Aspire Lifestyles is no ordinary concierge service provider — they go above and beyond to fulfil their customer's every wish. They offer hyper-individualised services based on their collective client information, coupled with exclusive information around the products and services, on selective offer. Providing uniquely curated deals and offers is one of Aspire Lifestyles key services. Major brands partner with Aspire Lifestyles to help power dynamic customer loyalty, and other programs tailored to support overall brand building strategies.
Data related to these deals is stored in different places, including both their own and external sources. In order to keep the customers of their clients updated with the latest deals in real time, Aspire Lifestyles aimed to build a system to pass this data onto the client, who can then provide this information to their customers directly. The information should be displayed directly to customers with minimal development by the clients thanks to a pre-built user interface. However, with the current information architecture, the process of managing, retrieving, and presenting data is especially complicated and inefficient. The project necessitated Aspire Lifestyles to centralize all of its information from 3rd parties and its own sources and make it easy to retrieve, access, and present to their clients. A user friendly admin system also needed to be implemented for managing and editing the content.
To reduce risk of lacking IT workforce, Aspire Lifestyles adopted global delivery model utilizing IT personnel from various locations. SmartOSC was engaged in this project for their proven expertise in content management system and capability of scaling resource.
After the discovery phase, Sitecore CMS, which is built upon .NET, was selected amongst other platforms. SmartOSC formed a team of experts, which consists of a mixture of designers and developers, alongside business analysts and quality control. The developers involved are Sitecore and .NET specialists, and make up the core of the team. Through this international collaboration, Aspire is able to not only access a wealth of resources, but also find more competitive pricing compared to the resources from developed countries.
The Digital Content Repository Centre
The Digital Content Repository Centre was built to provide Aspire Lifestyles’ client services, including database access, embedded UI, membership provider, and user log-in. These services are exposed through Web API with a multi-tenant framework. Each client will be uniquely identified by a ‘Customer Key’ authorization, to ensure they are able to access the data they need with different accessibility configurations. Feed API was also used to import data from external sources into the new Sitecore database.
To prevent interrupting the end users while using Aspire Lifestyles’ services, the system is designed to support clients’ app connecting to multiple different API versions. When they need to update or change the API, SmartOSC can customize and test on a 2nd API version without delaying the service provided to customers. Optimizations such as this, along with the new architecture design, has lead to a 50% reduction in downtime.
Utilizing Sitecore’s capabilities, the system was designed to scale both horizontally and vertically, as the size of data and type of services offered will be expanded in the future. The platform was also made to be easily configured, customized and extended. 3rd party vendors are able to access the Aspire Lifestyles platform, so they can develop new functionality through extensions.
Together with implementing the Digital Content Repository Centre, SmartOSC also implemented several other enhancements to improve Aspire’s functionality and usability.
A user-friendly admin interface was designed for intuitively managing and editing the information in the repository. The Sitecore backend was configured and optimized according to Aspire Lifestyles’ needs. Aspire Lifestyles backend users are also trained to use the new Sitecore backend UI. We applied extended features to simplify the navigation and search functions too, making content management less cumbersome. This lead to a 80% reduction in the time it takes to master the platform.
A roles-based Sitecore Security Workflow was set up to ensure that all content passes through a predetermined set of states before they are published, and that only certain users are able to access and edit the content. Other enhancements provided by SmartOSC include user management, session management, support for dynamic change in data contracts, auditing of mechanisms and Content Language Importing Module.
Regular communication was the key to success of the project despite the international boundaries. A clear service level agreement was established to develop the relationship, and build trust and mutual understanding between the two teams. In addition to weekly calls, chat platforms are also used for instant messaging when it is needed. Using a mixture of these balances the need for fast responses with more in-depth updates on progress.
Reduction in Time to Master Platform
Reduction in Downtime For System Maintenance
Through a global delivery model, Aspire Lifestyles has been empowered to realize its vision of continuing improve their service quality giving clients a quick, simple, and effective way to access services and data. SmartOSC has been retained to provide ongoing support services to ensure the system runs smoothly. Development time for this project took 3 months, and ran 30% below budget. Further upgrades and projects are planned for 2017, and both SmartOSC and Aspire Lifestyles could not be more excited about the future ahead.
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