When FARO Technologies needed to bring their global web presence up to date, they turned to Sitefinity. Leveraging Sitefinity’s ease of use for business users and strong support for developers, they created a single global website with localization for every region—enabling FARO marketing managers around the world to talk to their markets in their own languages, but with one voice.
Like many B2B-focused businesses, FARO Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: FARO) has challenging communications needs. As a world-leading manufacturer of 3D measurement devices and software, its market is highly technical and dispersed around the globe. Purchasing cycles are quite complex, so reaching the right people with the right message is critical to the company’s success.
FARO has offices wherever its customers are. There are 23 FARO regional divisions and some have more than one office, with four branches in China alone. The FARO website is the heart of the company’s marketing strategy and localizing web content
is a key activity for regional marketing managers.
As with many successful organizations, FARO’s marketing infrastructure grew as the company grew. By 2007, the company had multiple websites running on different platforms. A central FARO.com site hosted information about events while each
region had several microsites with different content management systems.
Coordinating content between the sites was labor-intensive and hard to manage efficiently. Translating and localizing content was a constant challenge for the marketing teams.
There was a clear need to create a modern, unified online presence – one with the capability to deliver content globally while supporting local variations.
The company began a project to overhaul the web infrastructure and the front-end design, initially working with the RedDot CMS by OpenText. However, by 2009 the project had been put on hold. When it restarted in 2010, the FARO team evaluated web content management solutions from a number of CMS vendors including Sitefinity by Telerik.
“We chose Sitefinity for several reasons,” says Erik. “Overall, our evaluation concluded that the Sitefinity solution represented better value for money for FARO. In addition, there were other important considerations.”
A key factor driving FARO’s selection of Sitefinity was its ease of use for end users. Usability was essential if the new infrastructure was going to enable regional marketing managers to localize content without difficulty and effectively exploit SEO.The second key driver was the support Sitefinity provides for developers. “For developers, Sitefinity offers better support, its architecture is close to .NET and it comes with built-in support for Windows Workflow Foundation,” says Erik. “These were important for us.”
Implementation of the new platform began in 2011. With the help of the Sitefinity Partner Network Team at Telerik, FARO consulted United Experts and QUBA, both accredited Sitefinity partners based in the UK.
“This was a technically challenging project,” says Jon Eaton, New Business Manager at QUBA. “As we are UK-based and Erik’s team is in Germany, clear communication was vital at the outset since most work was completed via telephone and online.”
QUBA’s certified Sitefinity developers quickly brought the development program on track and completed a comprehensive code audit alongside United Experts.“Our recommendations were to align the development with Sitefinity best practices,” says Boris Motusic, CEO of United Experts, a Sitefinity consultancy and official training partner. “Once this was done, the development
- Benefits for business users
The project’s primary focus was to make it easy for business users to make updates to the site quickly and easily. FARO regional marketing managers access the site using Sitefinity’s intuitive back end. Automatically filtered content is pulled in using custom modules built by QUBA, making layout creation a matter of dragging and dropping elements into
“Setting up landing pages is simple,” says Alberto Castiglioni, Marketing Team Leader at FARO Europe. “When I was introduced to Sitefinity, I said ‘That’s easy – I can do this myself without being a technician!’ Our marketing managers are usually up and running with Sitefinity inside of an hour.”
Pages can be set up for events, press releases and case studies without having to involve the web department, making the website more responsive to business needs. “When the marketing department wants to launch a new campaign, they can do this in as little as one to two days. This was not possible before.”
Optimizing pages for SEO is done without touching potentially breakable code and Sitefinity’s granular permissions system also safeguards against inadvertent changes. “The priority is to allow people to make changes without being able to break anything.”
The system also leverages Sitefinity’s support for Windows Workflow Foundation to trigger notifications when new content needs to be localized, helping managers keep content in sync.
- Integration with existing infrastructure
FARO relies on an automated marketing platform to manage the lead generation process. Sitefinity is built with integration in mind and FARO has exploited this to provide a seamless interaction between the marketing platform and the website.
For example, a site visitor may be asked to register with a form in order to attend an event. Sitefinity provides contextual information so that the form is generated in the right language, and data is then pushed back into the marketing platform to register the visitor for the event with appropriate follow up emails being sent out. Data is also pushed into FARO’s CRM.
Registered visitors on the FARO website are Sitefinity users. A visitor who registers creates a Sitefinity user profile and this triggers follow-up emails from the automated marketing platform.
As a global organization, FARO requires support around the clock so that marketing managers can raise technical questions during their own business hours. QUBA, as the implementation partner, provides 24 hour support to FARO, 7 days a week from its UK base, with response times protected by SLA.
As a Platinum Sitefinity Partner, QUBA is in turn able to rely on priority support from Sitefinity’s own global support team, meaning that no matter the complexity of the issue, FARO can be sure of a timely response.
With 9 of the 15 sites live by April 2013 – covering EMEA and the Americas – FARO is well on their way to successfully completing the project.
“Our web presence is much more sophisticated,” says Erik. “Feedback from the marketing managers has been very positive and although it is too early to see concrete results, we are confident that the new site will perform well. Early analytics show that visitors are spending longer browsing the site than before.”
FARO is already looking to the future. Later this year will see the launch of the Asia Pacific region and the addition of Portuguese for the Brazilian market. On the technical side, the site is being migrated to Microsoft Cloud to provide redundancy and increase responsiveness as the marketing teams deploy more video content.
“We are already planning Phase 2,” says Erik. “We will be adding functionality, making our download center even more user-friendly and connecting the system more closely with our CRM. We will also implement single sign on for all systems. This is just the beginning.”