&description=New Open Source Site for Leading Engineering Firm
KCI Technologies is a leading full service engineering firm offering design services for civil, structural and environmental engineering. Headquartered in Maryland, the company has a wide range of business units that it seeks to expand. While KCI competes with many larger firms and in multiple geographic markets, KCI has a strong history of complex projects, and can point to unusual sophistication in a number of technical business areas, that give the company an advantage over its competitors.
KCI needed a web site that reflects its expertise and promotes strong brand recognition in the variety of markets where it operates. The new site needed to convey the service offering and provide the validation that would be most valuable to the company to pass due diligence and RFP processes. Additionally, KCI also has a strong need to recruit employees, an activity which is in many cases geographically based, and which is an important driver for the company in its current market.
Specific key goals for the site included: provide a clear, recognizable brand impression and value promise for KCI as a single company; communicate KCI's product offering in a way that will make sense to the full range of audiences, without forcing the audiences to understand KCI's internal structure or history; leverage all of KCI's abilities along multiple geographies, and to help open up markets by validating activity in one market with capabilities used in others; leverage the validation KCI can get from its history, capabilities, expertise, and certifications aggressively, so that the right validation points are expressed to the right audience at the right level of detail; attract qualified employees in the right geographic areas and interest them in the company; use topical content to communicate a vital, active company in the marketplace; and use automated content management to create a user experience that efficiently supports the above goals.
The Berndt Group worked with KCI to focus on three additional priorities: create pervasive lead capture throughout the site (to this end, the site needed to express some conception of "conversion funnel"); Search Engine Optimization (important so that existing prospects and clients can find the site and so the company will make its way onto more RFP lists); and develop a Web Analytics Strategy (so that the company can tune the content and structure of its site over time in response to changing usage, and use the site to promote, for instance, special events for clients, while tracking the effectiveness of these one-off business development activities.)
Key audiences for the site include: current and perspective customers (because prospective customers will be visiting the site as part of their due diligence this audience is the most important to KCI); teaming partners (different classes of potential project sources or other related organizations that may bring KCI into a project based on existing relationships or reputation, where the lead source is a contractor already involved in the project); prospective employees (validating KCI as a potential employer); and competitors (the crucial thing here is to balance which information is given away, for instance, sensitive decisions about what levels of employees are listed, and access to client lists.)
KCI was interested in an Open Source Content Management solution for its new site. The Berndt Group developed KCI's new site in the Plone CMS. Through Plone, KCI manages its content in a more controlled manor than their previous CMS. Content managers can promote and feature content on the site's homepage, which is a priority for the company. Content reuse was a key part of this implementation. Contact information and relationships are placed in appropriate areas of the site using custom "back reference" taxonomy. The CMS also does not require developer updates to the site.