Case Study: Major Electronics and Electrical Components Manufacturer
Ricoh helps an industry-leading manufacturer rescue its failed Sitecore implementation and bring its e-commerce vision to life
About the customer
This major manufacturer of components for the electronics and electrical markets serves customers across the globe. Headquartered on the East Coast in the U.S., the company has continually expanded throughout nearly a century in business and today has offices in the U.K. and China. Selling through a large network of distributors, the company maintains a large selection of in-stock products — with immediate shipment. In addition, the company's e-commerce site serves a critical role for seamless access to product availability, product research and quick ordering.
Vision of self-service, automated online e-commerce site
Complexities of integrating corporate website with e-commerce site
Original Sitecore CMS implementation failed
Need for Sitecore expertise to rescue the failed implementation
The manufacturer envisioned an e-commerce system that would house all of its web content and integrate with other home-grown and off-the-shelf back-end systems. The key was connecting the company's corporate website to the B2B e-commerce site. They needed to be able to direct visitors to a specific distributor that has product in stock and enable distributors to log into the system to purchase inventory. They also wanted to integrate real-time data — such as inventory levels and volume price breaks — stored in their existing ERP system into the new e-commerce system.
To make this happen, the manufacturer had worked with another implementation partner to leverage Sitecore CMS for this complex project. But the implementation team hadn't met the project requirements and the go-live deadline was quickly approaching. The manufacturer was ready to abandon the Sitecore platform altogether — despite having already invested nearly $500,000 in the enterprise-level CMS.
The manufacturer put the blame on the Sitecore CMS application — it just couldn't do what they needed it to do. Or so they thought. They needed an expert with experience in rescuing failed Sitecore implementations to show them they could realize their e-commerce vision — and leverage their significant investment.
Turned a nearly $500,000 loss into a winning investment
Launched the e-commerce site on time
Brought the company's e-commerce vision to life
Empowered to advance marketing goals
The manufacturer no longer felt it needed to walk away from Sitecore — turning the potential loss of its existing $500,000 investment into a significant win. All of the problems were corrected and the e-commerce site was launched on time, within the original deadline set with the previous developer.
The manufacturer now has an e-commerce site that functions as it was envisioned. Visitors can see available inventory in real time, click and expand windows to show all parts available, see detailed specs, conduct product research and search by specific product categories.
Ricoh IT Services is now upgrading the manufacturer to the latest version of Sitecore — an enhancement with advanced marketing automation features built into the platform. Once in place, the new version of Sitecore will empower the manufacturer 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
Because we're also Sitecore developers, we can enhance the product to be more than just a web platform and marketing tool.
With more than a decade of experience primarily rescuing failed Sitecore implementations, Ricoh IT Services took over the project. We enhanced the main corporate website with B2B e-commerce functionality, created an extensive middle layer for integration with the company's ERP system, and balanced the load to support multiple content design sites and a performance-heavy content management site.
In doing so, there were many obstacles to overcome. The former developer had used compiled code with no source code that we could leverage to build out Sitecore. Rather than rebuilding the system from scratch, we wrote new code for any steps we discovered that had compiled code — and optimized our code to increase the stability and performance of the overall system.
We also created an extensive middle layer to connect Sitecore to the manufacturer's ERP system so data could be pulled directly into the e-commerce site in real time. To do this, we planned and designed the integration with the ERP system, designed and created a user interface for front-end customers to browse prices, created a custom pricing sync mechanism, built an e-commerce user interface for product ordering, and created an interactive product finder for easy browsing. In addition, we improved the infrastructure supporting these solutions by distributing the load so that no one server would be over taxed, which could lead to a slow experience for visitors.
Ricoh IT Services also assumed overall project management and technology control of all the manufacturer's Sitecore and web activities. We also established a long-term maintenance plan for upgrades and development of a solutions roadmap.