AC&E has made a strategic investment into and is building a platform to enable business owners to easily design, build and run their website without the need for a website developer and technical staff to maintain it -- the platform provides a Website as a Service (WaaS) solution to make the process efficient and as easy as possible, whilst making the website (or websites if the business has more than one website) as effective and high performing as possible. The concept is to enable a business to easily procure and operate a website(s) without the hassle of long setup processes and without having to make multiple and complex decisions about technology, such as content management systems (CMS), functionality options, third party software integration, plugins, adaptors, internet security and website hosting.
In the WaaS delivery model, it is Comark Digital that is dealing with the long and complex infrastructure processes and the many and varied technology decisions for and on behalf of the business owner, like any other service that the business can subscribe to – and by doing so, Comark is liberating the business owner to focus on operating the website(s) with their marketing and sales campaigns, promoting their unique content and serving their customers. WaaS is a way of designing, building and managing a website by subscribing to it as a service so that functional and technical updates are managed by someone else as part of a package deal – WaaS is especially attractive for businesses that:
- resource constrained in both number (amount of staff) and website/digital skills
- are stretched with day to day business, tasks and responsibilities and don't have time for their managing their digital presence
- don’t have the relevant competencies and skills in-house
- unsure where to start (if they don't have a website), or how to radically improve/fix their current website (if they have one)
- overwhelmed with the variety of website tools on the market, and confused with the variety of technical options in those tools, and the search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) features that they have to consider
One of the benefits of WaaS is that the Comark Digital platform is a standardised solution enabling a fast-to-market website for the business owner, meaning that their website can go from concept to implemented (live) in a very rapid timeframe due to the standardisation of the platform. The other strategic difference with the Comark platform is that it can also be configured quickly to the needs of the business, so that non-standard websites can be deployed quickly and cheaply. For businesses that require more than configuration differences, Comark can also be customised to the more complex and unique needs of more sophisticated requirements of other businesses. Comark was designed with this flexibility to requirements in mind – standardised, configuration and customisation.
The benefit of a WaaS platform like Comark is that it is quick to get started with, and easy to buy with a relatively low cost and fast time to market. An advantage of this approach for a business owner is that more time and budget can be spent on content and communication – a WaaS model means that the business owner is able to spend less of their budget on design and technology, so that they can use more of their budget for content, communication and marketing instead.
Comark also enables a business to move or port their existing website(s) - including content and design – into the Comark WaaS platform very quickly, giving them access to all the benefits immediately. A WaaS platform is based on generic requirements that all websites and businesses need, with the flexibility to add and remove module options as needed, and as the business grows. Some of these generic requirements include, and are not limited to:
- user-friendly content management system (CMS)
- creative design flexibility (look and feel of the website)
- standardised functions such as search, blogs, mailing lists, etc
- campaign management
- data capture forms
- automation of some settings for search engine optimisation (SEO)
- integrations with third-party providers
- social media integration
WaaS is a good option for any business with limited resources, that wants to have a well-functioning website up and running quickly without having to understand all the technical jargon. Comark provides a range of creative designs that can be configured to the needs and wants of the business, enabling a fast-to-market design at a lower cost than retaining their own bespoke designer, or a business can implement a custom design into the platform.
Another key benefit of the WaaS model is the continuous development of the website – by subscribing to the service, a business owner is able to decide the level of development on their website as it suits them, and also they have the flexibility to subscribe for optional modules at an additional cost to increase the functionality on a month to month basis (meaning they can switch on/switch off the modules based on specific needs). In the early days a business might want to make bigger changes in the beginning when they see the possibilities that the platform offers, and after a while when they become satisfied with fewer alterations, focusing on keeping the website up to date.
The other aspect of the WaaS continuous development is that Comark is making technology easier for business owners by automatically keeping the website up to date with ever-changing technology such as browser updates, Google search updates, changes in technology standards, hosting, encryption, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, security protocols, social media changes, changes in adaptors, API's and third-party integrations which are essential for the operation of the website, and so on. It is important to note this is not only a time advantage, but also a cost advantage as Comark can implement the essential technology changes at a platform level at a lower cost than if a business owner is responsible for requesting it on their own from a third-party developer.
Hosting is also included in the Comark WaaS service so that you don’t have to worry about traffic numbers, harmful attacks and geographical distribution – Comark employs Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform as cloud services for a highly scalable and efficient hosting and data architecture.
Another aspect of the WaaS model is that Comark provides advice and support to business users so that they are able to obtain help, advice and know-how easily and in a timely manner. More aspects of the differentiated service and functionality are outlined below.