Crain Communications is one of the largest privately owned business media companies with 55 leading business, trade and consumer brands in North America, Europe and Asia.
Crain Communications had a variety of brand websites that supported by various technologies and proprietary platforms. Crain wanted to move to one digital platform that enabled the company to work as one team to deliver a unified, scalable and highly configurable digital platform that enables our business teams to quickly and effectively tell the stories that our customers value.
Each brand in the Crain family was operating on its own web platform. Rolling out a new digital initiative across all brands would require a lot of coordination and time. These disparate technologies systems also introduced operational inefficiencies. As there were no central governance place as all websites were working independent of each other, storage costs were rising, and sites were not managed efficiently.
The approach was to leverage Acquia Lightning to enable component based development as well as deploy a Lightning sub-profile on a multisite architecture for all the brand sites. The digital agency Srijan Technologies proposed standardizing the components as the development progressed. The idea was also to bring better governance to have a tighter grip to the architecture and ensure a documented process approach towards components. Ultimately, this would lead to a reduced cost of investment for further building the sites
Acquia Lightning comes with powerful out-of-the-box features such as the layout, media and workflow capabilities. Srijan built a customer core profile that packed the full set of features and functionalities already defined for the brand websites. When a new website for a brand has to be built, the custom core delivers a functional website with most features already in place.
Crain Communications leveraged Acquia's enterprise cloud solutions to support a large multisite setup. The combined unique site visitor traffic is pretty significant and the shared multi site setup means Crain Communications needs to the ability to scale up on demand and as new brands go live.
With around 30 developers working across timezones, multiple tracks running in parallel (live sites and under-development sites on the same shared Core code base) continuous integration and continuous development has been a key. Crain also used Acquia BLT extensively to setup our development and deployment pipelines.
The first four City Book sites (Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and New York will be rolling out within a six-week time frame. Investing eight months on building the core platform will pay out with the first four launches itself. Earlier, the estimate to redesign and migrate each web site (if done independently) was three to five months.
The return on investment will increase as more brands are on boarded onto the platform.
The support requests to Crain engineering have gone down significantly. The first brand was able to set up around 50 landing pages without needing any developer intervention.
All brands share best practices across analytics, SEO (meta tags, etc.), performance (Drupal Cache, Varnish, Cloudflare), media management etc as these are part of the Core platform.