Unified enterprise platform to build engaging websites

Each business unit at e-skills will be empowered to update and control its own website, and users able to access any of the sites with a single login as the platform is integrated with the CRM System.

e-skills needed a unified enterprise platform. Historically each business unit had their own website built on different platforms by different agencies. This created inefficiencies, high costs and unnecessary duplication.

CRM integration allows single sign-on

A number of CMS solutions were considered, however for its out- of- the-box features and functionality, Episerver went beyond what many of its competitors offered and seemed the most natural fit. "We are also building communities on these sites and Episerver CMS and its community product Episerver Relate fitted with our requirements," says Barnaby Moffat, director at Foresite.

As it is a .NET environment, it was easy to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Users will be able to go online to create an account and with this login they will be able to access multiple e-skills UK websites. The needs of e-skills UK's website users often change over time and as they do, different programmes and thus different websites may be more applicable. With this system, users won't need to re-register. Each business unit has responsibility for updating its particular site and editorial control has been tailored to a granular level, down to who can edit what pages.

Engaging users, learning by stealth

Part of the e-skills UK remit is to run initiatives to improve the UK's IT skills and it runs a number of different sites targeted at different age groups and audiences. For example, CC4G provides extra-curricular activities to address the many misconceptions of IT for an audience of 10-14 year olds. It wants to help them to rethink their perception of the IT industry and ultimately to consider a technology-related career.

"They aim to create 'stealth learning' environments," says Barnaby. "Users do not want to be lectured at and we want them to them to understand the breadth of IT roles and consider a career in IT. More than 135,000 girls in 3,700 schools have benefitted from CC4G so far, and over two thirds of those participating in the extra-curricula clubs say they are more likely to consider a career in technology as a result." Big Ambition is aimed at a slightly higher age group (14+) where young people can learn about the variety of careers where Iin technology.

It includes lots of videos from many real life professionals working for some of the best IT employers in the world.. Each of e-skills UK's sites (and there are 15 running on 10 servers) has its own personality aimed at engaging users, with content relevant to each target market.

Great features bring time and money savings

"We are developing new sites on the newest generation of Episerver CMS and we're benefitting from the improvements to the product. We can deploy new sites rapidly and under pressure. Editors like the new interface and find it intuitive to use, the quick links in the OnlineCenter are a great help."

Although each team runs its website independently of the others, the benefit is that they can share some content, features, functionality and assets, in particular pictures, video content and files. "Another useful feature that Episerver has is page comparison, this is great when editors are working in both English and Welsh and need to check that they have translated all the elements on a page," says Barnaby.

Episerver Relate is used to create the corporate-wide online communities, from forums to facebook-like communites. With its in-built templates, Foresite were able to quickly adapt the templates for each community and choose how much functionality was needed." Having the templates is a significant time and money saver," says Barnaby.

About e-skills

e-skills UK is the Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology. It works on behalf of employers to ensure the UK has the technology skills it needs to succeed in a global digital economy. Its work covers software, internet and web, IT services, telecommunications and business change. A not-for-profit, employer-led organisation, it brings together employers, educators and Government to address together the technology-related skills issues no one party can solve on its own.

Episerver CMS provided a foundation for us to build on and let us do what we do, designing websites. We improved the online presence for e-skills UK, joined it with the CRM to allow single sign on for all users, with added benefits of rationalizing costs

Barnaby Moffat, Director Foresite

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Barnaby Moffat

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Barnaby Moffat