Connects, shares and engages more than 3000 former Defence members.

The Defence Alumni Network (DAN) is a new initiative for ex-service personnel that will give them the opportunity to connect, share and engage with ex-service friends and colleagues. The main objective of the website is to provide Defence with a more effective way to re recruit former permanent Australian Defence Force (ADF) members.

Challenge

Before the DAN site was built and released the Australian Defence Force struggled to reach and engage with former members. Through the new site they are now able to update them with news and events and look at re-recruiting them back into the Defence Forces.

Solution

To achieve its goals DAN worked with leading digital creative agency, Visual Jazz to establish a social community built on Sitecore for ex-ADF members to join where they could find and get in touch with former colleagues, create content such as groups, events and picture galleries and message/interact with the friends they had made.

Sitecore was chosen because it provided DAN with a powerful platform from which to build upon and easily adapt to its needs. While other CMS’s can be restrictive when it comes to customizations, the ability to override and adapt Sitecore’s functionality meant it provided DAN with the ability to build upon and integrate with its existing functionality rather than needing to bypass it.

In addition, DAN particularly liked Sitecore’s personalization functionality. The entire website, besides the registration and homepage, is personalized to the individual DAN member with the content they see coming from either their own, or their friend’s interactions with the site. In order to ensure performance was maintained while querying this personalized information Visual Jazz extended upon Sitecore’s caching adding additional caching stores and an additional query layer for retrieving information.

Finally, in December 2011, Visual Jazz developed a mobile version of the site (m.dan.gov.au) providing a clean and simple layout with simplified information architecture that still provided a large portion of the functionality of the main site. The mobile version of the site made use of Sitecore’s presentation layouts to reuse content and functionality of the main site on the mobile version.

Result

Since launching in July 2011 and had close to achieved more than 3,000 members sign up in the first month!

Utilizing Sitecore’s extended capabilities, particularly via the OMS features, DAN has been able to engage a whole new audience of prospective recruits at approximately one-quarter of the cost of Defence’s more traditional recruitment channels. Further, the DAN has allowed literally thousands of currently serving and alumni members to reconnect with one another, communicate around a common experience, and to provide them with additional valued-added content that they cannot experience anywhere else in or outside of the Australian Defence Force.

Technical Description

Solution Special Ingredients:

  • Sitecore CMS
  • Sitecore Online Marketing Suite
  • IndexViewer module
  • Reporter module
  • Lucene
  • NHibernate
  • SendGrid