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MARKETING TECH     |     March 10, 2017

The Pantheon Case Study

My interview and case study with Pantheon, a company providing website management platform and development tools.

Kristi Whitman

One of the coolest parts of the SPS Commerce website is something that visitors don’t see.

The site is hosted on a beautifully-designed platform that includes a built-in workflow and deployment process. There are three instances of the site (dev, test, live) plus additional branches for custom development. This prevents WordPress users from accidentally making changes to the theme files (or adding plugins without proper QA) on the live site.

The platform and workflow is part of the managed services from Pantheon, one of my favorite tech companies. Being a fan and heavy user of their tools, I was excited when Pantheon contacted me for a case study.

Without further ado, here is the Pantheon case study.

SPS Commerce: Practicing an Agile Workflow on Pantheon


SPS Commerce, Inc. is the retail industry’s largest trading community with more than 60,000 customers in over 60 countries. They provide retail-focused, cloud-based supply chain solutions for retailers, suppliers, third-party logistics providers, and partners. The company uses Pantheon to manage its content-centric site efficiently and effectively.

In 2014, the SPS Commerce marketing team was looking to improve their agile workflow with new WordPress tools, automation, and tracking capabilities. They needed a solution that would give them more control over site functionality without needing extra resources from the system engineering department. They migrated to Pantheon and were thrilled by the ability to push rapid updates onto the site. Everything worked so well that they felt comfortable undergoing a complete site relaunch within just a few months of migrating.

“Pantheon makes our whole team more efficient.” – Kristi Whitman, Manager of Marketing Web Operations

A Content-Heavy Site

Focused on omnichannel retail and e-commerce, SPS Commerce offers a suite of solutions to their 60,000+ customers in 60 countries. They manage $1 trillion in orders annually, working with retailers, suppliers, and logistics firms. Some of their big-brand customers include Zumba, Under Armour, Costco, and Callaway. For their marketing team, that means maintaining a great deal of content without creating bottlenecks in their workflow. has 1,600 pages on the site, translated into five different languages. Existing customers and prospective customers comprise the majority of their traffic, so uptime and the ability to make non-disruptive changes was important the SPS marketing team as the company was making its decision on a new hosting solution.

Inefficiency Not Welcome in an Agile Workflow

In 2014, the SPS Commerce marketing team was looking to improve their agile workflow. They needed a solution that wouldn’t require them to depend on engineering and development resources to add functionality to their site.

VP of Marketing & Product Pete Zaballos saw Pantheon CEO & Co-Founder Zack Rosen speak at an event earlier that summer and was so interested in the platform that he contacted Manager of Marketing Web Operations Kristi Whitman from the event, and asked her to explore Pantheon. She decided to sign up for a trial to check it out.

“We have limited resources for managing marketing properties, so it’s imperative that every tool we use adds value and efficiency,” Whitman said. “Pantheon allows you to work on the platform for free until you need to push live, so it was a great opportunity for me to get in there and decide it was a perfect fit.”

A Simple Migration Leads to a Site Overhaul

Whitman and her team migrated the site with ease, making them feel confident enough to launch a complete re-design within a month. “I was a little nervous about the migration, it’s hard not to be,” Whitman said. “I didn’t know it would work as well as it did, there were no problems.”

The seamless migration gave Whitman and her team confidence in the platform and ultimately encouraged them to launch a complete redesign soon after the migration. They used Pantheon’s workflow to promote code from dev to live, testing along the way. Making development changes was no small task before Pantheon, but now the SPS team could exercise a more agile approach, easily executing against constant updates.

“I’ve launched many sites in my career—this is the best way to go. Pantheon changed how I operate in my role.”

The Benefits of a Website Management Platform

Whitman’s primary focus is the website, and she is happy with the ability to manage it with more control thanks to Pantheon. “We have a very talented team of product developers and engineers,” she said. “We want them to focus on building the SPS Retail Network and our core business, not working on the website. Pantheon lets us do that. It also empowers our marketing team to work on the site in ways they couldn’t before.”

Running on Pantheon has allowed the SPS team to enjoy rapid-fire development, something they couldn’t do on their old setup. “Synced repositories allow me to do this without disrupting anything on the live production site,” Whitman said. “The workflow is so thoughtful, you can tell it was made by developers with the user experience in mind.”

Whitman and the team were also comforted by level of support they received from Pantheon’s customer success team. “I set up a call before the redesign to move the site from a separate development area to our production environment in Pantheon,” she said. “We were on the phone the very next day and everyone was very helpful. I rarely need their help because the workflow is so intuitive, but when I do, their answers make sense and are thorough.”

Now that Whitman and the team are saving time on a website management platform, they are able to focus on important marketing functions such as A/B testing, custom tracking and measuring the impact of the site. “We’re spending our time on website content we can test and monitor—we’re making the site more effective,” she said. “We look forward to what we can do running on Pantheon.”


  • Highly skilled developers can focus on products & customer-facing systems, not marketing sites

  • Ability to make changes instantaneously, supporting an agile approach to marketing

  • Streamlined workflow

  • Synced repositories allow anytime content changes that don’t disrupt dev

  • Test environment enables confidence when making updates

  • Easily manage 1,600 pages of content