The first program of its kind in the U.S., the GGDI mitigates the negative impact of defense spending cuts on Virginia’s economy, helping Virginia defense companies diversify their revenue streams by identifying new business in international markets. Two years of solid performance has resulted in the award of a third year of grant funding for the initiative, administered by the VEDP.
As Virginia defense companies have adjusted to the changing marketplace and diversify into international markets, there has been an increased need for easy access to resources that support those efforts. A central location with guides, videos, reports, events, news, and more would be hugely beneficial to companies who are trying to expand their service offerings into new territories. Networking and collaboration with other Virginia companies would also be an opportunity for learning and growth.
The VEDP sought to create an online portal where Virginia defense companies could obtain the resources needed for optimal growth, as well as network with other GGDI members and partners. After the successful launch of the VEDP Defense Directory, BlueSkyPhoenix, teaming with Perigee Labs, was chosen to create this new solution.
The portal provides a fully searchable resource library, as well as a membership area, where personalized information pertinent to member interests is displayed. Logged in members also receive access to company contact information, encouraging direct engagement and possible collaboration. A member forum is another important networking touchpoint for companies as well.
The GGDI portal has an extensive library of resources, all available within a few mouse clicks. Viewers can see upcoming events, read industry reports, gain knowledge through guides and videos, and keep up with the latest news in their industries, regions, and strategies of interest.
Drawing on our considerable experience implementing advanced and faceted search for a number of web properties (including the recently completed VEDP online directory), we designed and built a robust search mechanism for GGDI utilizing the metadata from each resource type. Our team worked closely with VEDP to identify the appropriate filter types, and then added those search controls throughout the site. Users can choose from a number of filters which instantly brings up the appropriate query results.
Each member is able to enter their information using a form which is housed as a customized profile in the system. Company information is also entered, and subsequent registrants can add their personal profile to an existing company profile. The company profile allows for textual content such as a company overview, countries and industries served, countries, industries and strategies of interest, along with the ability to upload and then present documents and video. The profile also provides contact information so interested members can connect. The individual member profile offers an opportunity for several members of an organization to each have their own profile and contact information listed on the site, while being affiliated with the same company.
Once a person is logged into the site, a personalized activities page is created, which provides a list of site updates since last login. This is aligned with the preferences configured in the member’s account profile and keeps the member up to date on items that are of the most interest to them.
Within the GGDI forum, members can ask questions, share ideas, and discuss important issues surrounding a particular industry, region, or strategy. The forum helps to broaden and strengthen the community of Virginia based exporters.
WordPress again was the CMS of choice for this project, as it provided a strong foundation upon which to build this highly customized, responsive site. Custom post types enabled us to easily implement robust “Explore” search functionality.
Now nearing completion, the site has been moved from development to the live environment, where the VEDP staff has been adding valuable and relevant content. BlueSkyPhoenix and Perigee Labs are very excited to unveil this new site and anticipate it will be very useful in meeting the needs of Virginia based defense contractors as they look toward new horizons.
“BlueSkyPhoenix was able to take our ideas and transform them into fully functional, well-designed websites that exceeded our expectations. With regular status updates and discussions, we were well-informed and had many opportunities for input throughout the design and development process. BlueSkyPhoenix delivered top-notch websites that are interactive, easy to maintain, and help us serve our clients.”