case study

UE helps ABB with a user-centric CMS solution for 111 multi-market websites

Background

ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies. ABB’s solutions enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. With 8,500 technologists and an annual $1.5 billion research and development budget, innovation is at the forefront of what ABB does every day.

Challenge

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.”

Solution

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. United Experts’ advising was instrumental to ensure architecture, development, and editorial implementation of this complex platform were optimized for the current and future needs of this complex solution.