THE CHALLENGE

In 2015, Icelandair launched Digital Labs, a new business development unit. The department's primary task was to introduce a digital mindset and culture to Icelandair. Among Digital Labs' tasks, was to design, develop, and launch a new website for the airline.

After years of using VYRE Unify as its web management platform, it was decided that Icelandair would adopt a modern headless CMS to answer the increasing demand for personalization and omnichannel delivery. Unfortunately, shortly after launching their new site on dotCMS, it became clear the open source platform was unable to meet the Icelandair’s requirements.

A significant concern was that while the system architecture encouraged (and to some extent necessitated) a modular approach to content design, dotCMS was unfit to accommodate Icelandair's relationship-based content design.

Hallur Þór Halldórsson, a UX writer at Icelandair, explained that "dotCMS was not natively headless, and the system did not allow you to save your work and preview the results. Anytime you posted a blog or a page, you couldn't work on one locale and then push that up. You'd have to wait until you were sure that no one was working on the item in other languages. It pulled everything—all locales, all relationships. It took forever."

The system's batch publishing that was supposed to work within seconds ended up taking 30 to 40 minutes. Plus, it was fragile. Instead of resolving issues, the dotCMS vendor continuously applied hotfixes—which inevitably caused system-wide malfunctions when even the smallest site updates had to be made.

Additionally, dotCMS could not handle webhooks, which made it difficult to connect with different applications. Since the vendor insisted the problem was with Icelandair and not with their platform, the airline felt that support was lacking and quickly realized it was time for a better solution.

"I don't have to depend on the developers to do everything. I can go in and make the changes instead of them having to do all the work. Simplicity in the UI, both for content editors and technically savvy people, has helped us."

– Hallur Þór Halldórsson, UX Writer and Content Designer, Icelandair

THE SOLUTION

After testing about 15 CMS providers, Icelandair’s Digital Labs chose Contentstack to replace dotCMS.

"The Contentstack system is easy to use,” Halldórsson said. “It's pretty obvious and self-explanatory, so we've never had any issues with learning the way the system works. It follows common sense, so we didn't need training. We only had a single session to train all the content editors. The on-boarding process was very smooth as well."

Aside from ease of use, Icelandair also chose Contentstack because of their white-glove customization and smooth integration and implementation workflow. Including migration from their previous vendor, Icelandair had Contentstack up and running in just three weeks.

In addition, the Icelandair team was able to replace the application they were using for localization string management, Crowdin, with a single content type and custom field from Contentstack.

“In our Crowdin setup, we needed to deploy every time we changed a string value,” Halldórsson said. “but with Contentstack, we publish the strings like any other content. The ability to store translations, the handling of locales, and the multilingual approach was a defining factor for choosing Contentstack."


Contentstack also helped Icelandair simplify integrations, such as the one between the airline and their translation agency’s translation platform.

Icelandair's website delivers content in 12 languages across 16 locales. Before moving to Contentstack, all this translation had to happen manually—even though the translation agency had a platform to manage translations directly and via API.

Thanks to Contentstack, the Icelandair content managers can finally send entries for translation directly in the CMS by simply publishing them to a separate environment and selecting the desired languages. When the translations are ready, the content system updates the environment's entries as localized versions.

"Contentstack makes it easy to do integrations,” Halldórsson said. “We had not been able to integrate with additional systems because of lost time debugging and addressing operational issues. Contentstack let us find the time to do integrations rather than having to extinguish fires continually. Currently, we have multiple microservices that are working with content."

"Using Contentstack, we can work faster and respond quicker to things,” Halldórsson said. “The ease of use is a significant factor, but not only for the content editors. The ability to go in and make changes to a content type helps us. I don't have to depend on the developers to do everything. I can go in and make the changes instead of them having to do all the work. Simplicity in the UI, both for content editors and technically savvy people, has helped us."

Another significant benefit of Contentstack is being able to implement automation to make publishing way more effective and efficient.

Not only is the Icelandair content team able to publish in a more frequent and timely manner without any technical issues, but they’ve also cut the time it takes to push out promotions by over 90 percent!



Icelandair has over twenty content editors and nearly as many developers working within Contentstack at any given time, so it’s a good thing the platform has powerful user role management features.

"Contentstack's user role management is way more straightforward than it was in the previous system,” Halldórsson said. “Recently. there was an update to role management that makes managing users nice and easy. Now it is possible to restrict users down to the field level, which is awesome."

"The Contentstack system is easy to use. It's pretty obvious and self-explanatory, so we've never had any issues with learning the way the system works. It follows common sense, so we didn't need training."

– Hallur Þór Halldórsson, UX Writer and Content Designer, Icelandair

THE RESULTS

Contentstack gave the Icelandair team back the sanity and time they had lost to constantly “putting out fires” caused by previous, unsatisfactory CMS platforms.

After a smooth migration to Contentstack, Icelandair was finally able to achieve major integration goals and time-saving automation. In addition, creating efficient workflows and managing users is easier and more effective than ever before.

With Contentstack, Icelandair can finally scale their omnichannel publishing efforts and reach amazing new opportunities for growth.

"Contentstack let us find the time to do integrations rather than having to extinguish fires continually."

– Hallur Þór Halldórsson, UX Writer and Content Designer, Icelandair