Project Summary and Client Background
Studer Group needed to have two sites that could be managed in a central point. These sites needed to provide advanced e-commerce functionality, two-way integration with business systems and online marketing tools. It also needed to provide an optimal user experience to their vast client base across mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers. Lastly, the sites had to have high availability with optimal performance.
- Share user accounts, customers and contacts across both websites.
- The ability to support Studer Group’s business model with our solution. Their model involves organizations as customers who have specific access and privileges based on contracts they purchase. The users of these organizations then inherit these rights.
- Develop a 2-way integration from the cloud to an on-premise installation of Dynamics SL to keep order, product, contract and other data in sync.
- Develop a 2-way integration between Kentico and Dynamics CRM Online to keep contact (lead) information in sync.
- We needed to extend the e-commerce system to handle custom pricing rules, custom discount coupons and events as products.
- We needed real-time shipping rates from UPS based on Studer Group’s negotiated contract with UPS.
- The ability to calculate real-time sales tax for the 13 states that Studer Group sells within.
- Build 2 –way integration with Studer Group’s fulfillment house (Garvey Group) to automate order processing and shipment tracking.
- Provide an enhanced user experience that is optimized for both mobile and desktop devices.
The main goals of this project included:
- Improve employee efficiency by eliminating manual processes
- Empower more individuals to manage the various aspects of the sites and their content
- Eliminate the problems associated with disconnected systems
- Expand their online product offering
- Improve the user experience
We helped Studer Group understand the necessity of purchasing an Enterprise Marketing Solution license for both sites plus the licenses for an extra server. This allowed us to leverage the Enterprise Marketing tool for their online marketing needs. We also deployed the site to Windows Azure in dual instances to provide for the high availability and performance needs.
For the different integration scenarios, we leveraged the Integration Bus to subscribe to object changes and perform the necessary actions. Each system had a different method for passing data such as through a VPN tunnel connection to Dynamics SL, through middleware for Dynamics CRM and through web service calls for Garvey Group, UPS and Avalara.
When it came to extending the e-commerce platform to support the needs of Studer Group, we developed custom controls and process that inherited from and extended the functionality within the Kentico API. We also added additional columns to the various tables to support the additional data that needed to be captured.
A combination of the Integration Bus and Scheduled Tasks were used to administer the access and privileges of users when the contract with their organization was updated. The scheduled tasks were used to pull the data from Dynamics SL and update a field on the Account record for the organization. The Integration Bus listen to changes of the Account object and processed the updates down to the customer, contact and user objects associated with the account.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) techniques were used to ensure the site was optimal across mobile and desktop devices. This solution also means Studer Group only has to manage the content for a single site which was important given the need to improve employee efficiency.
Since the sites launched, Studer Group has seen great improvements in employee efficiency, data integrity and employee engagement. The solution has eliminated most of the manual, cross-department processes that Studer Group needed to go through in the past to update content and validate data. Also, having connected system has significantly cut down on errors in order processing which has saved them valuable time and revenue.
In the end, Studer Group now has the ability to use the time they save to focus on business growth. The Enterprise Marketing tool has given them their first online marketing abilities and they are now running successful automated campaigns and improving lead generation.
Studer Group has generated over $8.6 million in sales in the 11 months since launch.