Cloud Construct developed a unique online experience for In-House Agency Forum (IHAF) which allows them to schedule and accept payment for events, interact with members, and publish amazing new content all from Orchard CMS.
In-House Agency Forum (IHAF)
IHAF has been the leading professional association for in-house agencies for some time now and while providing great events and content for their members, their website was not setup to help them do the best they could. IHAF recognized this and worked closely with Cloud Construct to overhaul the user experience, update the visual design of the site, and place the website on a new Content Management system. Secondly, updating the site to be responsive was a key item for the re-design because this would allow members to browse content from their tablets and phones. The IHAF team was great to work with and gave us a handful of information up front to help us in architecting a solution that worked for them and allowed them to offload many of their day-to-day activies to automated flows on the site. Lastly, they wanted to integrate with their CRM system Capsule and Mercury payment systems so that they could accept online payments and also report back user activity to their CRM.
After following an iterative process for wireframe development and collaborating in many phone and on-site meetings the team came to an agreement on wireframes that they were proud of. We were able to accomodate members with new sections specifically for them and also creating microsites for the larger IHAF Awards and In-House Agency of the Year gave agencies a great way to interact with each other. IHAF also was able to collapse their blog into the main site which was previously hosted outside of the site. The visual design phase was important because we collaborated with the in-house team to create something both sides were powerful. As any agency will attest to, it is very important to make sure in-house teams and external teams need to work together to be successful. Working with the IHAF team was exactly that.
The development of the site began with templating of the various pages in Orchard CMS. Orchard is now on version 1.9.2 and offers some excellent features to allow us to rapidly spin up new pages quickly. The IHAF site has many downloadable resources, client login, and e-commerce for events. These features are very easy to plugin to Orchard. Because our team has integrated with Mercury in the past we were able to easily provide a hosted checkout solution so users could pay for events easily and rapidly. Orchard being hosted in the the Windows Azure cloud also offers great solutions for page caching, assets CDN, and storage. It is a powerful development stack that let us rapidly build out a site with some enterprise level features.
IHAF launched the site in January 2016 and is now able to manage member accounts easily and reduce the number or mundane tasks that once were done via email and over the phone. They also were able to reduce the hosting footprint of their site by migrating their blog to the new site, integrated with their CRM, bringing event management into the site, and allowing for content management by team administrators. The team can now focus on expanding benefits for members and adding great new programs to their event calendar for 2016.
Here are some highlights of the site technology :
In-House Agency Forum
Year: 2015 User Experience, Design, Content Management
Technology: Orchard CMS, Windows Azure, SQL Azure, Windows Azure Storage, Mercury integration, Capsule integration.
"The IHAF team is very happy with our new website backend. We've been able to minimize the manual labor we were doing previously and it's great to have the site speaking to our CRM system."
- Emily Foster, Associate Director, In-House Agency Forum