INSEAD Builds Digital Platform for Publishing of Case Studies by it's World Class Faculty


As one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD offers participants a truly global educational experience. Established in 1957, the institution has a history of bringing an open-minded learning culture into its multi-campus model. Harvard Business School, INSEAD and ICFAI Business School Hyderabad are the world’s top three Business Case Study publishers.

The Case Studies published by INSEAD are widely consumed by academicians and industry leaders alike. INSEAD wrote 6 of the 10 best-selling cases distributed by the Case Centre in the past 40 years. INSEAD cases were the Overall Winner of 5 of the last 10 Case Centre Global Case Awards and are used in more than 100 business schools and universities around the world.

They also wanted to reduce the dependency on third-party portals to sell the case studies and wanted to offer a very elegant and smooth e-commerce experience to their users.

The key points we looked at while mulling over the project resonated with INSEAD’s innovative mindset and its legacy as a business force that encourages diversity and risks in their entrepreneurial venture. Thus, our journey with them catered to their international brand image with a touch of unique quality Zyxware Technologies brings in each of the digital projects we have executed.

The Challenge

INSEAD wanted to establish its brand as one of the world’s leading business schools. Highlighting the widely consumed and appreciated case studies they are publishing was one of the key strategies. In order to do this, they wanted to build a direct to consumer channel for marketing and selling case studies. In order to serve this purpose INSEAD needed to build a portal which showcases the high-quality case studies, they are publishing and highlight the brand value in front of its audience. 
It was decided that the portal should enable case authors or their associates to create and publish value-added content associated with the case study they have written in the form of case microsites. This portal also needed to work as a thoroughly SEO optimised content marketing engine which will draw users on to the platform and help them understand the quality of the cases being published. A very clear focus was given to enabling a smooth experience for the user to evaluate the cases before purchasing those.

Overall the key objectives of INSEAD were to

  1. Take control of the entire case publishing and sales system and drive sales activities
  2. Provide better digital experience to the case study consumers by providing
    • Improved search
    • Improved navigation
    • Personalized recommendations
    • Digital assets associated with case studies as a value add
    • Seamless case study purchase experience
    • Dashboard to access purchased case studies and recommendations
  3. Provide better digital experience to the case study team internally by providing
    • Full control of editorial and publishing workflows
    • Option to build microsites for selected case studies to present related materials of a case study
    • Option to present the case study in such a way that it will prompt the potential visitors to purchase it
    • Tight integration with AKDMIA an internal system that host the case studies
    • Case studies analytics dashboard
  4. Promote INSEAD brand through the cases portal and thus improve the sales of case studies

  5. Capture the data required to provide insights to improve and optimize the conversion rate

  6. Implement tools to support and execute digital marketing campaigns



The Road to the Solution

A partner was identified to conduct the UX research along with our discovery workshops and to provide the designs for the project. The various stakeholders at INSEAD had done their prep work in detail and had every workflow clearly defined. Our UX partner who had vast experience in designing the user experience for some of the world’s most recognised brands helped us in bringing the research output into a design. They delivered excellent prototypes, information architecture, layout, and UI designs as per the accessibility guidelines adopted by INSEAD.
After long deliberations with the INSEAD technology team, it was decided that Drupal would be the best choice for a webCMS for the entire web ecosystem of INSEAD. With this vision in mind and also encouraged by the availability of a variety of reusable components, Drupal 8 was chosen for the project. The checkout process would be handled on a Magento based system which was being used as a single e-commerce backend system used by the entire organisation.
Easy discoverability of the case studies and filtering them using various facets was important for the success of the portal and Solr search was identified as the search solution. The publishing team wanted the capability to create new landing pages independently for new case studies being published without bothering the development team. Strict access controls were to be implemented as per the policies of INSEAD for each piece of content. A user management solution which ensures hassle-free user creation and assigning required privileges was also created.

A key capability which needed to be built was the ability to provide personalized watermarks which will help customers to claim the ownership of cases that they purchased. INSEAD can also prevent unauthorized usage of case studies with the help of this. AWS S3, SQS and Lambda Amazon were chosen for watermarking to build a highly scalable environment for handling watermarking requests from any number of concurrent users. The watermarking system was built in such a way that it can be reused by the INSEAD IT team for other use cases by cloning it. An active directory based (ADFS) single sign-on was integrated to help INSEAD users to access the portal with their INSEAD login system. This made it easier to provide access rights to research associates, faculty assistants and various other internal stakeholders based on their role in the ADFS implementation.

Project Implementation

The project was delivered in an Agile SCRUM model.
The entirety of the project was followed through these phases:

  • Project Discovery Phase

During this phase, we had multiple discussions between the project manager, technical lead, and also the UX design lead. Extensive research was conducted to understand the working of INSEAD and discovery workshops were managed to relay the thoughts on both sides.

A project inception report that includes the communication plan, Project Charter, RACI matrix, escalation mechanism and high-level project plan was submitted at the end of this phase.



    Requirements Analysis Phase

This phase itself was divided into three sprints, and more workshops to understand requirement elaboration was conducted during each sprint. This not only ensured proper communication but also delivered clarity to all the parties involved in it. The Product Backlog thus contained user stories that were revised and looked at during the grooming sessions that were conducted in the next phase.

  • Development and Testing Phase

Since we followed an Agile methodology, separate time was not required for developing and then testing as these happened simultaneously. 

  • Deployment phase

This is the end phase of the project wherein we focused on content migration, training, final configuration, and deployment. We also managed all change requests during this time.

The basic outline of the workflow we formed helped in managing the voices of three different organisations together. The project manager of Zyxware Technologies remained as the single point of contact. Regular meetings and utmost transparency helped in pushing this project forward a seamless task for INSEAD and the UX collaborator too.


The end product we handed over to INSEAD was a fully functional Cases Publishing Portal with a revamped design and an innovative User Experience. We included a well-documented technical report and a user manual along with it. With the help of the portal, INSEAD got higher control and visibility over the marketing and sales of their Case Studies. The publishing workflows were also optimised and collaboration has been seamless since the launch.