Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013’s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.

Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013

Nominee: Orckestra from Montréal, Quebec

Describe the solution or service provided
The client had been using a system that lacked a centralized product content repository and a way to decline their offerings into their 35 markets. They needed to:  Develop an integrated e-commerce platform that streamlines and optimizes marketing content creation, sharing and global deployment of campaigns assets and media; Minimize infrastructure costs across their current and future data center requirements; Expand globally quickly in order to test and enable new markets / geographies; Scale on demand based on peak usage scenarios; Increase conversion rates and average order value (skin type, skin color etc.) with personalization and segmentation.

What makes this solution original and innovative?
The client needed to drastically change their website from a simple online catalogue to a full multi-functional website with a sophisticated transactional platform and content management system implementation. Orckestra used SharePoint 2010 as the solution foundation to integrate Microsoft Commerce Server 2009, Endeca IAP 6.2 and Overture. “We are a top beauty company with a 50-year history of producing on-trend products for every woman,” said the client’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The changes to our website put our irresistible products at the forefront. The new website not only reflects our great beauty product portfolio, but also showcases the ease of shopping online with our company as an Independent Beauty Consultant.”

What were the benefits to the customer’s sales, revenues, and/or efficiency? Provide measurable evidence.
Orckestra deployed a full CMS managed e-commerce site for the US market. This has evolved to a Worldwide SharePoint solution integrated with Windows Azure that allows for the client to easily create CMS e-commerce sites for each of their 35 markets with deployment times of one month versus the previous 12 months. The combined streamlined marketing and online merchandising operations empower the marketing teams across the world to not only update their own CMS e-commerce sites with their local language, but also to create sophisticated and effective campaigns without having to go through the IT teams. “March was a record sales month for our company, but know that our company is in a great position to have record breaking months several times throughout the year,” said the client’s president and CEO. “We are celebrating our 50th anniversary, and our company has never been stronger. Our international markets account for more than 70 percent of our revenue, while the opportunity in the U.S. continues to appeal to women from a wide variety of backgrounds from Gen-Y to Baby Boomers.”

How did your organization achieve customer satisfaction and how was this demonstrated by the customer?
Overture leverages the CMS capabilities of Microsoft SharePoint Server to empower an e-commerce solution with an intuitive, browser-based content management tool. It provides a fast web editing system with capabilities that allow editors to publish content in multiple languages, in context, within minutes and without touching any technical tools. When logged-in, authors will recognize the SharePoint Action Bar at the top of every web page. This bar gives access to the different functionalities of SharePoint and also triggers the Overture Rich Page Editing functionality. This environment, directly presented in the web browser, is so intuitive that non-technical specialists or editors can be up and running with content editing in minutes.  

Describe the benefits of this solution to your organization in terms of new skills, certifications, products, and services.
The SharePoint integration of Endeca with Commerce Server and Overture helps e-Commerce merchants drive revenue by: Empowering managers to create enticing promotions (content spotlighting), by providing buyers with a superior shopping experience; Providing users with the power to understand and react to buyers in real-time. The client’s managers have direct control over how, when, and where their products are displayed. “The Independent Beauty Consultants’ websites are like a personal makeup concierge,” said the client’s Vice President of U.S. Marketing. “Once a woman goes to her personal Independent Beauty Consultant’s website or connects with one through the help of the Consultant Locator, she can save her favorite products, view application tips, get personal product recommendations and order products. Plus, she can always see how the newest trend looks on her with our popular online virtual makeover. The website makes running a business easier for the independent sales force and makes buying our products even more fun and convenient for customers.” The data and content from both Microsoft Commerce Server (Product) and SharePoint (Related content, marketing material, etc.) are incorporated in the search to provide an integrated content base, comprised of multiple content types and sources that are unified in the search and content delivery interface.

How did the solution improve your customer’s ability to serve its internal and external clients?
We are proud of this achievement: Orckestra deployed a full CMS managed e-commerce site for the US market. This has evolved to a Worldwide SharePoint solution integrated with Windows Azure that allows the client to easily create CMS e-commerce sites for each of their 35 markets with deployment times of one month versus the previous 12 months. By allowing each of the client’s sales reps access to his/her own account, it allows customization and personalization like never before. Targeted marketing campaigns are now within the sales rep’s grasp and can be easily manipulated without IT assistance. This is a major source of confidence and empowerment and it is in line with the client’s mission to empower each and every one of its employees.

How does the solution or service go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
The resulting solution by Orckestra is one of the largest global SharePoint publishing sites available. There are 12 Web Front Ends leveraging SharePoint web services hosted on 4 backend SharePoint 2010 servers. The components include: Page management using SharePoint 2010; Product Management using Overture; Advance search: Endeca IAP 6.2 application definition with partial and baseline index update processes feeding from the client’s Commerce Server catalogs, along with custom search filtering, guided navigation and Merchandizing Workbench implementation (landing pages, custom cartridges, business rules, search reporting) . Microsoft Commerce Server 2009: Sub-systems for the client’s implementation (catalogs, profiles, orders custom fields, marketing target groups and promotion rules, reporting). MOSS custom site definition along with custom features, web parts, workflows that will constitute the client’s SharePoint E-Commerce foundation. BizTalk Server 2009 used to integrate the web site infrastructure. Natively, those products do not interact together and the different data stores are not connected. Overture bridges the gap between the three platforms, creating a powerful e-commerce solution that provides agile content and merchandizing management capabilities, while allowing broad extensibility for future enhancements.

How does the solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
With Windows Azure, the client can scale its size in a pay-as-they-grow structure rather than paying up-front fees for costly serves and terminals. This has an immeasurable savings in terms of environmental friendliness and in terms of cost savings for scalability. A large part of this project was empowering individual sales reps to create and maintain marketing campaigns without the need of IT support. They were able to create these paper-less campaigns online and thereby reduced to amount of paper catalogs in circulation. The client’s improved website facilitates and promotes ordering online which decreases the use of transportation costs (sales reps are encouraged to communicate with their clients via e-mail and other electronic means). It encourages paperless transactions and celebrates the use of environmentally friendly electronic transactions.

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