In this IT Consultis case study, we will explain how we transformed the AmCham Shanghai website into a modern and straightforward portal to connect with its members and partners.
About The Client: AmCham Shanghai
The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai) is the largest American Chamber in the Asia Pacific region. It is known as the "Voice of American Business" in China.
Founded in 1915, AmCham Shanghai was the 3rd American Chamber established outside the United States. As a non-profit, non-partisan business organization, the organization is committed to the principles of free trade, open markets, private enterprise, and the unrestricted flow of information.
Thus, it always strives to deliver up-to-date information and high-quality services to its members. However, like many long-standing organizations, AmCham Shanghai also noticed how it needed to catch up with changes in user experience expectations and the fast-paced technological growth.
Therefore, in 2020, the organization worked with IT Consultis (ITC) to completely make over its website to match modern needs. This is one of the key touchpoints with its members, partners, and potential leads.
For AmCham Shanghai, the first issue was the look and feel of its old website: it was simply outdated. Having been left untouched for many years, it certainly was not adhering to the newest principles of web design.
Secondly, different departments of the Chamber were represented on completely different platforms. In total, AmCham was using the following 5:
- The Main Page on Microsoft CMS
- The Small to Medium Entrepreneurship site on Drupal
- The Articles and Resources page on WordPress
- 2 different Chapter sites on separate WordPress pages.
In addition, the organization was utilizing too many tools at once. As a result, this considerably hindered the website's usability and manageability. It was a big challenge to unify all these sites under one platform.
Solutions for AmCham Shanghai
AmCham Shanghai started out with 5 running websites which were all extremely outdated. Thus, ITC stepped in not only to build a consolidated one but also to provide a strategy consulting touch.
The first step in the right direction was choosing the right partner for this project.
Many of ITC's clients are members of the Chamber in China; therefore, the decision-makers of AmCham Shanghai could hear truly unbiased feedback on our work and make a well-informed choice.
Secondly, we helped AmCham revamp its sitemap. After reviewing the sitemap of all 5 websites, ITC sat with relevant stakeholders across multiple AmCham departments to consolidate them into a single, comprehensive one.
Thirdly, we decided that the headless technology should best match their content needs. This architecture separates the front from the backend. Ultimately, it enables efficient content presentation, management, and storage in the front without affecting the back.
In particular, ITC helped AmCham select Drupal as the most suitable Content Management Software (CMS) unifying all previous platforms. And for the frontend, we chose React.
The backend and frontend were connected via API using a custom module built by our team. Thanks to this module, all the different content types, taxonomies, and menus created on Drupal were exposed.
This ensures that a front-end developer is free to process many changes without actually accessing the back-end, as explained above. For example, they can fetch partial data, filter a list of content, choose the display format for an image, or even use Drupal search functionality!
Furthermore, we integrated Event Bank to create a CRM tool connected to the site via API. This connection ensures that AmCham has powerful means to manage its website in complete autonomy for:
- Supporting memberships
- Capturing valuable data
- Building and monitoring CRM strategies
Last but not least, based on the finalized sitemap earlier, we moved forward with customizing UX/UI design for the website to deliver a content-driven experience.
ITC gave the Drupal website in China a complete revamp in design and development to create one that is not only stunning but also user-friendly and easy to navigate. The visuals are simple, classic, and modern, while still perfectly matching the Chinese perception and expectations.
On top of designing a modern and professional-looking website, ITC also significantly enhanced the usability of the whole AmCham ecosystem. Website management has never been more efficient thanks to the seamless connection with the CRM tool Event Bank as well.
Moreover, the impressive performance of the website has showcased the capabilities of using React (frontend) in combination with Drupal (backend). (ITC also provides recommendations for our clients when there is a new version of Drupal to help them update their platform accordingly, ensuring optimal functionality and security.)
Finally, we are happy to say that the client perceived our work as outstanding, and was very satisfied with the delivered website. This is what Kenneth Jarrett, President of AmCham, thinks about the website and cooperation with IT Consultis:
“We wanted a website that was modern, user-friendly, and easy to maintain, and IT Consultis delivered against all these objectives. With the support of IT Consultis, we took a big leap into the modern digital era and now have a website that is mobile-friendly and easier for us to manage. We would recommend IT Consultis to others with similar needs.”
We are truly confident that, thanks to this new website, AmCham Shanghai can continue to deliver the same high-quality services to its members in the future years.