Sitecore MVP Summit and Symposium Learnings

Last week, ~30 HI folks were part of Sitecore MVP Summit and Sitecore Symposium. Which is obvious as :

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I was also one of that lucky fellow. It was a great event. And I shared my notes with public on my blog : https://sitecorebasics.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/sitecore-mvp-summit-and-symposium-basics-from-the-field/

So, Have a look at it. If you would like to know what new things are coming up in Sitecore world!

Thank you HI Team for letting us be part of such an awesome event!

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HI Honored for Outstanding Performance as a Minority Business Enterprise

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Company wins “Supplier of the Year” award from the North Central Minority Supplier Development Council.

Horizontal Integration (HI) is thrilled and honored to accept the Supplier of the Year award for Class IV (revenue of $50 million+) from the North Central Minority Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC). The award was presented at the 2016 NCMSDC Annual Meeting on May 3rd in Minneapolis.

The award recognizes HI’s continual commitment to diversity, strong community involvement and overall business performance as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE).

The NCMSDC’s mission is to connect and encourage exchange between corporations and minority-owned businesses. The organization seeks to assist MBEs by promoting their capabilities and products to corporations throughout the north central region.

It can take hard work to increase the visibility and markets for MBEs, and HI is proud to stand with NCMSDC and other businesses in doing that work. “At HI our tagline is that we are connectors: we connect businesses with top quality consulting services and consultant talent,” says CEO Sabin Ephrem. “The NCMSDC has been a critical connector for usthey have built a bridge to bring us closer to businesses who can benefit from our services, and who share in our value of a diverse talent ecosystem.”

“It’s both an honor and a validation,” Ephrem says regarding the award, “it just makes me happy and grateful to see the shared commitment to diversity that is reflected in all of the award winners as well as the organizations and buyers who connect with us through NCMSDC.”

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Horizontal Integration Ranks #2 Among Twin Cities Web Development & Design Firms

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Horizontal Integration is thrilled to secure the #2 spot in 2016’s Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal’s Top 25 Web Development & Design Firms, climbing from a tied second place spot last year. HI has risen in the rankings for seven straight years.

Rankings are based on the previous year’s headcount and revenue. Web development and design revenue is then calculated without the inclusion of “pass through” charges such as hosting services, Google/search-engine pay-per-click (PPC) spends, online advertising, media buying, third-party email marketing and media services.

CEO Sabin Ephrem said, “HI’s growth is a direct result of the great work our people do for our clients. Quality execution builds trust, trust expands relationships and relationships drive growth. We are proud to once again be recognized by the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal for our team’s hard work and proud of the results we’re delivering for our clients.”

HI congratulates all firms listed and thanks the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal for compiling the list. To see the complete rankings, check out the full list here.

Congratulations to UnitedHealth Group for Winning Innovation Award

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Horizontal Integration (HI) extends sincere congratulations to the Talent Acquisition team at UnitedHealth Group (UHG) for being awarded the prestigious Innovation Award for their mobile-first candidate experience advancement. The Innovation Award is the most prestigious internal award at UHG. HI is proud to have collaborated together on this project with UHG.

The mobile-first candidate experience project involved creating and implementing a responsive UHG careers site where candidates can learn about and apply for jobs on any device: https://careers.unitedhealthgroup.com/

“Congratulations to our partners and friends at UHG for your hard work, dedication and innovation,” says Chris Staley, EVP of Digital Solutions. “We are honored to work with such an advanced group, and we share in your delight for this prestigious award.”

HI and UHG have been partners for nearly a decade, engaging in complex design and development projects for UHG’s Sitecore-based website. In addition, HI provides staffing needs for Marketing and IT throughout the organization.

HI’s Clutch Performance

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Imagine our surprise when business analyst/research company Clutch posted a rundown of client feedback regarding Horizontal Integration. It can be scary to know people are talking about you behind your back, but we dove into the detailed analysis with confidence. Here are some excerpts from the reviews that we are particularly fond of.

One of the companies interviewed is a global healthcare company that engaged with Horizontal Integration to tackle a large custom web development project. In response to Clutch’s question, “How do you think Horizontal Integration performed on the project?” the client answered:

There’s a very high bar to begin with, yet Horizontal Integration is one of my top two partners I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They bring more to the table than your run of the mill solution partner. They’re not just order takers. They bring extensive acumen and awareness of best practices, of strategy, of business, and of technology, to the forefront.

They’re also very forthright. They don’t nickel and dime you. They have always hit their timelines. If we’ve missed a deadline, it’s because we have done something. There are times that they hop on calls with systems that we’re integrating with merely to share their expertise. It’s not that they’re going to benefit from it and be able to charge us. They look at partnerships holistically rather than one-off transactions. I thoroughly enjoy working with them.

The second company interviewed is a large hearing aid manufacturer that sought to consolidate their many web properties onto a single Sitecore CMS instance. They were asked, “When working with Horizontal Integration, is there anything you would consider unique or special about them compared to some of their competitors?” The client responded:

I would say as a group, they are incredibly accountable. I’ve worked in the interactive world and digital space for a long time. They do what they say they’re going to do. They deliver. They will do absolutely whatever it takes without nickel and diming you to ensure your success. If we ran into a roadblock or if the project took a slight turn, they were very accommodating. They’re extremely accountable. They’re certainly not the least expensive in town, but they’re also not the most expensive. When you look at our investment with them compared to spinning our wheels with other partners in the past, it’s a relationship that we will absolutely continue to maintain.

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Both clients supplied numbers that quantified our success. The first noted that site traffic increased by 10 times. “It would be easy to say we increased 10 times if we only had 100 visitors,” they said, “but we’re talking about going from a million users to 10 million users.” The other client couldn’t be as specific, but they had this to say: “I can tell you that engagement with the site is up considerably. We have tested the site through focus groups and through third parties. We’ve received great user feedback at this point… When we launched[,] we saw a dramatic increase from the prior site in terms of people coming in, filling out a form, and requesting more information.”

We couldn’t ask for nicer compliments.

But don’t take our word for it. Read the whole thing here.

HI Wins 9 Sitecore MVP Awards

Horizontal Integration is pleased to announce that nine team members have been named Most Valuable Professional (MVP) by Sitecore, the global leader in customer experience management. Eight of HI’s Sitecore-certified developers have been named Technology MVP. In addition, Chris Staley, HI founding partner, was awarded as Digital Strategy MVP, one of 35 in the world.

Now it its tenth year, the award recognizes active Sitecore experts from around the world who participate in online and offline communities to share their knowledge with other Sitecore partners and customers. “The increasing amount of individuals that are sharing expertise and knowledge is reflected in the Sitecore community that is growing at a mind-blowing speed,” said a Sitecore representative.

HI’s list of MVPs includes a number of repeat winners along with two new faces:

  • Sheetal Jain—fourth award
  • Kiran Patil—fourth award
  • Brent Svac—third award
  • Chris Staley—second award
  • Dan Schoenberg—second award
  • Brijesh Patel—second award
  • Varun Shringarpure—second award
  • Andy Cohen—first award
  • Vikram Rathore—first award

What’s it all mean for HI and our clients? “Sitecore clients have literally hundreds of implementation partners from which to choose,” said Horizontal Integration CEO, Sabin Ephrem. “Our Platinum-tier partner status and nine MVP awards help the market understand what our clients already know: when it comes to Sitecore, Horizontal Integration is the acknowledged leader. We’re honored to call this year’s nine MVPs our friends and colleagues.”

Horizontal Integration specializes in end-to end, enterprise-level Sitecore implementations via full-service digital marketing expertise in strategy, user experience design, content and technical development. Their mission is to build the most engaging experiences on the web.

HI Recruiters at Second Harvest Heartland

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1 in 10 households in Minnesota is affected by hunger. This is according to Second Harvest Heartland, who distributed 89 million pounds of food in 2014, which is equivalent to 74 million meals.

And how do they get this done? With the help of gracious volunteers, of course. Among their 33,000 helpers are HI’s staffing team, and it all started with Jake Sayaraj, our IT Creative Marketing Recruiter. “Being born in Laos and uprooted to Minnesota at an early age,” he said, “my family had very little means and benefited from these types of organizations in the past.” So he and his friends have given their Saturdays over to volunteering for years. “It’s my way to give back to the community!”

And it’s not just the community that benefits. According to a 2010 United Healthcare survey, volunteering with coworkers results in stronger bonds along with an increased ability to recover from disappointment.

These are all great traits to aim for according to HI Partner Jeremy Langevin. “Recruiting can get hectic, and it’s a competitive field, so it’s great to spend time together outside of the office.” But office benefits aren’t the most important aspect. “It’s for a good cause,” Langevin said, “and it’s just fun.”

Want to get involved with Second Harvest Heartland? You can donate time, money or food via their site.