A global ecosystem of corporate websites with a common foundation
Multinational companies like Lyreco face the challenge of maintaining multiple independent websites while keeping a common corporate identity.
From a small bookstore to the conquest of the world
In 1926, Georges-Gaston Gaspard opened a bookstore in Valenciennes (northern France). The small bookstore grew progressively and began to offer printing services, produce its own range of paper products and deliver directly to customers.
The Second World War had a devastating effect on Gaspard's facilities, which were destroyed during an air raid. Georges-Gaston Gaspard then decided to close the store and focus on business-to-business service.
From the 1980s until 2005, Lyreco expanded into Europe and Asia-Pacific. Today, with a turnover of two billion euros in 2017, the company is among the world's leading suppliers of office supplies and is present in 42 countries on four continents.
Given its big size, Lyreco has a huge ecosystem of websites. With a presence in over 42 countries, managing, updating and maintaining such a large number of websites can quickly become a problem.
In addition, at the corporate identity level, it is necessary to have the tools that guarantee that each subsidiary has the freedom to define its contents but that the design remains consistent within a globally defined framework.
It is in this context that Metadrop was commissioned to develop a common system for all Lyreco corporate websites.
At Metadrop we already had previous experience providing robust and scalable solutions to this problem.
The optimal solution iis the creation of a multi-site system capable of maintaining several independent web pages on a shared codebase.
- One base, multiple sites: Eliminating repetition is the basis of all optimization. If all websites have the same set of tools and design, why don't share? The multi-site system allows us to define a common base for each and every website generated, greatly reducing maintenance, security and installation costs.
- A shared starting point: This process can be further streamlined by using Profiles to ensure that each and every installation starts from a common starting point. This way, every time Lyreco launches a new website, it will start with a series of settings that keep it aligned by default with the rest of the company's sites.
An ecosystem with a life of its own: Starting from a common ground does not detract from the freedom of Lyreco sites. Our configuration system works on up to four levels (global, per environment, per site and per site and environment). This means that each site is totally free to define its own configurations and specificities when it needs to and to delegate to the global configuration when it does not.
We speak your languages. All of them.
Translation and localization of content can be a source of unpleasant surprises. What if a country has several co-official languages? Or if you want to have a different English version for each country, in addition to the global English version? How do you manage dates in other calendars? All of this has been answered for Lyreco.
- Multi-language by default: Internationalization and localization of content is mandatory. We benefit from Drupal's inherent translation capabilities so that each website can be presented in the language or languages of the country, both at user and content editing level, as well as in other global languages such as English.
- Typographies and calendars: Many people mistakenly assume that translation begins and ends with the language itslef, when this is only the beginning. In Lyreco, typefaces are adapted to support languages with different calligraphies (such as Thai) and dates are automatically modified to reflect other calendars such as Buddhist, Lunar or Persian.
From zero to infinity
Lyreco already has a large number of corporate sites created using our system, and the number is growing. Currently, the following sites are available:
Global · Switzerland · Denmark · Thailand · Central Europe · Belgium · Luxembourg · Netherlands · Germany
In addition, the following websites have already been created and are awaiting full translation and launch:
Finlandia · France · Iberian Peninsula · Korea · Hong Kong · Italy · Sweden · Norway · WISE · SIMA · Poland
A strong and centralized corporate identity
How to ensure freedom for the content editors while maintaining a solid corporate identity?
If the system is too permissive, the coordination of the corporate identity (use of typographies, logograms, colors, sizes, etc...) can become extremely complicated.
If options are limited, it is normal that the web pages become simple clones or are reduced to a minimum activity due to the inability of the editors to freely define their own goals and contents.
To avoid this, we developed a system based on reusable components that combine the editor's freedom to create content with the strict definition of styles according to the design provided by the client.
- Reusable component library: The editing system implemented by Metadrop is based on a library of more than 20 components created by and for Lyreco, such as image carousels, embedded code from social networks, call-to-action blocks, buttons, etc. These elements are used to easily compose pages using a system that allows you to drag and drop elements until you achieve the desired goal.
- Corporate identity and design: While the editor gains in freedom, the corporate design and identity are safeguarded as the design and features of components remain unchanged and equal among all websites. Likewise, any change in design can be immediately applied to all websites without having to redo the contents.
- Component guide for editors: A picture is worth a thousand words. To help editors visualize and learn about the more than twenty components at their disposal, Metadrop created a page that serves as a visual style guide, documentation and reference.
- Visual regression tools: Lyreco provided the final artwork for the website in the form of detailed Sketch mockups. Given the importance of design, at Metadrop we implemented visual regression tests that allow us to detect any unwanted alterations and intervene in time to ensure that the visual identity always remains as required by the client.
Advanced search integrated with Workday
A fundamental service of Lyreco's websites is an advanced search, including especially the job offers centralized in the popular ERM Workday.
A traditional approach would have chosen to replicate the data from Workday to Drupal. In this project we opted instead for External Entities, a much more useful and innovative approach whereby Drupal simply queries the data hosted by another service and generates its own entities that do not store the information but reproduce its structure. Thanks to this, we achieve the following:
- A single source of information: Lyreco keeps information about her job offers in one place. There is no unnecessary duplication of information or the need to access several systems to re-edit data already entered in another. For Lyreco, everything stays the same as usual.
- No synchronization problems: One of the most common problems in data migrations are synchronization failures, so that information is sometimes incomplete or wrong. Since Drupal only queries data from Workday, this problem is completely eliminated, ensuring that the information presented on Lyreco's websites is identical to the original.
- Great performance: Since the data received from Workday is not stored in the database, the burden on the site is eased. In addition, the data received from Workday benefits from Drupal caching, which greatly increases the speed of the website's response.
- SOAP integration development: We had to develop our own system to connect to the public Workday Api, which uses the SOAP protocol.
- Faceted search: We incorporate a faceted search that also allows the filtering in real time of the search results according to different criteria (geographical, category, etc) with the aim of making the search engine even more powerful and useful.
"Instead of migrating job postings, we use a much more novel and useful approach whereby Drupal simply queries data hosted on another service and generates entities of its own that do not store the information but do replicate its structure."
All power to the editor
A corporate website is above all an informative website that must be able to quickly and efficiently answer the questions and doubts of any visitor. To do this, the editorial teams in charge of its maintenance need tools that are up to the task.
Lyreco's websites have the advantage of a series of developments designed to make the life of its editors easier:
- Contextual menu and frontpage system: One of the specificities of this project is that Lyreco's websites do not have a standard frontpage, but are constituted as a series of large thematic sections ("About", "Working in Lyreco", "Media Resources", etc...), each with its own personalized cover page and menu. Metadrop adapted the normal flow of Drupal to achieve this new structure that responds contextually to the section that is currently in focus.
- Previewing unpublished content: Sometimes publishers need to submit content for prior approval without making it public yet. We use Node Auth Link, a module maintained by Metadrop, to provide the ability to generate unique links that allow anyone to preview and even edit content without having an account.
- Workflow: We established a publication flow by which the contents can go through several phases: draft, publication, archive. This allows publishers to establish internal policies to ensure review and quality of content.
- Scheduled publication: An essential tool for editorial teams is the ability to schedule the publication and unpublication of certain content. The added system is fast and intuitive and allows you to choose both the exact date and time.
To the last detail
- GDPR: In Metadrop we have experience with the implementation of the European General Data Protection Regulation. For Lyreco we made an advanced implementation that allows the user to choose the exact categories of cookies they want to accept or reject and manage the conditional loading of external libraries using Google Tag Manager.
- Default content: There is some information common to all sites such as certain menu links, footer information, etc. We use a default content system so that this information appears automatically on each generated site and does not have to be repeated manually.
- Mega menu system: We developed a system to implement complex nested menus that, when displayed, present a large amount of information from different sources.
- Structured data: Standards exist to allow search engines to correctly identify the nature of a web page (such as a job offer). We implemented Schema.org using JSON+LD to ensure the presence of structured data, improving SEO positioning and search engine presence.
- Newsletter: Lyreco uses Eloqua to manage its mailing list system. We integrated this system with the website so that the registration form is seamlessly integrated into the design.
- Custom 404: The 404 error page (content not found) can be reused, as we did in Lyreco, to redirect the user to other parts of the website and avoid losing their attention.
Thanks to the work done, Lyreco will be able to completely revamp its corporate websites globally, fulfilling the double objective of keeping them centralized but independent, reducing maintenance costs and at the same time providing its subsidiaries with a series of tools and capabilities to define their own content and objectives.