At Clarity, we’re proud to be able to fearlessly drive results for our clients, wherever they – or their audiences – are in the world. We have teams with digital marketing, website development, and communications expertise across our UK, Benelux, East and West Coast U.S., and Australian offices, alongside a fantastic network of partners, our Clarity Connections, that expand our services even further.
In this blog, we’ll be chatting with Ian Ferguson, Senior Partner Manager at WP Engine, our global WordPress technology partner, who will be sharing more about what WP Engine does, and how we work together.
What’s your elevator pitch for what WP Engine does?
WP Engine is the world’s most trusted WordPress technology company. We power the freedom to create on WordPress by providing companies and agencies of all sizes with the most relied-upon brands and developer-centric WordPress products—from Genesis to Local to Advanced Custom Fields.
We proudly serve more than 185,000 customers in 150 countries around the world, and we’re able to do so because we’re a truly global company. WP Engine is headquartered in Austin, Texas, but we have offices in Brisbane, Australia; Kraków, Poland; Limerick, Ireland; London, England, and Omaha, Nebraska, as well as a growing presence in Singapore and the wider APAC region.
Which team do you predominantly work with at Clarity, and what kind of work do you do together?
We work with the web development team that was formerly 93digital, jointly delivering WordPress projects for B2B tech companies. We’re also currently working with them to build the new Clarity website on Atlas, WP Engine’s all-in-one platform for headless websites.
Which piece of client work, that you’ve partnered with Clarity on, are you most proud of?
Our joint work with Mitie, the UK’s leading facilities management company, was definitely an exceptional project. Mitie moved from a developer-reliant, proprietary content management system (CMS), to a fully-redesigned WordPress site that has provided them far more agility in the digital space.
This was an organization that really needed to respond to rapid changes during the Covid-19 pandemic, and by arming them with a lean, easy-to-use website that’s optimised for user experience, Mitie has been able to use its website to empower internal stakeholders while generating a steady stream of inbound leads.
You’re working with Clarity on building out our headless offering. Could you share in layman’s terms what this is and what it means for clients?
Headless is when you decouple the front end and back end of a website. This brings numerous benefits to publishers and developers alike. These include vast increases in speed, greatly enhanced security, the ability to leverage a WordPress back end that publishers know and love, and the flexibility for developers to work with the latest technologies on the front end.
What is the biggest trend or innovation that WP Engine is championing in 2023?
We are extremely focused in four main areas: Managed WordPress, eCommerce, headless WordPress (composable web infrastructure), and developer tools.
Our Managed WordPress platform benefits from continuous performance optimization and a deep focus on security, scalability, and choice. We have recently launched our platform in multiple Azure data centers across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, providing our global customers with multi-cloud flexibility for their WordPress sites.
eCommerce is the lifeblood of so many of our customers’ sites, and we continue to launch new features for our WooCommerce hosting platform including integration with Stripe Connect, proprietary caching and cart optimisations, as well as rapid search functionality and automatic plugin updates.
As I noted earlier, our headless WordPress platform, Atlas, continues to see new releases, features, and open source contributions including the recently-launched Atlas BigCommerce Blueprint, which lets you spin up a fully functioning headless eCommerce site in under 10 minutes.
Over the past two years, we have also been advancing our developer tool suite with many free-to-the-community tools and building workflows to help the advanced developer. We have also been building a developer community or DevRel team, which focuses on helping WordPress developers build with the many tools and features modern WordPress and headless WordPress has to offer.
Do you have a case study of some truly innovative work you’ve done recently, not with Clarity, that you’d like to share?
Our work with BBC Children In Need was a great example of how to innovate to create flexible solutions on the server side to provide this wonderful organization with the right amount of bandwidth when they needed it most—i.e., during their annual pledge drive—and then the ability to scale that bandwidth (and cost) back down when traffic on the site was quieter.
Tell me about your team – who is who in the zoo and what’s your culture like?
I work in our Partnerships & Alliances team, based in London. We manage our key agency partners across EMEA. Our team has six relationship managers and very much reflects the wider WP Engine culture of transparency, openness, and doing the right thing for our customers.
Our values are fearless, global, and positive – could you share any examples of what WP Engine is doing that also fits under those themes?
WP Engine is also a values-driven company, with a set of Core Values that certainly shares similarities with those themes.
Do the Right Thing, for example, lines up directly with “Positive” and “Fearless,” as we’re not afraid to do what’s right when it comes to our customers or one another. Built for Growth and Customer Inspired are a reflection of “Global,” as we serve a growing number of customers around the world.
Anything else you want to add?
I think it’s important to call out recent updates to our Agency Partner Program, which is now the largest partner network in the WordPress space. Last year, we announced that our agency partners would begin benefiting from priority access to advanced support from WordPress experts, industry leading referral commissions, and aggressive discounts and agency specific pricing to help them grow their agency business faster.
More recently, we also re-launched our own website using Atlas for a headless WordPress build that is more performant across channels and touchpoints, more agile for our back-end content creators, and more personalized for every single visitor that comes to our site.
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