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Petal

Elanco.

Building a flexible web toolkit for business-first decision making.

Elanco is a global animal health company with over 65 years of experience improving the lives and welfare of animals. Elanco has transformed the way they create, maintain, and modify their global web presence with the use of Kontent.ai, and presented their story at Kontent Horizons 2021. Find out how they created a flexible web toolkit that enables their business users while maintaining the content governance required in a highly regulated industry. 

Challenges

  • Empowering business users while maintaining standards 
  • Migrating 100+ legacy sites to a new content platform 
  • Enabling reuse of content across sites and regions 

Solutions

  • A modular, reusable page structure in Kontent.ai 
  • In-context web editing with Web Spotlight 
  • Static Jamstack sites powered by modular content platform 

Results

  • 300+ new pages built with a flexible web toolkit 
  • 100+ marketers collaborating in Kontent.ai 
  • From concept to go live now in weeks, not months

In 2019, Elanco became a fully independent company and had the opportunity to rebuild their tech stack from the ground up. They wanted to build a solution that enables marketers and content teams, allows developers to use best-of-breed technologies, and ensures their content complies with strict regulatory frameworks. Here’s how they did it.

Making the transition to a headless CMS

When Elanco originally built their websites, they relied on a traditional legacy CMS. This solution served them well when their sites didn’t require too much flexibility. But as time went on and companies matured their digital presence, customers started to expect more from digital experiences. And thanks to new technology, more options were available to companies looking to upgrade.

Knowing they could benefit from faster sites, automated development processes, and more streamlined code, Elanco transitioned to a headless CMS in 2015. Making the switch was a significant improvement for the developer experience, but it had some drawbacks from a business perspective.

Marketing and content teams didn’t have as much independence as they wanted when managing web content. They needed to enlist developers to create or modify content, which increased the time it took for ideas to go live. And different regions had different websites, with different page structures and multiple content models.

When the company became independent in 2019, they knew they had an opportunity to improve the business user experience, which in turn would lead to an improved customer experience.

A headless architecture helps Elanco publish content across all their sites.

Empowering business users and developers

Elanco decided to switch to a new modular content platform: Kontent.ai. Doing so allowed them to rethink the way they structured their content.

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Jonathan Stone describes how easy it is to transition from one headless CMS to another.

Instead of creating many content models for all the potential content types they might need, they focused on developing one page type with a completely modular structure. Their team then designed blocks, reusable components that could be placed in all types of pages. This approach empowers business users to build the exact pages they need, without having to rely on developers.

Elanco also incorporated Web Spotlight into their flexible web toolkit. This gives content creators and editors an in-context web editing experience that makes it easy to focus on how the web experience will feel for customers.

With these changes, they were able to fully remove all code from the CMS, so business users could focus entirely on the content.

From a development perspective, Elanco switched to fully static Jamstack sites wherever possible. The API-first approach offered by Kontent.ai helped to make the switch easy and has significantly reduced site hosting costs as a result.

Creating content with the biggest impact

By empowering business users to focus on content, Elanco has been able to launch over 300 pages. More than 100 marketers collaborate on Elanco sites in Kontent.ai, and take full advantage of the editorial calendar, comments, and other collaboration tools it provides.

A business-first approach speeds up the time it takes for an idea to go from concept to live, and approval processes are significantly faster with Kontent.ai workflows. In the past, it might have taken months to bring a new idea into reality. But now, with Kontent.ai, new ideas are launched in weeks.

Elanco’s brand promise is to rigorously innovate to benefit their customers and improve the health of animals. With the help of Kontent.ai and their flexible web toolkit, Elanco can focus on the content that will have the biggest impact on their customers. Watch the full talk from Elanco, “Legacy to flexibility: Elanco's flexible web toolkit,” from the 2021 Kontent Horizons conference.

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The fact that we’re now able to go from concept to live within weeks, rather than months, honestly it blows everything out of the water.

Daniel Willis, Digital Business Analyst & CMS Tech Owner, Commercial IT, Elanco, Elanco

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