Web CMS

[updated] Mandarin Hotels Join the SDL Tridion Family

[updated] Heard back from Siteworx with more implementation details.

Signing a contract doesn’t necessarily grant you a seat at Tridion’s family dining table😉 Getting fully tridionized, however, is a totally different story.

Last week, yet another biggie joined the big (more than 500 customers) and happy Tridion family via a partner-led implementation. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group can now properly enjoy the magical beauties of SDL Tridion Web CMS.

Siteworx, an SDL Tridion partner based in Reston, VA, was leading this implementation. I had a chance to chat with Siteworx’s president, Tim McLaughlin, (thanks, Patricia!) to get the scoop on this implementation. Which, by the way, seems to be the second Tridion implementation under Siteworx’s belt, as far as McLaughlin can recall. Note that I am still waiting on Tim to get clarification on some points of this implementation, so this post may get updated as soon as I hear back from him (nudge, nudge ;) 

The first Tridion baby delivered by Siteworx was the American Psychological Association with a total of 23 subsidiary Web sites — partially done, partially still in the worx with a goal of going live at the end of 2008.

Tridion CMS Implementation Details

A total of Mandarin Oriental’s 26 (or was it 40?) Web sites were tridionized. Most of MO Web properties are managed from various, geo-dispersed locations and have different content. The underlying code was inherited. Some of it was recoded to enhance SEO. New AJAX features were added. The inherited design didn’t change much, aka no full redesign of the sites.

  • Project length: about 6 (or 8 – Tim?) 8 months, originally was planned to be completed in 4-5 months.
  • Project resources: Anywhere from 4 to 6 developers at different points in time
  • Product version: Started implementing in R5.2 and upgraded to R5.3
  • Modules implemented: BluePrint – check, SiteEdit – check, Outbound E-mail – later, Personalization & Profiling – in the worx, Stats – check in the worx, WebForms – ? check, Workflow- ? in the worx
  • Tech stuff: Java- and Microsoft-based implementation

Tridion CMS Implementation Challenges

As with many other Tridion implementations — and Web CMS implementations in general — getting the content in place on time can be tricky.

Close-to-heart understanding of Tridion and its functionality, limitations and capabilities is key.

BluePrint design can be a toughie. BP with all its parent-child dependencies is also not the easiest thing to change, once the implementation has started. Rightfully so, CMS Watch in its 2009Web CMS Report notes that SDL Tridion PS started offering a “BluePrint and Security” workshop. BluePrint Design is also on the price list as one of the more sophisticated, creme de la creme PS offerings.

As McLaughlin notes, Tridion can be very flexible with BP and workflow, as it can be complicated and not necessarily easy to get right the first time around — which is true with any CMS and honing its functionality into a good, workable solution. With the exceptionally unique Tridion BP, it may not be obvious as to how to use it best, and the the first take at it may not necessarily be the last one.

Why Tridion?

Aside from the superb skills of Tridion Sales team, why did Mandarin Oriental choose Tridion CMS? Tridion’s BluePrint is clearly something very attractive to customers with a globalization flair. Managing global content, delivering that content across multiple channels in multiple languages, and protecting the integrity of a global brand is something Tridion CMS is defo a good fit for.

SiteEdit is another way to enamor customers and they love it — especially, those falling into the category of non-techies.

More Tridion to Come to Mandarin Hotels

Siteworx plans to continue fine-tuning the MO implementation by adding new Tridion modules and stand-alone features like mobile-friendly gadgets.

In Lieu of a P.S.

Not the Professional Services PS, but the Post Scriptum kind of a P.S. As I mentioned earlier, am still waiting to get more info from Siteworx on things like how the main home page is being managed and delivered, as not all of it (to my unskilled eye) seems to be done through Tridion. Are images and Flash (/images/corp_homepage_movie.swf) being stored in Tridion CM? Where’re the tcm id’s? If not, why are they stored elsewhere? Doesn’t look like this page is available for editing in SiteEdit either. Just curious…

[updated] The home page is assembled with a page template.  Page is being published from Tridion and all assets for the page are managed in the Tridion CMS. Tridion id’s are not part of binary assets because they are removed at publish time to make it more SEO.

Originally, 25 English site were migrated into the initial Tridion CMS implementation.  Currently, there are 28 English plus 3 localized sites managed in the Tridion CMS.  The original look and feel of the site did not change much.  However, the html and css was rebuilt for SEO and 508 compliancy.  Some sections were given a more updated look with the addition of some AJAX features.

There’s also an official, press-released version of this announcement here and here. Quoting one of them (although, they’re identical): “We are proud that Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group decided to partner with SDL Tridion and Siteworx for its new global web presence,” said Erik Aeyelts Averink, president of SDL Tridion.

I am proud, too, Erik.

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