Overview

Keeping the website for an entire transportation agency running smoothly is a large task that requires a reliable and agile system. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s previous content management system was slow and hard to navigate, so when it required a costly and time-consuming upgrade, the decision was made to switch to a new platform.

Challenge

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority wanted a system that was user-friendly and customizable, with the ability to add new functionality as needed. On top of that, they needed a system that required minimal maintenance.  

Content needed to be easy to create and edit within the CMS itself. Specifically, VTA was looking to be able to upload content in one place but be viewable on multiple pages. VTA also wanted the ability to set publish and expiration dates so that content was automatically taken off of the website when it was no longer relevant.

Solution

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority already used Salesforce as their CRM system for a major project, so they were familiar with the platform and it’s customizable nature. While there were other options being considered, it made sense for VTA to consolidate their customer relation and content management systems onto one platform, creating a cohesive experience for users and employees.

Patrick Griffin, Manager of Public Affairs and Customer Information explains “other options were not as attractive because they really would require us to have in-house coders to do the work we would want done.  We really liked Salesforce because we found it easy to use from a content contributor point of view, easy to customize from a developer standpoint, and maintenance is minimal due to it being SAAS”.

In order to run everything from a central hub, MK Partners moved the entire website over to the Salesforce platform. Now, content on VTA’s website is populated from data within Salesforce.

Custom code written by developers at MK Partners allows content to be published across multiple pages. For example, an article published on the blog will also appear on other related pages, like the home page and/or the events page.  

MK Partners also created custom fields corresponding to publication and expiration date and time. These fields ensure that content will go live on the website at the time specified and be removed when it is no longer needed.

Results

Because MK Partners was able to set up VTA’s website to run entirely through Salesforce, content is easy to locate and no longer requires sifting through multiple pages to find and edit. Anything that needs to be revised can be done from inside the application itself. 

Griffin notes that with their previous content management system, “fixing a spelling error or making a very simple change would take about 7 minutes to log-in, find the page, edit the page, save the page, push to production, and then deploy to the live site.  That same correction can now be done in about 1 minute.”

VTA has been able to allocate time to other areas now that editing is easier and content is automatically removed from the website when it reaches its expiration date.  When construction finishes or a public event ends, notices are taken down automatically so that the website stays up to date and employees aren’t tasked with remembering to take the content down.

Also, aggregators created via custom code allow for content to be created and published once, but appear on many different related pages. This eliminates the need to publish the same content multiple times or to insert links to separate pages.

And sometimes it’s the small things that make a big impact. “Spell check. As simple as that sounds, we now have spell check,” adds Griffin.

MK Partners and Santa Clara Valley Transportation are currently working on multiple projects together, including modifications to VTA’s mobile site. VTA continues its mission to provide “sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of the region”.  Being able to easily share up to date content on the their website helps support this mission.