Why Adobe Business Catalyst

Michael Janes - Thursday, May 12, 2016

Often we are asked why do you as a business use the Adobe Business Catalyst system to build all your websites. We have worked with multiple platforms. The advantages and benefits to the business owner are extensive from PCI-DSS Level 1 to integrated CRM with email marketing so we have decided to do a comprehensive review as a guide for a business looking for a “business online not just a website.”  

Why Adobe Business Catalyst?

A summary of key features & benefits of the Adobe Business Catalyst (BC) platform

Manage Your Own Website Content

Quickly and easily edit and update your own web pages (Using In-Context live editing).

Build Your Customer Database
Built-in contact management system, to build stronger relationships with customers.
 

E-mail Marketing
Send up to 10,000 e-mails per month with built in e-mail marketing facilities
 

E-Commerce

BC has a full e-commerce engine built in to support catalogues of products that can be placed into a shopping cart and then purchased using payment methods from cash to debit/credit card.
Credit card processing is handled by Adobe BC in a secure PCI-DSS Level 1 compliant manner.
 

Web Apps

Ability to create lists of “anything” that can be shown in any number of ways throughout a website.

For example, could have a list of hotels on a page with a search form with a Google map of their location.  By categorising the list, homepage could show ‘featured hotels’. 

Via secure login, visitors can be given access to add, edit and delete their own list entries. 

Tablet/Mobile Support

BC includes for each page template, an alternative for tablet or mobile.  In addition, with customisable templates and styling, full support is available for creating adaptive and responsive websites. 

Search Engine Optimisation
Friendly page addresses, easy access to page keywords/descriptions, automated sitemap for search engine indexing.

React Faster to Inquiries
You can receive SMS and e-mail notifications instantly when an enquiry or order is placed through your website.

Executive Insight
Get a birds-eye-view of your online business as soon as you log in, with integrated comprehensive reporting.

Integrated Modules

Built into BC are ready-to-go modules for common website features such as News; Blog; Banners; Media Downloads; Photo Galleries.  These can be populated and dropped straight into pages. 

Event Booking
Ability to take bookings and payments for events
 

Software-as-a-Service
Adobe offer BC as service, so the server functionality of the website and back-end admin is maintained and kept updated by Adobe.
 

Adobe ensures that the website will be operating 24/7 promoting and providing information to the public.
Design Flexibility

BC supports facility to start from a ‘blank canvas’ allowing for any page layout and designs you require to adhere to your branding. Or alternatively, templates exists for quick starts too.

Content Management System

Business Catalyst features a fully integrated content management system, providing two methods of maintaining pages: in-site context editing and Site Manager. 

In-site editing allows editors to navigate through the site and amend site content in situ. 

Using the Site Manager, editors can add/ edit/remove pages and menu entries. 

In addition, in Site Manager has the ability to set extra options for a page, such as:

SEO page title; description; keywords; enable/ disable; release; expiry dates. 

BC pages can use page templates that can be designed from a ‘blank canvas’ allowing for freedom to match any branding, plus flexibility to adhere to W3C current trends. If necessary, BC includes for each page template an alternative for tablet or mobile.  In addition, with customisable templates and styling, full support is available for creating adaptive and responsive websites. 

Websites built on BC can make use of integrated modules for news, blogs, forums, and FAQs.

Modules can be dropped into a page from a toolbox inside Site Manager. 

BC pages can be saved in draft and a workflow applied to approve content. BC other method of maintaining page content via Site Manager allows for slightly more complex (e.g. inserting tables) page content and complex HTML, styling and Javascripts. 

Site Manager in the admin area has a toolbar based around features of Microsoft Word. Includes features such as spelling checker and facility to copy text from Microsoft Word. 

BC fully supports use of your own iFrame or JavaScript for embedding; e.g. Google Maps, YouTube videos, Twitter Feeds, Pinterest Board, Cineworld Films API. 

Embedded timetables using AiT technology is fully supported and can be placed anywhere throughout a website.

90-day Archive

In addition to draft creation, BC offers a 90-day archive and rollback facility for any page content.

Customer Relationship Management

BC has a fully integrated CRM included.

Whenever a visitor interacts with a website using their e-mail address; BC records their activity alongside their CRM record. This includes actions such as completing a form, signing up to newsletter, ordering products via ecommerce, accessing a secure zone, amending their web app records. 

If made available, via a secure zone a visitor can have access to every case (form submission) made and the responses made.  Also they could see their shop orders, update their own customer record including debit/credit card details. 

In addition, visitors can add/ amend/ delete their own submissions to a custom web app (list of ‘anything’, e.g. jobs, company details, advert, training record).

Email Marketing

Adobe BC allows up to 10,000 e-mails per month with built in e-mail marketing facilities, along with detailed email mail-out results reporting. You can also purchase more email credits if required at a small cost per email.  

Emails can be composed from scratch in both text and HTML formats, or BC does supply some email templates.  You can send your email to contacts inside your CRM on the site, or there is support to import lists using CSV or Microsoft Excel. 

Emails can be sent as one-offs at a set date/time or based on website interactions; for example when a visitor signs up to a mailing list or their birthday comes around. 

Mailing lists setup in the admin area can have a subscription form placed on the front-end website.

News and Events sections

BC has built-in modules for news and events. Lists of news and events which can be presented anywhere through a website. Both news and events can be syndicated to an RSS feed if required.

BC event module includes the ability to show events on a calendar and supports online booking.

In addition, if necessary, BC can support embedding of 3rd party calendars such as Google Calendar and links to social media networks. 

With full support of 3rd party JavaScript; can add ShareThis or AddThis facilities to entire site.

This will allow visitors to share any page via their favoured social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) 

In addition, some social media networks offer embedding scripts to allow a feed to be placed directly onto your own website. BC support this, for example adding a Facebook or Twitter Feed to a page on the website. 

Advertising facility for other events in the area, BC has an integrated Ad Rotators module allowing for a random banner to be placed on a page. Ads can be an image or custom HTML.

Newsletter, feedback, survey and competition forms

BC has built in web forms that can be customised to show any form fields required.

Web forms can be included onto any page on a website. When a visitor completes a form, their details are stored inside the CRM alongside the information entered in all the fields.

An auto-response is returned to visitor and internal staff can be notified via a “workflow notification” to ensure a follow-up action is undertaken. 

For example, BC supports: 

  1. Place a newsletter sign up form on website
  2. Visitor completes sign up; details are stored in CRM and their name is added to mailing list
  3. Using mailing list; compose an e-mail inside BC admin and send it at any time on a given date
  4. After an e-mail has been sent to all list members; reports are available inside BC of who opened the e-mail

 Web Forms come with anti-spam facilities, including several Captcha methods.

Workflow notifications

Whenever a visitor completes a form on the front-end, a workflow notification can be triggered.

These are in effect a “help desk” scenario; with each visitor interaction raising a CASE to be actioned.

The notification informs back-end staff via email (and also possibly SMS text) that someone has interacted with the website.

A ‘workflow’ can be initiated that can involve first-line response team.
If necessary, a second-line response team can be setup if an enquiry isn’t handled by a set time.

Workflows can also be applied in the back-end to things such as pages, to inform a supervisor that a page edit has occurred.

Work across multiple browsers and devices, being backward compatible to MIE v 7 & Conform to A and AA of WCAG 2.0

BC supports starting a website from a ‘blank canvas’ and almost all HTML is customizable, allowing for amendments to coding to ensure all coding and styling conforms to agreed standards. 

This includes offering alternative styling for older versions of IE and handling of mobile device alternatives if necessary.

Training of staff and written support

BC has an extensive knowledge base and a community support forum where other BC users offer assistance to each other.  Made available at http://docs.businesscatalyst.com

E-Strands will offer any training required from 1-to-1 or group sessions. In support of the team, there will be a step-by-step guide for maintaining the new website. 

Adobe offers us; second line technical support, if an issue is outside of our control on the BC platform.  They have live-chat for immediate problems and further support for more complex technical issues. So you deal with an international team but from a local source. 

Search engine optimised and support EU privacy directives

BC generates SEO friendly URLs for pages, news, events etc. Pages have ability to enter meta page title, descriptions and keywords. 

E-Strands can assist using a comprehensive SEO reporting tool; optimisation for any page. 

BC has a “Cookie Policy” form handler available, but equally will support any 3rd party JavaScript handler (e.g. http://www.cookieconsent.com/) 

Adobe BC complies to PCI-DSS Level 1 for its e-commerce facility, therefore security is paramount to ensure the CRM is both secure and privacy is adhered.

Interactive mapping facility

Out of the box; Business Catalyst has a feature, “Web Apps”, which has the following attributes.

It can be configured to represent lists of ‘anything’ (e.g. B&B’s, Hotels, other attractions)
Each entry in a list can have geographical address details stored, and using its postcode can be plotted onto a Google Map. Lists can be made searchable via customisable forms.
 

An example of this functionality can be seen at:

Discover Tees Valley

http://www.discoverteesvalley.co.uk/business-directory

They invite local businesses to have an entry in the “Business Directory” web app list. 
These are then pulled out and shown on a map of the local area.
 

North Yorkshire & York Forum

http://www.nyyforum.org.uk/nyyf-listings/advanced-search

They invite local charities to register and they are put into one of the categories and their charity details are shown on a map.

(NOTE: need to perform a search before map is shown or choose a category from the bottom of page)

Southside Shopping Centre

http://www.southsidewandsworth.com

List of shops used to power numerous sections:
logos in a spinning cloud on home page; dynamic custom-made centre guide map
 

Customisation

E-Strands can customise business catalyst technology to improve your business processes. We have customised the booking processes of the shopping cart, special event calendars, provided intranet secure zones with special networking business card email marketing campaigns.

With full API integration, BC sites can receive and send data from third-parties.
Examples include things like:
- triggering a call to create a license key, or place a room booking when someone successfully pays via BC checkout.
- third-party booking system could request BC creates a customer order when they book a room
 

Conclusion

 When you consider that all the feature come as standard with the Adobe platform you can understand, why as a business we build on a system that gives our customers a business online not just a website. 

Please arrange a meeting to discuss what we can do for you. 

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