Create a web site which can be easily updated, scalable, affordable, always online and able to meet the strict military requirements for hosting a public web site.
The Marine Corps Community Services of Camp Pendleton California uses the web site www.mccscp.com for communication to all enlisted personal and their family members who are stationed at Camp Pendleton. The web site provides information such as current news and events, entertainment activities, lodging, shopping and family counseling. Over the years, more and more military personnel and their families would pass through Camp Pendleton and the requirements for the web site were constantly changing. Camp Pendleton is now the size of a small city and the information listed on its web site is critical to supporting the troops and their families while they are stationed at the facility.
After struggling with trying to make simple content updates using several different CMS applications, it became clear that there was a need for a single CMS application that would allow for expansion and growth sustainable over the next five 5 years. Open Source was not an option and the selected vendor must be able to provide support, upgrades and new functionality. After significant research and reviews, a handful of CMS applications were chosen, however only one stood out: Sitefinity.
One of the most challenging requirements for this CMS application was meeting the needs of two distinct user segments that would be using the web site. Military personnel and the marketing staff and division members who are publishing and updating information on the site. The requirements were broken down into two categories.
Requirements for military personnel and their families
• Fast and easy to navigate
• Accurate with updated information
• No broken links or errors
• Ability to register for online services
• Secured user access with account information
• Notifications via email or SMS messaging
Requirements for staff and division managers
• Easy to use and update content
• Always online and available
• Single sign-on
• Permission-based page groups
• Quick to implement and deploy
A web site based on a Microsoft solution and a CMS application from a trusted vendor. The winner is Sitefinity.
When conducting research on a new CMS application there are many things that a person has to consider. Aside the obvious, we did not want to choose a vendor who might be out of business within several years, but we could also not afford $30K CMS license on top of integration costs, usually found in larger more aggressive CMS companies. Sitefinity was chosen because we knew the parent company, Telerik, is strong and profitable, and the functionality in Sitefinity is comparable to that of a $30K CMS application.
After comparing apples to apples, it is just amazing what you get out of the box with Sitefinity. The license and integration cost is minimal allowing for resources to be used elsewhere. Upgrading Sitefinity is easy, as it does not overwrite any customized code that has been created. Support requests are usually answered within several hours, and the community of developers now supporting Sitefinity is growing at a rapid pace.
The MCCS staff finds Sitefinity extremely easy to use for updating content and creating pages. After the site went live, several additional Sitefinity modules were created allowing for enlisted personnel and their family members the ability to register online for family counseling services. Counseling facilitators can also log in and see who is registered for an event or class and communicate directly with each registrant via email or SMS messaging. Enlisted personnel seldom have a computer and use their cell phone solely for email and messaging. When a class is cancelled or rescheduled, it is imperative that we communicate with them as quickly as possible.
The enlisted personnel who visit the site find it very easy to navigate and use. They are able to quickly find the information they need and register for events, gift giveaways and counseling services. “When fires broke out on base, I was amazed how fast the web site was updated announcing gate closures and the location of the fires. My child attends day care services on base, and www.mccscp.com gave me the information I needed quickly and accurately.”