Starting in early-2017, Manning & Napier asked Cloud to collaborate on a website update and client portal. The result was Cloud and Manning & Napier coming together to establish their new site in the Azure public cloud, in a slick new content management system that allowed the Client Services and Marketing team greater content control and flexibility.
Manning & Napier was looking to move their public website infrastructure and client reporting tool to the cloud. Manning & Napier holds roughly $25.1 billion in assets under management (as of January 31, 2018). Their clients could not feel any discomfort transitioning to the new experience, especially the investor login; therefore, Manning & Napier needed to have complete confidence in their partner as well as the solution. For the past nine years, Cloud has extensive experience migrating firms to Azure and working with companies in the financial services industry. Cloud proved to be the right partner for this problem.
The Cloud team and Manning & Napier team arranged to work in a collaborative way for most of the year to migrate the website to a new platform and cloud infrastructure. This allowed for an updated mobile friendly design, reduction of hosting costs by moving to Azure, and a much simpler content authoring system that would not only provide more flexibility, but would allow the sales and marketing team greater insights into the needs and actions of their visitors. Additionally, the team was intent on increasing the calls to action for potential customers as well as improving the overall search engine optimization.
Manning & Napier's corporate office is in Rochester, NY, and the Cloud team is in multiple locations, mostly in New England. We overcame the distance easily using collaboration tools and holding regular sprint meetings to prioritize and plan. The Manning & Napier creative and user experience team provided new wireframes and visual designs for the site, while Cloud worked closely with the IT department to migrate secure documents, the hosting platform, and database to Microsoft's cloud platform, Azure.
The new website was built on a flexible and scalable Content Management System called Orchard. Orchard is built on the .NET framework and supports some of the best features of Azure including Redis Cache, BLOB storage, CDN, SQL Azure, and Windows Azure Web Apps. Manning & Napier's new site required a flexible workflow for new clients to register and gain access to their portfolio information as well as advisors who wish to access information on behalf of their clients. Daily product pricing information is loaded into the site via web jobs and cached for quick page loads. Along with assisting in the FINRA approval process, Quality Testing phases, and Launch, both teams worked together to make sure the new site checked all the boxes and was ready for launch. One of the key pieces of the migration was how we would transition clients to the new site. The teams worked together and drew up a smooth User Experience for existing clients to continue their access with no interruption. This included an awareness campaign and a clear path for migration.
January 11, 2018, marked a great day for both teams when the new site went live. The new design looks fantastic across all devices and the product data provided by the site was easy to find for investors and users looking for new information. Manning & Napier prides themselves with having a great Research Library and Blog section on the site. They continue to add significant amounts of new content regularly. They can now easily update content across the site as well as on-board new users and troubleshoot existing accounts. The new site marks another great user experience for both teams and Cloud will continue to work with Manning & Napier via our Maintenance Retainer program, providing new updates to the site and enhancing the site according to the experience roadmap each month.
Manning & Napier
Technology: Windows Azure, Microsoft SQL Azure, C#, Orchard CMS, Azure BLOB Storage
"Cloud Construct brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our project that allowed us to realize our vision for our new site. Their approachable style made solving problems and sharing ideas a truly collaborative process. The team was on top of their game and quickly implemented solutions to meet our challenges."
- Eric Scafetta, Interactive Art Director