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Horsens new digital platform saves the municipality for 1.8 million DKK per year but also ensures a more easily accessible site.
Horsens Municipality is a thriving cultural center in Denmark and home to 90,279 residents. A lot of new citizens are moving to Horsens - this is due to a successful digital branding strategy that positions Horsens as a municipality with an extraordinary cultural life, strong identity and good living conditions.
The municipal government of Horsens wants to serve citizens and visitors with an informative and useful website. But after 12 years of incremental development, the site had bloated to more than 3,500 pages that took 70 content editors to maintain. Users got lost in the site unable to get their needs fulfilled, which resulted in high pressure on the municipalities other communication channels. Horsens needed to rethink their digital platform focusing on what their users need and not on all the stuff they as a municipality want to say. They needed a lighter, more user friendly and simple website with focus on excellent digital service and usability. “We might not sell cars or shampoo, but we ‘sell’ services, and the more we can get people to find and use those services, the better use we make of taxpayer money.” Jesper Kristen Bøje, Webmaster for Horsens.
Horsens has relied on Sitecore since 2006. For this new project, we upgraded to Sitecore® Experience PlatformTM (XP 9) and became the first Danish municipality to run on Microsoft Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS). The solution is scalable, provides load balancing, and streamlines integration to content delivery networks. We supported their personalization strategy with Sitecore’s Geo-IP features serving up different content based on from where you visit the site - either inside the municipality or outside. We used Sitecore’s Helix design principles and conventions to prepare the site for cost-efficient implementation and maintenance. “We talked to three different vendors, and Kruso had the best 360-degree view on the project,” Bøje said. “They understood and could deliver on our vision for a modern public website.” The new site features personalized content, clear navigation, and approximately 80 self-service options.
The previous information architecture made navigation confusing, so Horsens decreased the number of pages by 90%, from 3,500 to 400 clear and purposeful ones. An optimized search function brings the most visited pages forward, making them easy to find. “The information architecture has switched from how the municipality is organized to one that puts the visitor in the center,” Bøje said. “The page content is shorter and to the point.” This site serves users better resulting in significant cost savings on service employees and editors. Horsens reduced 70 content editors to nine, an 87% decline that freed 990 hours of staff time annually for high-value citizen services. “They can do what they are hired for, their core competencies,” Bøje said. Every time someone uses digital self-service instead of contacting a municipal employee, Horsens saves money. More than half of users surveyed said the information they found on the site was sufficient to cover their needs without further interaction. Increasing "conversions" are saving Horsens $270,000 annually.
Horsens continues to deploy additional websites — for museums, the harbor, and cultural activities — into the new, multi-site platform. Approximately 70 sites will consolidate into 35 sites on the new Sitecore platform. With the framework established, Horsens can create new project and departmental websites without incurring extra costs. The municipality’s branding is clearer to residents and international visitors alike. Horsens plans to further refine its personalization capabilities, tracking a user’s journey to show more relevant content. “If you have tried to find information about kindergartens, you might want easy access to find public playgrounds in the area,” Bøje said. Today, the organization sees the benefits of having a much more streamlined and consistent website. With success now firmly established, other municipalities are looking to Horsens as a model. “You can cut out between 80%-90% of your content, and then the content you end up having is actually more accessible, and visitors can find the information they’re looking for,” Bøje said.
It is important for government websites to focus on consumer needs.