Always Thinking.

Leading Sitecore Partner:  Digital Strategy, UX, Large Site Implementation, Personalization, and CMS Usability.

TBG has been a national expert in CMS best practices and holistic web development for large sites, heavily focused on Sitecore CMS implementation. The firm provides roadmap-to-completion services and supports many significant sites, with banner clients such as Valspar, Stanley Black & Decker, M&T Bank, Penn Medicine, Johns Hopkins, UPMC, Children’s National Medical Center, Loyola University, the Office of Government Ethics, and many others.

We are experts in the following: 1) help large organizations plan operationally and strategically for large website projects. 2) ensure that those projects have the highest quality and consistency of user experience (UX) and content strategy, with a focus on fully Responsive Web Design for tablet and mobile, and 3) teach web operations and marketers how to take full advantage of the advanced content personalization, tracking, and mobile device features available with the new technology—all with a major focus on sustainability.

With over 400+ significant projects launched and 50+ active clients, TBG is highly active in the areas of healthcare, finance, direct-to-consumer, nonprofits, professional associations, higher education, and government website development. 

 

 
Undisclosed
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
1991
Show all +
Baltimore, MD
headquarters
  • 3618 Falls Road
    Baltimore, MD 21211
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

 

  • Valspar
  • Stanley Black & Decker
  • Penn Medicine
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Johns Hopkins
  • University of Maryland Medical System
  • Office of Government Ethics
  • Children's National Medical Center

Reviews

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Digital Strategy for Education Management Organization

“[The Berndt Group is] invested in helping our company.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
3.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Sept 2009 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Having led a branding initiative and a first website redesign, The Berndt Group is currently engaged in a second iteration involving CMS integration, UX research, and content strategy, amongst other services.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
New York, New York
Jeff Covello
Director of Marketing, American Montessori Society
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The first redesign yielded a 400% increase in traffic and a significant boost in search engine rankings; the second redesign shows promise for similar results. TBG meets deadlines and provides scrupulous project management, all while maintaining a customer-centric mindset.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of marketing of the American Montessori Society (AMS). We’re a nonprofit association organization made up of 15,000 members worldwide. Our organization strives to be the foremost advocate for quality Montessori education not just in the U.S., but around the world.

I oversee our entire web presence: the main AMS website, social media channels, third-party integration websites, job boards, message boards, etc. I also manage all of the organization’s marketing communications (e.g., advertisements, video production, visual and written brand).

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Berndt Group?

We have a diverse group of stakeholders, so not only are we trying to inform the public about Montessori education, but we’re also trying to provide services to Montessori educators. We give teachers and school leaders the professional development they need while informing academic researchers and policymakers about the efficacy of Montessori education. This can make for a cluttered website, so we engaged The Berndt Group (TBG) to help us communicate to each stakeholder group the value of our services.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We look at TBG not just as a web developer, but also a thinking partner. They’re a full-blown digital agency. They work with us on template design and integration with our CMS and Sitecore, and also help us on UX and in creating our current branding.

After eight years of partnership with them, we’re expanding our brand and opening up to new ideas, communication strategies, and visual identities. Currently, they’re doing a full redesign of our website. This will be the second time they’ve helped us with that.

For this design, they're building over three dozen mobile-responsive templates for us. They’re taking an exhaustive look at each user function and the way that web pages live and breathe to ultimately deliver a very high quality, interactive, and exciting web experience.

When we first started working with TBG on our current project, we began by expressing the challenges of the various stakeholder groups. We also talked about our interest in opening our brand up and taking it in new directions to become more accessible.

TBG did a couple of strategic analysis of our various stakeholders. They conducted many stakeholder interviews and engaged us in a lot of conversations about the voice, messaging of the company, and value we provide to our members. Over the course of 4–5 months, we created a strategy brief to inform what our new website would look like, what its functions would be, what message it would be attempting to convey, and how we would deliver that message.

From there, we crafted a site map and a content management plan, then began to develop wireframes and new web template designs simultaneously. This has been an ongoing design study that involves UX, graphic design, site architecture, and content strategy. Now, we're beginning to scope out work on the Sitecore development of our site (i.e., the actual building of the product in our CMS).

How did you come to work with The Berndt Group?

They were chosen from a dozen web developers because of the level of care that they took in listening to what our company wanted. They’ve shown that they are very willing to go beyond just web development.

We did scope out the current website redesign with other Sitecore vendors because it was important to us that we stay with that CMS. TBG is one of the strongest vendors for Sitecore integration, and mid- to small-level nonprofits can certainly afford them. We have such a strong working relationship that we felt like we didn't want to lose that with our web partners.

How much have you invested with them?

We're planning to spend between $200,000–$350,000 for the multi-site launch. This includes hosting, ongoing maintenance via retainer hours, and the website redesign.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working with them since September 2009 and plan to launch our new site in January 2019. We're going to have a multi-site approach with a microsite for our company's conference, which is a large global Montessori event. We’ll launch that in September 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They’re meeting every deadline and completing every milestone for the website redesign, which are both important while we're in the process.

We're one of the largest companies within our niche market. We went straight to the top of the search engine rankings as soon as we launched the website. They took us from a very unhealthy web presence to a very healthy one, and we're expecting similar results with the launch of our new website. We expect to see even more improved metrics and increased site visitors, as well as real satisfaction from users as they experience our website.

We’ve seen a 400% increase in web traffic and a 200% increase within one year of returning visitors compared to the old website. The amount of time people are spending on our site reading the content and exploring has more than doubled. The number of pages per visit is also up.

How did The Berndt Group perform from a project management standpoint?

Our current project manager is meticulous and communicates with us constantly. It's not uncommon for me to have several email exchanges with her in a given day. She’s always willing to jump on the phone, answer questions, clarify information, and explain their thought process behind every design/functional choice they recommend. She keeps extremely detailed timelines, documentation, and meeting notes. One of their strongest points is delivering what they promise.

One of the most difficult things for us is figuring out how to handle the integration of website pieces with our association management system. They’re very willing to brainstorm, work out technical issues, and provide feedback and advice when we’re working with association management systems or any other third-party vendor (e.g., email service providers, communication platforms, community messaging platforms). They’re very engaged partners who help provide our message to the public.

What did you find most impressive about them?

TBG doesn't just look at their relationship with us as a transaction of money, which is unique compared to a lot of digital agencies and web support vendors. They’re invested in helping our company. There's a real human touch there.

They may not always recommend the best option for them financially because they’re always thinking about the best option for our company. They’re not afraid to tell us that they don't feel comfortable designing something if there's a vendor who can do it better or at a vastly better cost for us. We value that honesty.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They might improve on the way they explain detailed functional requirements of a website by boiling down technical jargon into layman's terms.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Customers should always invest effort as much as TBG does. TBG offers very high-quality digital consultation, so clients need to effectively communicate what their thought processes are behind each business function.

This company isn’t satisfied with you just telling them to build something. They want to intimately understand their client’s business, so you have to communicate with them to help them understand.

4.5
Overall Score We're very happy with them. They’re a great vendor to work with. We returned to them for the second redesign because of their quality of work.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 3.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They offer high-quality services, but you pay for what you get, which, as a small, cost-conscious nonprofit, can sometimes be a little too much.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Sitecore Implementation Premier Washington Pediatrics Medical Center

"I’m not even sure if the project could have been a success without The Berndt Group at the helm."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
Project summary: 

The Berndt Group built a new enterprise-class website based on both a business perspective and a long-term branding strategy. They consulted on CMS, hosting strategy, and infrastructure requirements.

The Reviewer
 
5001-10000 Employees
 
Washington DC Metro Area
Carol Kreese
Former VP, Children's National Medical Center
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The Berndt Group distinguishes itself with a comprehensive deployment strategy.  The team understands technical areas, business strategy, and the end-user’s experience. They provide innovative, strategic, and flexible thinking and offer a holistic approach to development and technology solutions.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Could you describe your organization?

When I engaged The Berndt Group, I was the Vice President of the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, which is one of the nation’s premier freestanding children’s hospitals. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you initiated this relationship with The Berndt Group?

We wanted to Reframe and recreate a digital presence for our brand in a highly competitive regional and national market. Our older website was simply outdated and obsolete, both functionally and strategically. We wanted a more dynamic presence that would do our brand justice. 

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of the project?

They essentially helped us build a completely new enterprise-class website based not just on the business perspective, but also on our long-term brand strategy. We went through a discovery process with them, and they came back with a significant 100-page document laying out additional strategies for the organization that would inform the build. They advised us on what content management systems would meet our functional and strategic requirements. They then guided us through a hosting strategy and a number of additional infrastructure requirements. Once we had agreed upon a deployment strategy, they actually began to construct out site from scratch. 

What content management system platform did you decide to pursue and what was the rationale behind its selection?

We felt that for our organization, an open source solution wouldn’t be a sustainable and viable avenue to take. We simply didn’t have the internal resources to maintain such a system, and we wanted some very specific functionalities. For sustainability, open source was just not the right approach for us. The Berndt Group posed a very credible argument and rationale, from a relatively unbiased perspective, about why Sitecore would best meet our business objectives and resource requirements. They’re a very experienced Sitecore shop, too, so we knew they had a very good idea on what they were talking about. They’ve won a Sitecore award for their past work. Their team is seasoned in that area, and we were confident in the solution. 

How did you select The Berndt Group as your solution partner for this endeavor?

They were initially referred to us and included on a short list of people that we invited to respond to our request for proposal, which then underwent a review committee process. The selection panel then narrowed down our initial invitees to in-person presentation finalists. The Berndt Group simply rose to the top of the potential vendors. In the end, we were most inspired and confident in their development and strategic capabilities. They take a holistic approach to the deployment of technology solutions, rather than simply being a development shop. We knew we needed a partner that was well versed in technical areas as well as business strategy. 

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in monetary terms?

The initial build was a $1.2 million project. That cost does not reflect my own staff’s time. It does not include internal resources, which were fairly minimal; mostly just security interfaces and functionality requirements. If you want to look at the cumulative project investment, including additional content development and additional visual assets, I would add another $400,000. It was a very substantial project. 

When was this implementation completed?

Actually, it’s still being built. The go-live date is June 21 [of 2014] to allow us to have some QA/QC time before it actually goes live. A lot of that work is now with my former team in terms of content development and content migration as opposed to strategy development, platform strategy, wireframing, and design, user experience design – all of that is essentially complete. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share with me any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the effectiveness of their work?

No, because it’s not live yet. What would be helpful is in terms of engagement with my CEO, which has been very high. The Berndt Group has been able to distinguish itself in terms of its comprehensive deployment strategy. Its ability to develop and deliver coherent, well-articulated Web strategy for thinking across platforms; and for their capacity to understand what the brand experience should be for the end-users. That’s really where we wanted to move. Medicine is not a leading industry in terms of its use of digital space, and we wanted to change that. The Berndt Group is what stood out in the field of applicants in our RFP [request for proposal] process, because of their innovative, strategic, and flexible thinking. It really wasn’t ever about building a website for us. If that were the case, we could have engaged a development and design shop. In that respect, we had kind of a marriage in philosophy and approach. Even our own internal IT staff weren’t able to get a complete grasp of our strategic goals for the new website. It’s been a testament to their well-rounded acumen. 

In retrospect, are there areas you think they could improvement upon, or are there things that you’d do differently as the client before initiating a project of this scale and complexity with The Berndt Group?

Yes, there are, but they’re not things that I could have changed. The biggest example was that we lacked a director. We had a really hard time recruiting our director of strategy. A person who really needed to deliver the site for the organization. The Berndt Group was our build partner, but the executive accountable for delivering the site was me. We had a number of offers that actually fell through. As a result, it was The Berndt Group and me for about four months before we were actually able to get the right person into the project. A great advantage was that The Berndt Group was relatively close to us. We’re in [Washington] D.C., and The Berndt Group is based in Baltimore. They came to our offices, and we went to them. We didn’t really co-locate, but we spent a lot of time sitting down with each other, and I think that helped the project stay on course. We did lose some time because we didn’t have that director in position. The Berndt Group was very flexible with helping us play catch-up once we have a director of strategy in place. If I could have done it differently, I would never have wanted to initiate the project without a supervising director. It was a real challenge for everybody involved, but The Berndt Group worked like a de facto director, taking real ownership and stewardship of the entire process. We couldn’t have picked a better technology partner for the endeavor. Given our precarious circumstances, I’m not even sure if the project could have been a success without The Berndt Group at the helm. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Sitecore Implementation University Operated Medical Treatment and Diagnostic Facility

"They have a meticulous development and deployment process."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
Project summary: 

The Berndt Group provided SiteCore expertise to implement a high-quality CMS. The team created a framework that consolidated multiple websites and intranets and integrated 30,000 pages of content feeds.

The Reviewer
 
5001-10000 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Director, Web & Communications Technology
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The Berndt Group completed the project on an extremely tight budget and delivered a seamless implementation without a single problem or forward-facing defect. The team employed a tested and disciplined waterfall methodology that was a deciding factor in the successful launch.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Could you begin by describing your organization?

We’re a 13-hospital system in the state of Maryland. I’m responsible for managing and overseeing all of the Web operations across the system for all of our hospitals, such as the public website and Internet, along with communication tools like visual signage and managing Web marketing activities.

What is your position?

I’m director of Web and communications technology.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you initiated the relationship with The Berndt Group?

We were trying to implement a high-quality content management system that would meet the current business needs that we have for the medical system, and what we anticipate we’ll need during the next five to eight years, which is generally the lifespan of a content management system. We selected the Berndt Group after we had already chosen which CMS [content management system] we wanted to use. We had researched it and decided that we wanted to use Sitecore. Based on that, we looked at different development companies to partner with and selected The Berndt Group.

SOLUTION

Could you now describe the scope of this project? 

What we needed them to do, and this was on a very tight budget, was to help us create a framework for a system that could handle multiple websites, individual public websites for each of the hospitals, and also multiple intranets for each of these hospitals, all housed on a single system, a single database, a single instance of Sitecore. This tool also needed to integrate some content feeds that we get from a vendor, which is approximately 30,000 pages of content revolving around health education materials. That content needed to be incorporated into the system, and then displayed across each of the individual hospital websites. That was a large technical challenge. We wanted them to think through the implications of a single repository of data, so that content could be sourced across multiple websites. We needed them to consider what the implications of that were, and build out a structure that could sustain us during the long term. That’s no insignificant task. That really required some high-level thinking about how you’re going to organize the databases and organize the template structures.

One of the positives about Sitecore is that you can do pretty much anything what you want with it. That’s also the downside. There are many different ways you can approach building, getting to the same point, the same outcome from the surface of a website. There are numerous ways you can approach it. Sometimes, the cheapest and easiest way is going to be very limited if you’re trying to look down the road and be flexible. We needed to find that right balance.

What were the alternative solutions were you considering prior to the selection of Sitecore?

I’m trying to remember what the other CMSs were that we looked at. We ruled out Ektron right away. They had a very poor reputation. We actually used a consulting company called the Real Story Group that helped us with the selection process. But, some of the main criteria we had was that we ruled out open source because we really wanted to be able to partner with a vendor that was for profit. We also wanted a company that focused their business exclusively on content management systems, and that was 100 percent of what their business was. Not a firm like Adobe or some of the other ones where building content management systems was simply one piece of a broader offering. We’ve had some pretty bad experiences with that, and realized that we wanted a firm that dedicated all of their energies to CMS. Based on that criteria, Sitecore quickly rose to the top of our candidate list. 

How did you select The Berndt Group as your solution partner?

We conducted some online research and then distributed several RFIs [requests for information], followed by several RFPs [requests for proposal]. This was a very long process, almost two years. I wanted to ensure we were partnering with the correct vendor, and due diligence takes time, especially for a project of this size and complexity. We really couldn't leave anything to chance. 

What were the selection criteria for candidate vendors?

We wanted a company with demonstrated knowledge of Sitecore, but also had some experience with the healthcare industry. We wanted a vendor with a solid reputation for deep technical expertise. They needed to understand how to configure Sitecore and build websites based on it. They also needed to have demonstrated that they had some flexibility and some creativity. The Berndt Group fit our criteria very well. A big factor, quite frankly, was the fact that they were local, too. They had clients all around the country, but they do happen to be in our backyard, here in Baltimore. That was a huge bonus and that’s made things much easier for us.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in monetary terms?

Building out the very first website was around $500,000.

Do you retain them for ongoing support?

Yes, we consider them a long-term partner. Our work is always ongoing. 

When was the first website launched?

The first website went live about 10 months ago [2013].

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or anecdotal feedback that would demonstrate the effectiveness of the work they've delivered?

Well, it came in on budget. That’s probably the most important thing. The most amazing thing is that when we switched over to the new site, not a single person noticed. There wasn't a single problem or forward-facing defect. The site just ran. People noticed that the site looked different. There was definitely some positive feedback on that.

When working with The Berndt Group, is there anything you would consider unique or special about them compared to other vendors with which you’ve worked?

They've been building websites for more than 20 years. They have a methodology that they’ve developed during a 20-year period on how to build websites. They really adhere to that methodology. There were times when it felt somewhat confining. I wanted to say, “Hey guys. Let’s try a couple of things. Let’s see what happens.” But, that discipline was a big factor in our successful launch. They have a meticulous development and deployment process. I think it’s known as the waterfall approach to design and building. That’s the approach we used, and we were able to get the project done within the specs that we wanted.

In terms of constructive feedback, are there areas that you think they could improve upon, or are there things you'd do differently as the client before approaching this type of project?

There are things I would have liked to have changed or done differently, but it had nothing to do with the Berndt Group. There were internal frictions and barrier throughout the process, but it was unrelated to their services. 

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer