Life Technologies is a global life sciences company that believes in the power of science to transform lives. To support scientists worldwide, the company offers high-quality, innovative solutions from the most recognized life science brands – from everyday essentials to instruments – for every lab and every application. The company employs 10,000 people, including over 1,500 scientists, and generated $3.8 billion in 2012 revenues. Its content-rich Web site – comprising over 300,000 pages of scientific content – is also a tremendous transactional engine, accounting for about 55% of all orders and over $1 billion in annual revenues.
Life Technologies chartered a global strategy from the get-go, but understood the importance of providing a local in-country web experience of its online channels and its brand. For Life Technologies, it’s critically important that its customers, around the world can readily access the company’s large portfolio of highly configurable products. A less-than- stellar online experience would result in reduced margins per order due to higher off-line order volumes, or worse, loss of revenue due to customers opting for a competitor.
As the company started to establish a presence in growing markets around the world, the IT and eBusiness group received feedback about poor site performance. In some instances, customers found the site largely unusable, with page load times up to 30 seconds. “Customers expect an instantaneous response online. We had to improve performance in order to achieve our eBusiness goals around the world,” recalls Ryan Snyder, Senior Director of IT and eBusiness for Life Technologies.
Life Technologies needed to meet three key requirements to support its objectives:
Because Life Technologies was in the midst of rebuilding its site and had already invested heavily in additional web infrastructure, the company wanted to avoid having to add data center locations and federating its hardware power. According to Snyder, a side-by-side comparison of vendors made it clear that the breadth and depth of Akamai’s cloud services along with the vastness of its global content delivery network (CDN) far exceeded any others in the industry.
“Before anyone buys products from our site, they need to educate themselves. With that in mind, the most important capability in our minds was Akamai’s network of servers, which shortens the path for site visitors to access our rich content,” continues Snyder.
When the head of digital marketing in one region said Life Technologies couldn’t compete in international markets unless the website performed as though it were being delivered locally, the company deployed Akamai services. Almost immediately, Life Technologies saw improvements in website application performance: in Europe by nearly 600 percent and in the Asia-Pacific region by almost 650 percent. It then focused on fine-tuning web performance on a country-by-country basis. To ensure its wealth of interactive tools were highly responsive, Life Technologies also deployed Akamai Content Targeting. “We have gone from no commerce in China in 2012 to double-digit growth in 2013.” says Snyder. “Our Akamai relationship has allowed us to instantly penetrate growth markets without a significant IT investment. IT is truly an enabler rather than a barrier, as it is in some companies.”
Many of the catalog products offered by Life Technologies are simple to purchase, whether online or over the phone. But the company also offers configurable products that are complex to purchase. “Those products lend themselves to being ordered online because scientists can filter through millions of synthetic genes to find what they want,” continues Snyder. With Akamai services in place, Life Technologies has been able to make the pathway for online ordering as simple as possible. This in turn freed its world-class customer service agents to be strategic advisors, while its website serves as what Snyder calls the company’s best sales representative.
The operational team under Snyder also implemented Akamai to monitor its site daily and ensure optimal web performance. The team worked closely with Life Technologies’ marketing and product teams to assess website performance, and consulted with Akamai for suggestions on further website optimization. “Akamai has been woven into how we run our site – we couldn’t run it without Akamai,” explains Snyder.
According to Snyder, it takes marketing, sales, technology and services working in concert to make sure Life Technologies can quickly pursue growth opportunities. “What I love about Akamai is that, when all other business leaders in the company are ready to penetrate a new market, I’m ready too. I don’t have to submit a multi-million budget request or get bogged down with concerns about whether or not we’ll be able to enable commerce or deliver content in any part of the world. That allows me to concentrate on other priorities, while our company keeps growing,” concludes Snyder.
Life Technologies Corporation is a global biotechnology company that is committed to providing the most innovative products and services to leading customers in the fields of scientific research, genetic analysis and applied sciences. With a presence in more than 180 countries, the company’s portfolio of 50,000 end-to-end solutions is secured by more than 5,000 patents and licenses that span the entire biological spectrum – scientific exploration, molecular diagnostics, 21st century forensics, regenerative medicine and agricultural research. Life Technologies has approximately 10,000 employees and had sales of $3.8 billion in 2012.