Case story: Liberty Tax
Road to Umbraco
Liberty (please note that the website might not work for visitors outside North America) is both a tax preparation company during the tax season, and a franchise sales company the rest of the year. We, Marathon Consulting, have been providing digital marketing services to Liberty in support of both of these services since 2007.
The Marathon Consulting power team.
Prior to 2007, Liberty’s marketing department had invested heavily in a CMS to maintain their public websites. It was a pricey CMS with frequent problems relating to the product, and also difficult to use. After 11 years, it was time to break ties with their CMS and they turned to us for help.
We proposed that Liberty should go with Umbraco CMS. We took the lead on the project and planned out a 3-phased, yearlong project.
The main goals of the project were:
🗽 Consolidate Liberty’s 34 public websites into 12
🗽 Design a new, fresh “look and feel” for both LibertyTax.com and LibertyTaxCanada.ca
🗽 Implement an easy to use, enterprise Microsoft-based CMS
🗽 Migrate Liberty’s online assets to a new datacenter
The main challenges stemmed around minimizing the risk and impact to the business during each Liberty’s Tax Preparation or Franchise Sales season. Each of Liberty’s websites supported one season or the other, and we had to design/build/migrate each website in the corresponding off-season.
There was no flexibility with the schedule of the seasons, and the websites that were being migrated were also the focus of Liberty’s marketing team in preparation for the upcoming season.
We designed a new high-performance, load balanced infrastructure plan to handle the peak traffic for all of Liberty’s websites. Once the environment was in place, we developed a base website in the latest version of Umbraco that would provide shared, basic functionality for all of the Liberty websites to serve as a starter site.
We then migrated each website into Umbraco, including refactoring/upgrading each integration point with Liberty’s internal systems and 3rd party APIs.
As the migration of each website was completed, we performed System Integration Testing and Load Testing on each website. Finally, each website was turned over to the Liberty Marketing Team for User Acceptance Testing, and then deployed to the production environment.
Liberty Tax relies on Microsoft technologies to support their IT needs, so the CMS behind their websites had to be a Microsoft-based product.
They also needed a scalable CMS that could handle their large traffic spikes during their peak season, but also be easy to use so that their many content editors could easily update every aspect of their site without having to know HTML/CSS.
They wanted all of this without the hefty annual license fees that typically come with their wish list. We successfully implemented Umbraco 7 with Grid Editors, along with Courier & Umbraco Forms to meet their needs.
We successfully completed each phase of the project without impact to each of the seasons, and accomplished all the stated goals on-time and on-budget.