Global Fortune 500 Medical Equipment Supply Company
How Ricoh IT Services Built a Global Medical Supply Company's Unique Vision of Extensively Integrated Content and e-Commerce Sites
About the customer
This global Fortune 500 medical equipment supply company is also a member of the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Indices. With operations and affiliates in 32 countries, the company has more than 19,000 employees and serves more than one million customers around the world. For nearly 90 years, the company has provided a range of high-value business, technology, clinical and supply chain solutions to the healthcare industry. Today, the company has more than 100,000 branded products that are provided through a vast distribution network.
Complexity of integrating two separate website platforms
Desire to update both platforms automatically
Atypical vision that other developers wouldn't take on
Need forward-thinking partner to turn vision into reality
The company already had a robust, highly customized e-commerce site to serve its distributors and customers across the globe. But it wasn't enough. They had a unique vision to add a Sitecore® content management system on top of their e-commerce platform to manage the content-related pages and roll out to their entities worldwide. But doing so would be complicated.
First, they wanted the navigation in both the e-commerce and content management sites to mirror each other — despite being two different platforms. They also wanted the two sites to communicate with each other so when something is updated in one platform, it automatically updates in the other.
Secondly, it wasn't typical to marry two sites, share content and pass design assets back and forth. Other website developers that the company approached passed on the project due to its unique scope. The company continued to search for a partner that would think beyond what's typical — and turn their vision into reality.
Successful proof of concept, six additional country site rollouts
On track to a unified brand across the globe
Trusted partner for enhancements, new sites and support
Increased marketing capabilities
The proof of concept and roll-out of the first country site was a complete success. It showed that the company could have a Sitecore content management system on top of its e-commerce platform — something that hadn't been done before at the time. The two sites now mirror each other in look and feel, and when the design of one site is updated, the change is automatically applied to the other site — presenting a unified brand around the globe.
Since the initial rollout, we have built out six additional country sites for the company outside the U.S. Enlisting the one-click site building feature, the additional rollouts were fast and error-free. With the success of the rollouts, Ricoh IT Services remains the company's Sitecore partner for all new enhancements, country site implementations and ongoing support.
We are now migrating to the latest version of Sitecore, which will enhance the company's marketing capabilities. They will be able to alter content based on personas, personalize the experience for visitors, make content changes based on geography, analyze behavior on the site and leverage information derived from email or social media platforms.
How We Did It
Set up a proof of concept for design asset sharing
Planned and implemented an information architecture
Leveraged Sitecore® features and created custom functionality
Designed and deployed the first country site
Ricoh IT Services has a decade of experience applying our knowledge of Sitecore CMS — both in developing sites from the ground up and rescuing failed implementations. Yet, this ground-up effort was like no other we had performed. Since the requirements for this project were so unique, we proposed to first build out a proof of concept for a design asset sharing mechanism. This would allow the company and our team to vet the ideas and give it an extensive test run before accepting it as a solution and implementing it across the board.
We developed a mechanism based on open API, which allowed design assets — HTML, CSS, JS, etc. — to be centralized in the e-commerce sites. The layouts in Sitecore made requests to the API on the e-commerce site to get the assets for rendering the Sitecore pages. We also planned and implemented an information architecture (AI) and designed and deployed the first country site — for France — in Sitecore. We then collaborated with the company to build out an extensive deployment system that enabled one-click building of sites for other countries with minimal effort.
In addition, we took advantage of many of the Sitecore features and built other custom functionality. Along with the design asset sharing mechanism, we created a custom sub layout engine. We centralized navigation publish from Sitecore for real-time integration with both sites and automated navigation check-in/check-out from source control. We also made many enhancements to the content editor such as unlock locked items, show rendered URL in content edit as a separate quick info section, keep entire cloned trees in sync, integrated error logging, and custom email actions and styles.