The CMS implementation that powered Escambia County’s website was difficult to work with, resulting in stale content and an unremarkable customer experience.
In the modern digital world, citizens are customers too. However, from the constituent perspective, this often doesn’t feel like the case as government agencies struggle to effectively deliver great online experiences while dealing with stringent regulations, burdensome legacy solutions and sticky processes.
Escambia County, home to nearly 300,000 people in the northwestern corner of Florida, encountered many of these challenges with its own digital experience. With a mission to provide efficient, responsive services that meet the needs and enhance the quality of life of residents, the county’s website was not delivering.
Much of this came down to the existing implementation, based on Drupal, which became problematic for two reasons:
Escambia County’s Web Coordinator Dave Myers was in charge of helping the county bring its vision for a better digital experience to life. He immediately began looking for a CMS that would empower the agency to better deliver the services and experiences that residents demanded.
After speaking with the organization’s business users, it became apparent that Escambia County needed a CMS that streamlined marketing tasks and simplified their common business and technical challenges.
“I heard people from every department saying they couldn’t work with the old platform, so they just didn’t,” Myers said. “It was a nightmare, the content never got updated.”
This helped narrow down the choice to Progress® Sitefinity® or WordPress. While both platforms made managing content much easier, Sitefinity was also very developer friendly—it provided greater scalability, availability and security. Plus, as a .NET CMS, Sitefinity fit right in with the county’s Microsoft-based environment.
“We were looking for the ability to easily create custom modules, a really good API and frequent updates,” Myers added.
Escambia County also benefitted from tight integration between Sitefinity and Siteimprove, a web governance tool. Siteimprove enables Escambia County to prioritize accessibility and create digital experiences that are inclusive for all users—critical for both better serving its community and avoiding compliance issues.
The integration of Sitefinity and Siteimprove provides immense value, helping Escambia County operate more efficiently. "I’d need another employee to proactively manage everything and ensure all the content is as high quality and compliant as possible,” Myers said.
After switching to Sitefinity, Escambia County is able to create and manage digital experiences with greater agility than before. This translates directly into a better customer experience, with web traffic jumping 4x since switching to Sitefinity in 2016.
On the content management side, Escambia County’s business users are much happier. Myers notes that content is constantly being updated and added—and he also has seen a dramatic drop in the number of incoming content management support tickets.
Designed with extensibility in mind, Sitefinity also makes it easy for Escambia County to integrate with critical tools like Siteimprove, CivicClerk and Agenda Quick. This streamlines time-consuming tasks, like agenda management and web content governance.
Spending less time on integrations and content management, Myers is better able to focus his efforts on developing new features for the website. To date, he has created more than 31 custom modules on the main site that help deliver valuable information to constituents. Some of these modules include beach condition alerts and water quality information.
“The ability to react and build things quickly helps us operate at scale,” Myers added. “Our goal is to better serve our community.”
About Escambia County
Escambia County is the westernmost and oldest county in the U.S. state of Florida. The mission of Escambia County government is to provide efficient, responsive services that enhance our quality of life, meet common needs and promote a safe and healthy community.