Home Franchise Concepts was looking to develop a website for their new brand, Concrete Craft. Their existing web presence consisted of sites for their other brands, Budget Blinds and Tailored Living, each having been constructed by their own in-house development team.
Prior to starting, the project team wanted to ensure they were following best practices and that their current web platform, Ektron, was still a good platform for the type of website Concrete Craft required. The developers had questions they felt only an outside reviewer could address:
- Was the current platform suitable for their needs and were they using it correctly?
Could they keep it current with upgrades and enhancements? Would it be easy for their technical and non-tecnhical team members to administer?
- Would it contribute to Concrete Craft’s competitive status? Could the review be completed and the necessary decisions made by the roll-out deadline—even if the verdict called for building the new site on a completely different platform?
Their decision to work with HGS Digital was almost entirely based on their initial telephone conversation with HGS Digital’s principal consultant. Home Franchise was impressed with his easy yet efficient way of communicating and his extensive knowledge of both the marketing and technology sides of website development. In addition, he assured them that their sites would be evaluated without bias of any CMS platform and that the review would be completed in the allotted time.
The HGS Digital’s consulting team would make a two-day visit to Home Franchise Concepts, interview the appropriate people, then report back with a summary evaluation.
The consulting team began with a series of group interviews: the IT department, followed by the marketing department, and finally the two groups together. By skillful direction of questions and conversations, the consultants were able to draw out information regarding not only what each group wanted from the other, but also what they needed from the other. Through questions and role-playing, the real “pain points” of the interaction between IT and marketing became evident.
When the two groups came together in the third meeting, the HGS Digital consultants helped the departments understand that their difficulties stemmed not from the capabilities of the website platform, but from the lack of effective communication between the two departments. Marketing assumed, but was unsure of, what IT could provide. IT assumed, but was unsure of what marketing wanted. Once the two groups were together in the same room, the marketing department was able to describe its needs and desires clearly, and the IT department articulated its own needs and the capabilities of the platform. The two functional areas were finally able to recognize they were two parts of the same web development team.
The consultants continued on to validate the effectiveness of their current platform for the needs of the websites. Yet, the three components identified by Home Franchise Concepts as absolutely key to the successful completion of their project were:
- The consultants’ ability to see and bridge the gap in communication between IT and marketing
- Their skill in helping Home Franchise people feel secure in speaking honestly and openly with their co-workers
- Their expertise and knowledge of digital marketing, technology, and the WCM platform.
- Home Franchise Concepts’ Concrete Craft site was completed on time and declared a success.
- The positive evaluation of the Ektron platform gave Home Franchise’s IT department new confidence in their work and the system.
- Developers were able to re-purpose some of the work they had done on earlier sites, saving time that was significant in meeting their deadline. But perhaps even more important was the sudden formation of a new partnership between Home Franchise’s marketing and IT departments. Their enthusiastic new working relationship resulted in better design and functionality for the website, achieved in less time than ever before.
Through the consultative sessions with HGS Digital, Home Franchise Concepts not only achieved its immediate goal, but also realized benefits that can reach far into the future of the company:
- The now-solid confidence in their web content management system, the IT department envisions “a federation of websites” built on that platform, with efficiency and cost savings achieved by their ability to re-purpose elements of current sites for use in new ones, and the possibility of upgrading older sites with the functionality achieved in newer projects.
- The IT and marketing departments have now established “a universally understood framework” for specifications, functionality, design, and layout of new web projects; which is expected to save time and effort, enhancing the company’s bottom line.
One Home Franchise Concepts team member described the experience with HGS Digital this way: “HGS Digital gave us the confidence that we can do our jobs, do them well, and do them better working together.”
Now that’s a positive return on investment.
Visualization of project outcomes: