Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a global agricultural processing company, recently launched their new customer experience on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.  You can read the full case study here.

ADM joins PolyOne and International Specialty Products as case study references for using SharePoint for the .com customer experience in the chemical and agriculture industry.

For many of our SharePoint savvy customers, using SharePoint for web content management and the customer experience is a natural extension of their use of SharePoint as an internal tool for collaboration, business intelligence, search and intranet and extranet portals.

For customers who aren’t as familiar with SharePoint, it takes a little longer to grasp how a single product can be the foundation for their customer-facing needs – as well as handle their internal and extranet functions.

Many chemical and ag companies find themselves in a recognizable scenario - their .com presence was implemented around the time of the .com boom and the technology foundation has remained pretty much the same.  Technology and business have changed so much in the last 5-7 years, and the capabilities of web content management platforms have evolved a great deal as well.

In ADM’s case, they were looking to shift more and more content management responsibility away from IT and into the hands of the business.  This would allow the business to be more responsive to the market and publish content quickly to the web.  At the same time, it freed up valuable developer time to work on more high-value projects.  In ADM’s case, it was to work on the next phase of their project which includes their B2B eCommerce site.

I see this with other customers, too.  The .com presence upgrade is just the beginning.  Many are looking to add functionality on top of web content management, whether eCommerce or product information with advanced searching.  That is when the power of the SharePoint platform really comes in – extending it and integrating it into your other systems.  Maybe your initial requirements are to just upgrade the web content management experience, and to improve your ability to serve a global market.  Soon that will change, and you will want to do more.  You need to consider all requirements when evaluating the best platform and product set for your company.

Thank you to ADM for their willingness to share this story.  They have a strong team and do great things over there in Decatur, IL.

If you want to read up on SharePoint’s web content management capabilities, check out this link.