Global market intelligence and research agency eliminates need for 10+ separate content management systems with just one — Hyland's Alfresco platform.
Founded in 1972 and headquartered in London, Mintel is the world's leading market intelligence agency with more than 1,200 employees across its global offices. Mintel uses data, insights and multidisciplinary expertise to help its clients better understand consumer needs and market trends. The business' content volume is massive and shows no signs of slowing down.
Managing this content was a constant challenge. In 2014, Mintel was utilizing more than 10 independent legacy custom content management systems built over 20 years — which made performing even the smallest task difficult.
Principal Software Engineer Ana Gouveia recalled, "We had similar content in different places. Everything was separate. Finding the right version of anything on anything old was nearly impossible."
So Mintel hatched a plan: One content management system (CMS) to rule them all.
We had similar content in different places. Everything was separate. Finding the right version of anything on anything old was nearly impossible.
— Ana Gouveia, Principal Software Engineer, Mintel Group Ltd
Mintel turned to Hyland's Alfresco platform to help it control the creation, management and publishing of all Mintel's content in one place.
To test the functionality of the platform, Mintel decided to begin its digital transformation with longer-form content reports, which comprise detailed consumer and market data. Traditionally, publishing one of these reports took three to four months, requiring 17 workflows and more than 150 user tasks. Additionally, strict process rules and permissions were in place to ensure the security of consumer data. First, Mintel undertook a knowledge-gathering phase to better understand how employees who participated in content publishing operated. Then, Mintel implemented workflows and tested them within a focus group to allow managers to see where lags and errors occurred in the process.
With these insights, Mintel built content management capabilities on top of Alfresco Share. The platform's embedded workflow engine grants all managers a complete view of each report — including its progress report, next steps and audit trail of activity — in just a glance.
After concluding the long-form content project, Mintel decided in early 2016 to tackle its short-form content. The company landed on a web-first content creation strategy because it “wanted analysts to be able to write their content as it would appear to clients but still take advantage of all the functionalities that we had built for reports and that Alfresco [platform] provides like versioning, workflows and permissions" said Gouveia.
In one year, the team built Mintel Editor, a library for Alfresco Share that allows HTML editing with those capabilities. That rollout enabled Mintel to begin eliminating its legacy content management systems. In 2022, Mintel plans to finish consolidating its content into the Mintel Editor library so that all legacy systems can be sunset.
Impressively, Mintel implemented the Alfresco platform solution and achieved the benefits as a five-person team: Working alongside Gouveia were three software engineers and one senior product manager. This speaks to the ease of use, deployment and configurability that is inherent to the Alfresco platform.
Faster time to market
Utilizing a single efficient content services solution enabled Mintel to shorten the speed to market and decrease publishing cycle time. Thanks to the Alfresco platform, Gouveia said, "We deliver new products very easily." The agility afforded by the Alfresco platform was especially apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gouveia said that the platform "enabled a smooth response" because it "had all the content and all the research in one place" that was easily accessible on demand. "It was easy to collaborate even asynchronously and still deliver content in time and to the same level of quality that our clients are used to," she said.
Greater brand consistency
Brand consistency also increased across the enterprise. "The content looks good on any device. Everything is consistent. If you see a piece from Mintel, it will always look more or less the same," Gouveia said.
Highly visible performance data
Additionally, Mintel now has usage metrics it can use to gauge how its teams and content are performing. This data-driven insight informs management decision-making to support operational improvements and provides immediate visibility into productivity and trends.
Cost savings through streamlined operations
Perhaps most beneficial to Mintel's bottom line is that one content management solution has replaced more than ten, saving the company considerable costs in terms of operations and maintenance. "All the content is in the same place. You can reuse it because everything is in the same system," said Gouveia.