One of the ongoing challenges of business is staying current with customer demands. Among other things, there’s a need to update and modernize websites and apps.
For CattleFax, a Centennial, Colo., firm that supplies research and consulting services to the beef industry, streamlining and simplifying customer access is critical. “Creating value is essential to attracting and retaining customers,” says B.J. Stuhlsatz, director of information services. “It’s necessary to be a one-stop shop for information.”
However, “The website and mobile app we had in place didn’t match current standards, and we needed to deliver a faster and better organized platform to our customers,” he explains.
CattleFax, which is half a century old, supplies research, analysis and information about grains, energy and protein, including pork and poultry. Customers access the service from across North America and beyond. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have the internal expertise to update the UI [user interface] and UX [user experience] within the necessary timeframe,” Stuhlsatz notes.
Improving the Website and Mobile App
The company turned to global IT and software engineering firm CI&T to manage the process and support digital transformation that would keep the firm competitive. The project involved redesigning and reorganizing content, as well as making the website and mobile app more useful through improved menus and content links that drill down into data and format it in more useful ways.
The new site went live in December 2016, and the mobile app was released the following February. “We now have articles and content available to the public, but we also have premium content that delivers deeper analysis,” Stuhlsatz reports.
Essentially, all viewers have access to basic content, but members have access to deeper data and in-depth analyses. One of the challenges of building the framework was mapping all the content and applying the right marketing methods and messaging on the website and within the mobile app.
“We wanted to build the site so there are teasers,” Stuhlsatz explains. “A hobbyist can get the basic information, but someone in the industry who’s willing to pay more receives data and information that can help run their business more efficiently.” The entire environment runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
The project wasn’t without challenges. The transition took about a year to complete. “We had to work out several kinks, including a log-in issue, a token refresh issue and some basic interface tweaks,” Stuhlsatz recalls. “Fortunately, we were able to get things resolved fairly quickly, and it has been smooth running since then.”
The biggest obstacle has been getting users to adapt to the new interface. “In the beef industry, people generally do not like a lot of change, and we changed,” he points out.
However, as users have grown accustomed to the new interface and the additional features, the number of active users at the site has more than doubled. More importantly, “People are using the website more and visiting sections that they didn’t know about previously,” he says.
Having higher usage levels will likely generate increased revenue, and subscribers will see greater value in the site and the information.
“The project was a fairly challenging, because we had to connect business and IT tasks,” Stuhlsatz says. “But we have taken a big step forward.”