When CareerOneStop came to SDL Tridion, it was ready to simplify its content publishing system-and it wanted to do it quickly. SDL Tridion understood the problems CareerOneStop faced. CareerOneStop "had a website up and running and had been using many different codes and technology, which was expensive to maintain. [It] didn't have consistent messaging over the site and was trying to build more and more users but it was too hard to do," explains Wiegert Tierie, sales director for SDL Tridion. He saw that CareerOneStop wanted to "reduce cost and shift work from developers to business people."
To mitigate these problems, SDL Tridion offered a number of features that appealed to CareerOneStop. First, SDL Tridion "provided a more robust, object-oriented architecture based on XML standards" than other WCM providers CareerOneStop had tested, says Ellsworth.
One feature of particular interest for CareerOneStop was SDL Tridion's BluePrinting technology, a content modeling mechanism that models both content requirements and processes. SDL Tridion's BluePrinting technology separates content, layout, applications, and profiles into different items; it then allows these items to be combined in different ways and to be used in multiple areas. "Tridion does a very good job in terms of separating content components from a presentation layer," explains William McMahon, COS project manager for America's Career InfoNet. SDL Tridion "allowed us to organize content repositories. We can also direct and repurpose that content so that same content can be presented in a number of places."
Using SDL Tridion's WCM solution, CareerOneStop employees are now able to edit pages without having to outsource to a developer. Starting with an internal preview version of the website, users can roll over different pieces of content and quickly choose to edit the page with a familiar WYSIWYG toolbar. These features "make it easy for non-technical people to make changes without knowing too much about the underlying technology," says Tierie. Users are also able to drop in content from existing templates, allowing CareerOneStop to repurpose content instead of constantly re-entering the same information. Once a page is updated, any other page linked to it is automatically updated as well. The ability to upload multimedia components was also a big hit with CareerOneStop.
To make the process of filtering information easier, SDL Tridion enabled CareerOneStop to add taxonomies and categories to each piece of content. As Tierie explains, "Some of the data CareerOneStop had was coming from other sources, and part of their challenge was to make sure that the taxonomy they wanted to use was consistent across all pages." With an audience that demanded the ability to search the site by specific categories, such as U.S. state, CareerOneStop had to classify content as thoroughly as possible. In the long run, this also benefited CareerOneStop's search engine optimization (SEO) visibility as well.
As with any implementation of new technology, there were challenges: "Getting everybody up-to-speed mostly on the architecture side" was the biggest hurdle, says Ellsworth. "There was a lot of learning that went on," he says. But "all told, in less than a year, our technical people had mastered the Tridion environment." With an implementation that lasted only a few months, CareerOneStop was up and running, publishing content with a more-simplified and streamlined process than before.
Since implementing SDL Tridion's WCM solution, CareerOneStop has significantly cut down on the number of steps involved in updating its website. Now, CareerOneStop employees have the power to edit pages when necessary. When your job is to supply users with the most current career information possible, time is of the essence. "We are all using the Tridion CMS as a team to manage our content repository. We can publish directly without the need to rely on technical efforts," explains Ellsworth, adding, "We spend a lot less time on the phone with technical people."
Building a solid user demographic has also gotten easier for CareerOneStop. "Since [we've] used Tridion, we've had fairly consistent visibility through search engines," says Ellsworth. As of January 2009, "the SEO performance has drastically increased," he says.
Though increasing audience reach is a substantial victory for CareerOneStop, its biggest success story came when the Department of Labor wanted to build a re-employment portal; CareerOneStop was ready to oblige. CareerOneStop was able to use its new WCM solution and existing templates to get the portal, which consisted of 50 states worth of information and a finder that would locate local work force centers, up and running in a matter of weeks. As Ellsworth explains, this quick turnaround "makes us look like superstars to our sponsors." It was even able to launch a disaster recovery portal by combining previous elements. "We have been able to get momentum from building templates," says McMahon.
Looking to the future, CareerOneStop has a few goals in mind. According to Ellsworth, "Going into the future our goal is to create an environment where a moderately trained business-side user can create a new application within a day or so." Also, CareerOneStop hopes to make searching the CareerOneStop portal a more-customized experience for users. "We liked the ability to personalize the user experience, although we've yet to take advantage of that, primarily due to the federal government's sensitivity to privacy concerns. We're hoping to get over that hurdle in the near future," says Ellsworth.