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Brainshark

Rebranding and Site Migration

Brainshark delivers presentation and sales automation software.

After years of working with Sitecore, they were looking to migrate to Drupal as a way of expanding their digital presence.

The new CMS needed to work with their in-house customer portal, be completely rebranded, and work across all major devices. The kicker: the site needed to launch in 120 days.

No problem.

Challenges

Brainshark operated on SiteCore and had thousands of pieces of content across multiple sites. Content included images, videos, and all sorts of artifacts that could create defects in another system. We needed to export content from Sitecore and transform it into a format appropriate for Drupal.

The look and feel of the old site was dated. We needed a design that spoke to the value their software brings to users, but was flexible enough to handle appeals to different audiences on different devices. The new site needed to have a set of tools for controlling the placement of key messages, hero images and other impact content.

Brainshark's marketing automation relies on presenting the right inbound marketing forms alongside the right content. The new site had to be smart enough to know when and where to place forms. In addition, forms on the old site were managed by a small in-house team, but marketing teams would have access to the tools in the new one. This meant the tools for placing forms had to be simple enough for anyone to use, without a nuanced technical understanding.

Finally, Brainshark's sites need to scale. We were building the sites in Acquia, but that was not enough. We wanted a system that could deliver content as fast as possible and potentially handle millions of users daily. The new site had to have a strong CDN in place to ensure that happens.

Solutions

Trellon used Drupal to build the new site, along with Acquia for hosting and Fastly for content delivery.

Deadlines were a concern, and the new sites needed to be ready on time, without defect. Acquia and Fastly made this possible by simplifying the development process and allowing the site to scale way beyond benchmarks.

We used Acquia Prelaunch to mirror the production environment, eliminating several steps of unit testing and simplifying deployment. When it came time to move into production, we simply moved the database and files into production through a web-based user interface. No command line needed.

We used Fastly as a CDN, allowing the site to deliver content under massive, continuous load. Fastly worked flawlessly, serving content at very high rates without any optimizations to the underlying content management system. (-kc 1000 -t 900 with 42 ms avg response time - wow!)

The new design was responsive and included hero images, iconography, strong typographic rules and CSS based transitions. To keep it manageable, we used Bootstrap and SASS to create specialized rules that could be applied to any component on the page. Within Drupal, we used paragraphs and panels to give content authors drag and drop controls over the placement of layers. These approaches, combined, allows content authors to create sophisticated, complex page layouts without the need for programming.

Importing content proved to be the biggest challenge. We exported content from SiteCore as XML feeds from packages, but found that SiteCore changed the physical names of all the assets (images and videos) in unpredictable ways. We used Drupal's migrate module to match assets with their source based on a hash of the original file, allowing us to get around strange naming conventions. This allowed us to ensure images and video were stored in various media modules and content appeared as if it had been originally authored in Drupal.