Photo of woman of color facing the camera and typing on a laptop
Digital Experience Platform

How to Maximize the Performance, Scalability, and Governance of Digital Experiences

March 23, 2023 5 minute read
If your organization can’t consistently deliver quality digital experiences, it’s leaving money on the table
Photo of woman of color facing the camera and typing on a laptop

Every second counts when it comes to conversion rates, says digital marketing agency Portent. Websites that take two seconds to load will convert visitors at a rate of 34%. One second more and that rate drops to 29%, falling lower and lower as load times increase.

And businesses that struggle to build, maintain, and optimize digital estates of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of properties? They can’t scale fast enough to respond to changing business conditions, opening the door for competitors to gain market share.

Then there are organizations with poor governance. Their decision-making frameworks may be fuzzy, creating confusion around guidelines, standards, and processes for platform users, which can lead to branding and security issues.

These are all examples of obstacles that keep companies from delivering the quality digital experiences that consumers have come to expect, particularly in the post-pandemic era. We’ll dig into each one a little more and then point you to case studies across a range of industries that have solved the challenges with remarkable results.

Common blockers to outstanding digital experiences

Laggy website performance

In the era of same-day Amazon deliveries and 24/7 news cycles, audiences have grown accustomed to barrier-free digital experiences. Slow-loading sites and glitchy videos are simply unacceptable; organizations must aim for websites that:

  • Prevent or minimize downtime
  • Maximize uptimes, reliability, and resilience at all times, not just during peak traffic periods
  • Achieve search engine optimization (SEO) goals

Inability to scale

Enterprises must often contend with multiple digital properties that are multilingual and multiregional, while some businesses seek to scale features on a single site. To support the build, maintenance, and optimization of either situation requires solutions that:

  • Benefit business growth
  • Respond to morphing business needs
  • Facilitate a faster time to market

Weak governance and security

Sites that are poorly governed can stir up branding, security, and compliance issues. What makes for shoddy governance? Weak decision-making processes that fail to assign ownership, determine priorities, and define shared guidelines, standards, and frameworks for platform users. IT teams can combat that weakness by:

  • Driving down the number of security and compliance incidents
  • Affording creators flexibility while still ensuring their output follows brand guidelines
  • Set roles and permissions so that the right stakeholders have the access they need to build, launch, and optimize experiences as they see fit

How Drupal prepares organizations to be future-ready

There are a number of content management systems (CMSs) that claim to address the challenges outlined above, but we’re partial to the open source CMS Drupal. These are just a few of its features that sway us:

  • Effective caching that boosts performance by storing pages, page elements, and other resources, which allows the cached version to render quickly rather than a newly generated version that may load more slowly.
  • Manageable traffic loads — both globally and locally — through load balancing ensures consistent performance. With load balancing, failover functionality ensures resiliency during DDoS attacks and helps guarantee that there’s no single point of failure — even when the application scales to support millions of page views.
  • JavaScript aggregation means JS files are combined to improve a site’s front-end performance by guaranteeing each page load receives the assets it needs as cacheable, reusable files.
  • A multisite management approach ensures technical and non-technical web content developers have a single platform that allows them to manage hundreds — even thousands — of digital properties and to publish new content quickly and easily while maintaining proper governance.

Organizations that improved their delivery of compelling digital experiences

There’s a lot more to Drupal than the handful of features we called out above. Its composable architecture is another draw, helping businesses across verticals overcome the challenges related to performance, scalability, and governance. Bayer Consumer Health, for example, used Drupal-based Acquia Site Studio and Acquia Site Factory to relaunch 437 sites in 50+ languages in just 18 months, saving the company $15 million in IT and third-party costs over three years.

Then there’s the international nonprofit Climate Group. Leadership sought to consolidate the organization’s three websites to improve user engagement but worried that poor load times for regions outside the United States would do the opposite. Working with creative technology agency TPXimpact, Climate Group landed on combining the sites into one Drupal 9 multisite instance on Acquia Cloud Platform. The results included a 40% increase in average visitor session time and a 55% decrease in average page weight.

And, in the public sector, the State of Rhode Island sought to modernize its digital landscape of various agency websites that were statically maintained with numerous generations of design templates reaching back 15 years. The organization partnered with digital experience firm Oomph to produce a resilient platform via Drupal JSON API, Acquia Site Factory, and Acquia Edge CDN and Edge Security. The results were laudable, with 15 sites deployed within eight months and a whopping 300% improvement in page load times compared to the organization’s legacy systems.

But these are just a few of the case studies that illustrate how organizations across a wide range of sectors are overcoming performance, scalability, and governance challenges through the power of Drupal and Acquia solutions. For a more in-depth look at the successes that various businesses and organizations have enjoyed, download the free e-book Lessons on Building Performant, Scalable, and Governed Digital Experiences today.