Managing hundreds of sites while maintaining the integrity of the Boy Scouts message and brand.
The Boy Scouts of America needed a CMS that would scale to include hundreds of different sites, while allowing them to adhere to their brand standards of look, messaging and content.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. There are more than 121,000 BSA units, including Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturing crews.
The BSA has hundreds of websites dedicated to serving the Scout community, ranging from the corporate level down to local councils. Prior to Sitecore, the BSA maintained a flat-file HTML website that was 100% hand-coded. In addition, content editors across various regions were versed in different content management systems – which created inconsistent messaging and design on the local web sites.
The BSA needed one content management solution (CMS) that would streamline content management on all of their sites, while allowing them to maintain a consistent message and brand. Their requirements included:
Ease of Use: The CMS had to be easy to use, because most of the content editors were not highly technical.
Ability to integrate with other systems: The CMS needed to be able to integrate with databases and other systems currently in place, such as an extensive media library and proprietary authentication process to protect the security of the organization’s members.
Scalability: With more than 4.7 million members, the solution needed to be able to handle a huge amount of traffic across hundreds of sites, without a glitch.
According to Eric Brown, CMS Project Manager, Boy Scouts of America, “We needed to move into a CMS to gain content management capabilities. Additionally, the Boy Scouts of America were looking for a way to easily host and manage Local Council websites (approximately 304) and all National websites (approximately 40) in one location.”
The BSA selected mindSHIFT Technologies help them meet their online goals. mindSHIFT, one of Sitecore’s first partners in the US, was already familiar with the Sitecore CMS, and they knew it would offer the scalability and flexibility required by the BSA to ultimately power all of their sites. mindSHIFT also maintains one of the largest Sitecore-certified teams of developers in the country.
Says Brown, “Sitecore was selected due to its ability to customize and extend. The fact that it is a 100% .NET solution fit into the Boy Scouts of America IT strategy.”
mindSHIFT and BSA developed a wizard for site creation that allows areas for individual or region-specific content, while maintaining brand standards such as fonts, colors and corporate content. According to Tracey Klein, Divisional VP, Sales, mindSHIFT Technologies, “Sitecore’s flexibility allows content managers to seamlessly maintain brand messaging and presentation of the content.”
As a youth organization, BSA goes to great lengths to protect the privacy of its members through a multi-layered authentication process. mindSHIFT was able to develop a unified login system by integrating Sitecore with BSA’s proprietary databases, which allows a variety of users to log in to the public site to access particular resources.
The Boy Scouts of America launched their new National Council website. The site offers rich content, updated web pages, RSS feeds, and an internal search function - and has been very well received by the entire community.
Some of the Sitecore features that have helped them reach their goals include:
Workflow: Content editors update sites using a sophisticated workflow within Sitecore. This has helped them transition from a time-consuming and tedious paper process, to a more efficient workflow that allows content to be submitted to copywriters for editing, and then re-routed to the appropriate content manager for final approval. This process ensures that content is reviewed along the proper lines before distribution to the general public.
Ease of Use: The content editors have found Sitecore intuitive and accessible. Plus, mindSHIFT has created an online training module and helpdesk, which will help with the transition from a variety of different CMS’s to one unified structure with multilevel site capability.
Scalability: The sites will expand in both functionality and accessibility: BSA intends on incorporating social media features to build the scouting community as well as develop a Spanish language version of their main site.
Extensibility: According to Brown, the integration of Sitecore with Cumulus has been the unheralded success story of this project. The BSA has been using Cumulus for the past five years to manage a library of more than 300,000 images, and the program worked smoothly with Sitecore right off the bat.
For the next phase of the project, mindSHIFT and BSA are working to implement Sitecore within thirty-three national Boy Scout sites, as well as the 300-plus local council sites.
Site Special Ingredients
Google mini appliance for search
Integration with multi-layered authentication system and membership databases
Cumulus Digital for asset management