Migrating Siemens from AEM to WordPress
Delivering improved editorial workflows, multilingual support and an events platform
1. About Siemens
Siemens is a multinational technology company specialising in industry, infrastructure, transport and healthcare. Siemens Ingenuity is a brand the company uses to share ideas, stories and expertise. It serves as the company’s community and content platform.
The Ingenuity platform allows any of Siemens employees from around the world to publish content on the site under their own name. A feature-rich publishing platform, Ingenuity has evolved into a space for virtual events since the Coronavirus pandemic, and continues to facilitate sharing, learning and growth across the world.
Human Made first partnered with Siemens back in 2018, and has been trusted to lead on the development and growth of the platform ever since. This is an overview of some of the key milestones and projects along the way.
“After some 25 years experience with suppliers, I do rate HM as one of the best partners I had in all those years. In the beginning I was a bit concerned about the decentralized approach, but that was no problem. Everyone at HM is kind of hand-selected and HM also reacts quickly in cases where it just does not fit. Knowledge, Solution orientation, Customer focus but also always keeping the development of every individual in the focus make the difference. Everything can be discussed and a solution will be found. Just AWESOME.”
Hans Juergen Bode, GLOBAL IT MANAGER, SIEMENS
2. Moving from Adobe Experience Manager to WordPress
Ingenuity was originally built in Adobe’s Experience Manager platform. When Human Made partnered with Siemens, the site was ported from AEM.
It soon became apparent that in order to help Siemens realise Ingenuity’s potential, a move to WordPress was needed. The move meant custom development was much quicker, and the considerable amount of money saved also meant Siemens could allocate more budget to building the features they needed.
2. Multilingual by default
The original Ingenuity site was English-language only, but with expanding audience interest, legal requirements in Germany, and in a bid to represent the global nature of the business, there was a need to expand language capability.
Initial experiments with language blocks weren’t sophisticated enough to deliver the publishing experience needed, and created a confusing user experience with articles in different languages mixed together on the front end.
Human Made worked to address these challenges and deliver a more successful multilingual experience.
AWS was used to automatically translate English and German content at the click of a button, and editors and writers are able to edit translations as needed. There are also options for translation for other languages too. Each version of the content is assigned its own URL to avoid user confusion, and a system is in place to ensure future edits to articles are automatically updated across all languages.
3. Advanced writers tools and publishing workflows
Regardless of the native language of its internal users, Siemens needed the process of publishing articles to be as easy as possible.
The default WordPress admin experience and editor was overly-complex, and Siemens needed an optimised view developed to deliver a more focused and streamlined experience.
There was also a requirement to ensure any changes made were compatible with future versions of the block editor, as well as ensuring the solution was compatible with Siemens’ own AI style, grammar, and review tools.
Given our vast experience with the WordPress block editor, Human Made was happy to step in. We developed a heavily customised version of the block editor, with unneccessary features streamlined and hidden in a way that allowed styling to fit with Ingenuity branding.
The final solution also featured a fully-customised frontend post-creation workflow, and pre- and post-writing wizards to ensure compliance with brand publishing requirements. All content on the site is now written and produced using this tool.
4. Virtual events
When the Coronovirus hit in 2020, Siemens found itself unable to host its annual internal conference, the SCC. However, undeterred and eager to host something for its employees, Siemens turned to Human Made to evolve the Ingenuity platform beyond its original scope of being a place for written content into a fully-fledged virtual events platform capable of delivering the annual conference.
Within just three months, Human Made took a site with no event hosting capabilities and built a sophisticated platform with functionality to host the virtual sessions, as well as a raft of additional features including a live event feed, voting features, and scheduling.
Additionally, several external vendor offerings had to be integrated, including event registration tools and complementary video streaming services.
The platform has been used to host virtual events each year since. And, even with travel restrictions lifted, it was used to host the virtual element of the 2022 hybrid event.
Other projects delivered for Siemens
Article reactions and post exporting
To build engagement on the Ingenuity platform content, Siemens decided to introduce reactions to posts. Human Made worked to build a bespoke system of reactions that are now used to assess performance and sentiment internally.
Siemens World Sites
Human Made has overhauled the internal news communication platform used at Siemens, bringing multilingual capabilities and company-wide integrations to the business.
As part of the ownership and handover process in the Siemens World project, a team from Human Made delivered a week-long on-site training course for Siemens developers in South Africa. This kick-started the process of handover to the Siemens team, who now fully maintain several internal tools.
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