News

Perfecting the art of managing multiple websites on one simple system

Adele Button
  • 10 May 2016
  • 3 min read

Smithers is a name that has been synonymous with quality, integrity, professionalism and service for more than 85 years. The Smithers Group companies, each operating in a well-defined market, provide independent testing, consulting, information or compliance services.

Smithers website

The brief

With multiple websites across disparate platforms, Smithers wanted to pull everything onto one system to reduce the amount of time and expertise it takes to update content, whilst creating a uniform look and feel across the group.

Kentico offered a great solution to the membership and subscription model for Smithers’ services. The ecommerce element of Kentico also meant that Smithers could take full control over managing events and taking payments securely online, eliminating the need for costly third party management.

Ridgeway’s team were chosen as one of the few partners large enough to dedicate themselves to a project on such a large scale. With a track record in creating fully responsive and technically challenging websites, Ridgeway were the top choice.

The solution

Ridgeway’s team were chosen as one of the few partners large enough to dedicate themselves to a project on such a large scale.

The project started with a collaborative Discovery Phase that uncovered user and business requirements from stakeholders across the globe. This helped to assess priorities and processes, whilst keeping usability and accessibility at the heart of the project.

We started with the 3 main Smithers sites - Apex (events, market research, and publications), Pira (world authority on packaging, paper and print industry supply chains) and Rapra (global leader in rubber, plastics, polymer and composites testing and consulting services).

We then moved on to the events sites – a massive revenue generator for the business. Smithers host and create sites for up to 50 events per year, so it was critical that these were easy to spin up and manage. Templates allowed for consistently branded event sites to be up and ready to take registrations in less than 1 hour.

Smithers spend a lot of time and money researching and creating publications for their industries, so the ability to monetize premium content has led to the creation of a number of subscription sites.

The Smithers sites automatically hook into Microsoft Dynamics CRM and allow customers to pay worldwide (with appropriate tax calculations) through SagePay.

Ridgeway’s team worked in a mix of the most appropriate elements from both Waterfall and Agile methodologies, containing two week sprints for code development (including testing) and daily stand-ups to manage the scope and delivery of the product backlog. 

It was important for all the sites to be optimised for mobile, so we designed every site to be fully responsive to every device. Detailed wireframes for desktop, tablet and mobile devices were produced to agree the structure of content and navigation before development.

Ridgeway continue to work with Smithers to bring the rest of their websites onto the Kentico system with the same look and feel. We’re looking at how the Enterprise Marketing System could further simplify internal processes by automating certain communications to followers and subscribers.

The Ridgeway team have put a lot of effort into what has been a complex technical project to create a uniform look and feel with simple management across the Smithers sites ​Chris Noon
Head of Online & CRM, Smithers Group

The results

Ridgeway have taken an incredible amount of digital information, needs and goals and created a simple, cost effective and scalable solution for the entire Smithers Group.

Central user account management deals with memberships and subscriptions across all sites with shared content and functionality where needed.

The Kentico system allows for a secure way for members to register and securely pay for events online, without Smithers paying a fee to a third party host.

Integrated with key systems, Kentico automates everyday tasks to free time up to grow the business.

Smithers’ position as a professional thought leader is further solidified by a strong consistent design across the main sites.