The new web ecosystem of Zambon sites is Cloud-native and takes advantage of a modular content structure: a single Design System for building and managing multiple sites.
Website redesign, Cloud infrastructure
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The client

Zambon is a chemical-pharmaceutical multinational founded in Vicenza in 1906, on the history of an innovative Italian family business. Strengthened by its values, today it is a company projected towards the future whose growth project is based on innovation.

The objective

Development of an entire ecosystem of web products to support the ongoing Digital Transformation, in a future-proof and multi-cloud perspective.

The challenge

Zambon wanted to embark on a transformation process that involved all web products. With 24 sites, national domains structured differently for each country and a digital identity diluted by non-organic design approaches, the first need was to define a univocal and shared image of the Group.

The design work had as its objective the creation of a single Design System, which would allow:

  • Better centralized management of design components, content, and approval and operational processes.
  • An acquisition by the company of the know-how necessary to internalize certain governance processes and platform updates.
  • A content strategy specifically designed to reach two particularly important targets for the company: potential business partners and new talent.
  • A single global design template to drive the redesign of all the Group's local sites.

The foundations of the project were laid at the same time as the creation of a multidisciplinary team, made up of the internal Zambon team (Communication and Digital Strategy) and vertical teams on specific skills and expertise: Insana (project governance, web & graphic design, content management), Sketchin (UX and information architecture) and SparkFabrik (tech development and cloud infrastructure). These realities have supported the people of the Company as strategic partners in the various phases of the project (Discovery, Design, Development and Delivery).

As SparkFabrik, we had the task of developing 16 sites, with a common publishing platform, and bringing them to the Cloud.

Screenshot of the mobile version of the Zambon website

The solution

The Application Solution

The redesign of the Corporate Website was therefore one of the main objectives in the broader planning of corporate digital transformation, which would be followed by the development of Pharma sites dedicated to individual countries. The company wanted to involve all departments, which together with the dedicated team participated in co-creation and strategic design workshops.

From these workshops a Design System was born for the generation of a modular information Architecture, to convey semantically similar information in a coherent way.

On the SparkFabrik side, we wanted to exploit this Design System, making it the starting point for the development of a flexible architecture, capable of responding to specifications in constant refinement. We therefore deviated from the more traditional approach of using a CMS, avoiding rigid and complex data structures. Instead, we took advantage of Drupal as an advanced framework and created a catalog of modular components, which allowed editors to compose pages simply by choosing the most suitable modules each time.

This approach has also allowed us to respond easily to all the new needs that have emerged during the content creation phase by the client.

Explanatory image of how the modular component Design System developed for Zambon is structured

Developing a new component or making changes to an existing one did not involve reorganizing entire data structures. Similarly, once the UI to be delivered to the editors has been defined in the first instance, the addition or modification of components in the future would not have involved substantial changes to the UX.

At the end of an initial development cycle, most of the information pages could be structured with the available components, thus being able to parallelize the content insertion phase and the development of components dedicated to more specific pages, considerably speeding up the population of the site.

Ecosystem and cloud

At this stage we also laid the groundwork for the future management of the entire site ecosystem. To optimize the releases, we decided to use a single codebase shared between the Corporate site and future local sites, so that they can be updated simultaneously with each single code update.

To ensure evolutionary development in Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, also considering non-simultaneous releases of country websites, a scalable, flexible and globally accessible infrastructure was required. We have therefore implemented a Multi-Cloud strategy which has allowed us to manage the sites for the West via the same platform via the Google Cloud Platform and the Alibaba Cloud for the East.

Diagram showing the Multi-Cloud release strategy of the Zambon sites

After an initial evaluation of the online launch of an independent site accessible only from China, the possibility of exploiting the Alibaba Cloud infrastructure has made it possible to maintain a uniform architecture, with delivery methods not different from the rest of the other sites country, also guaranteeing a digital experience in China fully equivalent to that of other countries in the world in terms of efficiency, security, content control and usability.

The results

With the new Corporate site, Zambon was therefore able to merge the content of 24 different websites into a single container, organic and coherent, which narrates the corporate identity in its entirety. The internal team was able to manage the creation of new content in complete autonomy, with the freedom to be able to request changes or additions at any time. Each new component is released in Continuous Integration and the user experience of the editors does not undergo substantial changes.

Furthermore, thanks to the deploy system, each update is released automatically on each site and each new feature is immediately available on all the others.

The Design System brought such benefits in terms of content development and management, that it was considered as a future solution for sites focused on single Zambon products. To respond to specific communication needs, the catalog will be enriched with new modules that will allow individual editorial teams to create unique sites that are at the same time consistent with the Group’s image.

Zambon represented a challenge in terms of technology, both in terms of development and management of Cloud infrastructures. It led us to look for alternative and more efficient schemes, to avoid building a structure that is too complex to be governed and maintained.

Thanks to Zambon's foresight in its digitization process and collaboration with competent partners, we were able to bet on the challenge of innovations. Not only can we as SparkFabrik now capitalize on what we have learned in this process, but the The client himself was able to benefit from a return on investment, which will allow him to tackle the next projects with solid foundations and already operational solutions.
Laura Zordan

Laura Zordan

Digital Transformation & Service Design Strategist, Zambon Company

We are very satisfied with the work done with the entire SparkFabrik team for the creation of our central platform for corporate sites.

The skills found in SparkFabrik were fundamental not only in the design set-up phase and in the subsequent operational maintenance of the Drupal 8 solution, but above all in the strategic advice we receive on a daily basis for its evolution.
Cristiano Poian

Cristiano Poian

Head of Digital Strategy, Zambon Company

The design system created together with Spark Fabrik is today an asset of great value for the entire company. We continue to work together to make it grow day by day, making it available to more and more functions and countries.

SparkFabrik represents a strategic partner for us. In every conversation we face together we find technological, design and business knowledge, this is an indispensable value for us that allows us to work alongside trained consultants who support us in promoting the challenge of Zambon's digital transformation on a global scale.

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