VIP News

Updates and features about our platform, services, and partners, as well as stories and events from across the enterprise WordPress community.

WDG named a Silver Agency Partner

WordPress VIP has added WDG to our Featured Agency Partner program. WDG is one of only 30 partners in this […]

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Umbrella IT named a Silver agency partner

Today we welcome Umbrella IT to the WordPress VIP Featured Agency Partner program. Umbrella IT (UIT) is one of only […]

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How AccuWeather leverages decoupled WordPress

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP NYC meetup hosted at Postlight on […]

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Blazing new trails with Salesforce

Salesforce and WordPress VIP share many things in common. For one thing, we’re both market leaders in software technology that […]

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Featured Partner Program expands to MENA with addition of Asquared

Ant Ekşiler (CEO) and Aykut Yılmaz (CMO) founded the first WordPress-centered agency in Turkey

Asquared is the newest addition to our Featured Agency Partner program! Asquared is one of only 30 partners in this prestigious group and the first agency in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

Asquared is the leading WordPress agency in Turkey serving international clients all over the world. They build award-winning digital platforms using WordPress that are fast, flexible, and scalable thanks to enterprise integrations with excellent user experience.

We are great problem solvers, mostly because of our experience with a large number of clients.

– Ant Ekşiler, CEO of Asquared

Notably, Asquared is also the only featured partner with a Premium WordPress Themes brand, Fuel Themes, which reaches over 45,000 customers across the globe and recently joined the WooCommerce official store.

Ant Ekşiler, CEO of Asquared, explained, “A premium theme business allows us to reach a larger variety of customers faster which in turn improves our design and user-experience process for our enterprise customers. We are great problem solvers, and it’s mostly because of our experience with a large number of clients.”

A selection of Asquared’s enterprise WordPress clients

“As a part of the growing enterprise WordPress community, we’re excited to be selected in this partnership program with WordPress VIP. As an agency partner, we are thrilled to be given this opportunity to better serve our clients with the collective knowledge of WordPress VIP and other partners,” he added.

For more information about this partnership, please visit https://wpvip.com/partner/asquared/.

Evolving the Kaiser Family Foundation from Sitecore to WordPress VIP

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) had 20 years’ worth of legacy data bottlenecked in Sitecore and Commonspot. WordPress VIP helped KFF unify all their content onto a single, intuitive platform. KFF’s teams are now empowered to advance their mission through beautiful and accessible data.

“Other data-heavy organizations like ours, still operate multiple websites with data and CMSes that are not integrated. I think we’re the first in our space to do that—with as much diverse content as we have all in one home.”

— David Rousseau, Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President

To learn more about our work with KFF, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Webinar recording: Upgrading to Gutenberg

Put simply, the new WordPress block editor, known as Gutenberg, makes creating content easier.

It might not feel so easy, though, to bring a complex enterprise site over to Gutenberg for the first time.

That’s where this free webinar comes in.

In this dev-centered presentation, our friends at Reaktiv Studios will walk you through each step of making the transition using real-life examples from Microsoft, Atlassian, and more.

In this webinar, you will:

  • Study real-life Gutenberg use cases from Xbox, Atlassian, and others
  • See examples of when to use core blocks, 3rd-party block libraries, or custom blocks
  • Learn how to plan for dependencies and ensure backward compatibility
  • Get tips on managing the human element (think buy-in, usability, and training)
  • Hear audience Q&A with Reaktiv’s Gutenberg experts

Presenter: Cory Webb, Reaktiv Studios

Head shot of Corey Webb

Cory Webb is a senior full-stack developer. Before joining Reaktiv, he ran a web development company specializing in WordPress and Joomla. His educational background is in engineering and business, but his true passion has been development since he built his first web page as an electrical engineering student at the University of Texas way back in 1997.

Building a B2B membership product with WordPress

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP NYC meetup hosted at Postlight on the evening of November 13.

What do Dan Entin, Rex Reed, and Carrie Bradshaw have in common? They all share roots in Observer Media, where Dan has been the VP of Product for the last 2 years. Headquartered in New York City’s financial district, Observer Media operates multiple brands including Commercial Observer, the leading commercial real estate media property in the country, which reports on the key trends and leaders defining the global real estate landscape.

In an effort to diversify their revenue streams across print advertising, digital advertising, and events, the Commercial Observer decided to create a new product: member subscriptions. After extensive market research, Dan’s team decided on three membership tiers: Basic, Premium, and Premium+.

“We have quadrupled the number of basic members that we get each month.”
– Dan Entin, Observer Media’s VP of Product

To learn more about the user research that informed Commercial Observer’s membership approach, including details on how they actually built the paywall using WordPress VIP and our technology partner Piano, see Dan’s full talk below:

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress meetup series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To be the first to find out about the next enterprise WordPress event in New York, join the meetup group. You’ll find groups for other cities there as well.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

YIKES, Inc. is now a WordPress VIP featured partner

WordPress VIP has added YIKES, Inc. to our prestigious Featured Agency Partner program. YIKES, Inc. is one of only 30 partners in this group and the first women- and LGBTQ-owned partner agency.

Founded in 1996 as a sustainable, ethics-based business, YIKES, Inc. is a Pennsylvania Benefit Corporation and a certified B Corporation whose experience includes delivering technology-based solutions for nonprofit and civic organizations such as The City of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Specializing in WordPress development and design since 2010, YIKES, Inc. builds robust custom themes and plugins, web-based applications, eCommerce solutions, API integrations, content migration from legacy systems, plus more.

Their projects range from informational sites to complex web applications. The founders pride themselves on their outstanding quality of work, professionalism, and unsurpassed customer service.

“We are thrilled to be the first Women, LGBTBE and B Corp-certified agency accepted into the WordPress VIP Agency Partner Program. As long-standing, active members of the WordPress community, we love bringing our years of WordPress design and development expertise to WordPress VIP clients,” said Tracy Levesque, Co-Founder/Co-President of YIKES, Inc.

For more information about this partnership, please visit https://wpvip.com/partner/yikes/.

5 keys to build an effective content personalization strategy

As the audience of your website grows, it becomes more challenging to publish content that is relevant to all readers. Personalization gives the ability to profile each user’s behavior and capture their preferences, allowing you to deliver more relevant content to keep them engaged — and ultimately, to increase conversions.

Many of our clients are eager to embrace personalization, for good reason. But before diving too far into a personalization strategy, there are a few critical questions to ask.

By taking into account the following considerations, a solid cross-functional team (business leaders, marketers, product owners, technologists, legal) can collaborate on the best personalization path to meet your goals.

For an in-depth look at personalization in enterprise WordPress, download our white paper, “How to Achieve Personalization with Enterprise WordPress.”

1. How will the data be shared with existing systems?

If the personalization requires any data to be sent to a vendor (for instance, user data, activity data, etc.), a JavaScript snippet will need to be included in all pages. Be sure to choose a reliable third-party vendor, as slow response times on the vendor end could affect the site’s end-user experience, and a data breach at the vendor could expose customers’ information.

2. What will be the reliance on external systems?

As recommendations for a specific type of user may change, the recommended list of content is typically sent dynamically from the personalization vendor’s systems. Some vendors store the user’s behavior in a cookie so that users don’t have to rely on their service being online. Ensure they have a strong uptime/availability record and make sure to understand what features of the site (if any) will be impacted if the service vendor’s systems are unavailable.

3. How can sharing personal data be kept to a minimum?

If users are required to sign in with their account, there is the added advantage of using their user-specified preferences. However, this would require additional information to be shared with the personalization vendor. Ideally, it’s possible to share just the username or a unique identifier for the user.

4. How can personalized experiences be shared across channels?

To capture a user’s data across various channels (social media, email, mobile apps, website, etc.), the vendor will need to unify data to a single user profile (typically based on the email address). Most personalization vendors that support cross-channel data gathering will also allow recommendations to be published through any of these channels.

5. How will the customer profile integrate with existing marketing tools?

Insight into customers’ profiles allows specific segments to be targeted with special offers or promotions. To use existing marketing software, it’s imperative to have it integrated to the personalization engine. Alternatively, campaigns could be managed within the personalization vendor’s portal.

In closing

Successful personalization requires marketers, technologists, and business leaders to have shared goals, with a firm understanding of how pursuing personalization will affect each area of the business. These questions can get you started building that foundation as a team.

At WordPress VIP, we have helped our clients provide personalized experiences on some of the most popular websites in the world. Even though we already have an assortment of tools, we continue adding features to our platform to help make it easier to provide these experiences.

For a detailed look at achieving personalization with enterprise WordPress, download our white paper, “How to Achieve Personalization with Enterprise WordPress.”

The scale and speed behind iOne Digital’s massive reach

iOne needed a seamless way to syndicate content across multiple brands and sites. So WordPress VIP built a platform with the strength and flexibility to power iOne’s viral content. iOne no longer sweats traffic spikes, thanks to the agility, stability, and security of WordPress VIP.

“We have huge spikes of traffic as a lot of our content goes viral with our users on social networks, and WordPress VIP’s infrastructure is able to sustain those with no changes on our end; it just works!”

— Grant Cerny, Chief Product Officer, iOne Digital

To learn more about our work with iOne, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

The anatomy of a WordPress core security update

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP San Francisco meetup at the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation on the evening of November 6.

As both a WordPress VIP Technical Account Manager and a Core Security Release Lead on the WordPress project, I have a rare glimpse into one of the most critical aspects of enterprise WordPress: security.

I spoke at BigWP SF this fall to share a behind-the-scenes look at one small slice of what it takes to make WordPress a secure platform for 35% of the internet.

In this talk, I cover:

  • Who is in charge of safeguarding WordPress
  • How the team uses HackerOne to identify, disclose, and address vulnerabilities
  • What the security release process looks like from the inside
  • How people can contribute to keeping WordPress secure

You can see the full talk here:

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress meetup series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To be the first to find out about the next enterprise WordPress event in San Francisco, join the meetup group. You’ll find groups for other cities there as well.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP SF November 2019 playlist.

Featured partner program expands to France with Be API

WordPress VIP has added Be API to our exclusive Featured Partner program. Be API (as in, don’t worry, Be API) is one of only 30 partners in this group, and the first partner agency in France.

Since its creation, the agency has been a pioneer in industrialized WordPress projects and worked hard to democratize the professional use of WordPress in France. As active core contributors, the Be API team has created several plugins (Simple Tags, Simple Image Sizes) and helped co-translate WordPress into French.

As developers, technical architects, DevOps, sysadmins, project managers, SEO consultants, web analysts, and UI and UX designers, Be API’s expertise is rooted in 4 key areas:

Strategy & Design: audits, personas, tests and UX/UI design
Development: WordPress themes & plugins, page builder & Gutenberg
Industrialization: architecture, cloud, devops & interoperability
Run: maintenance, performance monitoring & customer support

Our experience and our expertise in the WordPress ecosystem are unique in France and allow our customers to gain considerable time in their projects by making the right choices.

-Amaury Balmer, CEO of Be API

Be API is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year: since 2009, the agency has helped more than 200 clients and created more than 250 WordPress implementations. Over the last decade, the agency has created some of France’s most ambitious WordPress projects, such as site factories for BNP Paribas, a security-focused project for Dassault Aviation, and high traffic platforms with Free.fr.

Joining the WordPress VIP program allows the agency to offer a unique platform, meeting the most demanding business needs while maintaining strong agility and creativity.”

-Amaury Balmer, CEO of Be API

For more information about Be API’s partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partners/agency-partners/

How to spin up a WordPress-powered React app in 1 step

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP NYC meetup hosted at Postlight on the evening of November 13.

“People are wrestling with the same issues across the software industry,” declared Gina Trapani, Managing Partner at Postlight, during her talk at BigWP NYC.

Postlight is a newly-minted WordPress VIP Silver partner who builds digital experiences for clients like Goldman Sachs, the Obama Foundation, the National Audubon Society, and more. As a premier product, design, and development agency, the Postlight team is exposed to content management challenges across sectors and organizations large and small.

So, Gina took to the stage to address one of the questions clients often struggle with.

Pattern recognition

React is a popular JavaScript framework with more than a few fans. Unsurprisingly, countless companies are seeking the best software solution to deliver content to their React applications. Gina’s answer? For many scenarios, decoupled WordPress is the way to go.

After successfully arguing this case, the Postlight team found themselves writing the same code for the same architecture over and over again. So they decided to combine a front-end, back-end React/WordPress instance into a downloadable, user-friendly package.

Converting the decoupled doubters

With Postlight’s WordPress + React Starter Kit, users get two working example sites out of the box. Each site contains React components that implement common WordPress features like rendering pages, posts, taxonomies and content previews; in addition to custom post types with fields exposed via APIs.

The bottom line of the starter kit, explains Gina, is that WordPress works beautifully with modern technology and tooling.

Check out her full talk about creating the WordPress + React Starter Kit, including actionable tips for countering anyone who argues that WordPress doesn’t play nicely in forward-thinking software implementations.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress meetup series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To be the first to find out about the next enterprise WordPress event in New York, join the meetup group. You’ll find groups for other cities there as well.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

Defining PMC’s digital playbook

After multiple acquisitions, including Rolling Stone, PMC needed a streamlined approach to digital content management. Establishing a common framework helped PMC innovate across its entire portfolio. Today, all of PMC’s brands align around a common goal: driving revenue.

“They’re able to work across brands a lot better because there’s a common language there. It’s interesting to see how the things we’re streamlining within product and engineering have this knock-on effect across the entire company.”

—Gabriel Koen, Penske Media Corporation

To learn more about our work with PMC, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

10 can’t-miss moments of 2019 from WordPress VIP

As the WordPress VIP team closes out another calendar year, we’d like to reflect on how far our clients, partners, and the broader enterprise WordPress community have come in 2019. So here are 10 highlights to celebrate on the way to an even more fruitful 2020.

1. The crew grew. Our parent company, Automattic, acquired Tumblr!

2. Salesforce took notice. Automattic closed a new $300 million Series D, with Salesforce Ventures taking the entire round.

3. Gutenberg closed in on Phase 2. Since releasing the first phase of Gutenberg last year, over 50 million posts have been made in the new block editor. At WordCamp US, Automattic’s CEO Matt Mullenweg shared some of the latest and greatest features and blocks built in the Gutenberg framework and highlighted an example of inline newsletter creation built by VIP partner rtCamp for Mortgage Bankers Association.

4. Enterprises adopted custom blocks. As Gutenberg development work continued on the home front, WordPress VIP partners like Big Bite and clients like News Corp drove adoption of Gutenberg in the enterprise, building blocks that delight WordPress users and news consumers, too. See real-life examples of how custom blocks can accelerate content production in the Gutenberg for enterprises webinar recording.

5. We’re officially poised to disrupt. Did you know WordPress VIP competes in a $10B market? CEO Nick Gernert took the stage at WordCamp US to talk about why this open source software is ideal for enterprises. You can see the full recording of his talk, where he shows how clients like Capgemini, Hachette Book Group, and News Corp Australia take advantage of the agility, ownership, flexibility, and simplicity of WordPress at scale.

6. We put more power in your hands. Speaking of agility, client developers can now run core and custom WP-CLI commands on WordPress VIP hosted applications and environments, through the VIP-CLI tool. This is part of our effort to deliver tools that empower WordPress VIP clients to make quick and deliberate moves across their applications.

7. Clients experimented with conscious decoupling. In 2019, we’ve seen more enterprises shift to a “decoupled” or “headless” approach to WordPress, using React and other JavaScript frameworks for their front-end architecture. At BigWP NYC, product manager Rachael Trost demonstrated how Accuweather’s decoupled architecture delivers content via WordPress to APIs, local media partners, scrolling LED displays, and more.

8. We landed exciting opportunities. Demand for enterprise WordPress continued to grow, and we saw exciting launches with clients like Samsung, Hilton, NBC, Time, Telefonica, Alaska Airlines, Knight Foundation, Merck, and many more.

9. The partner network grew. To keep pace with this significant demand, we welcomed 21 additional agency partners, growing our presence in expanding verticals (like sports, healthcare, and ecommerce) and regions (like Turkey, Australia, France, and the Netherlands).

10. We gave back to the community that started it all. There’s now a dedicated landing page for Five for the Future, which highlights people and organizations devoting 5% of their resources to WordPress development. You may notice some familiar faces, including Automattic and our agency partners 10up, rtCamp, and Multidots.

We’ve got big plans for the coming year, and we bet you do, too. If you want to learn more about any of the above, let us know. We’re always pleased to hear from you. In the meantime, Happy New Year from all of us at WordPress VIP!

Updating the Apple News plugin to be Gutenberg native

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP NYC meetup hosted at Postlight on the evening of November 13.

WordPress VIP featured partner Alley originally created their Publish to Apple News plugin to help users seamlessly submit and edit their Apple News content straight from the WordPress editor. Version one of the plugin automatically converts HTML content to JSON and sends it to Apple to publish via their API.

After the WordPress 5.0 update, which brought the new Gutenberg editing experience to core WordPress software, Alley began developing version two of the plugin, which provides full native support for Gutenberg. Chief plugin contributor and Alley’s director of software development Kevin Fodness recently shared learnings from this project at BigWP NYC.

All things considered

The biggest challenge of making the plugin fully Gutenberg compatible? “We had to embrace the future of WordPress while not losing users who weren’t fully embracing Gutenberg.” (Yet.)

In a simpler world, Gutenberg adoption would be binary. Either a site is taking advantage of the new software, or it’s not. However, in practice, business cases are nearly always more complex. In this case, many enterprise users have selectively enabled Gutenberg on some but not all of their content types within the same site. This creates a tricky scenario for plugin developers who need to ensure their product’s functionality across a dozen different platform scenarios.

Rethinking the metabox

Inspired by Yoast and Jetpack, Alley opted for the popular sidebar approach to integrating Gutenberg functionality directly into the plugin interface. Now, editors can configure Apple News settings in four sleek collapse/expand panels which replace the cumbersome metabox.

The end goal for this project was simple: provide a better experience for editors using the Apple News plugin. Achieving this goal was anything but simple, and in his talk, Kevin walks through Alley’s approach to updating the plugin–including all the things they broke along the way.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress meetup series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To be the first to find out about the next enterprise WordPress event in New York, join the meetup group. You’ll find groups for other cities there as well.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

The platform of record for USA TODAY’s Sports Media Group

The USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s portfolio was splintered across sites, brands, and platforms. So WordPress VIP helped build a common framework for all of its sites. Now, the Sports Media Group can optimize their content delivery without the headache of DevOps.

“By  moving to WordPress VIP, we were able to not worry about downtime… Things like security we no longer have to think about. So this allows our team to focus on building awesome stuff.”

— David Parsons, Software engineer, USA TODAY

To learn more about our work with USA TODAY, including detailed results, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Bringing Xbox to the block editor

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP San Francisco meetup at the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation on the evening of November 6.

The block editor, part of the project known as Gutenberg, is one of the biggest changes to WordPress core software in over a decade and a half. It brings unprecedented agility for enterprises to customize media-rich content directly within the WordPress editor.

WordPress VIP featured partner agency Reaktiv recently worked with Xbox to build custom blocks that leverage Xbox’s existing design components to streamline workflows. Together, these new blocks reduce manual effort, speed up time to publish, and deliver a better user experience.

Reaktiv CEO Josh Eaton gives talk at Big WP SF on using custom Gutenberg blocks for Xbox

The day of BigWP SF, Reaktiv CEO Josh Eaton was celebrating Xbox’s successful launch on Gutenberg. In his presentation, Josh walked attendees through Reaktiv’s approach to implementing the block editor on four of the entertainment company’s regional sites.

So far, the project includes eight new custom blocks, including Countdown timer which adds a stopwatch-style ticker alongside sale items and automatically eliminates the entire post once the deal has expired.

Josh shared his biggest piece of advice for transitioning to the new block editor: iterate, iterate, iterate. With an enhanced ability to sync styling in the front and back ends, Gutenberg facilitates new processes that were previously impossible (or at the very least, cumbersome) in the old editor. If you’d like to explore what’s possible for the block editor in your organization, please get in touch.

You can see Josh’s full talk here:

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress meetup series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To be the first to find out about the next enterprise WordPress event in San Francisco, join the meetup group. You’ll find groups for other cities there as well.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP SF November 2019 playlist.

Solving performance and stability for VentureBeat

Rising technical debt was bogging down VentureBeat’s team and performance. So they turned to WordPress VIP to handle updates, maintenance, and support. As a result, response time (and performance) have evolved from problematic to outstanding.

“The response time on the site was running 1,500 milliseconds and up. Once we finished the migration it’s down to 200 to 300 milliseconds, and often quite less. So basically it’s a tenth of what it was originally.” 

— Steve Tidwell, Director of Technology

To learn more about our work with VentureBeat, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

How implementing dark mode in WordPress boosted 9to5’s sites

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP San Francisco meetup at the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation on the evening of November 6.

WordPress VIP featured partner 10up recently worked with media company 9to5 to add light and dark mode support to its most popular sites, including 9to5Mac and 9to5Google. Jake Goldman, founder and president of 10up, took the stage at BigWP SF to discuss the project and provide a practical primer on supporting native, OS-level dark and light settings.

As of this year, all major operating systems and browsers have begun to support the ability to view different display modes (light and dark), based on user preference.

Far beyond aesthetics, dark mode is a major factor in improving accessibility for users who suffer from eye strain or other vision difficulties. Additionally, enabling dark and light mode options empowers users to personalize their experience with your content–which can improve engagement.

The good news? Dark mode is relatively easy to enable. It took 10up only about 30 people hours to set up five sites on the 9to5 network that shared an overarching layout.

In this talk, Jake walks through two approaches to achieve similar results. First, a CSS path to deliver content in light or dark mode based on a user’s predefined settings. Next, a JavaScript method to allow users to toggle between light and dark mode on their own, which defaults to user device settings.

Watch Jake’s full talk below:

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress meetup series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To be the first to find out about the next enterprise WordPress event in San Francisco, join the meetup group. You’ll find groups for other cities there as well.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP SF November 2019 playlist.

Remaking the New York Post for the digital age

The New York Post struggled to keep pace with the changing world of digital-first content. In critical need of new infrastructure, the Post migrated its proprietary CMS to WordPress VIP. Since then, the Post has enjoyed major gains in every key metric they track.

“Whether you wanted to look at it from a performance standpoint or in terms of speed metrics, or you wanted to look at downtime, or the traffic pre- and post-launch, all the data supported the decision that we made.”

— Remy Stern, Chief Digital Officer, New York Post

 

To learn more about our work with the New York Post, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.


This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Webinar recording: Gutenberg for enterprise

The new WordPress block editor, known as Gutenberg, is the biggest change to the software in over 15 years.

Gutenberg introduces a brand new editorial interface designed to help cross-functional teams publish content better, faster, and leaner than ever before.

Yet few enterprises have realized the full extent of its capabilities.

Let’s change that.

Details:

This webinar, led by WordPress VIP featured partner Big Bite, showcases examples of how the block editor can implement design systems in custom blocks that streamline content creation.

The presentation is ideal for developers, marketers, project managers, and content creators who want to discover how blocks can help enterprise brands increase efficiency and accelerate workflows.

You will:

  • Learn the capabilities of the new WordPress block editor
  • Study real-life examples of custom publishing workflows that boost efficiency
  • Discover how custom blocks could improve your organization’s production capacity
  • Access a live Q&A with Big Bite design and development experts

Presenter: Jonny Waters, Big Bite

As head of design, Jonny leads on all of Big Bite’s creative direction and design standards. With 10+ years of experience in design and front end development, specifically complex UX processes and techniques, Jonny has a strong commitment to quality and continuous improvement — which he dedicates to improving the effectiveness of design in the WordPress community.

Why Capgemini migrated 38 sites from Drupal to WordPress

 

 

Capgemini is a multi-billion dollar international consultancy focused on leader technology services and digital transformation. Capgemini’s global workforce comprises 200,000 team members in over 40 countries. Capgemini underwent a huge re-platforming project, migrating their network of 38 sites from their legacy Drupal CMS to WordPress VIP.

Drupal had become a choke point, causing unnecessary production delays

Capgemini’s legacy Drupal CMS was no longer improving workflows or supporting their editorial needs. To make matters worse, Drupal’s lack of backward compatibility made the website increasingly unstable. Finally, the system no longer supported their digital roadmap. To make matters worse, teams across Capgemini were becoming frustrated with the lack of usability and extensibility.  Understandably, teams created their own solutions outside the group platform. These workarounds created a governance nightmare.

Capgemini migrated 38 sites to WordPress—which immediately increased productivity

Capgemini had a clear requirement: their new platform would promote a decentralized approach to publishing and provide a workflow and communication framework to increase visibility into the production process. Migrating to WordPress quickly alleviated Capgemini’s content creation challenges.

“We needed a system and a piece of technology that would force a reckoning of our team members to actually learn what digital publishing is, and what digital marketing means today, in a bunch of different cultures, languages, and markets.”

— Parker Ward, Director, Content Marketing and Communications

Now, Capgemini’s teams deliver seamless user experiences across languages, cultures, and markets

WordPress VIP helped Capgemini leap into a new digital culture of creation with a robust, usable, and intuitive CMS. Now, the CMS supports Capgemini in delivering their business objectives and empowers their global network of teams to do their jobs effectively.

To learn more about this work with Capgemini, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary here. You can also watch Parker Ward discuss the project during his talk at Big WP London.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

How to scale a WordPress development team

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP New York meetup at The New York Post on the evening of June 11.

We often hear about scaling WordPress sites, but what about scaling your WordPress developers?

At BigWP NYC, Aaron Jorbin, Director of Editorial Technology at Penske Media Corp (PMC), shared his approach to growing a successful team.

According to Aaron, there are various models for finding the right people for a team, like T-shaped people and tree-shaped people. But what about Rorschach-shaped people?

When Aaron conducts job interviews, he prioritizes candidates who value learning. His number one priority? Building a team of people who are able to find creative solutions, rather than clever solutions. To do so, Jorbin has a few recommendations. These include proactively identifying weak spots (like a lack of diversity) and encouraging each person to find their “superpower.”

Watch Aaron’s full talk here:

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress meetup series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To be the first to find out about the next enterprise WordPress event in New York, join the meetup group. You’ll find groups for other cities there as well.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC June 2019 playlist.

WordPress VIP welcomes Skylab as a Silver Agency Partner

Today, WordPress VIP welcomes a new addition to our exclusive Featured Agency Partner program: Skylab. Based in Manchester, United Kingdom, Skylab specializes in creating innovative digital products and services for some of the biggest names in sport.

Leading the pack in digital transformation

Skylab’s approach centers on collaborating with clients on their long-term digital transformations and evolutions. Their team has devised strategies and solutions for sports clubs such as Manchester United and Manchester City. Their Formula 1 client roster includes Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. They’ve also worked with national associations such as England Athletics, Swim England, England Golf, UK Coaching and the British Paralympic Association. Their expertise extends to world federations as well, such as ITTF (Table Tennis), AIBA (Boxing), ICF (International Canoe Federation), FIFA and the International Olympic Committee.

The agency has won numerous awards for their work. Earlier this year, the UK’s Department of International Trade chose Skylab as an “Export Champion.” In 2015, Creative England recognized them as a top 10 “Future Leader” out of a field of over 500 businesses.

A world-class partnership

“Skylab has built an enviable reputation as one of the top international digital agencies in sport. We are looking forward to joining the WordPress VIP family. Together, we’ll bring highly innovative digital strategies and products to the enterprise WordPress space.”

– Skylab CEO Nigel Collier

For more information about the Featured Agency Partner program, or if you believe your agency is a good fit, please visit wpvip.com/partners/agency-partners.

Data visualization using custom map types

WordPress VIP collaborates with our featured partners to deliver unparalleled digital experiences for our clients. A recent interactive mapping project with Alley and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrates what’s possible when we collaborate on forward-thinking implementations of enterprise WordPress.

The initial migration

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) is a non-profit which focuses on delivering free, trustworthy, non-partisan content relating to national health issues. They are a leading source of data and analysis that a wide array of publications and researchers use to inform their own reporting.

WordPress VIP first teamed up with Alley in 2012 to help KFF unify all their legacy content and sites on a new platform. This undertaking required migrating 20 years’ worth of data (spanning nearly a dozen data sources) to WordPress.

Together, the team identified several success metrics for KFF’s new platform. First, it needed to improve user experience. Second, it must scale the ways people can access their work. Third, it should increase efficiency, and fourth, reduce costs. Finally, the platform also needed to evolve with the digital landscape for years to come. You can read more about the success of that initial project in this case study.

Alley’s data visualization solution

In 2018, building upon the success of that migration, KFF approached Alley with a challenge. The foundation needed a way to display state-level data on a map. They also requested an accompanying table, in a format that was easy to use. Furthermore, it should be embeddable within posts across their WordPress site.

A screenshot of the Kaiser Family Foundation data map, "Status of State Medicaid Expansion Decisions"

KFF is now rolling out this application for use in posts, issue briefs, and fact sheets across the site. At its core, it’s a novel and engaging way of displaying information. It’s also a lightweight replacement for an older, heavier, and less flexible application. And there’s even more in store. Plans are in the works for a second phase of the embeddable maps project. Next on the docket is adding new functionality and refining existing features.

Alley put together an excellent post outlining the technical details of the project. Is your organization looking for a creative and powerful way to display large amounts of data? If so, get in touch to see how WordPress VIP can help.

Disrupting the Enterprise: Notes from WCUS 2019

This post shares video and key takeaways from WordPress VIP CEO Nick Gernert’s talk at WordCamp US in St. Louis on November 1, 2019.

Right now, the opportunity at the high end of the market is as big–if not bigger–than any other opportunity for WordPress. Depending on which reports you read, we’re competing in a $10B market that’s growing 18% annually.

However, there’s a disconnect between the demonstrated success of WordPress in the enterprise, and the market’s perception of its capabilities. So let’s celebrate what has already been accomplished in enterprise WordPress, and consider how we can realize the full potential of WordPress for these complex customers into the future.

The unique needs of enterprise users

For me, enterprise needs fall into 4 core areas: agility, ownership, flexibility, and simplicity.

Agility

Agility is the single largest competitive advantage WordPress sees over other platforms. As pressure to deliver increases within organizations, the agility of the tools required to do the job becomes even more important.

Case study: Capgemini

VIP and Human Made’s work with Capgemini, the global technology consultancy, demonstrates this perfectly. Capgemini suffered many chokepoints with their previous platform: small changes required days of lead time, a handful of people in an organization of 200K understood how the platform worked, and people were spinning up their own platforms, which created a governance nightmare.

As pressure to deliver increases within organizations, the agility of the tools required to do the job becomes even more important.

By migrating to WordPress, Capgemini eliminated licensing worries and gained access to thousands of pre-built integrations. Removing their bottlenecks helped Capgemini increase productivity and improve results. In specific terms, 1400 users across 38 sites in 10 different languages are now contributing to 20K+ pages. That agility truly differentiates the platform from other solutions.

Ownership

Ownership means many things in the enterprise: Ownership of product. Of customer journeys, of data, of future business needs. In an enterprise context, most software comes from closed, opaque systems commonly associated with strict vendor lock-in. With content sitting at the core of so many customer experiences, ownership (and also transparency) are critical to long term success.

Flexibility

The flexibility inherent to WordPress is what has allowed it to see its 16th birthday and will enable it to see many many more. If enterprises want decoupled architectures today, we can do that. We can also say with confidence that the platform will evolve to serve their future product roadmap, thanks to the inherent flexibility of the platform.

This flexibility is what empowers WordPress to serve both the monolithic model of delivering web pages, but also COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere) approaches to content, which rely upon API-driven applications serving components.

The new block editor has been the single-most exciting development since the custom post type and this is validated in the response we’re seeing from enterprises.

Case study: News Corp
WordPress forms the core of News Corp’s global publishing operation. There are some really interesting ways Big Bite is working with News Corp to tailor the block editor to their needs, for publishing workflows and ultimately site management.

The new block editor has been the single-most exciting development for me since the custom post type and this is validated in the response we’re seeing from enterprises. Layering onto that the future promise of full site management only continues to make things more interesting.

Simplicity

WordPress makes the complex simple. In fact, WordPress’s success in the enterprise to date is rooted in the fact that it’s not enterprise software. It’s the software people used because it made them better at their job.

The UI of WordPress is one of the most tested anywhere in software. There are readymade models for those extending WordPress, so organizations spend more time solving business challenges and less time refining UIs. As with Capgemini, the more accessible things are, the more folks will actually use the software and spend their time driving results.

Case study: Hachette Book Group
It’s simplicity that allows Hachette Book Group to empower marketing teams across their organization. They use WordPress to manage a site with thousands of titles, authors, and imprints. That’s in addition to a catalog of books that grows by 1,700 or so each year. Choosing WordPress has allowed their digital teams to focus less on marketing activities and more on analysis and optimization. Folks at Alley were critical to simplifying their processes and integrating other external systems into the rollout.

Paving the way for continued growth

When the web changes, it starts with WordPress. If you want to influence adoption, you do it with the platform that powers over one-third of the web. Digging deeper, the sustainability of WordPress’s current success in the enterprise, and the potential of future growth, is rooted in two core concepts:

  • We must always keep in mind the experience of the user. The user-centric nature of WordPress and this community is exactly what has carried it to the usage we see today. It is our greatest asset when advocating for the potential of WordPress with the world’s most demanding users.
  • We must demonstrate empathy for our user’s customer. If we demonstrate WordPress also understands what the success of that user’s customers looks like, we will ensure enterprise adoption of WordPress continues to grow.

The ubiquity, agility, ownership, flexibility, and simplicity inherent to WordPress is powerful to the large organizations that rely on this platform. I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for these forward-thinking applications of enterprise WordPress.

Ecommerce expert Saucal is VIP’s newest agency partner

At VIP, we strive to connect our clients with the best design and development talent on the planet. Today, we welcome Saucal as our newest Silver Agency Partner!

The Saucal team in branded hoodies
Saucal helps build, support, and maintain ecommerce solutions for enterprise clients

Saucal: experts in enterprise ecommerce

Saucal is a certified WooExpert digital agency and a WooCommerce preferred vendor. The agency is 100% remote and primarily serves the Americas and Europe. As a result, “communication is key,” said Mitchell Callahan, CEO.

Saucal’s founders learned early on what kind of digital agency they wanted to be. At the time, they struggled to find a company capable of delivering the site they needed to achieve business goals. That’s when they saw a need in the market and began developing.

Now, Saucal’s enterprise clients include Stripe, P&G, Automattic, Amazon Pay, and Phlearn. Each has relied on Saucal to improve their eCommerce capabilities.

“Best WordPress agency I have ever worked with. Seriously, they go so far above and beyond. It’s like having an in-house dev team sitting there with you,” said Seth Kravitz, CEO of Phlearn.

Logos of Amazon Pay, Automattic, P&G, and Stripe. These are a selection of Saucal's clients.
A few of Saucal’s enterprise ecommerce clients

Building a better internet

Above all, Saucal champions the open internet. Their team has contributed to the cores of both WordPress and WooCommerce.

“Open-source is the best option for both publishing and commerce,” said Callahan. “WordPress and WooCommerce epitomize everything that is good about the Internet.”

“We tell all our clients to go open-source only. If you don’t, you risk some third party shutting you down. Or, having a say over how you run your business. It’s too dangerous to go with proprietary solutions,” agreed CFO Dominic Sauter.

“Being a WordPress VIP partner is a great privilege. It comes with responsibilities we won’t take for granted,” Sauter continued. “We’re honored to help WordPress in its mission to drive growth and champion the possibilities of open-source.”

For more information on our new Featured Agency Partners, please visit https://wpvip.com/partners/agency partners. If you believe your agency is a good fit for our growing program, contact Suzi.

How TechCrunch built a subscription tier on WordPress

Note: This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from the BigWP San Francisco meetup at Eventbrite on the evening of June 26.

In February 2019, TechCrunch leveraged WordPress architecture to launch a subscription tier paywall, Extra Crunch. Sam Singer, Lead Software Engineer at TechCrunch, delivered a talk at BigWP SF that gave an overview of the project’s process, architecture, and challenges.

Image of Sam Singer on stage at BigWP SF discussing Extra Crunch, TechCrunch's paywall built on WordPress
Sam Singer delivers a presentation at BigWP SF on building a successful subscription tier on WordPress.

TechCrunch wanted to make the product experience better for its core audience. Additionally, they wanted to give this audience a chance to support high-quality journalism. To that end, Extra Crunch subscribers have ad-free access to premium content, as well as the ability to get in touch with writers directly.

Extra Crunch’s launch followed one year after TechCrunch’s major redesign, which saw the launch of a semi-decoupled WordPress and React web application. Subsequently, Sam’s team was able to build upon the existing WordPress architecture to add payment processing and content paywall capabilities. As a result, Extra Crunch readers can support the creation of more evergreen content and deep-dive journalism.

Watch Sam’s full talk below:

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress meetup series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To be the first to find out about the next enterprise WordPress event in San Francisco, join the meetup group. You’ll find groups for other cities there as well.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP SF June 2019 playlist, or individual posts here:

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