Established in 1965 with the mission to "break down barriers in language, culture, and geography," EF Education First (EF) is the world's leading international education company. With a network of 400 schools and offices worldwide EF specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degrees, and cultural exchange programs. EF has helped over 15 million students to learn a new language and travel abroad. And Sitecore has helped EF use their web site www.ef.com in the best possible way.
Sitecore helps EF manage over 300 site versions in over 60 markets around the world, including a Corporate Website in 35 languages (even Arabic and Chinese), Natural and Paid Search Landing Pages, six Product Sites and several Campaign Sites for a variety of target groups. These sites are designed to inform people about EF's offerings and to generate leads and bookings, so the Web is absolutely critical to EF’s business. Before using Sitecore as one Enterprise System for all sites, EF juggled a variety of platforms, including .Net, ASP, and Java. The old CMS lacked a sophisticated mode by which EF could manage users. The teams responsible for different areas often took different approaches – meaning consistency was a challenge and teams couldn’t always work effectively with each other.
Moving onto Sitecore as a .NET enterprise-level CMS meant daily work would be easier and more efficient, along with an acceleration of business growth:
- Sticking to a consistent .NET platform with many “out of the box” functionalities and easy version upgrades
- Noticeable performance improvements, scalability and swift translation processes
- The ability to extend the systems functionality where needed
- Saying good bye to daily “bug fixing battles” and hello to efficiency in developing new projects
EF improved in three areas – technical, business, and staff. Here is what Eric Van Delden, Website Marketing Director of EF International Language Centers, had to say, “The technical gains were made in our ability to build our entire new websites in a very quick amount of time. By using a branching technique, we can copy our master template and have a functioning website in no time – all we need to do is add content.”
The business gains have also been substantial. As traffic to the websites has grown – so has the website conversion efficiency. These improvements are not solely because of Sitecore, but as a result of moving to a global template in terms of design and navigation – which are all managed inside of Sitecore.
The greatest value in the transition is in terms of the staff gains. EF has nearly 1,000 staff members who are now trained in Sitecore, and they can all help each other learn the nuances to effective content management. EF developers can now move from team to team without having to cope with different technologies and systems.
EF is also taking advantage of Sitecore’s various application uses:
- EF now has an online English test managed from Sitecore – www.ef.com/efcelt.
- Media controls and toggles (for example, EF controls whether videos “auto-play” or not through checkboxes).
- Media delivery options – using drop-downs if videos should play from YouTube, Vimeo, or YouKu.
- Controlling various CSS options – especially important for “right aligned” markets in the middle east.
- Managing websites – EF manages more than 300 websites in all of their markets and the ‘on/off’ toggle for those sites lives in Sitecore.
- Using the Media Library for managing downloadable documents (PDFs and so on).
Says Van Delden, “Sitecore makes life much easier and I love the emails I get from staff around the world saying ‘I love using Sitecore!’”.”