Innovative partnership for the future
Exact consolidated its global brand sites into a single, central cloud platform
To create the ultimate customer experience Exact, Basefarm and HPE teamed up.
Integrating more than 80,000 web pages into a single platform in just three months requires perfect teamwork. Once Basefarm’s engineers joined the Exact scrum team, they developed a central and stable platform – exact.com – with vital functionalities and management tools. Exact develops cloud-based business software for enterprises, employing more than 1,700 people and serving more than 350,000 organisations worldwide. Exact’s software supports business owners in their processes and facilitates growth. Having grown rapidly itself, Exact was operating more than 100 websites worldwide – all using different domain names and run from various hosting locations. Given that many new customers first discover its products online, Exact’s online presence needed to be improved.
The importance of Exact.com
Exact enlisted Basefarm to integrate all its marketing platforms, country-specific websites and IT environments into a single, central platform and a single domain: exact.com. Mark Stadhouders, Exact’s Head of Marketing Automation, Web and Campaigns and project lead: “Exact.com is the gateway to our products and greatly contributes to our commercial success. This is how customers discover Exact: it’s both a source of information and a lead generator. The overall experience should be impeccable, and prospects should be able to easily find anything.” Another objective was to take Exact.com to the top of the Google rankings and ensure maximum reach.
It was not just the scope of the project that made it so complex: the team also had to work with tight deadlines. Stadhouders: “We had just three months to complete the job. There’s only one way to turn this type of project into a success within a short space of time and without compromising on quality, and that’s by putting together the right team. We adopted a DevOps approach for this project. The Basefarm engineers’ decision to join the Exact team was a key success factor.”
All sites were migrated to a single platform, which runs on HPE in the private cloud at Basefarm. Stadhouders: “This is a huge time saver: maintenance, updates, deployments, security – you name it.” A major advantage of the new platform is that it’s scalable, with a standardised code. “We can complete the go-live process in record time – that includes testing, implementation and going live – and can update the site every day if necessary instead of monthly. Scalability is vital, as we need to be able to add new features quickly, like we recently did with all our international sites.” While running a stable environment may seem obvious, Stadhouders explains this wasn’t always the case: “We used to deal with a lot of technical issues like downtime.
” The engineering team has also improved the SEO ranking for exact.com. Stadhouders: “We’ve seen our Google ranking go up dramatically for each country.”
Stadhouders encourages his partners to look above and beyond the requirements of the project: “I expect them to get creative and come up with new ideas. The Basefarm team say they always ‘go the extra mile’, and in their case they really do walk the talk. For example, we now have access to specific management tools we wouldn’t have thought of ourselves. This includes Kibana, which automatically reports errors throughout the platform, and a Jenkins Continuous Integration Tool that automates many previously manual tasks. Or automated testing like Runscope. It all saves us time and reduces the number of errors.” “HPE is really the perfect strategic partner for our team,” says Basefarm Sales Director Erik de Jager. “Like us, they go the extra mile in terms of commitment and flexibility. I know I can call them after office hours if we need something, and they’re always quick and proactive. And when you’re working to strict deadlines, flexibility is key.”
“HPE is really the perfect strategic partner for our team,”
Partners in innovation
With the project successfully completed, Exact is already looking ahead to the future. Stadhouders is confident: “Where do we want exact.com to be five years from now? What IT trends are likely to drive our success, and how do we manage increased security? Basefarm helps us to navigate this process: they suggest ideas for new strategies and share their expertise. That’s the difference between a client-supplier relationship and an actual partnership. I have no doubt that we’ll be teaming up with Basefarm again for other projects in the future.”