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Empowering Ciena to migrate web platforms on their terms

With a vast and global audience, Ciena needed a CMS partner that would offer ease of use, scalability and confidence in the future of their platform.
Louise Fenn

Louise Fenn 27 Jul 2023


Ciena is a global leader in networking systems, services and software – responsible for advancing the underlying networks that support our digital connectivity needs.




CMS, Search, Data service, Integrations

One website for multiple audiences 

Ciena's reach extends far and wide, with a broad and diverse customer portfolio. As a leading global provider of networking systems, services, and software, Ciena's support spans over 1,600 customers worldwide, including an impressive 85% of the world's largest communications service providers.

Ciena’s website is a pivotal information source for everyone from C-suite execs, to engineers on the ground. The ability to provide the information needed to such a wide range of personas, in a language that resonates with them all and with the ease of use they need to find what they’re looking for, is an ongoing focus for the digital team.

The catalyst to move on from a legacy CMS platform 

Ciena's website had been operating on the same CMS for over a decade. However, as web technology advanced, the product became increasingly inadequate for Ciena's digital team to deliver a contemporary customer experience. The decision to sunset the product prompted Ciena to pursue a change to a more suitable solution.

According to Nicole Butler, Senior Manager for Digital Marketing at Ciena – “we started to get into a situation where our development partners were having to put ‘band-aid’ fixes on things – custom fixes that started to make me nervous. It was about the time when we started to feel that those fixes weren’t going to sustain, that we got the announcement that they were going to be sunsetting.” This was the catalyst they needed to make the transition to another provider happen quickly.

The digital team was constrained by their previous provider's website template, which made it challenging to introduce new innovations and user experiences – like personalization and interactivity. Nicole states they were, “boxed in, in terms of overall design and user experience on the site.”

A lift and shift migration to Squiz

While Ciena had originally planned to redesign its website during the transition to a new provider, the announcement of the existing platform sunsetting accelerated the process.

They needed to find a partner who would enable them to perform a rehosting migration in the first instance, which could then be followed by a full site redesign.

Luckily we were able to just move everything over exactly as it was and, once we were comfortable on the Squiz platform, we started the process of a new redesign for the site.

Ciena’s expectations from the new partner were diverse, but three major priorities topped the list. They required:

  • A multi-tenant SaaS platform, for ease of website management and maintenance, as well as improved scalability and security.
  • A provider that offered Okta SSO authentication, since this was a standard that was being adopted across the organization and would allow greater access to and protection of web files.
  • Ease of use when maintaining and updating pages, with the flexibility to meet ever-changing business needs.

As Digital Marketing Lead, Chinedu Mkpuluma, says, “Squiz answered all of our hard questions, use cases and scenarios throughout the vetting process. The team was also able to show how Squiz was flexible enough to meet our business needs, and customize solutions to work with the way we had been doing things, as well as the way we wanted to transition for the future.”

Partnering for success

In an effort to bolster expertise and innovation, Ciena's small web team supplements its own skills and expertise with close vendor relationships.

We treat our vendor relationships more as partnerships and an extension of our internal team. We look for partners that dig deep and truly understand our business and needs.

During the migration to Squiz, Nicole had to be sure that everyone was going to work together as one team in order to ensure that things ran smoothly. This included the web team, Squiz, and their development agency. This agency was primarily responsible for handling integration implementations, to ensure that features such as the translation of Ciena’s website into multiple languages, continued as they had done previously, once the migration was made. This required the Squiz and agency teams to work closely together, and, using Squiz’s integrations product Connect, ensure a like-for-like experience for both backend users and website visitors.

On the running of the migration process, Nicole says, “We were soon able to develop what roles everybody had and work as one team. I don’t think you could know who was with Ciena or who was with one of our agency partners. We were all committed to getting the migration done within a specific timeframe.”

Reaping the benefits of the platform migration

Chinendu highlights one of the significant advantages of migrating to Squiz – the ease of updating and improving the website.

Previously, there had to be a lot of workarounds but since we have come to Squiz we can easily make enhancements on the fly and trust that we’re not ever going to lack a pool of developers to work with on the backend as we scale.

Nicole's team is now able to build pages faster and more efficiently than before – with fewer development requirements and steps involved in bringing new pages to life. This has enabled them to handle increased project loads and expand their digital marketing initiatives.

The lack of capabilities in the previous platform had dampened the potential for personalization. But incorporating layouts and templates that offer personalization opportunities on every page of the website was one of the top objectives of the site redesign.

Since the team already had tools for personalization, one of the migration requirements was to seamlessly integrate these tools with the new provider. Nicole comments, "Personalization was the cool factor in our previous platform, but it required a lot of development work to incorporate. This was a significant selling point for Squiz. The implementation of our existing personalization tool during the migration process was effortless, and it felt as if it was always meant to be there."

The team can now report on projects, with report suites that can be built by the team to demonstrate their productivity and internal customer support to management, and better understand where additional resources might be needed. The benefits, however, are not just limited to platform capabilities.

Ciena knows they have the support of Squiz. They know the Squiz team will offer suggestions to ensure that everything is implemented in the best and most efficient way possible. This gives the Ciena team a lot of confidence in the future performance of their website.

Don't just take it from us

“We really appreciate when our vendors are willing to work with us in partnership, including with other vendors. And Squiz definitely did that for us. Squiz’s project management team was able to pull us all together and, and work as one unit. I don't think you could have known who was with Ciena or any one of our agency partners.”

Nicole Butler, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, Web Channel 

“Since we've launched with Squiz DXP, its integration service and fast data storage have allowed us to scale and implement a lot more of the personalization opportunities that we wanted to do.”

Nicole Butler, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, Web Channel 

“With Squiz CMS, we’re able to build new pages faster, we’re more productive and better able to execute more digital marketing initiatives, more easily.”

Chinedu Mkpuluma - Lead, Digital Marketing