The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is the leading body representing Australia's renewable energy sector. The non-profit industry association works with hundreds of leading businesses operating in renewable energy along with more than 4000 solar installers. It plays an important role as advocate for the industry, and communicates with government, the public and concerned bodies about renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The organization uses its web presence as a key tool to represent the renewable energy industry in Australia. Whether the online task is delivering compelling advocacy content or providing individual service, Magnolia’s digital business platform has been at the heart of it for the last eight years. When the CEC rebranded recently, it used the opportunity to migrate to Magnolia’s latest major release. Now the CEC can concentrate on creating great content to mobilize the industry and ensure it receives the support it needs.
Magnolia is very powerful, and has enabled us to create a fantastic looking website. Unlike other systems, it makes it easy to control pages and to add components, all in a matter of hours. The user interface is so easy to use that it’s ideal even for editors without much experience. Because it keeps out of the way, it means we can spend our time creating content.
The Clean Energy Council has been running several sites, the most important of which are its corporate site and the Solar Accreditation site, on Magnolia for eight years. The organization went through a major rebranding in November 2013. The CEC, together with Magnolia partner and implementer Ventiv, decided to take the opportunity to migrate the sites to Magnolia 5, the latest major release of Magnolia, which offers a mobile-inspired interface.
The association’s corporate site plays a key role in encouraging members and the public to support its campaigns to promote the renewable energy industry. The communications team regularly needs to publish reports and submissions on the corporate site, in addition to uploading training videos and e-learning resources onto their career hub and updating their Australian Clean Energy Summit event website. Speed and ease are top priorities, as team members need to be trained quickly and work on multiple projects at the same time.
The CEC also runs a solar accreditation site, which needs to maintain an updated list of more than 4000 accredited solar panel installers. Installers need to be easily able to update information from tablets and desktop computers, a key feature of Magnolia’s latest release.
The new system needed to provide built-in support for web standards, accessibility, multi-language content and multi-site administration
The installer map and accreditation records can be updated easily, even from mobile devices
Magnolia’s inheritable components helped Ventiv with the relaunch, as they found that this made it easy to migrate material and make modifications. The CEC’s rebranding was also a good opportunity to revamp the entire HTML, using Magnolia’s Standard Templating Kit. This provided ready-made functionality while also giving the CEC the freedom to customize the main site and the solar accreditation site, which are very content-based and updated on a daily basis. It further enabled the CEC to personalize information for members, according to their size and industry sector.
Magnolia enables the CEC to offer visually appealing and interactive content that inspires people to take action. From the corporate site, across member and career sites, visitors are offered personalized journeys with relevant and compelling content.
Speed and ease are top priorities, as team members need to be trained quickly and work on multiple projects at the same time. Because Magnolia’s user interface is intuitive and easy to use, training takes only a matter of hours.
The solar accreditation site contains a list of more than 4000 accredited solar panel installers that needs to be updated regularly. The CEC and Ventiv had decided to integrate Salesforce to manage this data, including an installer map and accreditation records that need to be updated regularly. Because Ventiv had always worked with Java, they found it easy to integrate Salesforce with Magnolia, and were able to synchronize member databases easily.
However, they were faced with a challenge when it came to handling the 20,000 records on the site. This far exceeds the limit of 2,000 entries that Salesforce can deal with at any one time. To override this issue, Ventiv used the Magnolia scheduler module to set up a synchronization process to log changes every night.
Ventiv found it easy to work with Magnolia because of the system’s open and modular architecture. Of particular benefit was the ability to work with Spring, a well-known and popular Java programming framework, directly inside the system. This made it easy for the developers to use their existing Spring expertise to write reusable templates with a high level of dynamic behavior, in order to create interactive web pages. This was useful for creating features like the ‘Find an installer’ map, which uses Google Maps to visualize data stored and managed in Magnolia, allowing customers to easily find installers in Australia.
What I’ve liked most is the inheritance feature, which has made it so easy for me to make small modifications. Magnolia is an absolute pleasure to work with. I also particularly like working with Blossom, as it’s so easy to integrate with the work I do. Coming from a pure solutions focused area, I use a variety of technologies to find solutions for businesses. Magnolia just fits in beautifully.
The CEC’s new corporate website plays a key role in promoting awareness of the industry. The site offers visitors resources to email their Members of Parliament and post campaign support on social media with resources such as quotes, infographics and white papers. Because of this feature, people managed to send more than 400 emails to MPs to support a recent campaign.
Communications, events and sales staff update the CEC websites on a daily basis. Because of the ease of use, training doesn’t take long, and editing can easily be done by different people. Both staff and clients can update information from mobile devices, making the process easier. The sites are attractive and customizable, while also being very functional.
Magnolia has earned deservedly high marks for extensibility and integration potential. Few systems can claim to be as open or as amenable to custom app development.