Improving engagement and search with a new CMS in under 5 months

A responsive Sitecore Content Management System implemented on an aggressive timeline with complex integrations, high security considerations and enhanced search capabilities.

Client Name

British Columbia Securities Commission

Services

  • Project Management
  • Business Analysis & Decision Support
  • UX & Design
  • Content Management System Implementation
  • Content Migration
  • Custom Development
  • Information Architecture
  • Accessibility
  • Integration
  • Taxonomy
  • Support, Documentation & Training

Technologies

  • .NET
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Sitecore Experience Platform
  • Azure Search
  • Azure Infrastructure

Client Needs

The Commission wanted to update their public website and required a robust Content Management System to integrate with various internal systems to provide real-time information to their users. They needed the implementation done on a tight deadline and selected Bayleaf for its experience with government security needs and for its expertise with Sitecore. Key to the project were: an improved search that needed to crawl content outside of the CMS, a subscription service based on new content types published, a responsive design and significant improvements to search.

Our Solutions

Strategy & Planning – high security and tight deadlines

BCSC originally approached Bayleaf because of our experience handling government requirements in privacy, data, and security. Bayleaf’s unique combination of technical ability and experience with government, allowed us to help the Commission determine the best technology, security, and hosting options for a new website.

Once the decision was made to use Sitecore, an intense, two-month period of requirements gathering occurred with Commission stakeholders and the web team. From the workshops and planning meetings, extensive wireframes and requirement definitions were created to serve as a digital roadmap for both the development and content teams. With tight timelines in place, these artifacts were key to creating alignment across design, development, and content.

Content Migration to Sitecore and the Cloud

The remaining time left a scant three-month window to migrate, integrate and develop. One of the main concerns of the project was the Law and Policy section, with its extensive cross-referencing and historical linking. As the primary reference for the financial industry, BCSC wanted to ensure that website visitors would have a continuity in experience by having the section migrated intact.

Bayleaf was able to accomplish this through a careful mapping and content model plan to efficiently execute a programmatic migration. The entire section was successfully migrated with no loss of content or linking.

Static content pages were manually managed by the content team, as they required internal review and revision to align with the new IA. After consideration and research, Bayleaf determined that content from external data sources would best be handled via a scheduled synchronization process, with placeholder items created within Sitecore. This would improve search speed while maintaining the existing information structures.

Search and System Integration

One of the most challenging issues for the previous BCSC website was the way global search executed. Due to the integration of external content sources, users experienced significant lag time to get results because the search utility had to scan these outside services.

Bayleaf’s solution was to leverage the power of Azure Search. We chose to synchronize external sources by creating placeholder items within Sitecore. This gives BCSC the ability to tag this content and associate meta data with it. The placeholders are then indexed as part of Azure Search, resulting in faster more accurate results. Each night a query runs for any changes between the resources and the Sitecore placeholders. The synchronization updates to Sitecore include content changes and new/deleted items to mirror the exterior sources.

The net effect of searching synchronized placeholders within Sitecore (instead of external resources) is the almost instantaneous search results delivered, providing an experience users have come to expect.

Another search enhancement was the of implementation of facets, which allow users to drill down into deeper content, like an ecommerce site that allows users to make progressive choices for narrower results. Working with BCSC to develop a robust taxonomy, and creating auto tagging for distinct content types, the facets implemented are unique to the Commission and can be updated through Sitecore as the terms evolve.