Client case: Unifiedpost

The problem

Initially, Unifiedpost did not run into a technical problem. However, they found that their way of working differed too much from the partner with whom they built their Sitecore platform. They came to that agency for a new corporate identity, which included a new website. Sitecore was chosen because Unifiedpost markets many products worldwide, they were looking for a system that would not penalize them financially for the many domain names, Sitecore is domain independent and proved to be a good fit.

Corporate Technical Marketing Manager, Geert Fransen, explains, "Unifiedpost's DNA is very flexible, agile company. The way of working feels very natural. At a certain point we noticed that our DNA no longer matched that of the previous partner, who was very project-based and strict. A problem meant creating a ticket and waiting for feedback. If I wanted a new feature, we had to schedule a meeting about it to discuss the impact before any time was scheduled to build at all. That just didn't work comfortably for us." Geert raised this with the Sitecore partner manager for the Benelux and ended up at a customer meeting, where he met uxbee's CSO Theo de Wolf. Geert: "We started talking and one thing led to another, without causing friction and without imposing himself, Theo simply came to listen and made a proposal. He saw story in what Unifiedpost was doing and thought creatively, that was the deciding factor to start working with uxbee."

The solution

During the transfer of the platform to uxbee, the analysis showed that the basis was technically sound. Unifiedpost experienced that further development was becoming increasingly difficult. Geert explains: "A new feature was not implemented as expected and there was less proactive thinking. Sometimes it's good to talk to someone who knows the technology well, who asks two extra questions so that you better understand where we want to go and then says, ah, we'd better do it this way to avoid getting stuck later. That was no longer present with the previous partner."

Uxbee's main focus has been to optimize and further develop the platform. Unfiedpost works with two different website formats. One is the corporate website, which is managed from headquarters. The other is over 30 country websites, which have one format but are managed separately in each country. This means that all optimizations have to be well thought through to overcome the impact on the different countries. Unifiedpost is also active in Asia. Therefore, in addition to the European server, we also have an Azure server in Asia to bridge the distance and improve speed.

Several smart links have been created with external software. For example, a link with webinar software is active. This handles webinar registrations on the front end based on Sitecore Forms and links to the external webinar software on the back end. A link has also been built with the external mailing platform that works both ways. When a visitor fills out a website form, that data also enters the mailing system so it can be included in mailing campaigns. But it also works the other way. If an already identified visitor comes to the Web site by clicking a link from a mailing, that visit is linked to his Sitecore ID based on his email address. Without that link, Unifiedpost would not know who the visitor is because he came in from an external mailing program.

The experience

About the partnership, Geert is clear: "It is very pleasant to work with everyone. Always good feedback, quick response. Nothing is too difficult, very open and I appreciate that. If I ever have the same big challenge, there is one phone number I call." From uxbee there is great value in good partnership, companies must fit together to achieve the best results. "We have a service contract and then you often work with a ticket system. I have the impression that Theo realized very quickly that that was not going to work for us. It was never pushed through; we always kept working in the same organic way. Uxbee felt Unifiedpost's DNA flawlessly and wanted to work with us in the same way. And that is certainly, also in the future for other companies, a strength of uxbee. You do not impose an obligatory straitjacket, but you go with the flow," said Geert.

De technical specifications

Because Unifiedpost operates in over 30 countries worldwide and each country has a local subsite running, we wanted to make its management as straightforward as possible. We started this project with a successful upgrade from Sitecore 9.11 to version 10.2, which greatly improved the performance of the platform. We then built one site that all countries can reuse and that can be technically managed in one place. If an item in the setup is changed, we can do it for all 30+ countries at once. Each country has the same base in terms of look and feel and contain local touches on content. We used Sitecore SXA for that and within that we used Shared Sites which allows sharing of components across multiple sites. All country sites use one Shared Site and there is a configuration in there that needs to be globally the same for all countries. We wrote custom code for that because certain things were not possible by default. For example, the favicon had to be the same everywhere and that was not possible by default, thanks to the custom code it is now possible.

When using Shared Sites, you need to consider a few things carefully. Content is managed locally, all content editors have their own role with their own permissions, so they can only edit content for their own country. We also had to make a rule for fall back languages. What if a specific product page is not available in German in Germany, for example? These are small issues that do need to be thought about to have a platform that works well.

Right now, we are optimizing and developing in advance. For example, we recently built an integration with Google Workspace, so that anyone with access to Sitecore can now log in with their Google account. Ideal for the users, they can log in everywhere with one Unifiedpost account with 2 factor authentication, so extra secure. And so we are continuously working on further optimizing and developing the Sitecore platform, to ensure that the Unifiedpost team can make optimal use of it.