How to enhance your digital presence with multi-sites

ClerksWell recently hosted a virtual panel discussion with Michael Theodore, Head of Digital at the Association of British Pharmaceuticals Industry (ABPI), Filip Bruun Bech-Larsen, CTO at Umbraco, and Kat Ovsyannykova, COO at ClerksWell on the topic of a multi-site set up and how best to optimise this. 

The below is the transcript of the session. If you'd like to watch the webinar, it's available on our YouTube channel here.

How to enhance your digital presence with multi-sites


Mara Ispas, Marketing and Partnership Lead at ClerksWell (panel host)

Michael Theodore, Head of Digital at ABPI

Filip Bruun Bech-Larsen, CTO at Umbraco

Kat Ovsyannykova, COO at ClerksWell



How to enhance your digital presence with multi-sites

Mara Ispas  

In this fast-paced world where brands and organisations are competing for audience attention, effective on-brand communication and content plays a crucial role in building our businesses. To stand out, we need to be remarkable and noticeable to our target audience.

But just as important is the organization of this content and communication. Managing our digital brand, products, and content flexibly and efficiently is crucial and even more so for those organisations that have multiple brands to manage under one global identity.

Lockdown was a catalyst for getting businesses online, and as a result, today’s digital landscape is more complex and vibrant than ever before.

We’re seeing more and more organisations across all sectors and industries managing multiple brand identities and therefore websites.

What we’re also seeing however, are organisations struggling to create a cohesive structure where all their brands are unified under one digital estate that is easy to manage.

 how do we ensure consistent, easy to manage online branding of all individual brand identities and their content?’

Let’s dive in.

Michael, I thought we would start with you because you have recently gone through this digital transformation at ABPI, and I wondered if you could share what your digital estate looked like before and what finally drove you to make a change in the first place?

Michael Theodore  

Thank you, Mara. I'm an experience digital marketer. I've been looking after the website for about 20 years and different businesses. I came to the ABPI about seven years ago because they were moving from SharePoint. That's why I came to business. I was looking at the move of the platform from SharePoint to Umbraco -- quite straightforward.

It then transpired what kept popping up with different websites I had no idea were part of the business. In total, we had 14 different websites that were branded doing different campaign ideas.
And some of them were live and some of them were dead, but they were still out there. And I must say it gave me the worst fear ever.

I'd no control over these things. The worst thing is the people I was going to talk to had left the business. I had a whole range of different kinds of businesses. The main names, agencies, technologies such as Drupal and Type Typo 3. You may not have heard these things, but neither did I, but. And all that kind of confusion. And someone looked at me and said, are you going to fix this?

And that's when I realised we needed something a little bit more robust than just the website was more of a strategy to take us forward and try and work out what it happened, why people had done this stuff and what I could do to make a difference.

Mara Ispas  

Well, it definitely feels like it was all over the place. So one can imagine for someone that hasn't done this before, it might look very confusing and overwhelming. So Filip, from a technical perspective, what would you usually see in terms of the set up for you know somebody embarking on a project like this, trying to move everything all onto one platform? What would be some of the non-negotiables that you would want to see?

Filip  Bech-Larsen

I think there's a there's a few different paths to it. I think the  first decision to make is really,
do you want to use the same platform but in like multiple instances for each of the brands or each of the sites? Or do you want to use the same platform in like one instance? And I think there's pros and cons to both.

In both of those approaches, I think the most important thing is that you don't have, as Michael is saying, eight different systems running eight different sites because that makes it impossible to maintain and to develop on, and to share stuff between and for your editing team -- and for everybody that that's just not a great way to do it.

What we see with Umbraco is it's really a lot of both. Some do it; some choose one over the other for cost reasons. I it might be more effective to run one project with 10 websites inside of the same install, but if you're doing lots of rapid development on each of them and you want to maybe be able to deploy one independent of the other one or something like that, having individual websites, but actually on the same platform might also be a good fit.

We have Umbraco, specifically we have in our cloud a feature that we call Baseline, which is basically trying to give you the best of both worlds where you have like individual projects for each of your entities or each of your brands, but you can still share some of your source code and you can share content and you can push changes out independently of each other and stuff.

So I think making that first initial call of do we want to have one platform with everything in it or do we want to have like individual platforms, but you know that actually work together. I think that's probably a good way to start.

Mara Ispas  

Kat working at an agency like ClerksWell that has been around for almost three decades, and working on digital projects and projects like ABPI’s,I'd be curious to know if you've picked up on any trends or commonalities over the years and what considerations you might advise clients to take on for something like this?

Kat Ovsyannykova 

Thanks, Mara. So just to kind of like add to what Michael and Filip were saying, many clients approach us when they need to spin up some microsites for particular campaigns or potentially for large events. These micro sites are often temporary, but they're very highly targeted sites designed to promote a particular initiative, a particular type of content. So this type of set up like Michael’s set up is usually preferred by clients due to its flexibility.

And the flexibility is in managing the content itself. So the beauty of having the multi-site set up is that it allows clients to reuse the components that they already have within the main site, but it still allows you to have a completely separate look and feel. So for example, this is exactly what Michael has for ABPI.

In terms of considerations, I would probably say choosing the right CMS from the start so it kind of like really goes well with what Filip was saying earlier.

So it will really prevent organisations from going into the technical debt and I don't know if any technical people are on the call today, but they would really appreciate me say this. What do I mean by the technical debt? It's when you have various different platforms here and there and everywhere and then you need a project basically to reassemble everything back together.

So we've seen this happen with small to medium membership organisations where different teams are responsible for different areas of the business. They set up campaign sites using various. like WordPress, Wix, Michael mentioned Drupal earlier as well, so they set up the campaigns using these platforms, and although they achieved the goal at the time because they can do it quickly and they can make those decisions, I think managing those websites gets really out of hand very quickly.

And I particularly want to call out two things here. It's the analytics tracking. So when there are different platforms, different websites set up here and there and everywhere analytics gets out of hand and as one of my colleagues actually says, you know, you're no longer comparing apples and apples, you kind of have a little bit of orange here and maybe some plums in there.

And the second bit I want to call out is the CRM integrations, which are particularly important for the membership organisations as well. So if you don't set it up properly. Then the whole thing gets out of hand.

Mara Ispas

Michael, you mentioned earlier that you are the only person right now doing digital at ABPI and possibly that cares about digital. So what piece of advice can you give to others that are maybe in a similar position as you trying to get buy in from key stakeholders to actually move into this transformation and get out of this technical debt.

Michael Theodore 

I think debt is actually quite a good point to make. First of all kind of going back to my original situation. When I looked at the paperwork of the websites that were there, you know, 14 websites that cost £10,000 each is a significant amount of money that was just in effect wasted because it wasn't actually cohesive. I couldn't use it again.

And so what I wanted to do was to go to the business, actually, I've got a better idea instead of wasting money like this, we can do things differently.

But obviously you've done something because the website, the main corporate website, wasn't able to do the main stuff that you wanted to do. So I had a chat with each of the kind of key C-Suite leaders to ask them what is it they're trying to achieve and is it maybe it's a small site that's really targeted. So it's a micro site that they can just launch, run and then switch off.

I looked at that and said OK, does it always need to be a micro site because we can lose some website activity by doing it that way. Could it be another feature that we could create so the website is still part of the main corporate site and they said,  ‘I don't actually care. It's your job is to find a solution. My job is to look at the content and work out what's important for us. So if you can find a better solution which works with you, I'll take that lead.’

I said OK then if I can produce it for zero cost and I have all the risk and manage it for you and your content team can just add the Word document content into the website, would that be good? Yeah, great. Fine.

So everyone actually realised what they wanted to do is just have a copy and paste feature that they can control quite easily that I would manage for them centrally. I could reduce their costs, reduce their risks and so that's what I would set about doing. And by going to each them in turn and saying I think there's a better way to do your project. Are you happy for me to take it forward? They all agreed.

I mean it's a it's a Japanese technique, nemawashi, which is to get all that agreement beforehand from each person. So when they come to the c-suite board meeting and decide on investing, you know, £100,000 plus on a single platform that has this kind of multi-site functionality, they're all prepared to go for it.

So that's how I did it. I know it's a very long way to kind of do it, but no one really wants to be embarrassed by saying, you know you've done the wrong thing. They've done it because they're focused on the business. And my job is focused on the website. But my job is to solve their problems. So by doing it that way, they kind of trusted me.

And by taking the pressure off them to find the right website and the right provider and the hosting, and I've just taken a lot of pressure off them. So by doing that I solve their problem and have taken control. So that's the way that I've done it.

Mara Ispas  

Now in ABPI’s new digital estate is built on Umbraco. We've touched on this and we will dive into the impact and success later in the session. Right now I'm curious to learn from you, Filip, you know you've spoken briefly about the Baseline feature, but what else would make Umbraco a good choice for projects like this, specifically for a multi-site set up?

Filip  Bech-Larsen  

Well, Umbraco’s really built to let you do your thing and for us to help you and assist you but get out of your way. And that means that when it comes to stuff like this, all of the features with like handling multi-sites either within the same solution or separate, all of that is out-of-the-box functionality in a bucket. It's how Umbraco was meant to be used. So whether you have one site or 10 sites, in the same install, it's the same on bracket that you run. So there's not a lot of difference.
From a technical from my perspective, there's not a lot of difference from running just one side in Umbraco or running multiple sites.

Mara Ispas 

OK, so we've talked a little bit about what all of goes into, what's starting a project like this. Let's talk a bit about the process and the road map for developing a stable, scalable digital estate like ABPI is. Kat, how does an agency typically approach a project like this?

Kat Ovsyannykova 

Sure. So I'm guessing I want to probably divide my answer into a couple of different buckets. If you want to call them that. So we'll start with the actual process because you started with that, Mara.

So within the process bucket, we've got really important things like onboarding. So at ClerksWell, we have a thorough onboarding process and whether it's for a new client or for an existing client, it's always important to have an alignment session. Then it's often followed by things like requirements gathering. It's really important to understand the requirements that a client has, the key goals that they are aiming for, and then you go into the fun bits like UX UI, you go into your build and obviously testing and development kind of thing -- and then of course you know followed by UAT and production.

So that's the kind of like process itself not going to bore everybody too much with it. But you know onboarding and requirements gathering are probably the most important ones that I would call out.

And then the second bucket is a little bit more human in my opinion and it's all around trust and communication and transparency and relationship with the client.

So I'll start with open communication. So clients need to trust that the agency understands their vision, goals, challenges associated with the project and likewise the agency must trust that the client will provide accurate information, timely feedback, you know, all the necessary resources throughout the project.

Then there's the transparency bit. So clients need assurances that agencies are transparent about the timelines, the budgets, the potential obstacles, any deviations from the original plan. And we know it. It's all kind of stuff that we face day-to-day.

And I'm guessing the last bit within that bucket is collaboration, so trust encourages collaboration and teamwork and both sides, agency and client, must work together to overcome all the challenges, make informed decisions and ensure successful execution of the project.

And then the last bucket is kind of last but not least, I think it's the relationship with the technology partner. I think agencies heavily rely on platform capabilities and visibility of the road map.
And it's really, really important because this is the only way that we can take our clients on the most kind of like optimal journey, the best possible kind of journey that you know will fit their budget, fit their timelines, and we'll be suitable for the client. And then of course, you know, it's worth mentioning things like training and development. You know, the relationship with your technology partner will ensure that you have that in place, you know and you know that your resources will service your clients properly.

Mara Ispas  

Well, I think at this point we are pretty eager to see what this actually looks like and what the impact is, Michael. So I do have some of your slides here to share with everyone. So I'm going to pull them up and then you can kind of walk us through some of the pieces of work that happened and the impact.

Michael Theodore 

So you mentioned COVID. Now it's clearly one of the most important things that's happened to most people.

So I mentioned before that the ABPI is responsible for new medicines, new medicines and vaccines. Now, before people hadn't heard of us, but they certainly heard of us at the COVID crisis. So businesses were working really hard to create brand new vaccines and systems and engagement with government.

The other team that was pulling it together to help government get that content really quickly now, previously what a company might have done, what we might have done, it just made another micro site and just worked away. Actually we didn't even have to do a micro site.

What we did was creat a hub which was in effect as a subset in the main site that has the ability to take on its own navigating, which is really controlled and then link that to other content in our website. So we just kept people inside the site.

This was really stable, highly effective and really easy for the team to maintain. What it meant was that I was the only person updating it. They're updating themselves, but it was constrained so they could do that work safely. Now that's the flexibility that I was talking about when I rolled out this project and then when it came to the kind of war fitting, it then demonstrated its real value and that was really important for us.
We've also now started to kind of do more of this kind of hub element inside the main body of it.
So we've done a couple,  28 microsites in the same way so nobody ever talks about having another site off the platform. Everyone feels at least they can get what they need, even from the main core website, so that's been really successful for us and we have cut costs and so they don't have to actually go outside and bid for that. So we have made a real saving every time we do it now.

But of course there are some times when your microsite will do and I'm talking about microsite, we'll talk about multi site, but a microsite is for example. We have done something different so we don't want all of our branding of the ABPI on it. We want to kind of move away a little bit or work with a partner. So we kind of de-brand a little bit. So what we have is the core functionality in a microsite from Umbraco that we can skin up really quickly.

We can add content as we wish, so we have a project which is bringing together a special database that’s pulling in like 15 data sources that government have. That's unless you know where to find it. It's very difficult to get the information. We've pulled it together so you can actually have a map of the UK and see exactly the benefits our industry contributes to your area. Now, that's important for most people, but in a time where MPs are looking to retain their jobs or new candidates looking forward to come looking come forward. That information is really important.

So what we have is a microsite has one page, it has an iframe which pulls through this content from our developer and it works really well. Again, we didn't have to pay for that. We could do that really quickly and with ClerksWell’s help we can then get the domain name in place to support it and that just saved us so much time and gave us real control. And again, just I must say, about 10 days ago I was asked by the business to prepare a pilot website. And so what you see on the kind of the bottom feature there is another tool which is pulling in an iframe with some other content.

This group has created and what that is a module to teach medical students about the Pharmaceutical industry. We're trying to find a way to promote this and give it away for free. So into the universities can take it up now. I did this without ClerksWell having to do any work for it. I just created a microsite, gave it a name, had a format, put the content in and it was ready to go.

Now that is the flexibility that my business needs from me and that's what I can do without even engaging my design agency because they've provided the structure for me to do that. So that's the kind of flexibility that I've always wanted and actually I'm getting now. So that's been really useful for me.

So again, I've talked about microsites, we talk about multi-sites. I think when you have one or two pages for a campaign, you can call it a microsite. But actually we have on our platform we have two major multi-sites, our corporate sites and our school sites. You know that 1,000 pages and 500 pages isn't much compared to other companies, but the traffic they get for us are quite important you know.

Over 100,000 for the corporate site and 150 for the school site and an international audience too. So I have stability from that platform I have flexibility as well and so I think that's really important for me is that one, if I start a small site, a micro site, but then it starts to grow like maybe the module for the universities if that grows I know that I can scale it up so the microsite will become a very large multi-site and there's no need for me to change platform or to or change anything else. So again it's really scalable for me.

Mara Ispas  

Alright. Well thank you for that, Michael. I think it's been pretty clear that you have definitely built a scalable and flexible, easy to manage digital estate.

What I've sort of deduced from our discussion, and generally speaking, the best thing about creating a digital estate from the same platform and environment is that your virtuous features
are amplified and by that I specifically mean web accessibility, website performance, and digital sustainability.

Now I don't think that we will have time to dive into each of these topics today, but one of these that I am increasingly seeing more and more chatter about online is the digital sustainability component. And so my question that I put to each of you now is on the topic of digital sustainability.
How are you seeing it being treated and is it becoming more of a priority for each of you? And I think, Filip, why don't we start with you?

Filip  Bech-Larsen

Yes, it is very much a priority for us both because we think it's important and we want to be part of saving the world, but of course also because like for business reasons, this has become part of a lot of tenders and stuff where we need to start reporting and I mean with some of the new EU regulation coming on sustainability and corporate social responsibility, there's lots of new requirements that will you know soon affect all of us.

And so I think by being ahead on this, I think we can really make a big difference for many of our customers in trying to make this easy for them to report on, like how much carbon was submitted from my website or from my traffic or something like this.

What we're doing specifically other than I think the first thing of course is like you know giving people awareness like how much are we actually doing or how am I doing compared to other websites and stuff but there's a part of it that is, you know, how do we actually help you be better? And I think there's a great opportunity for us to along with all of our partners to teach and to help people in building websites smarter.

And a lot of it comes down to best practises that we've been talking about for years that also make sure websites run faster because a lot of times what's faster is also more efficient. Efficient is less power needed and at the end of the day, less carbon burns, right? So there's a lot of stuff that we already know and that we've all known for a while that we just need to do better at.

And then I think on the topic of multi-site specifically, of course make sure that you then choose a platform that is doing well because if you put all your eggs in one basket you got to make sure that it's a good basket, right.

And I mean.

When we a couple of years ago, I don't know, three years ago or something we changed a lot of the underlying technologies underneath Umbraco’s, we went from an old Microsoft technology to a newer one. And what we saw was that when customers started adopting this, we saw about like 50% less server was needed and I mean at the end of the day that’s half of your emissions that are gone just by making sure that you're on a modern platform.

So there's significant savings to be made just from choosing the right platform. And then of course as I think with I mean just to refer back a little bit to what you said about accessibility and stuff. It's a lot of the same like if you do it right from the start, it's not too much extra work. But if you have to retrofit it, it's so painful and it takes so long and it's so expensive. So do it right, choose your right platform from the beginning and do your stuff right and you'll be good.

Mara Ispas  

Very interesting points there, Kat. Anything to add?

Kat Ovsyannykova  

Yeah, I think I totally agree with Filip. Just to kind of like maybe dive a little bit deeper into a couple of things.

First of all, we're very keen on sustainability at ClerksWell and you know I'm really pushing my team hard to make sure that we are on par with all of our peers and are where we need to be.

I think that the multi-site setup supports sustainability on different fronts and I'm just going to touch on a couple of those very, very briefly. So I think we've spoken about some of those already, but just to summarise it.

So it's the centralised management. So organisations can manage different websites from a centralised platform, so this reduces the duplication of effort and obviously minimises the resources required to maintain and update each site individually, so that's number one.

It's the scalability #2. so multi-site architecture is highly scalable so organisations can easily add or remove websites as needed and I think Michael mentioned it earlier today as well so that fits in quite well and to support Filip, you know by doing the set up properly from the start.

Remove the need to require a major migration project or you know a huge discovery to try and identify where are all these websites you know and therefore we promote long term sustainability.

 And then I guess the last but not least it's the consistent branding and messaging. So as we know consistent user experience not only enhances the brand identity but it also ensures that the information on the website is really clear and consistent. This therefore reduces the time that the users spend on spend on the page.

Simply because they can find the information that they were looking for very easily, and therefore this reduces the carbon footprint.

Filip  Bech-Larsen 

If I can just add one thing to that, make sure that you also not only choose the right platform, but you also choose the right partner, right? Like the implementation partner is crucial because at the end of the day there is not one silver bullet. There is lots of it depends and take it getting there into pinch right is just as important as choosing the platform, right?

Because if you if as yes we said like if you if you get that wrong and you need to change it later it's  a pain so. So make sure that you get someone who understands what sustainability is actually about.

And who understands when is it? When is it right to do it this way or when is it right to do it the other way? Because I mean there are of course some cases where there was only one right solution, but in most cases it’s a trade off.

Mara Ispas   

Thank you, Filip, for that. Michael, anything to add from an ABPI perspective? How is the organisation treating digital sustainability?

Michael Theodore   

It's important to the whole Pharmaceutical industry, when it works with the NHS, the NHS looks for green partners in its entire process. That's the manufacturing of this medication to packaging, to transportation and that's really quite important for us. Now. We don't make anything. So what we do have is our website is really quite important for our use. So we hold ourselves to the same sort of standards. We try to say is our website as sustainable as we can make it now?

You know, all people will say to me in the business, why have we moved from version 7 to version 10? Why are we going from version 10 to version 13? And what I have said is when we look at the performance of it, how efficient our pages are, how much carbon dioxide do they give off? It was if it was a page. The previous version was OK, the new version of version 10 is way better.

We are kind of 63% better than some of the other competition and some of these are world leading Pharma companies. Now that was really exciting for my CEO to hear that and see the evidence so that he could just very gently tell the others that you know how well we're doing and how we are doing our bit to support the industry's drive.

But I think what's important as well is the issue of accessibility. Now what's important is accessible websites go faster. And going faster uses less energy. We've talked about this before, web experiences we've quite tied up to speed as well.

So, if you can get an efficient website which goes faster and is more accessible, the content structure better then you're using less energy to deliver experience and that's actually quite important for us too. So and I think as always, I'm always looking ahead to the future, to what Google does and Google likes efficient websites, it likes clear websites so I can get all these virtuous things in one go.

If I can get it the platform right and get the build right, the construction rights, that's quite important.

 I think important for me as well is that I often have directors who come to me and say I've seen this feature on a website. Can we have it in hours and then look it and say I don't think you can. So I then I go after clocks for and they say this isn't a very efficient system. And so as the partner they can give me a technical read which I can feedback and say the business actually this isn't efficient, it's not compliant and so that helps.

So as Filip says, having the right partner can make a difference, make a difference. So I don't end up having this technical debt built into my designs.

Mara Ispas  

It's very, very interesting. You touched on web performance and accessibility without me having to ask a follow up, but I will anyway. I would be curious to find out more about the web performance side of things and you know anything that you are doing at ABPI in terms of your website to improve the efficiency.

Michael Theodore  

I think one of the things that we are looking at again we are about to go into a new phase of our website, so we're going to have a redesign and that's actually quite important for us. And what I've said to the team is that we need to keep moving forward because one of the things that we have involved with is making sure our information is, is accessible to patients as accessible as possible.

And a lot of these patients who are us as people have different needs so making accessible is quite important. Becoming accessible takes effort and effort has cost. So what I've said to the businesses, we are going to reach the WCAG 2.2 standard by the end of the year. That's really what we're going for. And when we're doing that, we are committing to a number of things as a statement for our business. So again, all these virtues, things come aligned and then by the end of the year, we'll be able to report back on the efficiency.

The engagement that we have with our website, the accessibility using a set of various tools and by the end of the year we'll have all that as part of our next phase.

Mara Ispas  

Filip, we'll go back to you. What is one piece of advice that you would impart on developers or tech leads that are working on a project like this?

Filip  Bech-Larsen  

Probably one of the trends we see in in big organisations a lot these days is UI libraries. You know, being able to share UI components even between multiple different visual identities because a lot of times you might have, you know, eight different sides with eight different visual identities and they need to look different but consistent. And they have used their own fonts and their own everything.

But a lot of times I mean at least in the old school days, that meant that we had to implement stuff over and over again, whereas we see a trend towards like having user interface library of like components.

That works for the for the frontend user, and that means that you could do that effort of making them fast and making them accessible only once, and then they work across all of your brains. And that's really a big enabler. We see that more and more.

We see that even people building that out, even if they're doing just one identity, because it still makes sense and it makes it more portable, like if you then want to take it on your phone or if you want to take it somewhere else, all of your UI components can still, you know, translate between different channels. So I think that's probably a nice place to start and it's kind of independent of whatever solution you go with, whatever platform you choose, whether you're in the same or have a different one.

Mara Ispas  

Kat, I have a similar question to you and that's around, you know, one piece of advice from an agency perspective in terms of the onboarding side of things. So what advice were an agency onboarding a client on a project like this?

Kat Ovsyannykova  

Yeah, I think it would be sort of like where I started this webinar, you know, it's understanding your client's specific needs and objectives. And by this, I mean, you know, the target audience, the content strategy, the brand guidelines, desired functionality, the KPIs, you know, and of course clear communications and alignment on the requirements. This is what I think is going to really help and avoid misunderstandings and misaligning on the development front.

Mara Ispas  

And Michael, from a client perspective, I suppose what would you give in terms of advice for organisations wanting to now also take this next step in their digital transformation journey?

Michael Theodore  

Hey I think one of the things we're looking at is making sure we get value for money.

And so again approach I've used, it works really well, is talking to C-Suite when they've seen this website work as well as it does to realise that the CMS isn't a static thing, it needs to keep evolving. We need to keep, you know, upgrading to keep it ready for us, get the next benefit and also because our website is the shop of our business, it reduces our risk and from that buy in.

Say you know if we've got a large site, we can do it. If it grows, it's no cost. If we have a new site, we want to put in, I can do that at no cost.

So all these things come as extra features for me having the right partner. I think we talked about for is quite important. So having someone understands what it is we're trying to achieve is quite is quite relevant. So again, I've talked about the website plan with doing this year, but we've planned that last year. So I work really closely with my agency you to say these are the things that we want to do next year.

What should we do now? What should we do later? How much might it cost? Can you give me a budget plan so I can then put those things in? I get them approved early and then everyone understands what's coming up next year. There is no stress in that and it's just one more thing that the business leaders don't need to worry about. They know the website is stable, they know it's going to be available forever they want.

And that really makes things, I think so much easier. I think one of the key benefits is having an agency that is the right fit for you. I've been in other businesses where I've worked with really, really large agencies and I've realised that we are just too small a business for them to take care of properly. And actually, you know, we are not a very large business and we work with an agency who match us with their skill and people who know our business.


And so people can connect to us and give us recommendations because they know our content really well. And for me, I don't have, I'm just working my own. I'm actually working with extended team. So that works really well for us. So I think all these factors are important, but I think for me, getting the C-Suite to understand the investment of the CMS is critical.

Mara Ispas  

You've touched a little bit on what I would like to ask as sort of the final question before we go on to the Q&A. And that is again for all of you. So the final parting question I suppose is you know, what is the secret source of a successful project. You know we've got an agency, a client and a technology partner on the panel today. And I think it would be really helpful. And I think our audience would love to know what kind of is the magic that makes the project like this successful.
So cat, why don't we start with you?

Kat Ovsyannykova  

I think you answered the question for me, Mara already in a way. So I think it's some of the things that we all said today. So it's the thorough research, it's the clear objectives, robust platform, IE your trusted technology partner and trusted agency.
That's my secret sauce.


Filip  Bech-Larsen  

I agree with everything Kat said. And I think it sums up pretty well what we've been talking about, what I'll say if you're standing out to build a product or like to if you're starting from scratch now.
Other than getting all of this right that you said, I would say don't forget about your editors. I mean, a lot of times we think about our users and of course the users are the most important part. But a lot of times we let our editors like the people who actually work in the platform, who does the content editing? Who does all of that?


We forget about them and we end up giving them a terrible experience and making their work and not super-efficient. And it doesn't have to be a trade-off between the user and the editor. So making sure that you build a great editing experience is probably also a good return on investment, because that makes your editors work faster and they, you know, they're more happy and they don't. You know, they like the platform.

And in most of the platforms out there today, you can do lots of stuff. Like if you don't like the experience out-of-the-box of the platform. You can change stuff, you can customise it to work exactly as you want to and I guess my addition to what Kat said is basically don't forget about your editors.

Michael Theodore  

Yes. I think for me the most important factor is the agency relationship with myself seeing it as a partnership because you know these things are seven years, 10 years, it's a lot of money and investment. And so it's actually quite important for us. So you know that partnership is quite important and actually why do I choose it? I mean there's many companies it might use this platform. But as Filip says, it’s someone who understands what it is they're doing.

And you know, for us it's really nice to have kind of these MVPs, really experiencing globally acknowledged experts in Umbraco, working with us. And again, we had a challenge we wanted to try and solve and then we had Paul Seal who just came in to produce a solution which fixed our problem but fixed it for the Umbraco  community globally too.

Now, that's not something you get every day. And so when I'm talking to my C-Suite saying, actually this is the kind of people we have inside our department. It just makes it easier for them to understand the benefit. So for me, that partnership is really important.

Mara Ispas

I can see that we have a question coming in here for you, Filip. So the question is what would you say is Umbraco's USP compared to other content management systems?

Filip  Bech-Larsen

Well, a big one is, well, a lot of people choose us because we are a net and because we are open source and I think those are two very, very clear USPS. We're not the only ones that are net. We're not the only ones that are open source, but we are by far amount the most popular one that are both.

And by getting .net, you get all of the benefits from a huge ecosystem from Microsoft. Open source, I basically, I mean Michael just said it so beautifully. I mean, you get whenever there is someone else fixing a problem, you get that fixed yourself as well and we have a very large ecosystem all across the world with developers, but also with partners.


So if you're yeah, if wherever you're looking for someone who can work with, with Umbraco you'll find great talented people that are passionate and then that can really add to it like the ecosystem is partners. But it's also like add-ons and packages and stuff like that that you would use to enrich your project.

So I guess open source at .net is probably the two biggest ones.

Mara Ispas   

I would say the community is right up there as well. I have experienced that firsthand.

Michael. I have one question coming in from you from the chat. How do you get buy-in not only from the C-Suite but from teams who have previously been working in silos? And managing their own different sites. So how do you get them all to come together?

Michael Theodore 

I go to a lot of meetings before these projects actually hit the ground, very kind of embryonic projects where people have an idea.

I'm very approachable. Nothing is too difficult and what I'd like to do is to say, well, that's a great idea. Shall I show you a webpage of how I can do that on the go? Yeah. Should you do it later on today? You can have it for tomorrow. And you can present it back to the to the director. They're like, yes, great

Because I have control. I can get them involved and say OK, then he's saying become the editor. Why don't you go in and just change some web words to see what you what you want to try and do to kind of take it from the Latin text into some real words and they go great. We're gonna have it. Yeah. Later on today, tomorrow. And they automatically start saying, what else can we do? Well, actually, I can provide this feature you've seen in other part of the website. That's a module I can give you that straight away.

And so anything on the website that you see you can have. And so that just makes their life so much easier. And so they can come to me and say, could I have this? Yes. Here's the module. It's in. Where do you want to put in there? And it just gives him a bit of excitement and it gives him some control over that kind of content build without having to worry about all the other stuff that goes with it.

Thing, the domain name and I can provide stats on the analytics, so that's how I work with them. Really early on to give them the trust they need and then just provide them. So they're looking at the business now I'm looking at the website for their business

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