less than a year. The architecture and premium services teams at Telerik were instrumental during implementation and have been working with ABB to ensure that the platform meets their needs moving forward.
“We have a team in Telerik that is helping us customize the solution and provide advice and recommendations to help us reach our goals to provide an easy-to-use modern platform for editors, with critical support for mobile built into the project,” added Niklas Kämpe.
In addition to being web-based, Sitefinity CMS’s ease of use helps ABB’s site editors to edit content quickly and accurately. Additionally, the platform provides built-in support for mobile, rather than it being an afterthought. Piotr Kwapin, Senior Online Product Manager at ABB, expects to see cost savings in terms of hosting and infrastructure with the new implementation.
But the most important benefit of switching to Sitefinity CMS, according to Kwapin, was his team’s ability to collaborate closely with Telerik on development and bug fixes. “I believe this kind of relationship could not have been forged with any other vendor,” he said. “We see great value in this model, and we’re looking forward to the next few years as we continue on our digital journey with them.”
Kämpe appreciates the clear commitment from Telerik to enhancing Sitefinity to fulfill ABB’s needs. “We have a team in Telerik that is helping us to customize the solution and provide advice and recommendations to help us reach our goals to provide an easy-to-use modern platform for editors, with critical support for mobile built into the project,” he said.
Kwapin plans to leverage more features in Sitefinity CMS to improve architecture, APIs and documentation, and to solve the challenges that go with expanding its geographical reach. “I personally would recommend Sitefinity CMS to other organizations which would benefit from having a dedicated partner to help them expand their digital business.”