Virginia Department of General Services Partners with Ameex to Deliver an Award-Winning Web Site
Virginia Department of General Services Partners with Ameex Technologies to Deliver an Award-Winning New Web Site
The Commonwealth of Virginia Department of General Services (DGS) is responsible for managing a considerable portfolio of properties, vehicles and other forms of State property for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, with a total annual budget of more than $64 Billion. Serving more than 6 million residents, businesses and other interested parties in Virginia, the DGS web site features important access to critical forms and procurement documentation, showcases the full portfolio of real estate holdings, catalogs the extensive series of laboratory tests available through the State and much more.
On April 6th, 2017, the DGS team announced the official launch of the next generation version of its public web site, found at: https://dgs.virginia.gov/. The site immediately garnered positive reactions both from within the DGS team as well as a variety of web site visitors, who noted the attractive new user interface, increased speed and performance and mobile usability of the new site. The site was also recognized by Graphic Design USA as a 2017 winner for Responsive, Mobile-first Website in the organization’s annual awards, of which less than 15% of all submissions are selected.
The web site project represents the best of several teams coming together to achieve a powerful new platform. Internal experts within DGS canvassed the litany of available CMS tools and, after extensive review and analysis, selected the Episerver CMS platform as the most effective replacement for the previously CMS. The selection and implementation of Episerver provides the foundation for not just the initial release of the site, but also offers exciting features for the future, ensuring that the new web site is a platform that can be expanded upon in the future.
DGS next looked to identify the most appropriate partner to assist with the implementation of the new CMS and web site and selected Ameex Technologies because of their years of experience with Episerver and their ability to provide comprehensive support, including CMS architecture, development and instructor-led training support for 20 content authors. Ameex provided assistance on-site in the form of development cross training, as well, to ensure that after the launch of the site, internal DGS staff could manage all aspects of the CMS without ongoing support from the vendor.
An experienced DGS graphic designer developed the new user interface and responsive design components for the site and coordinated with subject matter experts within Ameex to ensure that the design could be delivered using industry-standard mobile-optimized frameworks like Bootstrap. Ameex also worked to finalize the functional requirements for the project and coordinated with internal DGS business line experts to meet with each major team within DGS and ensure that their needs – both short-term and longer-term – were documented and later addressed in the overall CMS architecture.
Ameex worked with internal DGS experts to document the recommended hosting configuration and consulted with State resources to ensure security scanning and performance testing were included in the final testing processes. Working with content authors, Ameex resources provided hands-on, instructor-led training sessions on-site in Richmond, VA to empower the authors to manage their own sections of the web site. Leveraging Episerver’s powerful permission and workflow controls ensured that each author has access to and works within their own respective areas of the site, providing accountability throughout the site.
In less than 18 total months, the entire development process was completed and the site was launched in early April of 2017. With the release of this version of the site, mobile users are better served, regardless of device type, content authors are now able to directly manage content throughout the site without requiring the involvement of the IT team and access to the most important information on the site has been streamlined and dramatically improved. It’s little wonder that the DGS team has received the acclaim, accolades and now awards recognizing the significant improvement to a powerful web site platform.
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