Melting the “snowflake” – scaling hundreds of sites with Acquia | Top Stories

For organizations, large and small, multiple websites quickly become a nightmare of management – from technical, content, security, and branding perspectives.

As a result, the problem for marketing, operations, IT, and HR, among other departments, is how to deliver and govern websites at a global scale – without huge web production & maintenance costs.

A great deal of organizations today have many hundreds or even thousands of digital properties to manage. How then, to stay on-brand, launch sites quickly, and minimize security risks… all the while keeping costs from ballooning ? Add to the mix multiple localizations & languages, and a desire to digitally publish in support of a seasonal offer or promotion, and the asset management conundrum becomes a real headache, not just for IT teams but also for marketing and every other department.

So when an organization runs tens or hundreds of sites, it’s not safe to assume that it still has complete ownership or control of its various digital properties. Sometimes, whole web projects may have been outsourced, with contractors moving on, going under, or generally becoming unresponsive.

As organizations scale and expand, situations like those may continue, with the overall picture of an online stance looking more fractured – Acquia calls this “snowflaking.” The term refers to the creation of multiple digital properties (usually on disparate CMSs) which are not compliant with the company brand, and don’t meet security & architecture standards. Because each site is on its own CMS, the property portfolio is difficult and expensive to maintain. That presents management, resourcing, and security challenges.

When companies have sites on multiple CMSs, the creation of minimum security standards is especially problematic, with no standardization of policy possible. Simple updates and patch application exercises are complex, time-consuming and error-prone.

But the basis for a solution to much of this complex picture can be delivered with Acquia Cloud Site Factory (ACSF). Deployment of ACSF brings additional benefits which go well above and beyond providing redress for any single pain-point of those above – although the benefit of addressing the security issue alone is priceless in today’s digital environment.

The Acquia Cloud Site Factory platform unifies all of an organization’s web presences, creating a single code base and management system. Users, therefore, need not navigate multiple versions of WordPress, Joomla, hand-coded backends via FTP, legacy CMSs and sites “managed” by off-the-shelf proprietary platforms.

Instead, centralized management control of all code and site deployment. Your teams can develop once and then use that code across multiple instances, easily numbering in the thousands. Content management stakeholders from different areas of the organization can be given as much, or as little, flexibility as necessary to address its broad needs across a wide variety of websites using a common interface, with full oversight and control. ACSF ensures materials & message remain “on-brand” and secure.

And while internal concerns for security, ease-of-management, and consistency may be a driving factor in changing to the Acquia platform, customers or service-users will appreciate the unified user experience that your organization is able to provide via Acquia Cloud Site Factory. Unified messaging, on-brand media, and seamless cross-site experiences drive improvements in users’ confidence in the organization with which they’re interacting.

Inside large companies, not-for-profits and global distributed organizations, multiple publishing operations can operate within parameters set by centralized strategic policy, with as much leeway and malleability as deemed appropriate. Use of materials, style, and security settings can be privilege-based, applied wholesale, or down at the granular level of individual role or user.

With Acquia Cloud Site Factory, websites can be quickly decommissioned, re-used, edited, spun up and deployed, on the basis of an individual project’s needs: perhaps as dictated by a new marketing campaign, and according to local geographic requirements, and language. All of this can be done without the need for developers or IT involvement.

Acquia’s Cloud Site Factory can increase website conversions due to improved customer/service-user experience and enriched content of the newly minted sites. It enables unified communications across every aspect of even the largest governmental body and drives real improvements to service delivery. For today’s trans-regional, global, complex enterprise, ACSF offers commercial positives: reduced costs, improved efficiency, and a healthier bottom-line.

Acquia’s global reach and widespread user base means there’ll be an expert on hand to talk to in your language (however technical) about the possibilities available for your organization. If you have multiple websites or ambitious digital goals, or want to create them, you’ll need a factory.

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