Maestro orchestrates content

In order to remain relevant to its users, the Canadian Labour and Business Centre (CLBC) recently decided to not only expand its Web site communications, but to maintain total control as well.

The Ottawa-based organization provides research and a national forum to business and union leaders on public policy issues in the Canadian skills and workforce market. In addition to labour and business, the CLBC also has active participation from various levels of government, and from universities and community colleges.

CLBC originally had a sole proprietor manage the Web site. But as it became more critical and more reforms and additions were needed, CLBC discovered it was spending too much money and was encountering too many problems.

Much like its clients, the organization is evolving, according to CLBC spokesperson Tim Woods. “In the policy business, it’s important to get material on the Web site quickly,” Woods said. CLBC needed a viable content management solution – Web site usage by its members in the government, education, labour and business community has grown, Woods said, along with a desire for more timely content.

“The Web site has been playing a far more important role in the last five years and provides a place to showcase the research…that has been worked on by business and union leaders in concert.”

After using an independent firm to conduct an audit, which entailed looking at similar Web sites and measuring them in terms of the clarity of the information and the tools made available, CLBC decided that it would be more effective to use a content management solution rather than start from scratch. In the end CLBC turned to a content management suite from Maestro CMS, based in Vancouver.

As far as CLBC was concerned, Maestro was playing its tune.

According to Woods, despite looking at similar offerings, Maestro CMS was appealing due to its robustness, affordability and quick implementation time, adding that conversion from the old site took less than a month.

In general, the content-management offering streamlines the whole Web content management and delivery process and allows non-technical users to manage Web site communications, said Rick Patri, vice-president of business development for Maestro CMS.

The offering is ideally suited for small- and medium-sized information-driven organizations, such as CLBC, looking to boost online communications and document management functionality. In terms of ROI, Patri noted the product’s appeal, when compared to offerings from larger vendors, is that pricing isn’t determined on a per user or per processor basis but rather per domain name – regardless of the number of users. It is also offered as a Web service or as an installed software so the choice is there, he added.

Now in better control of its Web site communications, CLBC can focus on ways to enhance its online presence. Currently underway is the construction of an online “community of practice,” which is an innovative way to build on collective knowledge, according to Woods.

“We’re seeking to create a forum for people that care about immigration issues – immigrants, researchers, the provincial and federal government,” Woods said. Due to be launched this month, the initiative is an online means to share experiences and best practices, Woods explained, adding that the CMS solution was an affordable method to go about creating the real-time initiative.