Drupal portfolio : Pro-face (Schneider Electric)



About Pro-face(Schneider Electric)

Pro-face(Schneider Electric) is manufacturing company who is operating more than 20 countries, providing solutions to enhance factory operation efficiency, producing factory automation devices such as touch panel for factory use, control instrument etc.

Why the global manufacturing company chose Drupal

Before Drupal, the client was using fully customized CMS developed from scratch. In the process of considering rebuilding their global website, their team noticed that their foreign branch has already used Drupal.

Drupal’s flexibility: ”Multilingual, high-functionality” was the factor

Through many experiments with existing Drupal website in their branch, many of the team made sure that Drupal has the ability to achieve their goal, so they decided to rebuild the new global site with Drupal. Also, the ability to cover up their multilingual needs, which is for more than 20 countries also caught their attention

What was the challenge as a manufacturing company?

Standardizing their marketing operation globally by launching global website hosted by Japan HQ. Particularly,

Having web governance with multilingual environment

They had difficulty in managing all the contents in a multilingual environment and they were looking for the better solution. They are the global company operating more than 20 countries and on top of that, their product line-ups were ten-thousands. Keeping all the information up-to-date in any language is just a huge task.

Unified content management would make changing or updating information more easier, but they had content editors in each branch without unified content management. That made it difficult to provide web governance inernally.

They deal with 37 languages on the web with ten-thousands of product information etc, so they are looking for more efficient way to achieve their management goal.

How Drupal provided Web governance in this case?

In the global site, there are around 30 websites, but we make all the sites flexible enough to have both shared information and regional information.

Having regional content area for parent site and children site

Say you have a multilingual website. You might imagine the website that only has translated the website in each language with same website structure. But Pro-face website is completely different, which means their branch has their own top page with multilingual functionality, with their original contents. Each website can have both globally shared information and regional information.

“Translation support tool” helps operation efficiency

This time we enhanced the way they operate the global website. Particularly we developed “Translation support tool” in Drupal and their translation work became more efficient than before.

Before this change, the client was translating contents page by page, but this translation support tool made possible to translate the site elements by elements, not the page itself (Navigation, contents, product information etc). So when translation completed, just a click of language tab allows user to see translated contents properly. This also eliminated a number of human errors that were happening in the past

What was the challenge in global customer management?

Differences to manage customers across the region

Customer management used to be done by regional branches. Because of the cultural differences, the way they manage customer was completely different. One country just manage by email other country collected as much data as possible, which made a huge gap in the amount of the data. So how to unify and standardize all these data was also a challenge.

How Drupal standardized it?

What we came up with was how to get more customer info after user logged on the website. The more they add their information, the more they can access more beneficial information.

Optimizing contents based on level of the users

For example, a user who registers with email can only see catalogue, but the one that registers with company information can see white paper, case study contents etc. This way,d we tried our best to incentify their customers.

Any challenges in publishing product information?

No product search functionality

The client had been working so hard to develop product database that is accessible and editable across the entire organization, but they hadn’t achieved their goal with satisfaction.

Not having the database makes many things difficult. For example, nobody would know the latest information of each product. Also not having structured data made them difficult to have search function on the website. So website visitor had to drill down pages to access the information they need.

Is it possible to have product database on Drupal?

It’s possible. Drupal is the framework which is very good at dealing with structured data, so the client was able to have product database in Drupal. Our approach to solving the problem were;

Creating the product database for entire organization and implemented full-text-search functionality

At the beginning of the project, we looked into the current data structure and reviewed it to come up with the ideal data structure. There were ten thousands of product line-ups and more than thousands of specification in one product. They also needed 37 languages of each information. To achieve the efficiency of data listing, we discussed the solution with clients over and over.

We agreed on the direction of the ideal data structure and built it from small amount to one language to all languages they needed, and finally, we reached the point where we implemented search functionality! What makes this search function more unique is that it has “product comparison feature” “full-text search function” “Filtered search with a faceted feature”

Related information on each product make better user experience

Product information itself gets more valuable when they are connected to related information, such as catalogue, operation manual, specification sheet, related software etc. In order to achieve the goal, we pulled these related data into each products’ search result.

Running a multilingual website is expensive to host?

Setting up servers on each regional website and managing them as an individual instance costs a lot of money, so the client was conscious about that. They wanted more cost efficient way but they also didn’t lose website functionality and performance.

Thinking about surroundings such as people involved in each regional web operation, the cost would be enormous. So we came up with the idea below.

Content delivery globally through AWS cloud server from Tokyo region only

This content delivery structure reduced huge cost. Not only eliminating the operation cost but prevented from technical difficulties in synchronizing the database. Also, in order to keep the page loading speed, we did several arrangements on architecture.

What about the design feature?

Responsive design

This new website has a lot of benefits even in a sales situation such as providing comprehensive product information, making a product comparison etc. In order for sales staff to utilize the benefit of the website, we made the website responsive enough to use it on tablet devices.

What’s the benefit of Drupal in comparison with other proprietary CMS?

Drupal is an Open Source Framework and cost-effective

Unlike proprietary CMS out there, you can achieve a highly functional system with affordable price. If you try building what you need with proprietary CMS, you’ll need expensive license fee plus customization cost to achieve the goal, meaning your investment decision needs a lot of consideration.

On the other hand, Drupal is completely free software that anyone can download from here. Thus you don’t need license fee, and you can get what you need relatively low cost, compared to the system that’s built from scratch.

Drupal is good at handling huge amount of data

As you can see in this case study, Drupal is good at handling huge amount of data, and all the functionalities that we provided in this project (functional multilingual website, customer database, product database) were all in Drupal.

We’ve seen many clients who see each of the system element(website, customer database, product database) as an individual dataset. To build them individually cost a lot of money. If you consider having them with Drupal, it doesn’t get as expensive as having them one by one.

High security that government trusts

Drupal is used in large government organizations such as The White House, Australian government. Drupal has specially organized security team who is monitoring what’s happening in the system 24-7. For more information, please visit here.