Founded in 1863 – first as a soap manufacturer, then as a chemical products company – ALS Global is now a worldwide leader in laboratory testing services. With over 11,500 employees and over 370 locations in more than 65 countries, ALS Global is a sprawling enterprise that covers three separate verticals: life sciences, commodities, and industrial manufacturing. As such, ALS Global is an important cog in the global supply chain, helping to validate the safety and effectiveness of food, water, and pharmaceuticals across the world.
After switching to Sitecore two years ago, ALS was having problems with the stability of its implementation. The Marketing Manager at ALS, said “We'd been on this journey to progressively get the right infrastructure and environments in place with other partners, but we still always seemed to have this Achilles' heel. Whether it was upgrades, projects, environments that would fall over, or little code changes that would bring down environments for ridiculous time periods – we couldn’t seem to get the implementation stable and reliable.”
Setting sights on a stable Sitecore platform
To meet their goals of reliability, responsive support, and continuous technological advancement – including the consolidation of email campaigns with marketing automation – ALS needed to make its way to a stable Sitecore implementation and reached out to Dataweavers to help.
Working with Dataweavers, ALS identified several key goals:
- Prevent the website from adding to the IT workload
- Reduce total cost of ownership across the platform and its support partner
- Complete a cloud transformation
Deliver new and stable features for marketing
- Reduce unplanned downtime
- Conform with best practices for security and compliance
This was a lengthy list of must-haves, but essential to the business.
If we can't start delivering on our goals for the platform, and if we can't start delivering on these capabilities, we're going to continually lose confidence with the platform, and the business is going to go elsewhere.Marketing Manager
Unlocking features with XDB & CRM Integration
Initially, Dataweavers stepped in to manage their unstable existing infrastructure for s short time while the Azure PaaS readiness assessment was conducted. At the same time, they immediately started the migration of ALS to the latest version of Sitecore on Microsoft Azure PaaS. They added load balancing order to mitigate the costs of unplanned downtime, allowing website components to fail over, and preventing partial outages from becoming full outages. Next, Dataweavers rectified a number of poorly implemented xDB configurations and started planning the upcoming CRM integration for ALS, unlocking key marketing capabilities that hadn’t previously been available to the team.
As a result, uptime of the site was dramatically improved. From May to November of 2019, the site had 98% uptime which was equivalent to two full days of outages. After taking control of the infrastructure using Dataweavers, www.alsglobal.com had a 99.97% uptime from December onwards. In the meantime, page load time also decreased by orders of magnitude – vastly improving the user experience.
Additionally, Dataweavers were able to make several improvements to the existing multi-lingual features and a streamlined onboarding process that allowed them to spin up and launch new sites quickly, when consolidating and onboarding new businesses under the ALS Global brand onto the platform.
Speed, reliability, and increased confidence for both Marketing & IT
All these benefits combined have made life that much easier for ALS. Their IT department no longer needs to intervene with the website to get it working after a downtime event – instead, they can focus their time on other areas of the business, including supporting the new Microsoft Dynamics platform and its integrations to Sitecore. Meanwhile, the marketing department no longer pause their efforts when the website goes down. Speaking to the reliability and support offered by Dataweavers, the Marketing Manager at ALS Global said,
“In the past, something with the website has always managed to go wrong during a major holiday. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to get back from holiday and find that nothing has broken during the entire time I’d been away.”
All in all, Dataweavers were able to restore confidence in Sitecore for ALS, who had placed a major investment of time and effort into migrating to Sitecore. The inability to migrate business units from other MarTech platforms and onto Sitecore left the organisation stuck between two website platforms, creating a perception across of Sitecore being unstable - affecting the confidence levels around platform consolidation.
Feature-rich platform for the future
Now that Sitecore has been rehabilitated, the future looks bright for ALS Global. They are now standardised on a global, multilingual platform that is highly stable, and they’ve recently completed integrations for their CRM and marketing automation stacks. The next step is to import the customer interaction data from their website into Power BI and linking it into their line of business system, LIMS. This opens up the possibilities for www.alsglobal.com to become a transaction part of the experience with customers.
The business is also considering a further rework of their website for a more transparent fee schedule, which will require moving static PDF documents into dynamic environments. As ALS Global moves towards further innovations in its web applications, it will be able to do so knowing that it has a firm foundation which will support these changes.
The website just works. It delivers. Things are coming in on budget. Things are being delivered on time. The support we need is there. So, we’re now in a position of assurance – that our platform is stable and will remain that way.Marketing Manager