Sheinkin started with consolidation. His vision was to unify all of IBM’s marketing technology onto five platforms — Audience Manager, Experience Manager Sites and Assets, Marketo Engage, and Adobe Target, with the IBM instance of Salesforce CRM. But that wasn’t all. As Sheinkin said about this vision, “Having five great products is not the same thing as having an integrated suite.”
At its core, IBM needed to unify its digital assets. Previously, over 40 digital asset management repositories each had countless box folders and desktops, all adding up to thousands of content locations that housed over 171,000 assets. “The big opportunity was our best content wasn't getting in front of our customers,” said Sheinkin. Working with its own consulting organisation, IBM now manages all of its content within Adobe Experience Manager Assets, allowing marketers to locate the right content quickly using automated identifiers on its assets.
To make use of its unified assets, Sheinkin and his team also had to rethink the way IBM built web pages. On its legacy content management platform Drupal, marketers across the business all had access to creating pages. As a result, IBM had a staggering 10,500 templates. “It felt really empowering to marketers — except think about how bad that is for the customer,” said Sheinkin. “IBM wasn't coming across as one entity. We came across as hundreds.” After moving to Experience Manager Sites, Sheinkin and his team developed a handful of reusable templates to unify IBM’s messaging across the company.
While IBM’s web page templates now tell a unified story, they’re also more efficient for marketers to create. “Marketers who thought this change was going to be incredibly constraining to their creative process suddenly realised how it’s unbelievably freeing,” Sheinkin said. “They don't have to worry about design and can stay consistent with the IBM brand.” Pages that used to take marketers 3 days to create now take them 45 minutes.
Still, building web pages is only part of curating exceptional online experiences. While standardised templates now delivered the IBM brand across new pages, Sheinkin and his team still needed to unify the customer journey on existing ones. Across the company, IBM had grown to over 40 million web pages. “The reason we got there is because we built it based on our internal organisation,” said Sheinkin. “Now we’re building the site for customers.” In rebuilding its website, IBM is focusing on simpler navigation and cleaner, more consistent pages that provide a better customer journey across roughly 6,700 pages.
Those journeys serve customers spanning the 175 countries where IBM operates. And now, with its integrated platforms, IBM is better able to localise web content for its customers globally in seven languages. “Having our sites show up brilliantly localised in the geographies makes an enormous difference,” said Sheinkin. “We have to do our translation and localisation processes in parallel, but that starts with a standard template that can have flexibility built into it, so the local team has control over elements of the page without having to rebuild everything.”
The work has paid off. Once a page is published in English, it’s automatically pushed into the platform’s globalisation process. Translation that used to take 14 days now happens in 3 to 5 days. Better yet, IBM has saved 72% of the costs on these efforts to bring experiences on a global scale.