Communicating More Effectively With An Enterprise SMS Communication Web Application

We integrated Drupal, Workday, and Twilio to keep a growing team connected.


In a growing company, the challenges of staying connected with staff can be daunting


Leverage Drupal 8, Workday, and Twilio in a custom application to directly message specific groups of employees by SMS


ChenMed leadership can communicate directly and conveniently with their growing staff

ChenMed logo

ChenMed’s large network of medical centers was expanding rapidly and needed a tool to allow the company’s leadership team to communicate quickly and effectively with its large base of employees. More specifically, they wanted to deliver messaging directly to their employees’ smartphones. COLAB built a custom web application that integrated the company’s employee management system and a new cloud-based communications platform, which allowed the leadership team to customize targeted SMS messages to send to certain individuals, groups, or the entire company.

A Growing Family’s Pains

ChenMed is a physician-led, family-oriented organization that provides healthcare for moderate- to low-income seniors. This network of medical centers was expanding quickly by opening new facilities and hiring new employees across the country.

Their success and continued growth brought about new challenges: one of which was the leadership team’s ability to communicate effectively with their 1,000+ employees. ChenMed wanted to retain their family-values approach in the way they communicated with their employees. They needed a platform that allowed for easy, targeted, and personable communication.

A Drupal 8 Platform with a Workday and Twilio Integration

COLAB’s task was to create a solution using technology to facilitate targeted, customizable messaging across the client’s growing and diverse group of employees in a way that maintained a personable feel.

Getting the Data Right

The first problem to tackle was ensuring that we could integrate the necessary data that would empower the messaging platform to communicate with specific groups of employees based on data-points like location, job function, etc. Workday, the client’s Human Capital Management System, contained most of the data we needed about employees, but it didn’t have all of the groupings and categorizations of staff that were required in order for the tool to work as ChenMed wanted. COLAB worked with the ChenMed’s IT team to add some additional structure to their Workday data so that our API integration could target specific individuals or customized groups of employees for messaging.

Workday logo

Finding a Scalable Messaging Service

Once the source of employee information was structured and mapped, our team had to determine the best method of communication. Since employees already used company mobile phones, we decided SMS messaging would be the best way to reach employees. COLAB evaluated a variety of technologies and determined the cloud communications platform Twilio would be the best tool to facilitate and manage the messages. COLAB specifically chose Twilio for its ability to scale beyond SMS messaging, that way our team could build a scalable and flexible platform that would allow for future enhancements.

Twilio logo

A Platform Integration to Tie It All Together

With Workday providing the necessary data and Twilio providing the SMS messaging services, the next step was to build a platform that could integrate all of these tools into one system. COLAB chose Drupal 8 as the integration platform because it is an easily extensible CMS for integrating other services and data.

Drupal 8 logo

Within Drupal, COLAB created an administrative interface for a web application that enabled ChenMed to select individuals based on location, title, or other attributes (all being pulled realtime from Workday), compose a message, preview the message, send a test message, and then queue it up in a delayed sending system which would allow for edits or recalls before being sent. We also built in detailed analytics from Twilio that allowed ChenMed to track delivery and receipt of text messages.

Immediate Return on Investment

By integrating Twilio, Drupal, and ChenMed’s Workday data, COLAB created a powerful platform that could directly message the whole company or discrete groups of employees as needed. Our custom application improved communication speed and efficacy across the company, even allowing the company to successfully implement an emergency evacuation of their facilities across South Florida during Hurricane Irma.

COLAB was able to leverage the client’s existing technology, connect it with a cutting-edge communications platform, and help our client further their mission of maintaining a family-oriented environment.

COLAB built an award-winning corporate messaging system. I’d highly recommend them to any business.

Jess Timmerman
A doctor holding a mobile phone

Crediting our ChenMed partners for the great idea in maintaining communications over a large organization, our work together won a 2017 Acquia Engage Award for best Community application.

To learn more about our integrated relationships with our clients and partners, you can check out our case study on our ChenMed relationship or learn more about our digital partnerships.

Let us help.

If you have a project in mind or would like to know how we can help, please reach out. We’d love to hear from you.