When we met Mackenzie Investments, they were driven to refresh their site and create an industry-leading online experience. We stepped in to provide workflow design, technical architecture, and implementation. The results: increased efficiency and an improved CMS experience for content creators, a mobile optimized site, and personalized, sharable content for users.
About Mackenzie Investments
Mackenzie Investments was founded in 1967 and is a leading investment management firm providing investment advisory services to retail and institutional clients. The company, as part of IGM (a subsidiary of the Power Financial Group of Companies), is the largest independent asset manager in Canada. Everything that Mackenzie does starts with the needs of their investors, whether they are saving for a child’s education, making sure they have what they need in case of any unexpected surprises, or planning for their future retirement. Mackenzie is committed to helping their customers achieve their goals, whatever they might be.
Our first meeting with Mackenzie Investments was at a sales presentation for Investors Groups (IGM). We were presenting our company’s background and capabilities for their consideration and some of the marketing department staff from Mackenzie Investments were in the meeting and in the midst of seeking out new partners for a marketing-driven redesign of their website. Based on that meeting and our work with their parent company IGM, Mackenzie Investments selected us as one of their digital partners for the relaunch of the Mackenzie Investments’ website.
Mackenzie Investments wanted to refresh the marketing site and create an industry-leading online experience with personalized functionality, a rich array of content and information, and an improved user experience for their site visitors. Work had already started with another third-party vendor to create the design for the new site website and a large part of the interface had completed front-end code that was ready to integrate into the CMS.
A major challenge was that OpenText WSM was a .NET based tool and hosted in an IIS webserver while the end product was a Java (Grails) based web project and hosted in a Unix webserver. This meant we were going to be working in one technology and publishing out to a different technology.
Mackenzie Investments was also building their internal team over the course of the project. This meant that as internal developers or staff were added we needed to bring them up to speed and handle the day-to-day site management once launched.
Since the site had already been designed and developed by another third-party vendor, our role in this project was largely focussed on implementation. We worked with the other third-party vendor and Mackenzie Investments to define an approach that could ensure that workflow (design, development, integration, review, signoff, and release) was as efficient as possible. This was critical to avoiding errors and to ensure all parties could meet the aggressive timeline and bi-weekly release cycles required in the project.
We had identified early on that a main critical success factors was getting OpenText WSM to publish Java code from an IIS windows server into a Unix Oracle Websphere server. That’s about as complicated as it sounds. We basically needed to come up with mechanisms to automate things as much as possible to reduce the onerous tasks on the content author themselves. To help get clarity on what Mackenzie Investments’ needs were for the CMS we created what we called “CMS Maps” which involved annotating existing wireframes from the third-party to identify where user editable content would be in the CMS and how it would work. Working iteratively with the Mackenzie Investments team we modified the CMS as needed to get to the desired solution.
Our solution was to use a tool we created called Script Runner. Script Runner allowed us to automatically deploy changes to multiple CMS environments without the need for manual processes, reduce the complexity of deploying changes from months to hours. With our workflow involving as many as eight CMS projects across multiple OpenText WSM servers, with for-launch and post-launch branches enabling Mackenzie Investments to better manage releases was critical.
We also created an in-depth technical architecture and undertook significant pre-planning internally to identify potential issues early on and to better understand how the overall solution would work. Working collaboratively with the Mackenzie Investments team we were able to validate our technical approach while also reduce the need for later re-work.
By doing the CMS development separately we were able to maintain the stability of the other environments. Features and bug fixes were released every two weeks, and each team would push their code to the integrated testing environment. After integrated testing, the code would be released to the client for user acceptance testing. If a release was recommended for promotion it would be pushed to production.
Since the launch of the new site, feedback from Mackenzie Investments and their customers has been very positive. Staff are thrilled with the efficiency and functionality the website refresh has provided.
In April 2015, the new site was ranked #1 by asset manager research and consulting firm, kasina. The site was given top ranking for the best overall quality, the best features and top content; and was noted as having a clean design, simple navigation, business planning advice for advisors, nicely laid out fund profiles with a great deal of information, interactive charts that allow users to customize time periods, timely news and insights and the ability to operate seamlessly over any device.
While much of the work we undertook will be largely invisible to most end-users, the improved CMS experience for content editors greatly simplifies their day-to-day site management tasks. The final solution:
- Allows Mackenzie staff to manage the workflow of content production across multiple team members.
- Provides staff with the ability to re-use content within the CMS, allowing them to build out pages more quickly.
- Included an application to allow staff to bulk tag assets with various metadata. This reduced staff time required to manage meta data and migrate documentation into the CMS and also provides end-users with additional ways to search and filter data on the site and get to the information they need.
And for end-users the new site provides a number of improvements:
- Mobile empowered: The site is mobile friendly through responsive design so you have a seamless experience whether you’re on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone.
- Personalized: When financial industry professionals login they can access what’s important in one place through the myMackenzie Drawer.
- Fund knowledge: Robust fund information including prices, performance, holdings, commentary and more.
- Shareable: Improved navigation means information is no more than three clicks away. And sharing options make it simple to share information on social networks.