Site Factory is a platform developed by Acquia, designed to simplify the management and deployment of multiple Drupal websites for organizations that need to maintain simultaneous administration.  Like, say, public sector organizations.

In the last few years, Clarity has utilized this platform as a solution for many different types of clients. Here, we will explain more about this tool and highlight four of those projects, which fall under the purview of Cook County Government, including:

What is an Acquia Site Factory “Instance?”

Acquia Site Factory is a platform that provides digital teams with the ability to deliver and manage hundreds of media-rich sites quickly. The platform includes a centralized site delivery and management console that allows users to rapidly deliver content and assets to launch digital experiences. The “instance” refers to a specific organization or project. Here’s a breakdown of the key components and concepts associated with an Acquia Site Factory instance:

Codebase Codebase: Acquia Site Factory instances are typically built upon a standardized codebase that includes Drupal core and common modules or features that will be used across multiple sites. This helps ensure consistency and ease of management.
Templates and Variants Templates and Variants: Acquia Site Factory allows you to create website templates and variants. Templates are base configurations for new sites that can include predefined themes, modules, content types, and more. Variants allow you to create variations of templates to cater to different use cases or brands.
Site Cloning Site Cloning and Management: With Acquia Site Factory, you can easily clone existing sites based on templates or variants. This makes it efficient to create new sites with predefined configurations. Additionally, you can manage and update multiple sites from a central dashboard, which streamlines maintenance tasks.
Automation Automation: Acquia Site Factory emphasizes automation. It provides tools for automating the deployment of updates, security patches, and new features across all sites within an instance, reducing the need for manual interventions.
Scalability and Performance Scalability and Performance: Acquia Site Factory is designed to handle the challenges of managing many websites. It offers scalability and performance optimization features to ensure that all sites within an instance can perform well.
Security and Compliance Security and Compliance: Acquia Site Factory incorporates security features and compliance controls to help organizations manage security risks and ensure that all sites meet relevant standards.
Reporting and Analytics Centralized Reporting and Analytics: Acquia Site Factory provides centralized reporting and analytics to give you insights into the performance, usage, and other relevant metrics across all the sites in your instance.
Reporting and Analytics Customization and Extensibility: While Acquia Site Factory offers standardized templates and features, it’s also designed to accommodate customization and extensibility. Organizations can tailor their templates and sites to their specific needs.


Now that we’ve covered the capabilities of Acquia Site Factory, let’s talk about the projects in which we utilized it.  And more importantly, how.

Cook County Board of Review (BOR) & Emergency Management and Regional Services (EMRS)

Clarity Partners provided services for the Cook County Board of Review (BOR) and Emergency Management and Regional Services (EMRS) to re-platform and execute the CMS version upgrade of each website.  The primary objective of these engagements was twofold.  Objective one was to execute a platform shift from Amazon Web Services to Acquia Cloud Site Factory.  Objective two was a major CMS version upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, utilizing Acquia Site Studio.

In both cases, the re-platform and CMS transition to Drupal 9 also required a major site rebuild.  The mandate was to perform a base “lift and shift” of the existing website to the extent practical and possible.  But we used the opportunity to fully modernize the sites, making additional upgrades to the user interface.  There is also an improved allowance for enhanced page building flexibility.  Clarity worked with the Cook County Bureau of Technology to navigate the rebuild through the launch of each updated website.

As a result of this upgrade and move to Acquia Site Studio, both BOR and EMRS can now mitigate risk by keeping the websites they support on current software releases.  Moving forward, crucial upgrades can be done for the sites within Site Factory.

Cook County Public Defender’s Office & American Rescue Plan Act

Clarity was tasked with redesigning and re-platforming the PDO website, to which we implemented a drastically different look for the homepage, basic pages, and other site features.  In addition, Clarity migrated all web pages, images, documents, and other digital media to the new Drupal 9 CMS.  This included a new modern look, easier content administration, enhanced search, improved web accessibility, and a modular page-building feature using Site Studio.

Site studio was used to build multiple interactive components throughout the site.  Clarity trained the PDO team on how to use the new site and they are now building their own pages with pre-selected layouts, banners, and widgets.

When it came to ARPA, we were able to use the blueprint we had created for PDO.  We just had to apply the ARPA branding to a select set of pre-existing components.  This allowed us to build the ARPA site quickly and efficiently utilizing the capabilities of Acquia Site Studio.  The coolest part of all is that, while the bones are the same, the two sites have a completely different look and feel.

All Hail Site Studio

As you can see, bringing Acquia Site Studio into our arsenal of website development tools has allowed us more ease and flexibility when it comes to our approach.  As the tool’s features continue to develop, we will proceed to fine tune our use cases as well.