Content and projects difficult to manage across multiple technologies
Integration restrictions made connecting other tools and technology difficult
Brand consistency and productivity hampered by limited governance capabilities
Marketing couldn’t publish or edit content without developer support
A centralized content platform to unify all content
API-first features that easily connect house-built and data-driven apps
Granular user roles and responsibilities that offer guard rails and peace of mind
An easy-to-use interface that lets non-technical users publish and edit independently
“With Contentful you have a really robust editing interface for content. You’re completely unrestrained by what you can do. In thinking of your CMS as a place to manage that bare content, not just the design of it, you open up endless possibilities.”
“Contentful lets us quickly and easily gather data required to publish a site. Within a matter of minutes, we can get a site up and running to service customers.”
“We’ve brought on more websites with the same size team. And while our stakeholders are editing directly within the CMS, we have safeguards and permissions in place for quality assurance.”
While it’s impossible to tell what the future holds, Siemens Digital Industry Software, a business unit of Munich-based conglomerate Siemens, might have a little insight. The computer software company isn’t clairvoyant, but its 14,000+ employees do spend the workweek helping digital companies enhance their processes and procedures with automation technologies that support tomorrow’s most innovative products, services, and experiences.
As power users that promote external innovation, Siemens’s teams are expected to enhance internal productivity through technology as well. Because adopting, testing, and iterating the latest technologies to see what works (and what doesn’t) is commonplace across the organization, no one was surprised when the company reached for a headless API-first content solution. What did surprise them was how many internal processes their solution of choice, Contentful, helped streamline. Contentful satisfies three, going on four, use cases across Siemens. They relate to project management, lead generation, and marketing initiatives.
Project management: A centralized content hub offers clarity with processes and planning
The planning and strategizing phases of projects are intense — they require stakeholder meetings, careful consideration of tools and processes, and, perhaps most importantly, clear communication and documentation. With projects as important as those Siemens supports, the company couldn’t miss the mark on the last points. Poor communication and confusing documentation have direct impacts on stakeholder buy-in.
Early on, the company experimented with focused project-management tools to streamline how content was stripped down from technical, developer-facing instructions to broader, big-picture plans that could be presented neatly to non-technical stakeholders. Siemens’s teams ultimately decided they didn’t want a one-trick pony. They wanted to invest in a tool with the potential to solve multiple, even presently unknown, use cases.
Developers enjoyed how straightforward the setup was when they utilized the platform’s open-source library and clear documentation. “We didn’t have to fire up an entire development team to create a schema, a database, and an API. Contentful offered that all out of the box, allowing us to build our app in just two days,” said Keith Childers, Chief Architect of Digital Platforms with Siemens.
Childers and his team made use of Contentful’s governance capabilities to ensure only relevant stakeholders could see certain projects. These settings, in concert with filters on the project homepage, extended the platform’s ease of use and navigation. In many ways, Childers’ project up-leveled the content platform’s knowledge base capabilities.
Lead generation: Content modeling and an easy-to-use system mobilize microsites fast
Like many brands, Siemens is fond of microsites, or landing pages, which are used to build customer relationships and collect data. What the company’s developers weren’t so fond of was how difficult and time-consuming these pages were to build and manage with their legacy content management system.
With their old content solution, it took a team of developers weeks to build out and launch a microsite. A portion of this lengthy process was attributed to difficulties in integrating data analytics and tracking tools — which are pivotal for these lead-generation sites. When developers felt they had some semblance of a final product, they ran into another issue — they had no idea what the site looked like until they hit publish. The absence of preview capabilities set developers up for edits from the start.
To compound things, there was little option to introduce sites across emerging digital channels or localize content to speak to an increasingly diverse customer base.
Siemens’s development team jumped at the opportunity to try out a new tool for microsite creation — they wanted something that was easy to use, offered easy integrations, and supported content modeling. Developers hoped that with the right tool and content architecture, they could move microsite creation off their plates and onto those of individual stakeholders. Contentful was an easy choice. “It’s intuitive and painless compared to other CMS offerings, which really allows our content authors to hit the ground running with little onboarding,” shared Joseph Edge, Senior Cloud Application Developer with Siemens.
In utilizing Contentful for Siemens microsites, the company is unifying content and customer data while empowering omnichannel delivery and extending stakeholder autonomy to edit and publish new sites based on pre-built content models. Today launching new microsites takes minutes, not weeks. Edits? They take just seconds.
Marketing: Granular governance supports self-serve web publishing
With content and productivity playing such large roles in successful digital-first strategies, it makes sense that Siemens has an entire team devoted to these efforts — the content production and optimization team, which is in charge of managing web migrations and edits large and small. This team is familiar with large workloads and spiderweb-like processes which span support tickets, kanban boards, and developer requests. In the name of enhanced productivity, Digital Marketing Coordinator Annie Mullen and her team made it a goal to streamline these processes by introducing self-service website creation and editing practices. Contentful’s position in Siemens’s modern tech stack and its easy-to-use interface made the tool a good option for non-technical users.
Mullen and her team relied heavily on Contentful’s content governance and workflows to ensure that productivity and self-service did not sacrifice brand consistency and quality. With governance, they’ve been able to add new users and quickly define roles. And, while stakeholders should be able to spin up and edit certain pages, these capabilities shouldn’t be offered across the board. Some pages should be restricted and reserved for those with greater authority. With tags, Siemens’s content production and optimization team can go beyond individual roles to set editing capabilities on a page-by-page basis.
After setting up roles and governance for their digital spaces, Mullen and her team saw improvements fast. Internal stakeholders are empowered to delve into Contentful’s web app and make changes autonomously that would have previously required them to submit tickets and wait for developer support. “Before introducing self-service practices and trainings, my team addressed over 500 web help desk tickets each quarter,” added Mullen. That number is now significantly lower despite adding several new web pages across Siemens’s site. Mullen and her lean team haven’t had to expand or extend their responsibilities to manage these additions.
Introducing a fourth use case
With Contentful-fueled success across so many internal Siemens teams, it comes as no surprise that the company aims to test the product’s limits by depending on it for another use case. Next up: migrating Siemens’s entire site to Contentful.