The BioCentury story
BioCentury has been reporting on and dissecting trends through its digital platform for three decades, helping C-level biotech executives and investors sharpen their thoughts.
As the team at BioCentury shifted their vision of delivering content to subscribers, they realized that the existing infrastructure had grown too complex with time, making it difficult to provide a high-quality user experience. Therefore, they were looking to replace their Drupal 6 instance with a more flexible system that could turn their website into a powerful content platform.
Ultimately, BioCentury chose Hygraph, trusting that Hygraph gives unlimited possibilities of what they can connect and build with ease. They now rely on Hygraph to federate their siloed content into a single structured hub, enabling them to publish millions of articles programmatically and share live data with the end users.
Monolithic setup hampers infrastructure maintenance
Previously, the team at BioCentury had a monolithic setup with a sitemap of over 250,000 indexed pages. The website had a complex structure of academic articles, archives, white papers, and conferences, to name a few. The tools that provided CRM and CMS functions were not properly integrated. Further, it would have taken a long time to make improvements to content displays that match their vision using the previous CMS. Therefore, it became clear that it was better to find a new system.
Achieving next-level knowledge sharing
A rigid, template-based publishing process made it difficult for BioCentury to maintain a best-of-class user experience for platform visitors. The team needed flexibility to produce content with more visualization tools. The early days of the COVID-19 outbreak stressed the need to react seamlessly to the crisis and disseminate up-to-date information. A key goal of BioCentury is to make its entries interactive and eventually can share knowledge with real-time information.
Remain communicative and consistent with data
BioCentury wanted to find a headless solution to migrate all of its content accumulated over the last 30 years and accommodate its ever-changing content ideas. The team publishes and maintains content in WoodWing Studio. Therefore, it was critical that the new system could programmatically deliver content from WoodWing to the client-side website through API and ensure consistency of data across various systems.
Manage content with flexibility and serve live information
It was necessary for BioCentury to adopt a content platform that enables flexible content types without creating a convoluted infrastructure and provides high-quality data that remains accurate over time. As a global provider of biopharma intelligence and analytics, it is critical to provide a range of real-time services that help their subscribers make informed decisions including news, data, analysis, and custom collected research. All integrated measures weave the platform into subscribers' daily routines, ultimately boosting user engagement and driving subscriber retention rates, leading to increased conversions.
Hygraph stood out as the headless CMS solution during the evaluation phase. According to David Smiling, CTO at BioCentury, the winning moment was the ease of content modeling and how relations were instantly populated. The ease of use and intuitiveness of creating structured content convinced the team to opt for Hygraph.
Today, the BioCentury team uses Hygraph to consume and enrich content across their organization programmatically. It has built bricks for a dynamic page with Hygraph’s content federation capability to fetch live data.
Hygraph helped BioCentury with the following approaches:
Programmatic Content Management
Today, the content team can easily publish and maintain content on their frontend, using Hygraph as a federated content platform connected with CRM and eCommerce systems, to programmatically create, edit, direct, and deliver content to the necessary places. Using GraphQL Mutations, Hygraph can easily make programmatic changes to the system's content, reducing the amount of manual work for the content team and improving data consistency across the various systems.
BioCentury now has a live data retrieval setup with Hygraph’s remote sources.
The data fetched via remote sources were previously inaccessible to the editors and had to be fetched additionally on the frontend. But now, editors can pick the data points they want to display on a particular page. Instead of stitching the data on the frontend, editors have full control over what data points are displayed. The data is retrieved actively via API, so when changes occur in the external source, this data is automatically updated.
BioCentury intends to develop a dynamic page where people can easily find information about a company's development pipelines or receive relevant alerts, allowing them to stay up-to-date with data from various sources.
Flexible Schema Modeling
From a technical standpoint, Hygraph empowers the BioCentury team to create any form of content they imagine using the structured content approach to content modeling. The ability to quickly create flexible content models that suit their wide range of use cases has brought BioCentury closer to its goal of developing a robust content hub. The updated content workflows have also drastically improved the BioCentury team’s content creation timelines.
Realistically for me success is when there’s a content idea and I can easily see my toolkit, and know yes, it can work. And Hygraph gives me that because the content modelling gives me unlimited possibilities of what we can connect and build based on what we’re looking for.
The current setup:
BioCentury’s new website is a high-performing project powered by Angular, NodeJS, ZoneJS, Express, HammerJS, Stripe, and Hygraph.
- Content Federation allows delivering up-to-date data that remains accurate over time
- Flexible Content Modeling where content editors are no longer limited to rigid content blocks
- The ability to create relations between fields in Hygraph is straightforward and powerful
- Smooth migration which allowed the team to meet deadlines thanks to Hygraph support
- Content teams are able to take a hybrid approach with some content being programmatically generated through the Hygraph API while other content is manually put into the CMS
- Hygraph easily fit into their existing workflow while giving content teams more power
The time to market has drastically reduced from over 2 weeks to 3-4 days.