As the first company to make mechanical cash registers and commercialize bar code scanners, NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) has a long history of leading omni-channel solutions. NCR’s software, hardware, and professional services enable more than 600 million transactions per day for companies like Walmart, Wells Fargo, and Home Depot.

Looking ahead to 2020, NCR had a vision to “make the everyday easier” for customers, leading innovation in mobile, cloud, big data, and the Internet of Things. To fuel these omni-channel ambitions, NCR launched on Drupal. With the adoption of Drupal, they gained a CMS platform that provides feature velocity, security, internationalization, and data analytics.

To maximize the potential of their new Drupal site, NCR partnered with Mediacurrent to complete a migration on NCR.com from Wordpress to Drupal, including an extensive product catalog, and localize the website in 10 countries.

Why Drupal was chosen: 
  • Feature velocity
  • Security
  • Internationalization
  • Data analytics
Describe the project (goals, requirements and outcome): 

Goals

  • Migrate NCR.com from Wordpress to Drupal
  • Improve performance for faster page load times
  • From a strategy perspective, position the brand to focus on omni-channel solutions with a renewed vigor for SEO
  • Leverage Drupal’s multilingual capabilities to improve international presence
  • Integrate their Transperfect translation Partner into their core digital platform
  • Better manage translated content and branding from a centralized source

Project Highlights

Digital Strategy - Bringing the Big Picture into Sharp Focus: Mediacurrent’s Digital Strategy shepherded NCR’s ideas from concept to reality, encompassing a comprehensive view of NCR’s entire digital ecosystem far beyond just the website. Throughout the project, NCR’s marketing team leaned on Mediacurrent to help build consensus among company stakeholders by mining accurate and compelling data and acting as an authority on Drupal SEO best practices.

A full SEO audit and keyword analysis yielded targeted suggestions for SEO improvements. For example, we advised that NCR add structured data markup to the new site to help search engines understand content, enhance the presentation of search results, and get content into Google’s Knowledge Graph results. We also made recommendations for Drupal modules and configurations that would increase on-page SEO and boost the rankings of NCR.com.

Mediacurrent took a deep dive by conducting an industry analysis and assessing NCR’s competitive landscape. To achieve their omnichannel goals, it was important that NCR understand how their website stacked up against the competition. For each competitor, we compared keyword rankings, website content, and conversion paths. We took it one step further by also scoring social media engagement and online reputation. With this analysis, NCR was empowered to make informed decisions about their brand strategy.

Wordpress Migration Built on Drupal Best Practices: In March 2016, NCR engaged with Mediacurrent to migrate NCR.com from Wordpress to Drupal. We used their existing Drupal implementation as a structural guide to rebuilding a more secure, scalable site. During initial discovery, we reviewed the 6,000 records in the original WordPress database, sorting through duplicates that were the result of multiple upgrades and iterations to identify the 2,000 unique records that needed to be ported over to the new site. On Wordpress, NCR had multiple individual post types for each section of the site. This required us to write corresponding, individual migrations to bring each type into Drupal.

Mediacurrent played an important role to maintain Drupal best practices throughout the migration phase.
Formerly, deviating from Drupal development standards had some risky security implications that left them vulnerable to injection attacks.

Promoting an Effective Development Environment: Mediacurrent also introduced NCR to a new workflow that provides a solid development environment where developers can submit their work in the form of Pull Requests (PRs) and BitBucket. (For more, see this resource: Guide to Version Controlled Drupal Development Using Git, Bitbucket) This workflow was pivotal to prevent and avoid future errors. Before this, the NCR team was working directly on the server where potential mistakes, like overwriting their work, would be impossible to correct and could pose a threat to the project timeline.

Internationalization: For Phase 2 of the project, Mediacurrent helped implement internationalization into NCR’s Drupal 7 platform, demonstrating the capabilities of a fully translatable CMS to drive adoption of integrated translation throughout the company. The translation of 16 languages was a blended effort between NCR, Mediacurrent and Transperfect, a translation service provider. To ease the translation process, Mediacurrent implemented a streamlined site architecture, closely adhering to Drupal standards and choosing out-of-the-box modules over custom code.

An Improved Editorial Experience: With both Wordpress and NCR’s previous Drupal implementations, content editors faced a cumbersome multi-step process for creating a new page. Mediacurrent found a way to reduce the steps in half with the node level blocks module. With the new workflow, the editing process can now be completed on a single page.

Instead of relying on taxonomy and fields to organize content, the site is built on a hierarchy driven by menu assignment. The menu improves the editorial experience by providing a common way to handle the site hierarchy, breadcrumb trail, and page URLs. When an NCR content editor creates a page and assigns it to a menu, that determines not only where it lives in the menu but also where the page appears in the hierarchy. It also handles the URL path to the page, matching the URL to the menu for an automatic SEO advantage. Finally, it controls the way breadcrumbs are rendered, showing each parent depending on where they live in the menu.

Challenges and Solutions

Improving Site Performance: NCR was previously using a Javascript library. Mediacurrent created a custom Drupal theme to match the design and layout of the Wordpress site, and existing styling and scripting was selectively included in order to have a leaner starting point. This allowed us to reduce the weight of the CSS by more than 50%, and javascript by almost 30%.

NCR had multiple content types with a significant amount of duplicate content. When a page was rendered, it was pulling in several different content types. Mediacurrent scaled it back by about 30%. By moving to a single content type for the page, rendering increased significantly.

Another performance issue was that NCR was contacting the database directly and displaying output, primarily with the product catalog. Not only was the approach insecure and performing very poorly without the option for caching, the team was also spending time writing filters by hand. Mediacurrent implemented a straightforward solution with Views. The built in caching and filtering capabilities improved site performance, saving time and effort for NCR’s development team.

Supporting Right-to-Left Languages: A KSS-driven styleguide was included as part of the theming workflow, which allowed for more rapid development between the front end and back end. The styleguide also served as a platform for demonstrating ongoing progress, and as a testing ground for introducing UI improvements. In the second phase, when it was realized that we’d need to support right-to-left (RTL) languages, like Arabic and Hebrew, which require significant updates to the orientation of page layouts and content treatments, we were able to leverage the build tools integrated in our standard theme setup to minify the refactoring required to support those languages. (For more, check our video on 5 UX Tips for Right-to-Left Language Sites.)

Going Global with International SEO: NCR does business in 180 countries. One of their long term goals is to continue to expand the business globally.

Mediacurrent created sitemaps for NCR’s localized sites, creating a website setup that makes it easy for search engines to identify the multiple countries and languages they needed to reach.

To help search engines discover the new site URLs, Mediacurrent used the Hreflangs attribute, canonical tags, and content-language tags. Geotargeting options within Drupal’s Metatag module were activated to pave the way for success with international SEO. Mediacurrent’s Digital Strategy team also guided Translation setup recommendations and designed a Conversion Path strategy.

Results

  • Page load times improved 9x from the previous platform (from 5 sec. to 0.5 seconds!)
  • Custom Drupal theme reduced the weight of the CSS by more than 50%, and javascript by almost 30%
  • Single-step workflow reduced labor for content editors by half

Final Thoughts

Looking forward, NCR will continue to innovate with Drupal to support its omni-channel focused business goals, leveraging Mediacurrent’s development, strategy, and creative expertise to grow and strengthen the company brand.

Organizations involved: 
Modules/Themes/Distributions
Why these modules/theme/distribution were chosen: 
  • Node level blocks: Enables users to create new pages and assign page-specific blocks in a single step.
  • Menu node API and Menu Node Views: Allow views to render menu elements, saving an enormous amount of time. Allows one view to be created (rather than multiple menu blocks) - so that no matter what page you are on, across 2,000 pages, it displays all of the children. Menu blocks would have required a large amount of custom work. This was much more efficient.
  • Field Collection: Key to maintaining the one step workflow, driving tabs and slideshows on a per page basis.
  • Locale (locale): Adds language handling functionality and enables the translation of the user interface.
  • Entity Translation (entity_translation): Allows entities to be translated into different languages.
  • Title (title): Replaces legacy title with an actual field which is translatable.
  • Internationalization (i18n): Extends Drupal support for multilingual features.
  • Block languages (i18n_block): Enables language selector for blocks and optional block translation.
  • String translation (i18n_string): Provides support for translation of user defined strings.
  • Menu translation (i18n_menu): Provides translatable menu items.
  • Webform Localization (webform_localization): Adds multilingual features to the Webform module.
Project team: 

Tom Jones, Kelly Dassing, Tia Durham, Josh Linard, Dawn Aly, Beth Davenport