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Acquia Site Factory: Multi-level Governance, Accelerated Time to Value

For major enterprises with hundreds or even thousands, of channels and customer experiences managed by teams all around the globe, digital governance is a top concern. Governance is the overarching framework and process in place for managing an organization’s entire digital presence, and it’s essential for efficiency and large-scale business value. Growing digital organizations regularly face challenges around establishing clear roles and responsibilities, difficulty delivering flexible solutions that meet the needs of diverse brands and markets and providing consistent customer experiences for users across multiple touchpoints. A well-done digital governance framework empowers companies to manage these challenges more easily and launch solutions more quickly at scale.   

As more product lines, brands and regions get rolled up into an organization, it becomes more challenging to address issues of security, site maintenance and brand consistency. We call this the "Multi Multi" problem.

multi multi problem

Multinational, multi-brand companies need to unite stakeholders from all sides (from IT to business to operations) to ensure the strongest standards of governance. Leaders from every team can eliminate the chaos and confusion of controlling an expanding structure of sites and digital properties through a multisite digital platform like Acquia Cloud Site Factory (ACSF). Site Factory supports global management and centralized multisite governance, allowing administrators to manage all of their websites from a single interface. A factory platform approach to digital management removes the blindspots and barriers that limit your organization and make sure that both technical and business governance needs are accounted for in order to get greater value out of every single piece that forms the larger brand puzzle. 

Getting the Right Balance

Typically, digital marketing teams want agility, flexibility and time to market benefits while Digital IT are looking for consistency, repeatability and standardization all with an underpinning of security and compliance with a justifiable TCO.

Too much standardization limits the scope of what is possible, too much flexibility without structure creates something approaching digital chaos, finding the right balance is key to success.

balance chart

 

Empowering Your Organization

The innovation in low code platform capability is beginning to blur the lines between development, configuration and content creation; this raises the question around what is the right mix of skills for a team to maintain a modern digital experience platform/channel, or more precisely, who do you want to empower within your organization?

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When combined with Cohesion, Acquia’s low-code Drupal site builder, Site Factory users can manage large digital estates with fewer resources. The ability to build from feature-rich templates and selection of brand management tools ensures brand consistency throughout global elements of the platform, such as site navigation and information architecture, while giving marketers enough flexibility to deliver unique experiences even for regional and local markets. 

Technical Governance

Sure, it’s great to be unique and march to the beat of your own drum in most parts of life. But for large development teams, standardization wins over “snowflake site” projects every time. Without a common code repository, teams must resort to creating a custom application every time they want to create a new user experience. This siloed approach to problem-solving is only a temporary solution that cannot be scaled or maintained long-term. Without a standardized approach to deploying and managing new sites and features, tech teams often take a “build as they go” approach and end up with a jumbled mix of one-off site experiences that cannot function on a multinational or global scale. Here are a few of the pain points businesses run into when governance is overlooked:

  • Non-reusable features
  • Lack of shared information between tech teams
  • Siloed technology structures
  • Delayed rollouts and slow delivery of new sites

With ACSF, all of the code that powers the applications -- whether that’s 10 applications or 1,000 -- is done within a common canonical code repository. The underlying code can be shared and managed in one central place but the content, configuration and appearance can be altered and adjusted to suit the purpose of each individual site. The codebase is also equipped with controls that allow developers to identify which specific features they want to add or remove on each site. Inheriting specific features when launching new sites and select templates to suit the needs of each site depending on its region or market allows for a controlled and flexible approach to technical governance. IT teams can now be more strategic when planning their launches since they’re all working from an established and reusable common codebase as opposed to starting from scratch each time.  

Digital Business Governance 

The digital marketing side of the business is most concerned with the impact of governance on customer experience. They want to create a multi-brand ecosystem that is both memorable and easy to navigate as users move between different points in the buyer’s journey. A major concern for the marketing department is crafting and communicating brand identity. This requires making sure all of their sites feel consistent and connected, even though they could be selling wildly different products or services. 

Acquia Cloud Site Factory helps organizations create cohesive customer experiences by enabling customizable templates from a single codebase. The head of brand marketing can then enforce style guidelines across all sides of the organization. A consistent digital presence is critical for a business because it drives awareness, retention and customer loyalty. People trust and return to brands they recognize and will continue to purchase from and respond to brands that are able to communicate clearly identifiable, dependable values at every stage in the customer journey.  

 Site Factory’s architecture allows for businesses to have both global brand governance and individual flexibility. A brand that adheres to compliance-driven requirements from the FDA around how they can present information to consumers will likely be stricter in the customization options they enable for their various teams. More regulated industries can feel secure in knowing that Site Factory can limit the capability for content editors to modify and change things downstream from their main repository.

 On the other side of the spectrum, for a major label like Warner Music Group with hundreds of individual artists all with their own unique content and reputation, there’s a need to build sites that stand out without venturing off into completely unfamiliar formatting and features that create a disjointed user experience for someone switching from one artist to the next. The parent organization wants a distinct experience to represent a specific artist’s style without sacrificing the cohesive look and feel of a structure of governance.

Global organizations are managing many experiences across dispersed teams and adding more and more components, brands and features every day. When everyone’s left on their own without an overarching structure and system to maintain order both marketing and IT teams lose out. Together, both sides are granted authority and oversight into the processes and workflow they need and are able to accelerate their digital transformation efforts without coming up against unnecessary obstructions.  

Alan Botwright

Alan Botwright

Senior Solutions Architect  Acquia

Thought leader in DXP partnering with businesses to accelerate digital excellence.