Insurance company automates Web authoring

An Alberta insurance company has removed the need for a Webmaster by subscribing to an ASP-style service that automates Web design and uploads.

Western Financial Group, based in High River, just outside Calgary,

actually has a Webmaster, but one without any technical background. The service — iUpload from Burlington, Ont.-based SurfMap Inc. — makes that background unnecessary, says IT manager Donna Abramson. “”I have somebody outside of the IT department doing all of the Web site work,”” she says. “”She’s actually the executive assistant to one of the managers, and doing all of the content management. It’s off my desk. I’m pretty happy about that.””

Western Financial used iUpload to manage the Web transition when it changed its name from Hi-Alta Capital. The challenge was to update not only the main corporate site but 30 sites for the company’s regional offices in Western Canada. The company passed along the new logos and materials to SurfMap, which put the site together in June, then returned control back to Western Financial.

“”Once the branding was established . . . it was handed over to us and we went through a process of building out the sites with that new branding and iUpload-enabling them so that their non-technical people could look after editing, authoring and content,”” says SurfMap president Robin Hopper.

SurfMap typically works with small and medium-sized companies to automate their existing sites, adds Hopper. The case of Western Financial’s new look and feel was an exception.

Now Western Financial makes changes — with Abramson’s approval — through an iUpload portal. Parameters such as font, colour, logos available are pre-set using a password-based permission system. “”If you want to be able to change logos, they can iUpload-enable that. If that’s something that you would never change, then it’s cast in stone,”” explains Abramson.

The advantage of using an intuitive Web upload tool is the speed at which changes can be made, she says. Previously, Western Financial was at the whim of a third party company “”who would add (changes) into their work queue and post them for us.””

Abramson admits that the service is limited by the speed of Western Financial’s own network, but quick updates like adding news releases and quarterly reports can be accomplished in minutes.

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