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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Drupal 8 Training News, Alerts and Discounts

The release of Drupal 8 brings with it over 200 new features and improvements allowing you
to build almost any integrated experience you can imagine. Drupal 8 offers simplicity for editors, power for administrators and accessibility for everyone.

No matter if you are moving from Drupal 6, or Drupal 7 or just getting started fresh with Drupal 8, "We've Got You Covered".  Fig Leaf is Acquia's #1 Training Provider and our Certified Technical Trainers have trained more than 35,000 students. 

With Drupal 8 released today, we are pleased to announce that training is soon to follow.  We've developed more than 30 courses for the likes of Salesforce, Adobe, Intel, Sencha, PaperThin and others, and in there is typically a slight delay from the time of product launch, to official training.  We invite you to be the first to know about Drupal 8 hands-on, instructor-led training from Fig Leaf Software.  

Sign up to receive news and announcements about the upcoming Drupal 8 training as it is released. Classes planned include: 

Ready, Set, Drupal 8 
Drupal 8 In a Day 
Drupal 8 Practical 
Drupal 8 Understanding Core 
Drupal 8 Conceptual 
Drupal 8 Layout and Theming 
Drupal 8 Module Development 

Get Drupal 8 Training Info

Fig Leaf Software offers public and private training for Drupal using our own Drupal training materials and training materials certified by Acquia, Inc. To view the full course outline for current Drupal training visit http://training.figleaf.com 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cisco Broke my Internet

Many of our customers use Cisco's Anyconnect Secure Mobility Client to connect to their VPNs - it's easy to use and works great. Two days ago however, I started it up and it decided to auto-update without prompting me.  In general I'm not opposed to this - upgrades to software and especially security-related software like a VPN client can be critical, and companies can make the process relatively seamless (both Firefox and Chrome have been self-updating for awhile now and it hasn't caused me problems). This time, once the auto-update finished and the client restarted, my internet no longer worked.  I couldn't access websites and ironically I could no longer access VPNs either - Cisco's update had someone broken my internet and broken itself to boot. So after poking around for an hour or I figured out what had happened - Cisco had decided to 'bundle' in a separate Web Security Agent with the VPN client software update that was re-routing all my HTTP traffic to some sort of 'safety web scanner' service, and that service was failing.  My main internet connectivity was intact (I could ping IPs and get a response) but webpages were kaput.

This epitomizes one of the things I hate about a lot of modern software companies - tons of them want to stick things that you don't need and probably don't even want on your machine.  These practices are already pretty shady - you'll often get them if you don't check or uncheck some innocuous checkbox or you'll be 'implicitly agreeing' when you simply choose a 'Standard Install' option over the 'Advanced Install' that lets you unselect all that crap, but this time Cisco went one better and just stuck it on my machine without so much as letting me know what they'd done, let alone giving me the option to decide. The end result is that I booted up my computer and Cisco decided that it could just put things on it, and without so much as an 'ok' button my internet access was disabled.  I'm sure that's not what they intended, but it's what they did.

Fortunately I had another machine to search the web with, and after awhile I found that Cisco had installed a Web Security Agent - if this happens to you, you can go to Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Programs and Features, look for that Cisco Web Security Agent, and uninstall it - your internet access should come right back (and if you have it installed and you didn't intend to, you may want to uninstall it even if your internet is still working, as it's possible that it'll slow down your internet access by doing this HTTP service reroute).

It just goes to show that computer problems can come from anywhere - computer systems and web servers have become unimaginably complex, and here's an incomplete list of things that can cause an issue with your site:  Code bugs, database issues, OS problems, system upgrades, server resource limits, software updates, hardware failures, network outages, configuration settings, strange HTTP headers from a Chinese search engine, and an infinite variety of human errors.

So when something breaks the cause can be both unexpected and very difficult to track down.  At Fig Leaf, we deal with the unexpected every day, so if you need someone to help you navigate through the maze that is maintaining a website, give us a call.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Inbound 2015 Recap: The Government Perspective

By Bret Peters, CMO, Fig Leaf Software

LinkedIn @petersbret
Having recently returned from the Inbound 2015 conference (#Inbound15) I’m still putting into perspective the news and announcements from HubSpot and the events that inspired 14,000 of my new closest friends.  

One of the highlights for me was sitting down with HubSpot executives and our HubSpot government clients.  While HubSpot was built for the small and medium sized businesses to help drive sales, and automate marketing tasks, the platform has become an increasingly valuable tool for government agencies seeking to create a Citizen Centric Journey.

HubSpot provides public affairs, communications and marketing professionals in government the ability to quickly and easily create inbound marketing content without relying on technical resources.  Some of the new product features announced will be especially helpful for government as well including:

HubSpot Reporting This is a huge boost for government clients.  Government is large (for better or worse) and they have to make sure they are properly servicing citizens.  Enhanced reporting will provide government an improved ability to service constituents. HubSpot reporting features numerous common reports out of the box but Enterprise also allows for custom reporting -- including the ability to report on many HubSpot integrations.  

HubSpot Ads Add-on Policy may not support the use of Ads but this is one of my favorite new features because it provides an integrated capability.  Marketers time is precious so being able to measure ROI (return on investment) from within HubSpot is huge for any marketer.  HubSpot Ads launched supporting Linkedin ads and more are coming with Google AdWords already in Beta.  As a Google partner with numerous AdWords clients I can’t wait! In my talks with government agencies, Ads can be a touchy subject but I see the use  for instance if they help government achieve their mission goals.  Armed Forces recruiters use ads to attract top talent and I would bet that the Census will be using Ads to build awareness as we lead up to 2016.

HubSpot Predictive Lead Scoring Agencies can benefit from automatically lead scoring available in HubSpot Enterprise.  HubSpot analyzes the behaviors of constituents who convert thereby helping to improve the overall citizen journey and identify and confirm journey paths to information.  If public servants can more automatically determine how to better serve up relevant content to constituents need we all win.  

Free Inbound Marketing Assessment

HubSpot Connect Expanding on HubSpot’s stable of third-party integrations, HubSpot Connect adds new sources of data to help public affairs and communications better use automation to serve relevant content to visitors and constituents.  For example, a public affairs official can trigger workflows and customize site content based on someone attending an outreach event or contacting the help desk. With the expanded reporting engine agencies can now determine how their activities are measuring up.

HubSpot Website CMS and Hosting

Of course HubSpot already hosts blogs and landing pages but they also host Websites and their new and improved Content Management System (CMS) allows non-technical content creators to quickly and easily launch a website quickly and efficiently.  HubSpot CMS Smart Content Insights puts information from your constituent database right in the page editor so that public affairs and communication specialists can create quality content that drives results.  Many government agencies are tasked with working with the community and creating great content that draws the community members closer helps community businesses and members get and stay engaged.

HubSpot Sales Tools (Or as I call them ... Citizen Service Tools)

HubSpot expanded their offering on the sales tool side including enhanced integrations between HubSpot, Google Apps Gmail and Salesforce.com.  One of the biggest time savers for government employees is HubSpot Sequences which was announced as “automation for sales”.  What this is for government is the ability for each individual government employee to quickly and easily create a sequences of emails.  What this means is that in one short sitting, an individual can compose a string of email sequences that ensure citizens and constituents are getting the service they expect and require.  Let’s say for instance the Small Business Administration is promoting a local event with SBA and industry thought leaders.  The person in charge of the event can, in one sitting, set up all of the necessary communications and schedule them out in a very personalized manner -- those communications or citizen touches, may include the original event invite, the confirmation email, reminder email, thanks for attending or sorry we missed you email, and any other follow up that may be helpful.  

When Brian Halligan, the CEO of HubSpot, spoke he said talked about the new sales tools being “good for the customer, AND good for the salesperson”.  In government terms, the sales tools are good for the government employee AND good for the citizen ... and that means they are good forthe taxpayers (us!).

Implementing an inbound methodology in government helps agencies become more efficient and better serve citizens.  To learn more about how to create a Citizen Centric Journey read my recent blog post: The Citizen Centric Journey: Using the Inbound Methodology for Government (From the “Buyer’s Journey” to the “Citizen Centric Journey”: Transforming citizen service in government with inbound marketing techniques)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Best of the Web Award: Louisville Metro Government's new Drupal Site

Fig Leaf Software develops award-winning Drupal websites

Louisville Metro Government received a Best of the Web (BOW) Award from the Center for Digital Government which also promotes and announces the Digital Government Achievement Awards annually.

"In its 20th year, the annual Best of the Web (BOW) awards recognize city, county and state governments for outstanding portals and websites based on innovation, functionality, productivity and performance. This year’s first-place BOW winners are the City of Independence, Missouri; Sacramento County, California; and the State of Arkansas in the state category, a first-place winner also in 2011." ~ According to the organization's website.

Louisville Metro Government received 2nd place in the City Portal Category: 2015 Best of the Web Award. 

The award-winning site was implemented in the Drupal Content Management System (CMS) by Fig Leaf Software.  Louisville contracted Fig Leaf Software to implement a new responsive design for the the public website and to implement the Drupal CMS on the Acquia platform. In addition to theming the design in Drupal, the Fig Leaf team also helped improve the user experience, and design a content strategy and migration plan.  

With the revamp of Louisville’s website and streamlining of content, the city is better prepared to serve its constituents. Since Fig Leaf implemented the design theme in Drupal, non-technical staff members are now able to quickly and easily manage and maintain site content based on their role. Visitors ability to perform self service tasks has been greatly enhanced.

Following the initial public website launch (www.louisvilleky.gov), the Fig Leaf team embarked on the second phase of the launch, a user-based My Louisville tool. The My Louisville custom toolbox experience will enable users to isolate and save the most important items on the site depending on their location and role.

If a user needs to locate the closest fire or police department to their home or find out who the council members are for their district, MyLouisville will be able to provide that information very quickly. This toolbox will allow citizens to more easily interact with with the city of Louisville, and will be launched in the next few months. 

Fig Leaf partnered with the City of Louisville Kentucky, to redesign and relaunch the website on the Drupal 7 platform. The design is fully-responsive and was based on a series of mock-ups the city created as a starting point. Fig Leaf’s design team and the Louisville Metro Government key stakeholders worked iteratively to improve the visual treatments with an emphasis on usability and a clean look and feel.
Fig Leaf’s team closely collaborated with the city’s in-house technology team, to identify the best possible modules combined with minimal-but-powerful custom code to meet the needs of Louisville Metro Government visitors. The site required easily discoverable information for diverse audiences, a robust user engagement approach and cost-effective maintainability which could be expanded by the City’s in-house technologist. Fig Leaf also created a new Drupal module for publicity-photo management which will be shared with the Drupal community.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Department of Interior Launches New Public Website on Drupal Open Source CMS

New Mobile First Drupal Website will Promote Citizen Engagement

Washington, DC: August 25, 2015 – Fig Leaf Software, an award winning digital agency, is proud to announce that Fig Leaf Software, in partnership with Phase2 Technology, has successfully migrated and launched the new www.doi.gov website onto the Department of Interior’s new Drupal CMS platform.  Fig Leaf Software and Phase2 completed the migration onto the OpenPublic on SoftLayer cloud platform created by Phase2 and IBM.  
"The Department of the Interior’s innovative approach to consolidating the agency’s content management systems onto a single open source cloud platform will provide a great example for how other government agencies and organizations can be successful with citizen engagement using open source platforms. Fig Leaf Software is very excited to be working with DOI and Phase2 in making this a successful launch."  ~ Dave Gallerizzo USMCR (Ret.), CEO of Fig Leaf Software
The Department of Interior had the goal to consolidate nine Content Management Systems into a single common platform based on the Drupal CMS platform.  In 2014 the Fig Leaf / Phase2 team was selected from a large field of vendors to be a part of a multi-company BPA dedicated to support the Drupal platform at DOI and their CMS consolidation efforts.

About Fig Leaf Software: Fig Leaf Software is a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and a full-service digital agency specializing in marketing, web and mobile design, development and web professional training. For 20 years, Fig Leaf Software has helped organizations overcome business challenges through the implementation of technology and award-winning design. Fig Leaf Software is closely partnered with Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), Adobe (ADBE), Acquia, EPiServer, Ektron, PaperThin, Sencha, HubSpot (HUBS) and Brightcove (BCOV).  Fig Leaf Software's team is comprised of talented marketers, developers, graphic artists and designers with years of experience delivering web and mobile applications and developing public websites, portals, intranets, extranets. The company's training division has provided certified training for more than 35,000 web professionals in the Google Search Appliance, Google Apps for Business, Acquia Drupal, Adobe ColdFusion and more. Visit www.figleaf.com or call 202-797-7711 to learn more about our products, training or consulting services.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Bret Peters, Chief Marketing Officer, at 202-797-7711 x109 or email at bpeters@figleaf.com.

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