To the Dutch “Hospitality And Catering Association (BHenC)” it was clear that the way of communication and the way their services were made available had to be adapted to the contemporary dynamics of this branch. Their ‘knowledge concept’ had formed already the communication guidelines for several years and had to be further developed to become a ‘knowledge platform’ for and by enterprises in the branch. A multimedia communication concept “Knowledge Café” was designed as the center of all communication activities. The choice was made for full digital reachability of current market information as well as for tools to compare and improve the businesses.
Existing informative and specific sites had to be bundled into one new portal as an interactive ‘knowledge platform’. But the existing website in place was completely based on static HTML pages. The website was previously managed by a single website designer, and therefore all changes to the website required the designer's intervention for updating and publishing content. With the frequency of content changes, updates were not always deployed in a timely fashion. BHenC needed to adopt a system whereby non-technical end users could easily modify and deploy content without intervention of the website designer.
As part of the analysis and exploration process, several content management systems were reviewed. Amongst these systems were several free ASP.Net based systems, as well as several commercial systems. Amongst all of the available systems, Sitefinity CMS seemed the most appealing for its ease of use, integration with the Telerik RadControls suite and its extremely affordable pricing. After presentation to BHenC, they agreed that Sitefinity CMS was definitely the most viable candidate for adoption.
Once the development began on the project, the transition from the earlier static HTML website was very fast. Through the use of the Generic Content controls, the static content could be easily pasted and published. For content that needed to be shared and utilized across the website, the Shared Generic Content controls were extremely handy in reducing duplication of content. Template generation proceeded effortlessly through the use of ASP.Net Master Pages. Utilization of ASP.Net AJAX technologies also provided seamless integration and adoption of the AJAX Control Toolkit. Finally, availability of the Telerik RadControls provided an excellent solution for developing custom capabilities such as a dynamic calendar.
The initial transition from the static website to a Sitefinity content-managed website was surprisingly quick. Within approximately two weeks, the templates and the content had been completely migrated to the Sitefinity-based website. An initial version of the website was published shortly thereafter, thus allowing end-users to begin publishing new and updated content very readily. Once the initial website version was published, development continued on providing additional dynamic content capabilities such as a Slideshow based on the AJAX Control Toolkit Slideshow control as well as a dynamic calendar control utilizing the Telerik RadCalendar control.
Within approximately one month, the entire process of development was completed and fully deployed to production. Content that previously needed to be updated by a single web designer could now be published by several end users whenever the need arose. The cost of publishing changes to the website was drastically reduced and updated content was able to be published quicker, thereby reducing the amount of incoming calls. Additional improvements to the website were easily adopted through the migration of static content to utilization of the Lists, News and Event modules.
Today the portal is modernized to an online ‘knowledge center’, full of free information, inspiration and tools. The portal www.kenniscentrumhoreca.nl became not only their corporate design but also the main communication channel for the enterprises. And at the same time a portal of access to the products and services for them. Services like for instance business information uploaded by other colleagues and/or employees, current market information – everything fully digital and personalized. Thus a true online “Knowledge Café” with all needed information and even with tools for comparing and improving their business. Efficient, practical and personal. One of the main features is the easy access. The number of visitors continues to increase and there are, not only entrepreneurs accessing the portal, but also catering trainees, research agencies, suppliers and other business services. All this was made possible with Sitefinity CMS.