40 – 50 percent ‘out of the box’ browser speed improvement claim
ECM Plus – BY PAUL QUIGLEY — Corporate websites and intranets have become both the shop windows and the in-house magazines for many companies, highlighting their public offerings as well as illustrating their brand values internally to employees. Building these sites into compelling portals requires mastery of several fast-changing technologies, being sensitive to the culture of the site’s audience and a focus on crisp, clear communications.
UK consultancy, Brightstarr has been entrusted to develop public-facing websites and intranets by UK businesses including Mulberry, Standard Bank and Oxford University using the popular Microsoft SharePoint technology platform.
Key to Brightstarr’s success is its ability to understand the wide range of expectations of its clients. Brightstarr’s services team brings bespoke brand consultancy, web design and deep IT experience together, as required by the client, to meet its strategic communications objectives. The challenge is to translate these corporate objectives into technically-sound solutions which it can also install and host for customers if needed.
It is a busy environment delivering a new site per week. Leading the charge is Brighstarr SharePoint evangelist, Robbie Leggett, an industry veteran. He explained: “We are a pure SharePoint consultancy, with some of the best SharePoint people in the business and so our team brings a lot of technical prowess with attention to detail. Our focus is to help clients realise their communications objectives via user-centered design”
Recently the SharePoint platform has been revolutionalised by the release of SharePoint 2010, bringing important enhancements including a fluent new User Interface (UI) with excellent Web 2.0 features, better integration with back office applications and document management. The entry-level SharePoint offering, SharePoint foundation, is where many organizations begin their journey and realise the ‘quick wins’ which this powerful technology allows. However, to fully realise their objectives they require a new level of expertise – the sort Brightstarr provides.
SharePoint infrastructure consultant, Hugh Wilkinson, defines the challenge that results in so many Brightstarr consulting engagements:”Customers often start working on something and this helps them to realise how the product could work for them. As they progress though, they are often held back by a lack of planning and information architecture understanding. Apart from in-depth product expertise, one of the biggest issues facing clients is their server environments which often are adequate for the job, but are often not currently performing in the way they should.”
According to the experts at Brightstarr, most users will not spend more than five seconds browsing for the digital content they are seeking, before looking elsewhere, becoming frustrated or trying other search methods. This makes the loading speeds of SharePoint sites critical to their success.
The technical team experimented with Aptimize, firstly on their own site and then with customers. Brightstarr’s cautious approach was to try out the technology in-house before introducing it to paying clients. The results were a surprise from the start.
“Aptimize installed quickly and easily into our live SharePoint 2010 based website without any need for complex configuration. The results were much faster serving pages. Aptimize takes all the items required to load on a page and bundles them together meaning fewer round-trips from browser to sever. The net result was page load times 40 to 50% faster using Aptimize straight out-of-the-box and more is possible over time.” recalled Hugh Wilkinson.