DNA’s range of services covers everything from strategic development through design and to deployment. They deliver powerful customer experiences and measurable business results. Whether it’s websites, microsites, Intranets, extranets, portals, web applications, or interactives, DNA has them covered. The agency’s impressive list of clients includes the likes of ACC, AMP, BNZ, NZ Post, Powershop, Unicef and Victoria University.
To welcome DNA to SilverStripe Professional Partner Programme, we had a little chat with Grenville Main, Managing Director of DNA.
How did you discover SilverStripe?
We started using SilverStripe about 6 years ago. Initially, we saw it as a great CMS for small brochureware sites—we used it for clients like ACC who had motorcycle safety, sporting injury prevention and other programmes that needed great sites. It’s a bit random sounding now, but we picked it up when a new developer joined as we were increasingly unhappy using Wordpress for CMS builds.
This sounds like a pretty low-key way to get into a new product, especially when we look at how we use SilverStripe now. The scale and complexity of the work we do now in SilverStripe and the degree of integration on many of our projects is a long way from those early days.
How does your agency currently use SilverStripe?
We are a user-centred design company and clients seek us out to help them solve evermore complex digital problems. We work in both public and private sectors, for organisations with high-volume and transaction-heavy platforms. These range from the likes of Skinny mobile where we have deployed a site that handles sales and service on SilverStripe, to the tourism, talent and investment attraction platform for Wellington.
In the public sector, we create sites on the Common Web Platform (CWP) for agencies including MBIE, Civil Defence, FMA, Sport NZ, MSD and Tenancy services. Recently we released a Levy consultation solution for ACC, and just prior we’d developed the Wellington City Council (WCC) 10 Year Plan consultation engine.
In the private sector, we’ve delivered a huge range of sites and applications for midsize and very large organisations. These include global staff engagement tools for Icebreaker, a multisite platform for engineering consultancy Opus, Quotable value (QV), RGL Forensics global sites (a Webby Award Honouree in 2016) and Powershop’s global recruitment site (another Webby Honouree). We’ve also completed work for AMP, BNZ, Autex and Private Wealth Investment provider JBWere.
In these examples, SilverStripe’s values come down to a few key attributes:
Intuitive user interface
We’ve shifted plenty of organisations onto SilverStripe and the number one piece of feedback is that they much prefer the SilverStripe interface for managing their content.
SilverStripe is open-source software with an ever-increasing range of modules for extending functionality without additional bespoke coding. We’ve had code from the WCC long term plan added to the offer.
SilverStripe is proven for websites of all sizes, offering numerous means for performance optimisation. We’ve done things like the WellingtonNZ.com site which is huge, down to small and lean solutions to meet niche MBIE needs.
Why do you recommend clients use SilverStripe over other options?
We offer a range of services across service design, customer experience, design research, design, and development. When it comes to development, if we need to deliver a CMS, then we’ll often use SilverStripe. For us, it offers three things: it’s a really user-friendly CMS, both to build in and for our clients to work in on an ongoing basis; we love the excellent templating system, which allows us to implement whatever design we like (which is especially important for us); and as it’s based on a framework, we can easily extend a website’s functionality and integrate it with other services, both on a rapid and small-scale and in large, complex and ongoing client platforms. To elaborate on this, SilverStripe is great because of its:-
Excellent template engine
Our developers love the way SilverStripe abstracts the presentation layer, and our designers love having free hands to design for the audiences rather than the CMS.
If your requirements are to have multiple websites with different themes that need to use different content, we can use SilverStripe’s subsite module, which effectively means we have one codebase. We have rolled this system out on other multi-national websites such as Opus.co.nz, RGL Forensics and SportNZ.org.nz.
Ease of integration
We have implemented a range of API integrations with SilverStripe and have found it has an excellent set of tools to support this work. While each integration or API is different and requires scoping, we have a lot of confidence in SilverStripe’s ability to make this work straightforward. One example is Skinny where the store, card details and multiple databases and third party applications need to interact. Another example is WellingtonNZ.com where booking, itinerary builders, job vacancies and property sales APIs have been integrated.
There are multiple modules to use with SilverStripe. Each has different approaches and assumptions. We’ve worked with these modules for other clients and found them robust, including WellingtonNZ.com.
Biggest agency milestone in the past year?
Launching immigration.govt.nz, which was a 2-year project with massive implications for NZ Immigration, and the hundreds of thousands of New Zealand Visa applicants each year. We undertook extensive research, which led to a radical content and interaction model for the project. Released in May this year, the early metrics have been significant against the key KPIs like getting applicants to the right visa, thereby reducing massive call centre overhead, and user effort. We have profiled the early stage learnings and effect in the following articles:
What goals do you hope to achieve with DNA and SilverStripe in the next year?
We are hoping to partner and work on some large scale implementations. We see SilverStripe as an excellent technology platform and partner where heavy lifting in development is required across integration and platform, whereas we have extensive research, content, customer experience, design and front-end development expertise.
What would be your dream client to work with?
We work for clients who need to revolutionise how they understand their customers and better integrate their products and services in order to create more usable, streamlined, effective, multi-channel customer journeys. So any business who needs to deliver a better customer experience, a more integrated service interaction for users and organisations who are navigating digital transformation (yeah, we know, it’s a big list of potential problems to solve).
Please visit DNA website to see more excellent projects and contact them if you need further information.