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Friday, 08 July 2016 10:08

Delivering and securing multi-site brand experiences

Posted By  Jim Shaw

We take a look at how businesses can simplify the huge challenge of matching customer expectations to their current complex digital architecture, while still maintaining security with Jim Shaw, VP Customer Solutions & Value of Acquia.

Last year, a Delivery Experience (DX) survey from Forrester1 revealed that enterprises are managing an average of 268 customer-facing websites. The research showed that these organisations have as many as 10,000 content creators and users involved in managing these sites.

As parent companies become responsible for this growing number of brand sites, they are also tasked with delivering increasingly sophisticated and intuitive digital experiences to each customer. Each digital asset must simultaneously incorporate diverse elements to appeal to different audiences, be compliant with the rules and regulations within specific markets and countries, and be secure.

Where does that leave organisations? Facing a huge challenge in meeting a range of customer expectations and often an overly complex digital architecture that is costly, time-consuming and, frankly, overwhelming. Businesses need to re-think how they manage and govern their multi-site environments and leverage cloud capabilities to help.

Today most global organisations are running different brand sites on multiple CMS (content management systems) which are managed by a plethora of different teams, both in-house and outsourced. As these sites evolve, organisations often lose the oversight needed to implement change, manage, secure and govern these sites.

Increasingly, these enterprises are moving all of their digital assets onto one multi-site platform to ensure a cleaner approach to delivery and governance. This new strategy hinges on central control, without stifling the creativity and autonomy of individual brands and regions. A centralised and governed platform can be used by both in-house and external teams to drive experiences. Multi-site platforms that consolidate each website into a common core content system are able to use reusable modules, themes and templates to improve consistency, deployment time, governance and security. Companies can be confident that all brand and regulatory requirements are met before going live.

Security is often the biggest concern. Online brand trust and reputations can be convincingly eroded after a successful, highly-publicised cyber-attack. A burgeoning need for vigilance and constant oversight is driving organisations to prioritise risk management and security practices - particularly for digital brand sites and experiences.

Web sites can provide enticingly easy access to numerous systems and data, such as billing, orders, payments and analytics. A robust multi-site platform will provide inherent security to lock down access to these systems, as well as securing the platform itself and stabilising traffic loads for each site. Portfolio-wide site policies ensure security controls and scans across all web sites centrally-managed from one department.

By safeguarding security and regulatory issues across each site, brands can have the confidence and freedom to create absorbing digital experiences.

Cost is another driver in this move towards a central multi-site approach. Multiple disconnected sites that serve numerous markets around the world are expensive, especially with poor efficiency of scale and escalating production overheads. These production costs can be dramatically reduced – sometimes by 60% – by focusing on increasing efficiency. The re-use of code combined with making full use of the latest cloud capabilities, can deliver the vast majority of each brand’s requirements, representing a huge cost saving for the organisation.

Ultimately, a secure and well-governed multi-site environment frees the digital and marketing teams to create exciting new website experiences.  A successful multi-site delivery and governance platform is all about balancing flexibility and scalability with security and compliance. By mitigating these security risks, brands can once again focus on the content and experience that keep customers coming back.


About the Author

Jim Shaw is VP Customer Solutions & Value at Acquia. He joined the organisation in 2011 as General Manager for Europe, where he established Acquia's European headquarters, before moving to the Boston office to take on his current role in 2014.

Jim has extensive enterprise software sales and partner management experience, having been responsible for Telco, Media, Energy & Utilities industries in the UK and Ireland at Software AG prior to joining Acquia. He has also held senior roles at Progress Software and webMethods.


 1- "The State Of Digital Experience Delivery, 2015," By Anjali Yakkundi with Ted Schadler, Danielle Geoffroy, April 2015."

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