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Case Studies

  • How Sitefinity underpinned a collaborative and unified TAFE SA business model

    • Industry
      Vocational Education and Training
    • Background
      TAFE SA represents a network of three independent institutes, two in metropolitan Adelaide ( TAFE SA Adelaide North Institute & TAFE SA Adelaide South Institute), and one which covers regional South Australia (TAFE SA Regional). These institutes are the leading and largest public providers of vocational education and training (VET) in South Australia delivering courses to an average of 80,000 students per year across more than 48 sites across the state. TAFE SA institutes offer training across more than 80 activity and industry-related areas. TAFE SA is a significant part of the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology (DFEEST), and plays a major role in the development of South Australia’s workforce and community. TAFE SA employs approximately 2400 employees, in a range of lecturing, administrative and management positions across the three institutes.
    • Challenge
      TAFE SA is participating in a competitive training market so visibility and standing out from other competitors was a top priority. The challenge was to present a single distinctive website that was unified under the TAFE SA brand, yet provide identity, context and content for entities that constitute TAFE SA. The technical goal was to design an intuitive, easy to use website that could integrate our course information from a third-party system and to utilize Sitefinity navigation, master pages and themes for design integration. From an administrative perspective, the goal was to ensure the CMS was simple to maintain, architecturally capable of sophisticated search engine optimization techniques and provided the flexibility to support the demands of the organizational structure.
    • Why Sitefinity
      Sitefinity was evaluated alongside a number of other products developed on the asp.net framework. Through this evaluation Sitefinity offered the best value functionality and level of flexibility. Sitefinity also came with a great ‘out of the box’ feature set and fitted in with TAFE’s longer term development road map.
    • Technical details
      ASP.net 3.5 Microsoft SQL Server Adobe Flash jQuery Customised XML/XSLT controls Url rewriting
    • Results
      Sitefinity has provided the foundation to transition the website to a decentralized publishing model supported by a user-friendly CMS. Enthusiasm is high, performance is improved, and the organization is looking increasingly to the internet to provide services and support the teaching, learning and information needs of the organization. The website is continuing to grow with a real sense of ownership and participation from organizational units. Customers and stakeholders are finding content more easily, and content is easier and quicker to maintain and develop than before.
  • The Challenge

    Recent changes in government funding approaches and the introducing of state training initiatives will open up the market and increase the demand training in South Australia. TAFE SA will need to compete with other private registered training organizations for these new training placements. From an online perspective, this requires a website that is intuitive and easy to use, ranks well in search engines and is constantly updated with fresh and relevant content supporting the quality of the training provided. The web site provides the primary tool for prospective and current students to research and select their study pathways.

    Previous to our Sitefinity implementation, the TAFE SA website remained relatively under developed, although courses provided from an alternate database, still ranked high in the major search engines. Administration was also unintuitive and complicated to maintain, resulting in a fairly unstructured site, which was not easy to use.

    The Solution

    Sitefinity was chosen as the content management system for the TAFE SA website mostly because out of the box it provided an easy to use interface, content modules, workflow and permissions, and full integration into visual studio to allow custom development and extensibility of core functionality. The other key factors were the level of technical support, and cost competiveness of the product and service.

    From a technical perspective, the TAFE team was impressed with the underlying framework and ability to extend the Sitefinity functionality to their own requirements. In particular with the integration of their own course data, which is based on xml files generated from an internal system using URL rewriting master pages and some clever code.

    Finally, the Sitefinity interface provides ample options for search engine optimization techniques and we have extended that excellent core functionality with Google Sitemaps and Analytics integration. As a result of their efforts, the development team has seen improved user satisfaction, higher page ranks and increased page visits.

    The Results

    Sitefinity has enabled the website development team to be quick and responsive to staff requests. The building of web pages can be undertaken in less than half the time previously and course information can be easily integrated with minimal technical involvement. The ability to have direct management of page names and subsequent creation of “short” URLs has resulted in a significant reduction of red tape, and increase in staff satisfaction and costs.

    Feedback from the department has been extremely positive, and the utilization of the website for business and promotional information has increased significantly. Thus, the TAFE SA web development team is extremely pleased with the ease and flexibility of the Sitefinity platform, and continues to support the platform as a good choice for the TAFE SA websites.

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