Dakota Helps CommScope Migrate Three Websites to One

CommScope is a manufacturer of data and telecommunications network infrastructure equipment for wireless service providers, large enterprises, and residential broadband service providers. Their solutions enable high-bandwidth voice, video, and data communications.

In April 2019, CommScope acquired ARRIS, a manufacturer of broadband networking equipment and set-top boxes, which had itself recently acquired Ruckus, a manufacturer of wireless networking equipment for public venues, enterprises, and service providers. The acquisition of ARRIS and Ruckus doubled CommScope’s revenue from $4B to $8B and expanded its portfolio. The merger also created the need to integrate three websites – as well as three digital teams, three product catalogs, and three different go-to-market strategies – into a single, cohesive, integrated, and improved digital capability.

Creating One from Three

Collectively, the CommScope, ARRIS, and Ruckus websites drew over 10 million visitors in 2018, and the new “One CommScope” website had to serve each of those visitors equally well. CommScope formed a blended team consisting of digital marketing and IT leads from all three legacy companies, business stakeholders, and executive sponsors, plus consulting and implementation partners including Dakota Systems, Customer Centered Strategies, and C2. Our joint mission was to combine the best aspects of the three websites and maintain an aggressive deadline. As Anne Rogers, Vice President of Digital Marketing, defined the team charter at the company’s first-ever digital summit, “Success is migration to a single website, on an aggressive schedule, while maintaining or improving the Customer Experience.”

Putting the Customer First

Anne and her team made Customer Experience the central focus of the 3-to-1 project, even though a customer-centric approach was new to each legacy team. This was important in several unexpected ways. First, it leveled the field for everyone on the newly integrated CommScope digital team, who all needed to learn a new methodology together. Second, workshops on design thinking served a dual role as team-building exercises for the staff from each legacy company and key vendor partners. The sessions gave everyone a common approach and terminology, and shared goals. Third, ideas that were brainstormed in these workshops – like the concept of a “concierge” to guide ARRIS and Ruckus customers through an unfamiliar CommScope website – went on to influence requirements for the site experience, features, content, and user support.

A key fourth outcome from the sessions was the definition of User Profiles. Rather than redefining or integrating over a dozen legacy customer personas, five User Profiles were developed based upon the primary information-seeking behaviors that were common across visitors to the legacy websites. The User Profiles were validated with business leads at CommScope and through direct interviews with actual customers from all three legacy companies. The User Profiles helped us assure that we maintained focus on the needs that were unique to each profile and didn’t neglect any of them.

Gathering direct input from CommScope, ARRIS, and Ruckus customers was a critical step at multiple stages of the project, from requirements through launch and beyond. Before the project began, CommScope invited their vendor partners to collaborate on an integrated plan for customer research and Voice of the Customer. Dakota worked together with the consulting team from Customer Centered Strategies to define shared objectives, outcomes, and key research activities. Dakota made sure that preliminary website navigation concepts were ready in time for the first wave of in-depth customer interviews, so we could gather reactions and feedback on the menu designs.

Dakota also developed testing scenarios for each User Profile and led verbal “tree testing” with customers via web meetings, asking them to walk through mock-ups of the website menus, looking for products or other information. For each search task, we recorded which menu items customers chose and whether they were successful, but more importantly, we captured why they chose what they did. This helped Dakota and CommScope to ensure that any revisions to the preliminary website navigation hierarchy or product taxonomy would reflect customer expectations for how products and services were organized. It also helped Dakota identify and eliminate confusing terminology early on. Customers enjoyed being part of the process, saying that the tree testing was fun, and most of them volunteered for post-launch follow-up sessions.

One Product Experience

Dakota’s core mission on this project was to assure an integrated Product Experience on the new CommScope website, enabled with high-quality product data. The new design offered features like Product Search, Product Compare, and automatic generation of product datasheets that were not possible on the ARRIS and Ruckus websites. These features depended on consistent product data, and to achieve that CommScope would need to expand their product taxonomy.

Dakota’s primary deliverables for the 3-to-1 project were: designing and testing new hierarchies for website navigation for products and solutions; developing a new Products by Type hierarchy for the newly deployed Product Information Management (PIM) system; building product taxonomies to define categories and attributes for the products acquired with ARRIS and Ruckus; product data creation and migration for the ARRIS and Ruckus items; and classification of products to the web hierarchies for Products and Solutions.

Dakota also provided guidance on taxonomy governance and organizational change management as the taxonomy and hierarchies were deployed to the product teams. Change management was critical because CommScope was moving from centralized product data enrichment to a decentralized model, in which Product Management and Marketing teams would share responsibility for maintaining product data in PIM.

Using Analytics to Measure Improvement

To help CommScope deliver on the promise of “maintaining or improving the customer experience,” Dakota had the task of defining a baseline “score” for the customer experience on the three legacy websites. Using web analytics data from Google and Medallia, the Dakota team identified analytics “fingerprints” for each of the five User Profiles by characterizing their unique ways of using the website. This included the content they viewed, how they arrived at the site, searches, how many pages they viewed, and “conversion” events like downloading a product datasheet or requesting a quote. With baseline metrics defined, Dakota would be able to help CommScope determine if the post-launch customer experience for each User Profile was equal to or better than the old websites for each of the User Profiles.

Dakota delivered the web and PIM hierarchies, product taxonomies, product data, and consulting deliverables on time and on-budget, despite the aggressive schedule. In the end, the launch was delayed by several weeks due to platform issues, but our post-launch analytics showed that the new website outperformed the three legacy websites in most areas. Ruckus product pages actually saw 3% more users and sessions in the two weeks following the launch of the unified site than in the two weeks before, indicating that the new product information was performing on par. In the areas that needed improvement, Dakota was able to provide the CommScope team with quick insights and actionable recommendations.

Post-launch, Dakota continued to work with CommScope to improve data quality for products from all three legacy companies. CommScope is able to demonstrate that more and higher-quality product information provides a better customer experience and yields improved business results for One CommScope.

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