Client Case: RAI Amsterdam

The problem

RAI Amsterdam had been using the Sitecore platform for some time, but it never worked smoothly, much to the dissatisfaction of Manager IT & Digital, Bret Baas. He explains, "The previous vendor couldn't set up the product properly, resulting in an unstable and inefficient system that didn't work well and couldn't be further developed." In addition, RAI Amsterdam faced a practical problem: whenever more than 300 visitors accessed the website, the site would crash. Through Sitecore, Bret connected with uxbee and says, "I told Sitecore that I wanted to talk to the top 3 partners in the Netherlands. No marketing stories, I just wanted a partner who could help me. That's where uxbee came in, whom I had spoken to before. I said that if uxbee could solve the issue with the number of visitors, we would continue working together, and that's what happened."

Even more important than the practical problem with the number of visitors was the desire for further development. Bret explains, "For me, the website and everything related to it are a starting point for marketing automation. I want to have much more interaction with our customers and work more efficiently by automating our marketing activities and personalizing our customer experience."

The solution

The first step has already been taken, which involved an intensive collaboration. uxbee took on the rebuilding process for RAI Amsterdam, including content migration, for about ten labels. RAI Amsterdam now has a stable platform with good data integration, where the software is well-configured to handle website capacity. Moreover, there is an option for quick and easy scalability when needed, which is crucial considering RAI's future plans.

"We have accumulated a backlog over the past years, which we can finally start realizing now. We aim for a world where the visitor is constantly at the center of their own experience, regardless of their location. Their experience should be seamless, from the first contact to after visiting the exhibition. Currently, when you attend a fair or event, it's like a barrier model. You have to buy a ticket, figure out how to travel there, find a parking spot for your car, locate the entrance, find a place for your coat, and the event hasn't even started yet. I believe that the customer journey leading up to the event should already be a positive experience, so that you can walk onto the exhibition floor feeling relaxed. You are directed to your pre-reserved parking spot, automatically connected to the Wi-Fi upon arrival, and personally welcomed without having to search for your ticket. We're aiming to make the data work for us," says Bret.

The next step is further development, guided by the business objectives. RAI Amsterdam's internal marketing department is collaborating with our marketing consultants to refine and translate the business objectives into techniques within Sitecore.

The experience

With a rebuild, it may feel like not much is happening. After a period of hard work, there is a platform, just like before the start. Bret acknowledges that: "We have worked very hard together and now we actually have a foundation. A foundation from which we can finally build further." And both RAI Amsterdam and uxbee are very excited about it. Bret says, "uxbee has a lot of passion and dedication in the project. That fits tremendously well with a company like ours. We also want to maintain a positive flow." However, that passion and dedication can also be a pitfall: "We understand each other so well that in the beginning, we adopted each other's characteristics, even the bad ones. We were like a bunch of enthusiastic young puppies with a lot of knowledge and expertise, running too fast after each other. But we managed to bring structure into it. uxbee clearly took the lead in the rebuild, first that step, then we'll see what's next. It works very well. Fortunately, we can be honest with each other without creating a blame culture. We have one common goal, and that is to take the end result to a higher level, and it works really well."

The technical specifications

We rebuilt the platform based on Sitecore Managed Cloud, and within that, we opted for the container variant. This makes the separation between infrastructure and code very clear. The deliverables are images. An image contains everything needed to make a Sitecore environment function properly. During the loading of the Sitecore environment, the image is loaded. As a result, the items are already present when starting the Sitecore environment and no longer need to be pushed afterwards. This allows for a release to be performed with much fewer actions. We release with a simple press of a button, making it super easy. Within 15 minutes, a new release is online based on the blue/green principle. This makes the entire release process highly reliable.

To reduce dependence on third parties, we chose to add as few external tools as possible to the platform. This keeps the platform well manageable and saves on integrations. We have built a foundation based on which all current and future labels within RAI can set up their own websites. The content managers and marketers at RAI now have an extensive set of content building blocks with which they can build and manage their websites without the intervention of the technical partner. This significantly shortens the time-to-market for RAI.

Since Sitecore XP collects a lot of information about a visitor and their behavior, it is possible to personalize content on a page. This is the starting point for RAI Amsterdam to develop a fully personalized customer journey. All of this has led to the delivery of a super-solid foundation from which we can continue to build!

The update - spring 2024

We have not been idle since the start of our cooperation with RAI Amsterdam. On the contrary, further development continues at a rapid pace. For example, we have been actively working with the marketing team to familiarise them with their Sitecore platform and to learn more about the personalization and marketing automation possibilities. In addition, we are currently upgrading the platform to the latest technology; we are migrating to Sitecore XM Cloud. So RAI Amsterdam is all set to make their future plans a reality!