Rearchitecting an enterprise site onto a modern, headless platform.
Intralox moved their main website from a legacy content management system to a modern platform that lets them expand their digital offerings to customers while responding faster to internal business requests. They adopted a microservice-based architecture that separates their website features into different components, allowing them to make changes without impacting other parts of the website and freeing them to connect with external services as needed. They then combined Kontent.ai as their headless CMS with Gatsby to generate static web pages that load faster, improve their SEO rankings, and deliver a more customer-focused experience.
- Legacy CMS made website updates difficult
- Existing content contained formatting that could conflict with the design of the new website
- Website architecture restricted the ability to connect with external systems
- SEO was impacted by slow page loads and the lack of the HTTPS protocol
- Components that can be updated without impacting other parts of the site
- Content is managed separately from the presentation
- Gatsby plug-in retrieves content from the CMS and generates static web pages
- Localized variants of each page are generated to reach Intralox’s global audience
- Faster page loads as static pages are delivered by their CDN
- Faster updates to the website as there’s less risk of breaking interconnected parts
- “Future-proofed” website to enable redesigns or connecting with other services later on
- Improved SEO through faster page loads and the use of the HTTPS protocol
Founded in 1971, Intralox is one of the world’s leading producers of conveyor belts and conveyance technologies, with hundreds of belt and equipment solutions and over 1,500 active patents. For many years, their main website served as primarily an informational resource. However, recent initiatives have driven the Intralox team to increase their emphasis on connecting with customers through their digital channels. To accomplish this, their website needed to be re-platformed to a modern technology stack that offers better flexibility to connect with other solutions and the ability to respond to business demands much faster than their previous solution.
Limited by a legacy content management system
The Intralox team was limited by a legacy content management system that prevented them from delivering the digital experiences they wanted. This system had been sufficient for their needs when it was implemented over a decade ago, but it lacked the flexibility required to build a modern digital experience. Making changes to the website was difficult and time-consuming as many components were interconnected. This required significant testing to ensure nothing got broken whenever changes were made. It was also difficult to integrate with external systems, as their monolithic architecture wasn’t built with extensibility in mind.
Additionally, the Intralox team wanted the freedom to redesign a new experience sometime in the future. Unfortunately, their content was full of formatting and workarounds that had been implemented through the years in order to make it display properly within their existing website. This meant there was no guarantee that this content would display properly within a different design. Before they could consider redesigning the website, they would need to migrate their content into a system that was free of formatting and could deliver it into any look and feel.
Developing a new architecture
Throughout the project, the Intralox team worked closely with Kontent.ai's Developer Relations team to ensure the integration with Gatsby would meet their multilingual needs and be able to support their large volume of content. They collaborated on improving an existing plug-in that pulls content from the CMS in order to generate static web pages. They added multilingual capabilities to this plug-in, which is now being used to create nine multilingual variants of each page. These pages are then served from their CDN to ensure fast page loads and prevent server failures from taking down the website. Recognizing that many companies could benefit from this functionality, the teams merged these improvements into the open-source project located on GitHub.
The new website is built on top of a microservices-based architecture that isolates the various parts of the website into separate components. This makes updates and development of new features much quicker as there’s less risk of a change to one area of the site breaking other parts due to interdependencies. As the team looks ahead to future projects, this component-based approach will make it much easier to refine the customer experience and integrate with additional services as the need arises.
A faster, customer-first web experience
By moving their website to this new platform, the Intralox team has benefitted from faster website page loads and the ability to respond quickly to internal business requests. They’ve also been able to implement the HTTPS protocol for their website, which is expected to offer noticeable improvements to their search engine rankings—particularly when combined with the faster page loads.
The new architecture has allowed the team to implement new changes with less testing required, as there are fewer interdependencies throughout the website. Now changes get to production faster, allowing the team to focus on more strategic initiatives. Perhaps the biggest improvement, however, is that the team now has a future-proof platform that will enable them to expand their digital offerings on their website, with the agility to make additional improvements as they come up. Stephen Bowling, Product Manager at Intralox, said it best: “We determined headless is the way of the future. It offers us a lot of advantages that are going to be important for connecting different systems down the line. It’s also given us the ability to develop and host in a modern way.”
“Our website has shifted from being a series of pages into a full-blown digital product. This is where Kontent.ai and Gatsby have really been important. Without that combination, we wouldn’t be able to think about customer experiences the way we have, we wouldn’t be as nimble, and it would be much harder to really improve customer outcomes.”
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