Technical Aspects of a Redesign on Drupal
April 15, 2016
Our agency partner Cramer engaged us as their web development team in charge of tech strategy and implementation for Cynosure, a leading developer, and manufacturer of a broad array of light-based aesthetic and medical treatment laser systems. Together, we built AMPS (Amplified Marketing Practice Support) 2.0, the next generation of Cynosure’s marketing portal for their customers on the Drupal platform.
With AMPS 1.0, customers of Cynosure products could access marketing materials, manage a practice listing on Cynosure’s practitioner locator and view product training materials. Via user research and analytics, we realized that most practitioners came to the site to list their practice on the locator and never returned, so the wonderful tools available to them were not being utilized. Cynosure’s goal for the AMPS 2.0 redesign was to encourage customers to not only use the site to list their services but also to find out industry news, help them build practices and connect with customers through social and marketing materials available to them.
Check out the Cynosure case study here.
Sticking with Drupal
A few factors drove the decision to use Drupal 7 as the platform foundation for this project. Besides for the well-known benefits of open source and solid community backing, AMPS 1.0 is a Drupal 6 application allowing for accelerated content migration via the solid suite of migration modules available for Drupal-to-Drupal data migration. In addition, Salesforce integration was a key component of the build and the Salesforce Suite modules gave us a solid foundation for our approach. Finally, Cynosure was looking for a stable, cost-effective, low maintenance approach to hosting infrastructure and the emergence of services like Pantheon fulfilled their requirement.
Developer Tip: There’s not a lot of documentation on the migration module itself, so we recommend going back and looking at the actual code for best results.
What Made This Project Special?
Cynosure’s site is very different than your standard corporate website, they truly want to provide support and educate their practitioners, not sell them anything directly. Because of their goals, this was not your run of the mill CMS implementation but more of an application built on top of the Drupal platform. There was a lot of application logic involved to account for customers contributing content with listings and then applying workflow on top of that. This was in addition to conventional content management functionality including the learning center, marketing materials, and product support.
We created a customized dashboard using personalization so practitioners receive specific content, manuals, marketing materials, product support info, display and banner ads, and waiting room videos related to the services they provide.
An important target for the AMPS 2.0 project was to synchronize customer data in AMPS with Salesforce, an important platform for the sales and marketing teams at Cynosure. The approach to integration would be graduated over time as Cynosure reconciles customer data that was previously siloed in AMPS or Salesforce. In general, we needed to take a loosely coupled approach to linking data in Drupal to Salesforce records. Salesforce Suite provided a great framework on which to construct this approach, allowing us to map a subset of key Salesforce objects in Cynosure’s Salesforce organization into Drupal entities which we related to the core content types in the application.
Drupal on Pantheon
The redesigned AMPS portal significantly changed the audiences that would be connecting with the platform. Previously, the site would only be accessed by customers but features like the Patient Dashboard, a responsive custom site for each practice that highlighted treatments provided by the practice, and the new Practitioner Locator added new sources of web traffic to the mix. We turned to Pantheon for Drupal hosting infrastructure. Pantheon’s approach to Drupal and WordPress hosting is more “CMS as a service” than traditional VM or server-based hosting and helped us focus on building a great product. Choosing Pantheon also allowed us to set up an environment with dev and testing environments in about 20% of the time it would normally take to provision using traditional hosting providers. In addition to savings on provisioning, we were able to take advantage of Pantheon’s built-in Varnish caches and Redis caches to bring down response times with relatively little effort.
Are you thinking of updating your current Drupal site or migrating your site over to the Drupal platform? We can help you come up with a technology strategy to achieve your business goals. Give us some project details here.
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