Marketing Case Study: Redesigned Corporate Site Builds Foundation for Component Maker's Web-Enabled B2B Applications
By redesigning F-----'s corporate portal, L----- provided a visually impressive web site with an expandable structure ready to incorporate business-to-business e-commerce extranet applications and intranet functions
F-----, Inc., is a global leader in manufacturing of connectors, cable assemblies, and computer and server enclosures. The company is the U.S. arm of ------based ----- Precision Industry Co., Ltd., with a market capitalization above $6 billion. Its client list includes Apple, Cisco Systems, Compaq, Dell, Hewlett Packard, and Intel, and many leading PC motherboard manufacturers and network equipment companies.
F----- had a corporate Web site geared toward providing product family information drawn from a Lotus Notes database. Visitors could search for products using image-mapped diagrams, or by searches on various product attributes such as current rating and pitch. An array of form input pages let visitors submit emails F----- divisions on several continents. The site also had a password-protected area allowing distributors with the proper URL and login to access to company news, product drawings, company contacts, and other sales and technical information.
F----- executives wanted to update the site visually, enhance its navigation, increase the amount of content, and improve its databases by migrating them to a web-based open architecture. In addition, the site would have to provide a very solid foundation on which to add client-specific interface applications through which F----- would transact business-to-business e-commerce efficiently. The components giant selected L----- to redesign the site and add the features necessary to enable B2B e-commerce in future phases.
Facing a deadline of just five weeks for the project, L-----'s design staff worked closely with the Cypress, California-based client to create an energetic and very professional home page design. While exuding a high tech image, an illustration displayed the company's major product lines, its tiger logo, and a world map in the background to symbolize F-----'s global reach. Enhanced navigational features offered one-click access to all major site areas, and rollovers provided additional links to sub-areas within those areas. Other links on all pages took visitors to the site map, corporate disclaimers, and contact forms. Home page news headlines linked to full releases inside the site underscore F-----'s position as an evolving, active company. A whole-site search using text of product information provided direct access to relevant products or site subpages.
Strong client interaction also helped define the architecture and content for new sections. Where the former site had offered the public a less complex, three-section navigation, the redesigned site opened up many possibilities:
- A new public News section offered links to F----- press releases and articles about the company.
- A new Jobs section listed F----- positions open at U.S. locations, provided employment-specific contact information, and offered tips about interviewing, cover letters, and resumes.
- A new About F----- section gave an overview of the company, its products, and design and manufacturing processes.
- A new Technical section provided computer industry resource links, a glossary of terms, and product-related frequently asked questions.
- The Product section was revised to allow expanded options for browsing the product family database.
- The groundwork was laid for future client-specific, web-enabled applications to enable logistical, engineering, sales-support, or manufacturing functions.
In the process of converting the Lotus Notes database to a state-of-the-art Microsoft SQL Server database, L----- improved the structure. The new database setup better maintains products and sales information.
L-----'s team met the tight deadlines. It delivered a comprehensive web site in time for the client to demonstrate at an important corporate critique session, where it received extremely high praise for its vision.
The new site's updated appearance gave F----- higher visibility and further polished the company's already excellent image in the high tech community. Increased content and navigation provided easier access to information for visitors, saving them time as they do business with F-----. Most important, the web-based architecture, redesigned databases, and more easily expanded navigational structure placed the company in a good position to satisfy the very specific B2B e-commerce capabilities required by F-----'s key clients.
—By Mark Thompson-Kolar
- Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
- MS SQL Server 7.0
- MS Active Server Pages 2.0
- MS Index Server 4.0
- TCP/IP communications
- Password security
- Cascading Style Sheets
- Internet Explorer or Netscape Browsers 4.0 or later
The visually striking new home page retained the F----- logo while providing news headlines and access to more sections.
Job seekers can submit comprehensive resume information using F-----'s new resume input form, a feature added in the redesign.