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Case Study

Olympus America Builds a Path for Scalability with Drupal 8

See how Olympus America, Mediacurrent, and Pantheon harnessed the power of Drupal 8 to build a platform scalable for the future of the Olympus brand.

Project Highlights

Olympus is a multi-billion dollar organization and globally recognized precision technology leader that was founded in 1919. Their 35,000+ employees are passionate about, “ ...crafting innovative optical and digital solutions that help make people’s lives healthier, safer, and more ful­filling every day (”.

Mediacurrent’s team partnered with Olympus America to provide Drupal training for their staff, build a powerful and flexible Drupal 8 Distribution, and launch the new Olympus Learn & Support Center that integrates with their ecommerce site, Magento.

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    The Challenge

    The Digital Development Department at Olympus America was at a crossroads with their organizational web platforms and online presence due to a lack of consistent and flexible technology. 

    Olympus’ ecommerce engine Magento, managed by their Consumer Products Department, lacked the capability to create engaging content experiences that complemented their product listings, resulting in lower website engagement and a poor content editor and user experience.

    Multiple legacy sites utilizing different content management systems (CMS) were also discovered to be a challenge for the organization. Maintaining multiple platforms and site technologies places a burden on infrastructure, labor expenses, and management.

    These digital challenges were impacting Olympus’ development team, customers, and brand. 

    Mediacurrent’s Solution

    For a richer content experience, Olympus engaged Mediacurrent to create a website on the Drupal 8 platform to house its consumer-oriented community learn center and product support pages. After identifying Olympus’ challenges and discussion goals, Mediacurrent provided training to the Olympus development staff, built a powerful and flexible Drupal 8 Distribution, and developed the new Olympus Learn & Support Center, creating a better user experience featuring a modern design and a pathway to consistent technologies. Taking a significant stride toward building for stability, Mediacurrent and Olympus partnered with Pantheon, a website operations and hosting platform tuned to enable Drupal sites to be highly performant.

    Olympus’ new Learn & Support Center was built on Drupal 8. Drupal 8, a best in class content management system, gave Olympus the tools needed to create a picture-perfect learn and support hub. The new website empowers their customers to become better users of their cameras, increases engagement and builds trust in the Olympus brand. Mediacurrent ensured the new Learn & Support Center integrated with their ecommerce platform Magento. It was vital to the success of the project to maintain consistency between Magento and Drupal 8 for a seamless user experience. 

    The Olympus and Mediacurrent partnership also resulted in a new Drupal 8 Distribution. The new Distribution, named Orchard, will be utilized to migrate Olympus’ legacy sites onto a single platform. Orchard will free up time and allow for scalable change by giving the Olympus development team the ability to quickly add functionality, apply a universal design language, and expose the same code base to multiple sites. In short, the Drupal 8 Distribution will create a scalable and stable environment while reducing unexpected issues. 

    Mediacurrent also implemented Olympus’ design mock-ups into a functioning Drupal 8 theme. Additional development for the Learn & Support Center features was completed using contributed modules and custom code. 

    The new Drupal 8 homepage for Olympus shown on a desktop computer
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    Why Mediacurrent?

    Olympus was seeking a partner with established expertise in Drupal 8 architecture, development, and theming services to create the Learn & Support Center and build upon the already completed visual designs. Their goal was to partner with an organization that acted as an extension of their team and had a proven track record of delivering a scalable enterprise-ready Drupal platform.

    Why Drupal 8?

    • Open Source - Open source means more features, support of an entire community of passionate developers, and no licensing fees. 
    • Modules - Developers can build in their own custom features or utilize existing modules that are tested and improved upon by the community itself. 
    • Existing Experience - Olympus had some experience with Drupal 8 already. Understanding it’s built to be continually enhanced and adapted for market conditions made it an easy choice. 
    • Scalability - Flexible and easy-to-use content creation for editors and marketers. Drupal 8 gives Olympus the ability to spin up new sites quickly that will match their universal design standards and branding. 
    • Mobile - Drupal 8 uses a mobile-first development approach, which is a necessity in today’s B2B and B2C environments.
    • The Long-Term - Drupal 8 is a long-term solution with scalability built in. As other site technology changes or new versions of Drupal are released, Drupal 8 can adapt. 
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    Flexible Design

    The Drupal 8 platform improves Olympus’ digital presence by matching modern design standards today and moving forward. A new design and site architecture will help improve customer experience and increase online sales.

    Scalability for the Future

    Key modules for the project included UI Patterns, chosen for the component-based design implementation. A component-based approach lends itself to a more modularized front end, more efficient development cycles, a consistent UI, and a smoother developer experience on both the front end and integration processes. In short, it reduces costs and saves time. 

    The YAML Content Module was leveraged to define content for each of the different functional components throughout the entire build process and to prepare demo content seamlessly. With this solution the content is written in YAML, it's easy to visualize the content hierarchy through the indentation, and the content can always be updated by adding more to it later and re-importing. This process makes it easy for demo content to evolve over the course of a site build as new site architecture is defined and needs to be demonstrated for review and testing.

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    Full System Overhaul

    Mediacurrent created a system that gives Olympus the ability to spin up new sites quickly that align with their universal design standards.

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    Extensible Platform

    Mediacurrent built a reusable, customizable platform that Olympus can use and expand for years to come.

    Custom Module Development

    During the project, Mediacurrent and Olympus developers collaborated to create custom modules (like UI Patterns Block) that were not available before. 

    Agile Workflows from Development to Deployment with Pantheon

    Olympus' developers were challenged to spin up new environments and go live in time to meet mission-critical deadlines. They also needed a better system to identify the root cause of issues and act quickly to prevent website downtime. Olympus and Mediacurrent partnered with Pantheon for web hosting and tools to ensure best practices for the team's development workflow.

    Pantheon enables developers to become more agile, allowing them to push new code to enhance features and functionality with an infrastructure primed to enable Drupal site performance and speed. The platform’s automated workflows and suite of developer tools increase efficiency to help Olympus’ web team deliver new projects on time. 

    For example, marketing initiatives that require new landing pages or sites can be created quickly with more predictable deployments. Thanks to Pantheon’s Dev. Test, and Live environments, web teams are able to develop, test, and launch new sites in real time, without worry of breaking something on the site. Time previously spent on server and workflow maintenance can now be dedicated to core business functions.

    And thanks to Pantheon’s 24/7 expert support staff of real developers and engineers who can quickly identify root causes and recommend solutions, Olympus can rest easy knowing their site is in safe hands. 

    Mediacurrent team conducting onsite training

    Onsite and Integrated Training

    The Mediacurrent Team hosted multiple in-person training sessions with Olympus' primary developer to educate him on Drupal 8 best practices and discuss strategy, workflows, and execution of the project. The developer was embedded as a member of the development team to improve communication and ensure we were meeting the needs of Olympus. As a group, we were actively completing tickets on new features. This approach provided hands-on training with Drupal 8, and their new development architecture which will support long-term success for the Olympus development team.

    A Drupal Training Partnership

    Through a training partnership with Mediacurrent, Olympus aimed to solve two challenges:

    1. Train their in-house development team on the latest front and back-end development trends, and 
    2. Implement an in-house hosting infrastructure that was performant, with automation and security at is core

    At the end of our engagement, Olympus took over future development work, managing their in-house hosting infrastructure to keep Drupal and all of the sites built from the custom distribution we built together, up-to-date, and in top performance.

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    Productive Learning 

    The discovery phase of the project served as an inspiration for the custom curriculum by integrating the requirements of the project into the training exercises. Olympus developers began generating production-ready work during training, gaining exposure to a modern development workflow.

    Mediacurrent's Mario Hernandez instructs a student at a laptop

    Bridging Technical Gaps

    Mediacurrent was able to identify technical gaps by conducting a skills assessment and write a custom training curriculum that met the team’s needs. 

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    Empowering DevOps

    Olympus’ front-end and back-end developers gained a practical understanding of component-based development using presenter templates and Drupal’s UI Patterns module for component integration. Security, performance, and DevOps training allowed the in-house DevOps team to efficiently host their applications using their in-house infrastructure.


    Final Thoughts

    Olympus America realized their vision could be achieved and challenges overcome with Drupal 8 and a close partnership with Mediacurrent and Pantheon. Standardizing on a single platform with a broad community like Drupal will provide value for Olympus by reducing maintenance time, improving existing sites, and quickly launching new sites. Mediacurrent and the Drupal ecosystem will continue to grow and support Olympus’ new Drupal 8 platform as they need it.