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    Areas of Expertise
    • User Experience
    • Web Site Strategy
    • Information Architecture
    • Graphic Design
    • Usability
    • Accessibility
    • Rich Internet Applications
    • Globalization
    • e-Learning
    • e-Marketing
    • e-Commerce
    • Government Web Sites
    • Web Content Management Systems

    "Brian is that truly rare breed of professional who is adept at blending many critical technical and leadership skills while maintaining a high degree of civility and humility under pressure. I have never worked with anyone who could so artfully present complex issues at any audience level while never losing focus on achieving the goal of the engagement. I would recommend Brian for any role that he is willing to undertake, and I can promise success in any such endeavor.” November 12, 2007

    Ron New , Vice President of Sales and Marketing , Venturi Technology Partners
    worked with Brian at Venturi Technology Partners


    A Different Kind of Staff Augmentation Model

    Have you ever said any of the following?

    • “My web developer just left and I need an expert with Wordpress to keep my site running and to train whoever I hire to replace them”
    • “I just need an Episerver expert for 6 weeks to roll out a new piece of functionality”
    • “I can’t hire a full-time Drupal expert, but I need them to be a part of this upgrade I have planned”
    • “I need a Ektron developer to help my team complete this work next month”                  

    If you have, then you have identified a need to augment your staff – at least on a temporary basis. This is one of the core offerings of our company, Ameex, and it works extremely well in the situations described above. Ameex is also able to provide these staff augmentation resources to your team on a remote, domestic or on-site basis, ensuring that we can meet your specific needs.

    However, we have also found that in these kinds of engagements, there are additional ways in which the Ameex team can provide additional value. For example, we recently had an opportunity to work with a client who approached us with a traditional staff augmentation need – in this case, it was for a developer to be added to an existing team. As we explored the request in detail, we learned that the client didn’t have a formalized methodology for the project and was also lacking in quality assurance testing resources, but had all of the other key roles covered.

    To address these unique needs, Ameex offered a new kind of staff augmentation model: we call it the Blended FTE (Full-Time Employee) model. Using this approach, Ameex provided the core development resource that was needed, but augmented this developer with a CMS Architect (who would map out the development plan for the entire team) and provided access to the Ameex Quality Assurance Testing team, all for a blended rate that was marginally higher than the core rate for just a developer. The Ameex Quality Assurance Testing team also brought to bear our unique mobile device testing lab, which is a dedicated center that features more than 50 of the most popular smartphones and tablets in use today. This device testing lab provides the ability to test responsive web sites and even native mobile applications, as well.

    With one move, Ameex was able to not just fill this customer’s initial stated request for development resources, but also drove supplemental value that will result in a successful delivery for the customer. The simple truth is this: if this client hadn’t elected to use this model, they would have had to hire a developer for a temporary period of time, then hire a CMS Architect to map out the development plan and then, finally, would have had to hire a separate testing team to come in and complete the testing. Following the Ameex approach, they were able to hire a single developer and then have that same developer provide access to development planning and testing approaches.

    While the example above showcases the ability of the Ameex team to augment a developer with Architect and QA testing roles, the reality is that Ameex can also offer other forms of supplemental role support beyond these. For example, Ameex can add infrastructure specialists, security experts, performance and load testing resources, graphic designers, information architects and trainers as roles to augment core development or CMS Architect jobs. Any kind of role that has a special, unique or short-term role in a larger web development project can be delivered using this unique approach. This flexibility allows the model to serve the needs of a variety of customers, including those who are looking for small, targeted support to those looking to outsource complete teams of skilled development resources.

    Taken together, it is clear that the Ameex blended FTE model really is about guaranteeing success for our customers. By providing niche services in a supplemental way to the core resources building the site, we ensure that all aspects of the development process are considered, implemented and successfully deployed. And the best news of all? The costs of the Ameex blended FTE model typically are only 20%-30% more than just core resources. That’s a tremendous amount of added value for a small additional investment.

    Contact Ameex

    Contact Brian Browning ( or at 804-920-1956) to learn more about how Ameex can assist you with a team of skilled, experienced developers, QA testers and more. 


    What’s Next for Ektron Customers?

    Customers who have purchased the Ektron CMS Platform have seen some turbulent conditions in recent memory, but as the dust has settled from the combination of Ektron and Episerver, the path forward for many current Ektron customers is becoming clearer. Many Ektron customers have already committed to porting their web site properties onto the Episerver platform, and for good reason.

    Episerver has distinguished itself as an credible Enterprise-class CMS and digital marketing platform, having been recognized as a Leader in Gartner's 2015 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management and recently debuting in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce in March of 2016. A brief glance at the Episerver client list reads like a Who’s Who of the world’s leading brands and companies, including Pizza Hut, AXA Insurance, GlaxoSmithKline, Electrolux, Pfizer and Reebok.

    Ektron customers have a lot to look forward to if they stay on the path to Episerver. The best elements of Ektron have now been combined with the scalability, modern technical architecture and e-commerce capabilities of the Episerver platform. The resulting product truly is greater than the sum of its parts:

    • Personalized content delivery, including full integration with marketing automation tools, is made possible through a combination of innovative tools within Episerver, providing marketers with unprecedented abilities to measure, experiment with and deliver compelling messaging to the right customers at the right time.
    • Integration is a seamless experience using the Episerver Digital Experience Hub, instantly allowing non-technical business people to own and manage complex, content-rich experiences without leaving Salesforce.
    • Support for expansive multilingual content delivery is inherent in Episerver, making it an ideal candidate for global organizations with multiple languages and dialects to support. 

    It’s clear what a powerhouse option that Episerver represents for current Ektron customers. To make the move, Ektron customers can partner with any of more than 100 Episerver partners, including Ameex Technologies. Ameex’s specific expertise in both Ektron and Episerver allows us to provide relatively quick and inexpensive migrations from one platform to another. Migration projects can be as simple as “lift-and-shift” projects where the same core user interface, functionality and information architecture is replicated in Episerver to more comprehensive redesign projects that include full responsive redesign efforts in addition to the back-end CMS change.

    There are other options for current Ektron customers, of course. Some customers have decided to look for alternative CMS platforms that share Ektron’s .NET technical back-end. Among these, Sitecore, Kentico and Sitefinity appear to be some of the more popular choices. Sitecore remains among the more expensive options, in both licensing and migration costs, of the .NET alternatives. Kentico and Sitefinity are good fits with customers will smaller budgets and needs, but who still prefer the convenience of staying on the .NET platform.

    Other customers are interested in exploring open source solutions instead. In these cases, Drupal and Magento (and to a smaller extent, WordPress) are the most popular choices there. While significant savings can be found in the open source world, it’s also important to remember that content authoring and administrative experiences can be very different from the more page-oriented, hierarchal models that users of the Ektron Workarea may be used to. Having said that, there is no question that open source platforms now rival commercial tools when it comes to security and performance.

    In summary, current Ektron customers have a lot of options in how they can proceed with their web properties. At Ameex, we offer a CMS Scorecard exercise that can help expedite the decision-making process when it comes to choosing your next CMS platform. And as always, the CMS Experts at Ameex are available to consult with you on your specific needs.

    Contact Ameex

    Contact Brian Browning ( or at 804-920-1956) to learn more about how Ameex can assist you with migrating from Ektron to your next CMS platform. 


    Using a CMS Scorecard to Pick Your Next CMS

    By Brian Browning, Senior Vice President, Ameex Technologies
    February 10th, 2016

    Choosing the right Web Content Management System (WCMS or more simply, CMS) is easily one of the most important choices any organization makes. Once selected and implemented, most organizations tend to stick with a given CMS tool for many years – in fact, in some cases, we have seen clients on the same CMS platform for 7 or more years. The choice of CMS is all the more important because it also defines what can and can’t be easily done within your web site(s). For example, CMS tools that offer out-of-the-box integration with third-party tools will often offer more flexibility and represent more business value than a CMS that requires custom integration to link to other systems and tools.

    Given the importance of the role of the CMS as the heart of an overall digital ecosystem, it is not surprising to see that many organizations struggle with the selection. The stakes are high and the choices are numerous. The challenge is that each organization is different – some have preferences for specific technologies (for example, .NET versus open source) whereas others have a need to pull legacy code or functionality from previous web sites into the new CMS platform. Some organizations have political or internal issues that affect the perception of specific CMS tools and others prefer to purchase a CMS based on specific features or functionality. Still others will prefer to choose based on analyst recommendations, or on previous experiences at other jobs.

    With so many ways of choosing a CMS and so much at stake in the decision, it is best to follow an objective process that allows for a thoughtful analysis of the right CMS platforms, personalized to the specific needs of the customer. That’s what the CMS Scorecard is all about.

    At Ameex, we have almost a decade’s worth of experience in working with, upgrading, customizing, integrating and deploying CMS tools in the .NET and open source worlds. Thanks to this experience, we have built a tool that allows organizations to objectively identify and then evaluate the key CMS platforms that best align with your specific needs.

    The CMS Scorecard process typically takes between 2-3 weeks. We begin the process by conducting an initial stakeholder interview with the key decision makers, which typically includes at least Marketing and IT representatives. The goal of this session is to better understand which features and functionality are the most important to the organization in the short, medium and long-term horizons. Using this approach, we can find out which features are meaningful to a customer versus which features may be nice to have, but not essential. We also use this step to narrow a large pool of 20 choices to a smaller selection set of 3-5 candidates.

    Next, we conduct additional research and analysis into the final candidates, assessing their corporate strength, the number of developers who support the CMS and its technology, the financial viability of the company, determining what the key analysts in the CMS sector think of the candidate platforms and finally, work to document the costs, licensing model and financial considerations of each CMS candidate. With this in hand, we next define the specific features and functionality available from each CMS candidate, ranking both the availability of a specific feature, but also the usability and practicality of each feature. Next, we schedule demonstrations of the selected CMS platforms to be conducted with Ameex and customer resources in attendance.

    To further personalize the evaluation, we apply weights to the ranking assessments which represent the customer’s preferences. For example, one customer we worked with wanted a very visual authoring experience and as such, we heavily weighted CMS candidates that offered visual authoring and dynamic, drag-and-drop features. This is done for all aspects of the platform being reviewed –the infrastructure requirements, licensing costs, features and functionality, assessments of the ease of implementing and more than 200 other criteria are documented, assessed and finally, weighted to reflect our customer’s specific needs.

    The final output is an objectively defensible guide to the right CMS platform choice that we call the CMS Scorecard. Reviewing the CMS Scorecard allows anyone to quickly see what was reviewed, how specific weighting criteria affects the final results and what the final answer is. It also allows us to define multiple choices for various procurement situations, which may aid organizations who have complex procurement rules. For example, we are able to identify a first choice if an organization wanted to host in-house, whereas other choices may be better for outsourced hosting approaches.

    The importance of selecting the right CMS simply can’t be overlooked. The CMS Scorecard exercise is a proven way of objectively looking at a complex decision and ensuring that the right tool is selected. With a small investment in time up-front, organizations can save immeasurable pain and lost business opportunities by making the right choice at the outset, leading to many years of productive, efficient and powerful online experiences.  

    Contact Ameex

    We’d love to discuss the CMS Scorecard with you. Please contact Brian Browning ( or at 804-920-1956) to learn more about how we can help guide you in making your important CMS decisions.


    Square Root Interactive Announces Agreement with Ameex Technologies

    Ameex announced some pretty exciting news this week!

    "We are thrilled to integrate Square Root’s world-class design expertise and extensive knowledge around usability, SEO and driving business results with our deep technical delivery capabilities,” said Browning. “Together we will grow Ameex’s onsite discovery capabilities and our local account management team.”

    Ameex employs more than 250 developers that are extensively trained and segmented by CMS technology.

    For more information, please visit:

    5 Partnering Tips that Interactive Agencies, Design Shops and Creative Firms Should Know

    Life has never been busier for interactive agencies, design shops and other creative firms who do business on the Internet. It’s hard to stay on top of a constantly changing development team, a sales pipeline that is in constant flux and to feel confident that you are consistently delivering the creative vision that your clients care so much for. That’s where a partner can make a real difference. For almost a decade, Ameex has been working with companies just like you to provide the flexibility, competitiveness and diverse offerings that can help to ensure you – and your clients – ultimate success.

    Here are 5 Partnering Tips that Interactive Agencies, Design Shops and Creative Firms Should Know:

    1. Make Sure You have a Flexible Staffing Model - One of the toughest challenges in running any organization is making sure that your staff is always busy, working productively to deliver your client’s projects. Thanks to the asymmetrical nature of today’s work schedules, ensuring long stretches of productive work can be difficult to do. Using Ameex’s flexible staffing models, you can bring additional resources onto your project to get over a particularly cumbersome stretch of development and feel confident that you can wind the resources down off of the project as needed. This arrangement provides you with the maximum amount of flexibility in keeping your resources fully billable and utilized. 
    2. Boost Profit with Competitive Rates for Development Personnel -Let’s face it – this is a competitive world that lives and dies by the hard results we produce. Ameex’s combination of remote, near-shore and on-site delivery models guarantees you that you are working with a competitive rate card that will drive profit for your projects. Use that profit to bolster overall project profit margins, or to “buy back” additional hours to deal with unexpected development challenges. 
    3. Leverage Partners to Allow You to Take on New Work - Interactive agencies and design firms excel at establishing creative visions for their clients. Actually delivering those creative visions can prove to be challenging, especially if the major focus within an organization is creatively minded. Partnering with Ameex provides you the ability to deliver your creative vision on any number of popular CMS platforms – not just the ones you have programmers for. Ameex provides support for both .NET and Open Source-based CMS platforms and has a tremendous amount of experience in working with creative teams to ensure successful delivery of your creative vision. 
    4. Find New Ways to Take Care of the Customer After the Launch -Serving customers after the launch of their new web site is a necessary, but not always fun, task. Many development team members prefer to be working on large scale implementation projects, not doing one-off quick fixes, code enhancements and application patches. Ameex offers both a retainer-based reactionary maintenance plan, as well as a proactively-focused managed services plan that takes on all of the post-launch headaches. Using a direct or white labeled approach, Ameex is even able to offer 24x7 global support, complete with Service Level Guarantees, ensuring your customers are happy while your internal developers are productive. 
    5. Grow By Expanding your Offerings - With the headaches of development out of your mind thanks to partnering with Ameex, you may also turn your attention to other aspects of transforming your customer’s businesses with the power of the Internet and Ameex can help you there, as well. Our dedicated mobile application development team means that you can offer your clients the power of true, native iOS and Android applications. Our integration services can extend the lifeblood of your client’s websites by sharing data with Enterprise and legacy systems. Finally, our ability to provide comprehensive monitoring services can be leveraged to ensure you – and your clients’ – peace of mind.

    Contact Ameex

    As you can see, Ameex offers a lot to design agencies and interactive marketing companies. Contact Brian Browning ( or at 804-920-1956) to learn more about how Ameex can benefit your team!