Founded in 1908, The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) is the world’s largest membership organisation dedicated to the art and science of structural engineering. With over 30,000 members across 115 countries, they are internationally recognised for supporting, protecting and upholding professional standards within the structural engineering industry.
A rebuild was needed to enhance website functionality, bringing their eCommerce store to the new platform and consider brand continuity. IStructE were looking for an experienced Kentico partner with credible experience in the membership sector who they could work collaboratively with. That’s where we came in.
Building a futureproofed, responsive and accessible website was the main goal. IStructE aspire to make their new site the main channel of engagement for their young, technically savvy and global members. Working towards a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with tight timescales, the business wanted to work to an ‘agile’ method with their chosen partner.
Prior to the project beginning, IStructE had conducted user research which considered their target audiences, user journeys, key tasks and site map. Experts in building on Kentico, our role was to interpret, validate and apply these outputs as part of the rebuild with an emphasis on UX. Functionality enhancements needed to form part of the MVP with improvements to search, extensive CRM integration and the addition of an eCommerce store to Kentico all key objectives.
Maintaining business continuity was also a primary consideration. We needed to deliver a site for IStructE which included smart solutions, is easy to update, and would continue to provide a suitable platform for at least the next five years.
Following a successful first project phase, the MVP launch would be just the start of our partnership with an already established roadmap of future developments to deliver.
“The Institution of Structural Engineers have been connecting members globally for decades; we have recently been going through a programme of change to build a flexible and well-designed infrastructure that adapts to the needs of future audiences.
The newly launched website, built in Kentico, offers us a more robust and modern infrastructure, mobile-friendly and designed in a new brand. Kentico has given us the opportunity to greatly improve search functionality, automate key members’ processes and integrate the Institution’s portfolio of products and services into one eCommerce solution. We aim to offer members a more gratifying user experience while achieving our commercial goals.”
Futureproofing the website was an important consideration of the project. During IStructE’s CRM integration, we decoupled existing integrations using entity models from Kentico Integration Bus to create a long-lasting result. Rather than reworking the whole integration, a “plug-in” approach was used. This process allows for future business scalability if the CRM is updated or replaced in the future.
As IStructE possessed a vast digital estate, a code review of the existing implementation helped assess the opportunities to re-use code and migrate existing content. Our development team were able to look “under the hood” giving us more insight into future requirements. As the existing site was built in Kentico, we were able to repurpose complex components into the new centrally managed website allowing for seamless transfer of data between both systems.
Utilising Kentico’s vast feature offering, we were able to strategically reuse elements of IStructE’s existing installation which helped us deliver within the tight deadline. This included integrations, eCommerce and widgets. Using Kentico’s out-of-the-box eCommerce functionality, we were able to achieve this objective as part of the MVP. This makes the management of the store much easier for the web team moving forward. Additionally, Custom Smart Search indexes were written using Kentico’s framework allowing end-users to easily search with various filters for resources and events, providing users with a positive online experience.
Launching the MVP was just the start, with further phases of development completed since the initial launch. Continuing to work with IStructE on a retainer basis, we set to work fulfilling an established roadmap of things that didn’t fit within the MVP build due to timescales and budget availability.
Since the first phase, work has spanned several medium to large-sized projects. The first of which was the completion and go-live of student, graduate and chartered application forms which had formed later sprints as part of the agile approach. Other projects have involved improvements to their eCommerce functionality as well as work on their GDPR consent management alongside enhancements to search functionality. Evolving alongside their business requirements, a new section focused on expert witnesses has also been added.
Ensuring optimum site performance, we upgraded their Kentico version allowing IStructE to benefit from the latest technology as well as supported audits of other third-party systems to understand if and how they can be incorporated.
The largest of the projects since the original launch has been supporting the integration with their new CRM, Dynamics. Involved in the review process, IStructE requested our expertise in whittling down providers and we supported them on calls with the shortlisted choice. It was important to IStructE that we were able to work with the CRM provider which showed commitment to a long-term partnership.
Having built the new site in preparation for a new CRM at a later date, the foresight taken in our approach paid off. The fact the system was decoupled made it easier and less costly for this work to be implemented and Dynamics was successfully integrated following a smooth CRM migration.
Since launch in May 2019, the first two months of web and eCommerce data showed a very promising start:
- The migration was successful and organic traffic was up 3.40% YOY
- The level of direct sales of articles from the Institution’s flagship publication (The Structural Engineer) through the website have not only been maintained across the site migration but revenue was up 19% in June and 31% in July. Sales quantities increased by 32% and 242% respectively
- General commercial sales increased both in revenue (up 57% in June, and up 19% in July YOY) and in quantity (up 38% in June and up 3.5% in July YOY)
- There has been a significant increase in engagement with the Institution’s regional groups. Figures have doubled in just the first two months since launch
Working together for many years now, the partnership we’ve developed is an open and transparent relationship build on trust to deliver each phase of their project successfully. Our work continues with IStructE on an ongoing retainer basis which future plans in the pipeline.