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Drupal CMS Content Author Experience

How Primacy and our Drupal Product Partner ZenSource, collaborated with industry leading Digital Adoption Platform Whatfix, to create the first ever fully automated and Drupal CMS integrated Learning Management System

We’ve been developing web apps for decades and still one of the most critical success metrics of every implementation is ensuring a smooth CMS onboarding and handoff with our client teams and their authors. Clear how-to documentation, hands on workshops, building pages together using real content and mapping/migrating together are some of the best ways to ensure success.

These however can be time intensive to-dos, and once the handoff is complete further decentralization of content publishing can be challenging. The time to onboard dozens of authors, not to mention making sure they retain the information when they’re not in the CMS everyday, can add to the complexity.

With Drupal increasingly becoming the CMS of choice for enterprise level organizations, ensuring a proper onboarding and training process across many departments is no longer a nice to have but is mandatory. Additionally there is the need to deploy granular workflow and permissions and manage many websites under one Drupal install.

In true Primacy and ZenSource style, we thought "there has to be a better way". So, we built one with the support and technology of Whatfix, a company that specializes in building tools to enable the adoption of software. Together we created a first of its kind Drupal Learning Management Tool.


Create Self-Help with Automation in the Finest of Details

Simply put, we wanted to develop a way to free up time for what matters most.

We're seen that when it comes to onboarding authors on their custom implementation, much of the time lies in the preparation (i.e. relentless CMS admin QA, optimizing content types, module placement, field defaults, etc.). However, our favorite part of the experience is working hands on with our clients. The more time we can spend with our sleeves rolled up in Drupal, not just on tactical page creation but more importantly helping teach content strategy from mapping to migration and writing, the more successful our clients and their web experiences will be.

For our clients, we know they have a day job on top of CMS edits and content publishing. Creating that content, keeping it relevant, optimizing it for SEO, optimizing the flow for lead generation and improving web app conversions, in many cases is work on top of their "day job". Being able to create a decentralized team of competent CMS authors is the north star to remove the log jam of backed up content edits and letting the subject matter experts own their content. However, that onboarding, training, retraining and CMS support can be very time consuming to manage day-to-day.

So we decided to take our top two time consuming needs–providing client support for their new CMS and our clients’ own internal support for their content contributors–and build a tool that makes both things easier.


Take our Own Advice and Build on Top of an industry Leading Platform

ZenSource was born out of a Drupal foundation because it allowed us to use a technology platform that is already highly evolved, while still being highly flexible so we can custom build the features we need for individual clients. We decided to stick with this successful roadmap and find an existing Learning Management System that would allow us to do something similar.

We searched high and low for a Learning Management System that would check all our boxes, and we came up short. We explored building our own from scratch, but the time and resource investment would have been extensive.

Then we finally discovered Whatfix, which quite frankly, after one demo, blew our minds. With a client list including Microsoft, Ubisoft and Experian we knew their reputation would stand for itself, but their platform is unlike anything we have seen.


Deploy an Automated CMS Concierge to Guide Users Along Every Task

Whatfix built a tool that works on a system called “Flows.” To put it simply, their technology allows us to build automated self-help tasks based on the ZenSource codebase flavor of Drupal’s admin – exactly how we need it for each client.

Essentially, everything from how to edit the home page, to how to create and add each content module and how to manage menus, users, taxonomy, etc. is integrated as part of a self-help widget right within the Drupal admin.

And the best part is, they are tailormade for each client implementation. It’s not a one-time 101 white label training but instead designed for every custom feature for each client web site or app.

A user logs in, clicks the help widget, finds what they need to do, and the tool will automatically guide them step-by-step through completing the task, with helpful tooltip content suggestions along the way. They can also download step-by-step guides and how-to videos for each feature if they prefer.


Launching Whatfix and Looking to the Future

Whatfix is the newest addition to our ZenSource toolbox and we’re excited to start working with our clients to implement it on their web apps. As we start to pull together data and client feedback now that it’s in market, we’ll continue to optimize towards our goals of freeing up time to work more with our clients one-one one, as well as give our clients a tool to onboard and retain a decentralized team of content authors. The platform has built with analytics so we can track their user behavior to find out where users are taking too long to finish certain tasks or workflows or are dropping out of the workflow so we can continue to optimize their Drupal authoring experience.

Our goal is that within the next 6 months we’ll cut onboarding prep by 50%, freeing up more time to focus on content strategy and creation. We also expect our client teams to finally have a fully self-service tool, removing them from the “train the trainer” role and allowing them to expand their content author teams and in turn further elevate their content experiences.