CROSS COUNTRY HOME SERVICES: PORTAL
Cross Country Home Services, Inc. (CCHS) is dedicated to making home management easy by offering a full selection of hassle-free, cost-effective home solutions, including warranty products and maintenance plans. Since 1978, the company has built a reputation for excellence and today is one of the leading national providers of these products and services. Technology has played a pivotal role in the rapid growth of CCHS; the company’s commitment to providing unmatched customer service resulting in a doubling of revenues over the past five years.
Consumers can buy home warranties and maintenance plans directly from CCHS, or through select affinity partners in mortgage, banking, insurance, real estate and utilities industries. Products include some of the industry’s best-known brands, including TotalProtect Home Warranty, Home Protect Warranty, Residential MD Home Warranty and HMS Home Warranty. The company’s customer care staff is available 24 hours, 365 days a year and is dedicated to ensuring the highest level of service. Homeowner needs are quickly resolved through a national network of more than 40,000 service providers who deliver reliable, timely service to CCHS’s customer base across all 50 states.
In late 2011, CCHS made the decision to launch a new direct-to-consumer strategy and expand its web presence to accommodate this new direction. CCHS had more than 15 websites geared towards consumers, institutional clients and partners—offering content, e-commerce, customer self-service and many other applications. These websites ran on a variety of technology platforms; this reduced business agility, increased total cost of ownership, and made content sharing, application development, operations and maintenance more complex. CCHS wanted to take this opportunity to re-engineer and re-platform their existing consumer websites to better prepare CCHS for the new direct-to-consumer market.
The key challenge was to create a scalable consumer portal platform that allowed multi-site capabilities, easy-to-use content management, application development and integration and end-user account management—and to do it all on a tight on a tight timeline. “We had a very strong business case that helped us justify a major technology investment in our web architecture software,” said Joel Steigelfest, CIO for CCHS. “We needed something that would continue to grow and expand as our company did the same. We think Liferay and XTIVIA are the winning combination for CCHS.”
CCHS selected Liferay to provide core enterprise portal features, robust web content and document management, enterprise search, social and collaboration features, and site staging and publishing capabilities for their public and consumer-oriented websites. After choosing the product, CCHS selected XTIVIA, a Platinum Liferay Services Partner, to help them accomplish their goals. XTIVIA worked jointly with the CCHS business and IT teams in an agile, scrum-based approach to deliver a maintainable solution within the desired timeline.
Initially, the project team focused on laying the portal and content management foundation using Liferay, and migrating the CCHS public site to the Liferay platform. The technical team took the new look and feel from the design team, creating Liferay themes, setting up multiple page templates, and developing web content structures and templates to ease content maintenance by non-technical content owners. Additionally, the team set up multi-stage content approval workflows and staging with remote publishing, as well as used RESTful web services for application integration. From an infrastructure perspective, the enterprise systems engineering team set up a high-availability production environment with both horizontal and vertical clustering.
The joint CCHS/XTIVIA project team delivered on an extremely challenging timeline, launching a production Liferay platform with a redesigned and revamped public site (www.cchs.com) in less than three months. XTIVIA also trained the CCHS content team to use the Liferay Portal and content management system to maintain the site, and to prepare for any future content migration onto the Liferay platform.
Parallel to launching the public cchs.com site, the project team initiated development of the direct-to-consumer site. This involved setting up additional Liferay themes, page templates, web content structures, approval workflows, and remote publishing. The new site includes several applications geared towards helping consumers sign up for CCHS home warranty and maintenance plans, renew/upgrade existing plans and place claims. These applications involve RESTful integration with internal CCHS systems including Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and Oracle CRM. The new consumer site launched less than a month after the CCHS public site went live.
XTIVIA and CCHS continue to work together on migrating other CCHS sites onto the Liferay platform, and bringing new capabilities to users through deeper integrations with internal CCHS systems—including Oracle EBS, Oracle CRM, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and ImageNow.
The Liferay platform has prepared CCHS to move into new markets and products, increasing its business agility and reducing IT-related costs. Sean Mooney, VP of Marketing for CCHS said: “This new web platform will greatly improve our speed to market with new products and supporting websites—and in today’s business environment, speed and agility can mean the difference between success and failure.”