By Sean Bordner, CEO
When approaching solutions, especially complex solutions, one must first carefully examine what the end result is expected to look like, the box top to the puzzle. Without this vision clearly understood, it is not possible to define the pieces of the puzzle. These pieces must ultimately fit together perfectly to form the final solution. Savvy customers embrace this concept and pull puzzle pieces from multiple boxes.
Our simple philosophy has served our customers well over the years: “What we do, we do very well – the rest is left to companies that excel at what THEY do”. Holding that line can sometimes be tricky, especially when business requirements may be satisfied by both companies. This is not the case however with our Lightning Tools partnership. Kintivo and Lightning Tools have managed to nurture a highly effective and symbiotic product base which results with our customers as the big winners.
Deliverpoint is a great example of how our mutual customers benefit from the Lighting Tools partnership. A very common scenario is granting access to someone after they have made a purchase – which is automatically handled by the SharePoint Cart (think file downloads, publications, subscriptions or event attendee centers, etc.). However, our customers have a real need to manage these permissions as they are automatically provisioned. This is where Deliverpoint fits into the solution ecosystem perfectly. The SharePoint Cart auto-provisions permissions based on purchases, while Deliverpoint allows our customers to quickly see who has permissions to what.
This mini case study demonstrates how savvy customers save time and money by leveraging the symbiotic product base from both companies [Kintivo products and Lightning Tools products].
Speaking of saving time and money for our customers, we will replace the customer’s actual name with “International Association of Best Practices” (IABP). Now, our customer (the real one) won’t have to submit release forms to Legal, which translates to time and money saved – if only all your vendors were this considerate, right?
IABP identified a need to replace their dated Association Management Software (AMS). This quickly led them to wanting a new ecommerce enabled public facing website with member only sections and content, all tightly integrated with the new AMS system. Furthermore, IABP needed to modernize their email and social marketing efforts due to a very aggressive membership goal set forth for the upcoming fiscal year.
IABP replaced their old AMS system with Membership Manager by Kintivo. They now have a SharePoint based solution that empowers them to be fully self-sufficient. They manage their members, committees, chapters, donor groups, website assets, member only sites, ecommerce, etc. via Microsoft SharePoint (a platform they had already invested in and loved).
IABP upgraded their public facing website platform to SharePoint as well. However, they do not fully utilize the Web Content Management features available to them just yet, but they are headed in the right direction. IABP’s long term vision is to distribute content management efforts across the various business units using publishing capabilities such as role based permissions and review and approval workflows. This unified platform approach enables IABP to use a more tactical and deliberate content delivery strategy which includes security trimming, content targeting, content rollups, and search best bets (as a new and highly-effective non-dues revenue channel).
IABP heavily utilizes tags for content rollup purposes, allowing them to properly classifying content. For example, when new articles are published, they are tagged with various classifications such as topic, sub-topic, industry, featured on homepage, and others based on the specific type of content being published. This tagging occurs regardless of where the content physically resides (news section, blog section, advocacy section, reform section, member only sections, etc.). The native Content Query Web Part fails to satisfy IABP’s requirements of having maximum control and flexibility for their many rollups. By utilizing Lightning Conductor by Lightning Tools, IABP rapidly deploys handsome content rollups to their homepage, interior pages, and member only sections. They also utilize the Lightning Conductor tool in concert with their staff facing Membership Management tool for aggregating types of members, orders, memberships expiring soon and much more.
Web forms are used pervasively by IABP for capturing things ranging from feedback and comments to event registration, membership requests, subscription sign-ups, speaker abstract submissions, the list goes on. The common denominator for all their forms is this: IABP needs a quick way to put forms on SharePoint pages that post to SharePoint lists. IABP satisfied this requirement by using the SharePoint Form Web Part by Kintivo. This provided the mechanism for quickly deploying new forms that look and behave the way IABP needed. They further enhance their form solutions by using the Lightning Conductor tool by Lightning Tools for aggregating form data posted to SharePoint lists.
IABP has approximately 15,000 member companies consisting of over 50,000 logins. Managing these accounts in Active Directory was not an option IABP wanted to consider. Instead, they used the Smart Login Module by Kintivo. This allowed IABP to keep over 50,000 accounts out of Active Directory, while simultaneously providing key functionality to their members such as a secure login page, change and forgot password functionality and user profile self-management screens. The Smart Login Module stores user profiles in a SharePoint list and authenticates login credentials via Claims Based Authentication against a Forms Based Role Provider.
IABP requires flexible user profile reporting capabilities. They specifically need a way for non-tech’s to quickly build lists of members based on tags such as “Job Title = CEO” and/or “Region = Asia Pacific”. Dashboard pages are used by IABP staff to quickly glance at high level metrics and to build ad-hoc lists of members as needed. User profile segmentations are accomplished with a mixture of SharePoint list views, and again, the trusty Lightning Conductor tool by Lightning Tools.
IABP members are granted access to member only sections based on membership levels, committee participation, purchases and many other factors. By using Member Sites by Kintivo for all their member only sections and sites, IABP is able to deliver premium content and collaboration capabilities to the correct members at the appropriate levels. After the member successfully logs in, they see a “Members Center” link which only shows sub-links to content the member has permissions to access. Permissions are inherited based on the company membership level from which the user is employed. Permissions are also added automatically when users are added to committees, councils, and other forms of logical IABP groups.
IABP members are active participants in online discussions across the globe. To encourage this type of active participation, IABP deployed a highly interactive member only discussion forum which is consistent with what their members are accustomed to. Turning their backs on the native SharePoint discussion lists, IABP deployed Social Squared by Lightning Tools into the new member center running on Member Sites by Kintivo and sprinkled in a carefully choreographed rollout strategy to their members via “coming soon” emails, blog posts and a successful pilot user program, which helped create ambassadors. IABP experienced over 400% member participation growth in the first 6 months of launching the new solution.
IABP continues to enjoy growing member participation rates (which they track using Membership Manager), but will be the first to tell you it does not happen by itself. They had to formulate a plan with achievable goals and objectives and continue to nurture the membership value proposition, not unlike how we (Kintivo and Lightning Tools) continue to nurture the symbiotic nature of our product lines.