B2C - CONSULTING - EDUCATION
How Okanagan College trained its technical staff to become open source experts in the process of re-architecting the institutions global digital presence.
Technology is ever-changing. Keeping teams trained up while maintaining day-to-day operations is a hurdle. Hiring a digital consulting agency can get your digital projects moving forward without having to wait.
In-house technical teams are a huge asset for global institutions. Working with a 3rd party consultant to guide the redevelopment of your online eco-system enables:
- An outsider’s point of view: an expert hand to guide the foundation of your system, and training to create self-sufficiency in the process.
- Extra manpower without permanent hires: expert teams only while you need them, to tackle the complex parts and talk through the approach to pass along the knowledge.
- Specialized help: technical experts as required, ad-hoc to pinpoint security, scalability, performance and overall approach.
- Unbiased advice: knowledge and input based on your project goal, not politics.
- Overall cost savings: avoid costly rebuilds and save time with expert guidance.
This was exactly the case for Okanagan College. Their in-house team of developers was completely capable of getting all the heavy lifting done; they needed a third-party vendor that provided guidance and knowledge to assist and educate their team through the redesign of their site build. Acro Commerce was happy and privileged to provide that guidance and training to get the project off the ground and across the finish line.
In-house IT team supported through the build and launch of their site on a flexible CMS.
Okanagan College is a public post-secondary educational institution in British Columbia, Canada. They provide a wide range of academic, vocational, trades, apprenticeship, continuing education programs and courses. Their website provides recruits, students, faculty, staff and their community with online applications, program information, scheduling and class material, as well as providing an event calendar, emergency alerts and controls digital signage.
With lofty goals and high demand for a platform upgrade, Okanagan College’s development and front-end marketing team were frustrated with their current inflexible tool. It required extensive hours of IT time in order to align with business operations and the desire for a vastly improved experience for everyone that had to interact with it.
Independently designing a new architecture on a completely new CMS is a daunting task for many companies to take on, even with an experienced in-house team of developers. As they dove into the project, Okanagan College recognized that there was an expertise gap within their organization. This sparked the conversation with our team to assist with the architectural design, educational learnings and build of their new site.
What Okanagan College wanted to achieve through collaboration, consultation and training with Acro Commerce.
Their competent in-house development team required a third-party vendor that provided guidance and knowledge to assist and educate their team through redesigning their site build.
They knew what their followers wanted from their online customizable shopping experience.
They understood their organizational objectives:
- To have a third-party vendor educate & train their development and front-end marketing team on how to build, support and maintain their site independently.
- Discover the fundamentals of their new CMS and design an industry-leading digital architecture.
- Learn the benefits of the open-source community and how to utilize the available contributions to maintain and improve their site.
They knew they wanted:
- An effective solution to control digital signage, emergency alerts, real-time updates and event calendars.
- Allow content workflows and editing/microsites per educational department and team without IT’s help.
- User-friendly administration workflows that restrict permissions and streamline operations for both backend and frontend users.
- Experience design support creating a website wireframe and design that encompasses their brand and provides an industry-leading user experience.
- In-depth technical consultation with their development team to identify what they need to complete the build.
- A dedicated team to educate their development and front-end marketing team on the new CMS.
- Expert guides to map out security, scalability and performance standards to guarantee a secure foundation to work from going forward.
Support a capable team through the discovery and build of their open-source CMS solution using Acro Commerce’s strategic development methodology built on Agile principles:
- Uncover and accommodate the needs of all stakeholders.
- Review and support Okanagan College’s Public Affairs team throughout the wireframing and design process.
- Consult on best practices using the Axure toolset.
- Identify the purpose of individual software components, which modules would be used, and which modules needed to be custom-built.
- Recommend additional software components to be modified, replaced or maintained and connected.
- Internal and external Q&A.
- Weekly training and consultations for IT, UX and creative design.
- Developer to developer training, creating an independent team to program and maintain the system going forward.
An effective flexible digital ecosystem that was created and now maintained by Okanagan College’s internal development team, supported by Acro Commerce’s development and UX training and consultation.
By consulting and working in tandem to teach their in-house team Acro Commerce’s expert team allowed Okanagan College to:
- Create an optimized user flow and design for their new website that implemented user experience best practices.
- Implement a website with streamlined administrative management tools.
- Learn the robust Drupal ecosystem through training and supported development.
- Learn how to use Gitlab’s version control tool to manage and deploy code.
- Gain knowledge on server architecture and security best practices.