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Schwabe Group - centralised multisite management

Multisite solution
Drupal, Elasticsearch, Design system


The Schwabe Group wanted to unify and consolidate its various CMS systems through a multisite platform. The central goal was to ensure consistency across all websites, centralise administration and gain an overview of legal requirements around the globe.


A central dashboard, accessible to all brands and markets, was developed with a design system for creating and centrally managing all new web properties. Specific security requirements are supervised centrally making it easier to maintain control.


The new platform was successfully launched within just 3 months. Leveraging the new multisite platform allowed the Schwabe Group to maintain a uniform online presence, manage timely and reliable updates, and keep track of legal requirements worldwide.


Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG

The Schwabe group comprises several different affiliated companies in the pharmaceutical and health industry. Its products are distributed in more than 50 countries. All of the companies within the Schwabe Group focus on plants as the basis for developing pharmaceuticals and health products. The company employs over 4000 specialists in 16 countries and manages more than 100 websites.

The family business, Dr Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG, boasts a successful 150 year history.  As one of  Europe's oldest pharmaceutical companies, it generates annual sales of over 900 million EUR, featuring well known products such as Lasea®, Tebonin®Gaspan® and Umckaloabo®.

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Centralisation of all websites

When Schwabe Group reached out to 1xINTERNET the digital landscape of the company was run on different CMS systems or using static websites created with a very limited budget. There was a lot of inconsistency between the web properties and no exchange between the markets. 

One of the biggest challenges was to ensure security and compliance. The web properties were hosted on different platforms and updates had to be done manually on each individual platform, this led to high costs and made it difficult to keep track of the different legal requirements around the globe.

The most important project goal for the Schwabe Group was to create a scalable multisite solution that could fulfil current and future requirements in a timely manner.

Screenshot of the Schwabe website homepage

Accelerated multisite launch

The new multisite platform was launched only 3 months after the start of the project. Since then, each year we have migrated 20-30 Schwabe Group websites to the new environment.


"Implementing this multisite solution has been a game-changer for us..."

"Implementing this multisite solution for our company has been a game-changer for us. In a competitive online market like ours, we need to have modern solutions that makes it possible for us to act fast and still have a full overview of all of our websites. With 1xINTERNET amazing results have been achieved in such a short period of time. At Schwabe Group, we are looking forward to future projects."

Alexander Reisenauer, Director Global Digital Marketing

Photo of Alexander Reisenauer

Centralised control of all digital properties

Rapid time-to-market

With the new multisite solution, the Schwabe Group can react very quickly when launching new websites. There is no limit to the number of websites or apps that can be launched.

Centralised dashboard 

A centralised dashboard was established for all new web properties, allowing for centralised management and hosting. Integrated with Acquia Site Factory, this dashboard provides global accessibility across all markets and for every editor.

Centralised control

The new multisite solution has simplified the management of timely and reliable updates, ensuring better worldwide compliance with legal requirements and data protection. The service level is 99.95%, backed by 24/7 monitoring and support.

Centralised design system

With a central design system, set up to meet the requirements of the Schwabe Group, brand managers are finally able to achieve consistency across all markets through the use of reusable components.

Centralised code administration

The multisite solution makes it possible to manage code in a central code repository. As soon as new components are developed, each website receives an update and the new functions can be used immediately on all websites.

Centralised management of editorial roles

With a centralised multisite solution, managing all editorial and administrative roles from one place becomes effortless, ensuring an overview and up-to-date management from one day to the next.

Lead generation

The Schwabe Group is gradually creating new brand websites to increase awareness of its products and visibility online. The websites are SEO optimised to generate more leads.

Cost savings

Total cost of ownership per web property gets lower with every new page that uses the platform.

Multilingual functionality 

All the new websites have multi-language functionality which is essential for a company operating on different markets around the world.

Screenshot showing design system layout on the Schwabe website
Screenshot showing reusable components on the Schwabe website

More efficiency for the brands

The platform provides enough space to emphasise the individuality of each brand and at the same time ensures adherence to corporate identity guidelines.

The extension of the multisite management platform can be implemented by internal employees, enabling them to independently create high-quality, relevant and well-prepared content for their market.

  • Centralised design system to maintain the corporate identity guidelines for a consistent appearance.
  • Autonomy of the individual brands.
  • Cross-country and cross-brand use of all developed features.
  • Independent expansion of the system by internal employees.

More efficiency in marketing

  • Consistent brand awareness for the consumer.
  • Increased awareness and visibility online.
  • Lead generation.
  • Standardised user experience, ensuring flexibility of the editors.
Screenshot of the Lasea website homepage
Screenshot showing product teaser on the Lasea website

More efficiency for content editors

Editors want maximum flexibility when creating new content. The system, structured like a modular kit of paragraphs, operates intuitively. Editors can choose between predefined and existing brands within the design system. This set up is user-friendly and guarantees a standardised corporate design for all future websites. A new brand page can be added by the internal stakeholders in no time at all.

Features and highlights for editors: 

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Quick setup of a new website (approx. 15 min)
  • System-wide content templates
  • System-wide functions with centralised code management
  • Efficient security and code maintenance
  • Automatic content checks
  • Simple onboarding of new editors
  • Drag & drop functions
  • Direct frontend editing
  • Economical & modularly expandable

"An intuitive user interface for fast website creation..."

"Our WCMS offers an intuitive user interface for fast website creation with system-wide templates and functionalities. The simplicity of onboarding new editors and the possibility of direct front-end editing make it an indispensable tool for all modern web projects."

Joana Roller, Digital Business Manager

Photo of Joana Roller

Consistency in corporate design 

The corporate design of the individual brands was broken down to see how they could be reflected in a design system. Storybook was used to create a design system for all the necessary components that could be used by all the company's websites. Initially implemented for four basic templates - Umckaloabo®, Gaspan®, Tebonin® and Lasea® product websites. The system was then expanded to include more than 10 brands which were integrated into the design system. Today, the design system boasts more than 20 colour schemes and serves over 50 websites. 

Following the successful introduction of the design system, we established a high-performance CMS in order to be able to operate it sustainably. Our open-source multisite management system, a backend technology based on Drupal, was implemented and hosted on Site Factory by our premium partner Acquia.

More about our premium partner Acquia

Screenshot of the Umckaloabo website homepage
Screenshot showing example of page layout on the Umckaloabo website

As much individuality as needed

Out of the box, the open-source multisite management system was able to fulfil over 80% of the Schwabe Group's requirements. The missing 20% are customised.

When presenting pharmaceuticals, manufacturers have to pay very close attention to country-specific regulations, which is why the Schwabe Group requires a separate, sometimes only slightly modified product website for its products in almost every country. Thanks to the distribution system in the background, the platform offers enough space to fulfil this requirement.

More about multisite management system

Screenshot of the Gaspan website homepage
Screenshot showing example of page layout on the Gaspan website

Complexity on demand

The platforms can be extended upon request using custom developments or through system integrations. Depending on the requirements, interfaces vary and can be tailored to specific needs.

A prime example is the DHU website. The website of the German Homeopathy Union (DHU) is one of the most complex sites in the Schwabe Group's digital landscape, reflecting the complexity inherent in both the site's requirements and the field of homoeopathy.

Screenshot showing on-page search on the DHU website
Screenshot showing search results on the DHU website

Comprehensive search

An efficient search is important to ensure that users can quickly find the publications they are looking for. The Schwabe Group places particular emphasis on a search that meets the industry standard. These implementations can be broken down into 4 searches:

Search in the data records of thousands of DHU products (PIM system with SAP API)

1xINTERNET implemented a PIM system to search across more than 18,000 products and their ingredients. The PIM system generates results from the article numbers and data stored in SAP. All data receives a daily update and is therefore reloaded daily.

Search for content

The content search includes, for example, the search for images, as suitable images have to be generated for a five-digit number of DHU products. Image creation software was connected specifically for this purpose.

Search for sales partners of the Schwabe Group

The search for sales partners for Schwabe Group products takes into account the content of several linked pages.

Country-specific search on schwabe-group.com

The Schwabe Group offers a search that returns results across national borders.

Screenshot of the "About us" page on the Schwabe website

International recognitions

In 2021, the multisite solution for Schwabe Group won the Regional Excellence EMEA Awards at Acquia Engage 2021.

More about the Winner of the Regional Excellence EMEA Awards

In 2022, the project "Game-changing solution for a leading pharmaceutical company" was honored with the Splash Awards in the Healthcare category.

More about the Winners of the Splash Awards 2022


Flexible open-source solution with enterprise grade features

Schwabe Group decided to use Drupal after doing extensive market research and comparison of various content management systems. Drupal was chosen because of its flexibility as an open-source solution combined with enterprise grade features in the areas of security, scalability and availability.

When looking for hosting solutions, 1xINTERNET recommended Schwabe Group to use Site Factory from our partner Acquia to manage and host the web properties portfolio. By using Site Factory, Schwabe Group can manage all of its websites effectively from one single dashboard. It only takes around 15 minutes to spin up a new website, select a template, grant access to editors and start adding content.

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