Acuity Brands Sitecore Assessment
Acuity Brands is a world leader in providing innovative indoor and outdoor lighting systems. Their sustainable business practices along with state-of-the-art technology that integrates seamlessly with digital controls and daylighting to improve energy efficiencies and provide a higher quality of light have made them one of the most favoured and trusted brands in the business.
Our partner Netrix LLC, an IT consulting firm, approached Apiqu because their client was having issues with their websites, which are run on Sitecore. The client, Acuity Brands cited an unstable corporate website and unpredictable page loading times in addition to pages crashing without notice.
Since Acuity Brands has more than 50,000 products in their inventory, the search engine is an extremely important part of their website as well as their overall business. It was therefore essential that they got the websites back up and running as quickly as possible in order to provide their users the tools to find the products they needed quickly and efficiently.
Apiqu, in partnership with Netrix LLC, was asked to do a full Sitecore website assessment including a code review, in order to determine the malfunctions causing the website errors and get it back online in even better shape than before.
In addition to their own website issues, Acuity Brands had also recently acquired Juno Lighting Group (JLG). The JLG website had been running using the Umbraco CMS, so Acuity Brands decided to migrate the Umbraco website to Sitecore in order to streamline the content production and allow the marketing team to handle everything from one place.
We had several goals in mind while working on this project but we recognized from the beginning that all of them required a comprehensive assessment and audit in order to identify drawbacks of their current Sitecore implementation and CMS platform, as well as ways to improve it so all of their technology was fitting seamlessly with their business practices. We wanted to ensure that Acuity Brands would spend minimal time on technology development so they could spend more time growing their business.
Acuity Brands had two websites; one was running on Sitecore and the other on Umbraco.
Acuity Brands asked us to compare their two platforms in order to properly determine which would work best for their needs. We were furthermore asked to provide recommendations on industry best practices and whether or not they would need to migrate Umbraco to Sitecore or vice versa.
Because the corporate websites were the most important, we focused first on the Sitecore websites, which were experiencing issues with loading times and stability.
We began by creating a Sitecore assessment plan. In this plan we determined the root of the problems and bottlenecks that Acuity Brands had been experiencing. We then sent this assessment to our client, along with our recommendations for their review. Once we received feedback from them and made the appropriate changes, we got started right away.
Before doing anything else, Apiqu used our expertise to conduct a Sitecore audit. We knew we needed to first investigate how the current Sitecore website worked in order to accurately assess the situation and define what Acuity Brands would need to later implement in terms of their technology stack and CMS platform.
The audit provided to Acuity Brands included information about the hardware and infrastructure, as well as options for improving the content structure, and a breakdown of the code review.
After conducting an exhaustive investigation into the issues experienced by Acuity Brands, Apiqu determined that many of the issues were stemming from their current search provider, Coveo.
While Coveo is an advanced and effective technology, if not installed or configured correctly it can lead to major deficiencies.
Among the deficiencies found by Apiqu were incorrect configuration, coding that did not follow Coveo or Sitecore best practices, and serious hardware problems.
One by one we worked through each problem, determining how to properly configure their technology. We fixed the code so that Coveo properly indexed computed fields and search indexes, and solved the issues they were facing with their hardware, which required Coveo to be installed on a separate machine but on the same network – a practice we recommend for all of our clients due to the fact that Coveo indexes Sitecore items in a file system, and can therefore take an enormous amount of memory and in turn cause a number of problems.
Apiqu further migrated tools to automate content from their Umbraco system to their Sitecore system. We were able to successfully merge data from several databases, which allowed for a smooth process and significantly improved efficiencies for Acuity Brands.
Once we identified all of the bugs and issues affecting the websites during the Sitecore assessment, the Apiqu development team was able to quickly and effectively fix all of the outstanding issues for Acuity Brands.
Using our extensive knowledge of Sitecore, Umbraco and Coveo, we were able to not only ensure their processes were running smoothly, but also managed to increase the average page loading time to be ten times faster than it was before.
Sitecore was built to handle multiple websites so the decision to migrate from Umbraco to Sitecore meant that the marketing team was able to easily access and manage all of their information from one place. They were also given the added bonus of having a number of new features that are only available on Sitecore.
Additionally, the websites are now much more stable and fault-tolerant, which means the client does not need to worry about a website crash if an error does occur on the back-end.
Most importantly, the Coveo search engine is up and running more efficiently than ever, allowing for faster and more intuitive searching. This has allowed Acuity Brands users to easily find the products they desire, which has ultimately increased their ecommerce conversion rate, customer satisfaction, and overall company revenue.