Kansas City Area Development Council Consolidates and Modernizes Online Presence with Progress
The Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) is a private, non-profit organization that represents the economic interests of approximately 2.5 million residents in the two-state, 18-county Greater Kansas City region. With the responsibility of bringing new business and talent into the region, as well as managing more than 250 investor-members, KCADC’s 20+ employees struggled to maintain a consistent, up-to-date online presence that conveyed a strong, unified identity across multiple branded initiatives and deliver timely, relevant information to its multiple audiences.
“We had so many different people working on various systems and platforms, with no integration,” said Angela Orr, Manager of Digital Communications, KCADC. “We were running five different websites on separate platforms, managed with multiple systems such as WordPress, DreamWeaver and others. It was important for us to synthesize our broad brand identity, while still showing clear distinctions of our sub-brands to their audiences.”
The KCADC team's goal was to aggregate all of its online assets on a single platform, clarifying the range of programs and services provided by the organization. KCADC needed a tool to help unify the team’s efforts, and empower employees to make updates to the sites themselves, rather than relying on IT or a third-party development resource. “Any time we needed to make uncommon content updates or add a map, we had to turn to an outside web development resource,” Orr said. “We needed to bring that responsibility in-house to cut costs and enable timely changes.”
The KCADC team turned to certified Progress Partner Triple-I, who recommended Progress® Sitefinity™ Content Management System (CMS). “Sitefinity CMS offers multisite functionality, which is an essential feature that enables us to bring various online destinations under one umbrella,” said Orr. “With Sitefinity, everyone has the ability to make content changes—it is intuitive and easy to use. It enables us to pull all of our separate sites into one location, keeping the process consistent and comprehensive.”
Sitefinity CMS’s multisite capabilities were a key factor in Triple-I’s recommendation. “Because of the need to consolidate five different existing sites, Sitefinity was the obvious choice,” said Mark DeVoe, Group Technical Director from Triple-I. “I’ve worked with numerous content management systems and in terms of its multisite capabilities, usability and support, Sitefinity is far and away the best available solution.”
Triple-I had to integrate several separate databases and functionalities into the new Sitefinity based website, including KCADC’s investor management system, a real estate database and a major employer database—all of which are proprietary systems. However, once all the systems were combined, KCADC employees quickly got up to speed.
“We always tell our clients we provide eight hours of training on a new site,” said DeVoe. “With Sitefinity, it only takes a couple hours and you’re off and running with the essential functionalities.”
The new site, http://www.thinkkc.com/, launched in May 2015 as a full-featured, modernized and mobile responsive website with information on business, life, events and news in the Kansas City area. It provides potential investors with membership information, and everything businesses and individuals need to know about moving to and succeeding in the KC region.
Although a lack of benchmark data makes quantifying the results of implementing Sitefinity difficult, Orr said the project has led to numerous improvements. “Our investor-members can create custom profile pages and share in-depth information with our audiences,” she said. “We can create custom landing pages to showcase the KC region, enhancing our ability to attract businesses and talent to the area. The ability to customize the site ourselves has saved us a lot of time.” Prior to Sitefinity, KCADC spent roughly $40,000 per year for third-party web development services—a cost that has been eliminated.
In addition to simplifying and accelerating updates, the KCADC has been able to establish a strong, consistent brand with a beautiful, captivating site. “Using Sitefinity is very intuitive,” said Orr. “The widgets are fantastic—you just drag and drop and there it is. Content flows into the design easily.”
At Triple-I, DeVoe is already working with new functionality in Sitefinity 9.0, called Project Feather, which eliminates development overhead by simplifying widget creation. “We’re already using this new functionality with another client, with great success,” he said.
In the future, the team at KCADC will consider building APIs to integrate the new site with the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics, bringing even more relevant and valuable information to audiences. “Progress continues to deliver new features and capabilities in its solutions that address the need for organizations like ours to modernize and transform our digital assets,” said Cindy Brittain, Research Director for Business Development, KCADC. “With Sitefinity CMS, we now have a modern, comprehensive website and a strong online presence that will adapt and grow with us and the changing needs of our audiences.”
About Kansas City Area Development Council
The Kansas City Area Development Council serves the 18-county, two-state Kansas City area by marketing the region’s business and lifestyle assets to companies around the world. Working closely with its 50+ state, county and community partners and its more than 250 corporate partners across the region, KCADC has attracted companies pledging to create more than 60,000 new jobs over its 40-year history. KCADC also leads the efforts behind the KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort, KCnext and TeamKC. Visit thinkkc.com for more information.
As Kansas City's premier B2B Technology Consultancy, Triple-I’s focus for more than 45 years continues to be on the application of emerging technology to solve its clients' business problems. With a diverse mix of industry, design, marketing and consulting experience, Triple-I blends creativity and technology to help clients achieve business success through its innovative services and solutions. Triple-I specializes in Digital Experience (Website Development, Mobile Development, Creative Design, User Experience and Application Development), IT Optimization (Cloud, Virtualization and Infrastructure) and Talent as a Service. www.triplei.com