When complexity meets organization - 1000 websites for Gezinsbond
Case descriptionGezinsbond strives to make all of society in Flanders a family- and child-friendly place. Its services include family support (e.g. babysitting), the organization of family-friendly activities, and discounts programs for shopping, energy bills and public transport. The association has over 900 local subsidiaries, mostly run by volunteers.
Gezinsbond was in need of a distributed content management platform, as the organization was facing both technical as organizational challenges with managing their online presence. Over the years, their digital entities had evolved into a mix of different tech used by both the central team and by over 100 local entities. This was making it extremely hard to maintain a corporate style or push central content to the local sites - not to mention the technical maintenance nightmare.
As always, digital transformation does not only revolve around technology. We decided to set in motion a strategy track, which engaged a wide set of stakeholders - including local web and content managers. Buy-in from all teams is crucial for the long-term success of digital projects. Our digital strategists inspire, train and engage different stakeholders, resulting in a well-defined solution that is supported by the entire organization.
The outcome? Gezinsbond now has full ownership of their entire multisite environment. They no longer depend on any SaaS provider or dedicated agency for support. The total cost of ownership (TCO) is kept low as a result of the choice for open source Drupal technology, allowing for a full payback of the initial investment outlay over five years.
Case goals and resultsThe platform answers all the needs for the large organization:
→ Local teams have the freedom over their content management for every subsite,
→ Centralized security updates are automatically deployed on all local sites,
→ Corporate brand and content updates (e.g. press releases) are centrally published and pushed to all websites without any involvement of local teams,
→ New sites can easily be deployed by the central team,
→ Gezinsbond has the freedom to focus on further brand unification and professionalisation of their core business.
Currently, over 400 websites are already live on the new platform.
ChallengesThe API-first Contenta CMS is used to manage all content from a single location, decoupled from website design and layout.
→ This enables Gezinsbond to quickly add new sites or other channels to consume content. It also makes it possible to maintain all website content with a very small team, and it decreases the risk for website issues when non-technical people do content editing.
Content from internal databases (such as members, advantages and activities) is securely retrieved through API and SOAP connections.
→ Data exchanges are greatly simplified through the Dropsolid Platform.
The main website and all local websites are treated only as two different sites in the Dropsolid Platform. Local websites are automatically filled with content based on a taxonomy mapping of domain names.
→ This is a huge timesaver for platform updates or deployment of security patches.
Community contributionsDropsolid heavily invest in community contributions. This can be proven by the tracking that we’ve put with https://drupalcontributions.org and can be read at https://dropsolid.com/en/blog/contributing-open-source-whats-your-math.
For this project and others we continuously review how Drupal sites should be built and how we can leverage the best contributed modules out there.
In practice this translates to the following projects:
Dropsolid Rocketship is a distribution that enables small to mid-market business to profit from an optimal start when getting your feet wet in Drupal. It provides best practices from deployment, configuration and ways to extend it, proven by many cases that have implemented and resulted in this learning.
The core of the Dropsolid Rocketship distribution. Contains a solid base to start developing any Drupal site, from SEO optimizations to a Page content type set-up according to best practices.
This is the install profile, best used with the Rocketship distribution. This allows us to quickly setup new sites using the multilingual best practices from the start
A collection of 14 paragraphs to kickstart your development
Next to these contributions these are specific issues we got involved in with this project: