Generali – Magnolia CMS on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform

Introduction

Assicurazioni Generali (Generali Group) are currently ranked as the 9th largest insurance firm in the world based on revenues. 50 million clients in over 60 countries are served by Generali’s workforce of over 77,000 employees.

Established in 1831, Generali retains its historical headquarters in the centre of the once thriving seaport of Trieste in the north-east of Italy. Since being founded they have expanded to over 100 offices globally – opening their London branch in 1963 and developing their UK website in 2004.

This case study explains how Priocept helped the Generali UK team to redevelop their corporate website using Magnolia CMS, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

The Business Problem

Generali’s website had not had a major update since it launched in 2004. The site in its current guise had run its course. It no longer reflected the brand and was failing to provide relevant or useful information to its visitors. Since the site had been developed, the digital world had moved on with initially disruptive trends, such as social media and mobile compatibility, becoming the minimum expectation for any digital presence.

Generali UK’s new digital strategy highlighted the need to re-platform, re-develop, and re-design their website.

The Solution – Web Content Management

Priocept used their expertise in the area of Web Content Management (WCM) to assess Generali’s business needs against the capabilities of various CMS products. The output of this consultancy phase was the recommendation to build the new website using Magnolia CMS.

Priocept are a leading partner in the UK for Magnolia CMS implementations. Magnolia fitted Generali’s needs perfectly as an enterprise-level, fully-featured and scalable solution.

Priocept developed the website to provide the following features:

  • A complete content management solution. Every piece of content is editable using Magnolia’s intuitive user interface.
  • Flexible templates that allow editors to choose the layout and configuration of components within each page.
  • Full mobile responsiveness to ensure the site works seamlessly across mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
  • Social media integration that pulls in information from Twitter via the API and allows social sharing of content across various social media platforms.
  • Alert signups that capture data within Magnolia and send email alerts to customer services teams.
  • Publication workflow for governing live content publishing.
  • Web analytics integration using Google Analytics.
  • Deep content search using Magnolia’s Jackrabbit search implementation that indexes data with Apache Lucene.
  • Vimeo streaming integration for presenting video content.

Cloud Hosting Platform

Priocept believes that IT infrastructure, in the traditional sense, is becoming redundant. Businesses and their solution partners should be free to concentrate their efforts on developing software that delivers business benefit and return-on-investment, and not waste their effort on designing, sourcing, and installing infrastructure. Cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) empower organisations to rapidly deploy highly scalable, secure, innovative applications into the “cloud”, very quickly and at very low cost.

Generali saw the potential cost and scalability benefits that hosting in the cloud could offer and, having had some positive experiences with AWS themselves, were keen to use Amazon’s EC2 offering which allows users to provision cloud-based virtual servers.

Priocept therefore deployed the staging and production versions of the solution on AWS, using EC2 instances to host the Magnolia applications. The production environment was made up of load-balanced, public-facing delivery servers and a secured authoring server. MySQL databases containing web content and configurations were deployed to Amazon RDS to provide a highly scalable, administration-free database.

The staging environment is a scaled replica of the production environment and provides a low-cost solution for Generali to complete acceptance and other testing.

For added redundancy, Priocept host the testing environment for Generali on Google Cloud Platform, using Google Compute Engine virtual machines for the web server infrastructure. In the unlikely event that AWS was to experience an extended outage, Generali thereby have the option to rapidly switch over to a standby platform on completely independent infrastructure.

Continuous Delivery

Priocept implemented best-practice, continuous integration processes for Generali. This meant that code changes were reflected automatically on the testing environment shortly after a code commits. This allowed progress to be regularly demonstrated and checked by project teams.

Software Defined Infrastructure

To ensure consistency across all Generali’s platforms and environments, Priocept used configuration management software by Ansible to define and build the cloud platforms using a common technology that was used across both AWS and GCP.

Results

Priocept delivered an upgraded web platform to support Generali UK’s new digital strategy. It succeeded by combining contemporary corporate website design with best-of-breed enterprise web content management and sophisticated cloud hosting services from both Amazon and Google.

Cloud hosting environments