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Case study OpenText


OpenText TeamSite is a leading Web Content Management (WCM) system with annual revenues of $2.8 billion.

OpenText realized early that when it comes to web conversion rate, Responsive Web Design (RWD) is not a complete multi-device solution. Device detection is needed to provide granular analytics, previewing and targeted optimization. In 2018, a decision was taken to replace a legacy device detection solution, leading to a review of vendors and the selection of 51Degrees. This case study explains the challenges faced and outlines why 51Degrees was selected and the outcomes achieved after nearly one year of operation.

Background: Filling the Gaps Around Responsive Web Design

As a premium Web Content Management platform recognized as a leader in Gartner's 2018 Magic Quadrant, OpenText need to ensure their TeamSite digital marketing solution anticipates and exceeds increasingly sophisticated customer demands. Device detection is a crucial component of any modern technology platform, facilitating website analytics, previewing and device optimization. Essentially, it fills the gaps around Responsive Web Design.

Device Detection for Web Content Management Systems

Device detection can be used in Web Content Management in the following ways:

  • UX Optimization: Device detection enables important data entry interfaces to be optimized for small and large physical screens, or touch and keyboard driven text entry. Data capture form fields can be adjusted based on the device, making forms as easy to fill in as possible for each user, based on the device they're using. The resulting user experience improves both dropout rates and conversion rates.
  • Page Load Time: Crucial performance improvements can be achieved by optimizing web pages within the WCM platform prior to data being transmitted to a mobile device. This helps to improve page load time, user experience and search engine rankings. Devices with fixed internet connections can receive a richer initial experience.
  • Enhanced Analytics: Website analytics are extended beyond the basics provided by solutions such as Google Analytics by adding dimensions such as physical screen size, device age, price, and supported features.
  • Granular Design and Development: Web designers and developers have granular information about user interactions and can evolve designs to deliver better business outcomes.

The Challenge: Replacing Legacy Device Detection Software

A mobile device optimization solution had been selected prior to 51Degrees entering the market in 2011. This legacy solution served customers well in the early days but by 2017 it lacked the global device coverage and performance needed for the future.

A team of two developers was tasked with finding a replacement and started to evaluate multiple device detection solutions.

Five key criteria were established for the evaluation:

  1. Breadth: the number of device combinations (vendor hardware models, operating systems, apps and browsers) the solution can identify.
  2. Cadence: how often new devices, browsers, and operating systems are added to the database.
  3. Accuracy: how accurate the solution is when measured against real customer data.
  4. Deployment: how easy the solution is to deploy within the OpenText technical environment.
  5. Commercial: a flexible commercial model compatible with OpenText's.

The Solution: Selecting 51Degrees

As a global open source project used by more than 1.5 million websites, it was easy to identify 51Degrees as the leader in the device detection field. The product's source code was initially inspected on GitHub before a discovery web conference call was held with 51Degrees' engineering team. The standard solution was up and running in less than a day.

Queries were responded to in a very timely manner, often with extra suggestions or other useful information. Guy HellierVP Product Management Engineering, OpenText

51Degrees recognizes that the true value of a device detection solution is only realized when deployed as part of a wider technology stack. During the evaluation process, 51Degrees took the time to understand OpenText's TeamSite environment and requirements, not only answering technical questions but providing insight into additional features or simpler integration. The web page preview feature especially benefited from this collaborative approach. Support was always timely and well informed.

51Degrees results were impressive with the greatest number of device combinations, proven accuracy, easy deployment with support for multiple programming languages and a commercial model that dovetailed easily into the one operated by OpenText. Ultimately, it was easy to identify 51Degrees as the leading vendor.

The Results: Going Beyond Responsive Web Design

The emulation feature is a key differentiator as it enables TeamSite business users to quickly see how a given web page will work on a multitude of devices from big screen tablets, to small screen budget smartphones.

Figure 1: OpenText TeamSite Emulator

All the features of TeamSite which focus on conversion rate are now optimized to make use of 51Degrees. Customers are now able to learn how these features can be used and optimize for multi-device conversion rate, ensuring that conversion rate and UX aren't compromised for any type of device.

The mobile space is a massive part of targeted content delivery if not the predominant one at this time. Anthony WileyVP Engineering Development, OpenText


Replacing a technology vendor is a daunting task for any technology business. 51Degrees made the process as simple as possible providing insight not typically seen from other vendors. OpenText TeamSite is now positioned to make use of device detection across the entire product range and achieve customer benefits beyond conversion rate optimization.

As an engineer, it's humbling to think that a small, open source project I started as a hobby is now embedded in a multibillion-dollar technology business like OpenText. I'm incredibly proud of the team at OpenText and 51Degrees who made this happen. James RosewellCEO and Founder, 51Degrees

About Device Detection

Device detection empowers a web page to understand a great deal of information about the device that is visiting the site prior to making a decision about the content to send to it. This could include information on browser type and capability, processing power of the device, and screen resolution, to name but three of thousands of categories. Responsive web design alone is not enough.

Device detection is an important facet of personalisation but does not require a user to register or share personal preferences. Armed with this information websites can send content that is not only optimised for detailed device specifications but also contextualises the likely environment of the user, delivering a better user experience.