Starting from square one
As a legally separate entity from HP, HPE needed to build their website from scratch. With decades of learnings from hp.com behind them, it was an opportunity to take the website in a strategic new direction. All the former technology, digital strategy, web structures and content from HP were no longer resources available to HPE — nor were they holding them back. HPE needed strong leadership and insight into the future to create a website that could align with their vision.
“HPE was a new company that deserved a fresh start,” said HPE Senior Manager, Systems and Platform Management, Keith Orchard. As a seasoned professional in all aspects of web management, Orchard worked with HPE Director of Digital Technology Robert Folk and the upstart web marketing team to realise this very important — and very high-visibility — project. Having worked at some of Silicon Valley’s most respected companies and run his own web business since the 90s, Orchard was well prepared to lead his team to success. Though steeped in years of website-building experience, Orchard retained a unique way of looking at projects. In his view, websites should be more than high-tech information repositories. They should provide a human experience and tell an immersive story.
After all, stories are where Orchard got his start. As a journalism student, he found himself disappointed with the flatness of newspaper stories — images and words, but nothing else. Orchard imagined a format that would be engaging and dynamic and that could evolve as his stories developed. At the time, the web was just starting to become commonplace. Publishing his pieces to the Internet changed everything. As Orchard says, “When I put my first story on a website, I was amazed at being able to show movement, continually update it and interact directly with the audience. I went 100% in with websites after that.”
With this dynamism in mind, Orchard and Folk sat down with their colleagues to start planning the brand-new HPE website. The goals were straightforward yet fundamental to the success of the project. To start, the new site needed to be fast. As a technology company, HPE needed to showcase the speed and functionality they could offer their own clients. And without any legacy systems in place from hp.com to slow them down, there were no excuses. Next, the website needed to be nimble and flexible to allow for easy, efficient scaling. Though HPE was technically a new company starting from scratch, there was no doubt they would become a global powerhouse in a short time frame, retaining their core markets and extending into new and emerging markets quickly. And finally, hpe.com needed to be able to tell a measurable and engaging story — something that would give a nod to their heritage while capturing the excitement and importance of the new company.
The content management system (CMS) HPE chose would be fundamental to building the engaging, powerful website that they envisioned.
Creating a strong but flexible foundation for tomorrow
“As we were building for our Day One launch, we knew we had to take the future into account. We wanted to have a system in place that could support anything, from targeting audiences to rolling out new countries to language localisation to providing analytics and tracking engagement — even if we weren’t going to use it straightaway,” said Orchard.
Despite the many options under consideration, for Orchard and team there was only one real choice for a CMS that would help them to meet their specific goals. Adobe Experience Manager had the exact set of attributes that HPE needed to build the website that would best serve their new business. With intelligent templates, reusable content blocks and simplified asset management, it had the speed and efficiency the company was looking for. As part of the overall Adobe Experience Cloud, it was extensible — but also open, so HPE could use it in combination with other digital marketing solutions of their choosing. And with its focus on customer experience, Experience Manager would provide the company with a platform on which they could tell the HPE story.
“Adobe has the Cadillac of product offerings. Not only is it extensible, but the breadth of products it offers to digital marketers is great,” said Orchard.
HPE needed a CMS solution with technical capabilities as strong as its storytelling capabilities. But because they had already created their own hosting environment, Helion Cloud, they wanted to be able to use it. They planned on using the CMS APIs to pull in additional website data for site search, product collateral and digital marketing assets, including brand photography and videos. SEO was another huge consideration, since hpe.com would be starting from scratch and needing to build up its page rankings. Experience Manager covered all these bases. “We can have different databases, different servers and different interconnected applications. And the ability for Adobe's product line to adapt and offer different solutions to suit our needs was pretty important,” Orchard said.
The specifics of scaling with Experience Manager were also critical in HPE’s choice to use Experience Manager. The initial launch was already going to be a heavy lift, with a requirement to go live in 45 regions, 10 languages and 50 country-specific sites. And with a base website of about 15,000 pages, the volume of work was bordering on astronomical. But with Experience Manager, the job was as simple as hitting “publish” and letting its powerful scaling capabilities do the rest. “The ability to publish once and have content replicated in all our markets is a huge time saver. We can have those sites live within an hour, globally. It's a big deal, especially when you have a news item come up or a new product launch. It really gives you the ability to quickly produce something that can be consumed by your audience in a timely manner,” said Orchard. Today, HPE is continuing to expand into new markets quickly, tailoring the experience to audiences on each of its 500,000+ pages.