Fly on the wall
Building ‘fit for purpose’ technology solutions
To help manage content effectively and generate results for our clients, we built our own in-house CMS, Superfly. Built specifically for financial/professional services and consultancy companies, it's offered as part of our service to prospective clients. We interviewed our head of technology, Mateusz Bulgajewski about the product.
When there are so many on the market, why develop a CMS product?
We didn’t find anything that really suited our clients’ needs specifically. Security was the main issue. With GDPR a hot topic, we found that some more proprietary, open source products (i.e. Wordpress) had some glaring security gaps. Any personally identifiable information (PII) submitted to a database could be easily hacked, or a website could be taken down. Due to our background in penetration testing, we knew the steps that hackers can take to gain access. So we built something from scratch that was pretty robust that we can continue to strengthen.
So it’s secure, surely that’s not the only need clients have?
Of course not. Our client base consists mainly of SME B2B professional services, consultancies and FS businesses. What you’d call “white collar B2B”, with a little IT and engineering thrown in. The objectives of the businesses are generally to generate leads at different levels of the sales funnel. Whether that’s through searchability (one to many), engagement on-site (one to few) or even transactional (one to one). We built something that ensures that social campaigns can be managed effectively using SEO-compliant landing pages. SEO copywriting is boosted easily indexed content management (without the requirement for a plugin). Searchable URLs are automatically created with new pages and landing page modules for specific subjects. We can even work in voice search - FYI, soon 50% of searches will be by voice 30% without a screen.
The modular nature of the product means that we can easily add functionality to each page, be that video, elements of interactivity, calculators, blogs, image galleries etc... These can be moved around effortlessly without any back end development.
Modular nature of the CMS? Tell us more.
Each page is divided up into modules. Due to the scrolling nature of browsing nowadays, especially on mobile, each page can be packed with functionality. We’ve ensured this layer of functionality does not affect any other elements on the page. We’ve built video modules, easily updated with Vimeo/Youtube embed codes, image galleries, filtered blogs, customer acquisition forms and highly usable mortgage calculators based upon complex APIs. We generally scope out the clients functional requirements and select the modules for the job, this frees up a lot of back end development time and saves the client money. If the module doesn’t exist, we can build it to spec. Basically we can grow the site module by module. The client can then move them around, turn them on or off and recreate them within the CMS, effectively giving them the tools to create dynamic pages themselves. While we concentrate on improving functionality and usability.
Surely that ties a client in with Fly?
Not really, the code is compliant to PHP MVC application design pattern that separates the application data and business logic (model) from the presentation (view). MVC stands for Model, View & Controller. The controller mediates between the models and views. Think of the MVC design pattern as a car and the driver. So any PHP developer worth their salt will understand it. It’s actually pretty clean code opposed to other CMS products out there.
So what makes Superfly fit for purpose in the “white collar B2B” segment?
There are lots of products out there. Wordpress is the most generic, which is an evolution of a blogging software, which is great for SEO. But it still requires plugins that have sporadic version control which isn’t aligned to the core platform, which causes vulnerabilities. It’s quite good if you want to blog a lot, but doesn’t really serve any specific purpose. 76% of websites are built on it, so that’ll tell you how generic it is. Squarespace is made for small businesses that rely on image-heavy content. So generally it’s used by the likes of designers, luxury clothing, artisan food businesses. Something that has a tangible, visual element. Most of our clients offerings are non-tangible. It also doesn’t do well with complex APIs for products like mortgages or broadband quoting tools.
What makes Superfly fit for purpose, is it’s lead generation capability. It’s built specifically to help clients in the SME B2B space generate business results through an enhanced experience. Altitude over attitude...as we say here.
Unless you’re spending a lot of money on a large .NET deployment, like Sitecore for instance, which admittedly a lot of our clients can’t afford. You’re not really going to get the sort of benefits that Superfly offers.
You’re saying it’s value for money?
Yes, definitely, we charge no usage fees, just agency time and subscriptions like hosting etc…
Finally, where do you see the product going in the future?
Automation, definitely. We’re aiming to create a next generation platform for micro businesses in the white-collar space, maybe on a subscription-based service. One that brings more automation to web design and development.