Case Study

Water Research Foundation

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Highlights

Situation

WRF’s primary goal is to increase subscriber engagement by making its leading water research more accessible to readers.

Challenge

WRF’s previous website was cumbersome and required a highly motivated user to find what they needed. Additionally, the platform lacked comprehensive personalization capabilities. 

Our Solution

Acquia Cloud Platform, Acquia Personalization, Acquia DAM

Results

WRF launched a new digital experience platform that support the organization’s goal of ever-increasing subscriber engagement.

The Client

Water Research Foundation (WRF) is an organization committed to the funding and distribution of water research, primarily related to drinking water. Municipalities, universities and utility providers across the country use WRF’s research to improve drinking water. WRF is the world’s leading one water research and innovation organization operating on six continents. Their Foundation represents approximately 1,200 subscribers, hosts an online research library of more than 2,300 projects valued at $700 million, manages an innovation platform with a database of more than 1,100 innovative technologies, and much more.

The Situation

Water Research Foundation is an organization committed to the funding and distribution of water research, primarily related to drinking water. Municipalities, universities and utility providers across the country use WRF’s research to improve drinking water for everyone.

Building upon a subscriber model, WRF’s primary goal is to increase subscriber engagement. This means getting more research into the hands of people who need it. However, the previous website was cumbersome and required a highly motivated user to find what they needed.

The Challenge

The challenges for this project were two-fold: technical integration and a simplified user experience. 

On the technical challenge side, WRF has a massive integration effort on its hands. As part of the website design, WRF was moving from older, outdated systems to newer platforms up and down the business. Data connections and migrations poised difficult problems between the selected stack. Migrations included:

  • From Sharepoint to Acquia DAM
  • From ASP.NET to Drupal 8 CMS
  • From Microsoft IIS to Acquia Cloud Personalization
  • Other integrations included: Acquia Personalization

Additionally, creating an engaging and useful user experience was an entirely different challenge. With thousands of research materials untagged, unstructured, content organization was only the start: delivering the site as a customizable tool for subscribers to get the most out of the research was also key.

The Solution

In partnership with Elevated Third, the user experience approach started with a fresh look at not just the information architecture, but the concept of the site itself. WRF had a vision of a digital magazine instead of a research database, something that would be easily browsable and enticing. Hundreds of existing tags and categories were collapsed to a few meaningful ones with the help of digital card sorts with subscribers. Layouts focused on key topic pages to bring together projects, research, articles, and events together around central themes important to users. 

Finally, Acquia Cloud Platform provided a stable base for all of WRF’s sites, offering performance and a dev-ops workflow that keeps the development process lean and fast. Using Acquia Personalization, WRF can target users by activity or persona. In partnership with Elevated Third, WRF will customize content portals by role (researcher, utility manager, city planner), promote local events by user location and deploy a future integration with email and marketing automation to continue to support the goal of ever-increasing subscriber engagement.

The Results

From a replatform standpoint, migrating multiple systems from CRM to CMS was a success. Data is structured, clean, organized and connected, allowing WRF more comprehensive access to customer data and more insights into their organization. Personalization was also a huge key result, letting logged-in users easily subscribe to receive project updates, with targeted blocks based on where the user is in their journey. By speaking to each of the site’s audiences individually, the new site is more effective at getting WRF research into the hands of people who use it.

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