We recently had the opportunity to talk to Joe Buonocore, the CEO of Albright Labs, a development agency located in Albrightsville, PA, United States. Having been partners with October CMS for several years, Albright Labs holds a special place in our community.
During our conversation, Joe took us back to their origins, revealing that the agency started its journey in 2020. Before forming Albright Labs, the team was mainly involved in freelance work, often handling overflow projects for other agencies. Frustrated by the slow pace and high prices of these agencies, they decided to establish their own firm. Today, Albright Labs has evolved into a specialized custom development agency, with October CMS as their platform of choice.
When Albright Labs first got off the ground, like many companies, they started with WordPress. It was the go-to solution at the time. However, as they delved deeper into various projects, they began to notice several issues that hampered their efficiency and productivity.
Joe explained to us the struggles they faced while using WordPress. "Customizing was always tedious and extremely time consuming," he said. According to Joe, WordPress made it difficult to implement custom features without a great deal of effort and, quite often, additional budget. This led to delays and higher costs for their projects, making it hard to meet client expectations within reasonable timeframes and budgets.
The turning point came when they stumbled upon October CMS. What stood out to Joe and his team was the comprehensive documentation October CMS offers. He mentioned, "The docs were like a breath of fresh air. They made it easy to understand the system and build what we needed." On top of that, October CMS is built on Laravel, which also has robust and clear documentation. This made their transition smoother and allowed Albright Labs to expand their capabilities in a much more streamlined way.
Transitioning to October CMS
Once Albright Labs decided to make the switch from WordPress, the transition to October CMS was smooth. Joe told us they simply began using October CMS for all new projects and even convinced existing clients to move over by demoing some applications. "The UI is as straightforward as it gets and that really sold them all on using October," Joe said.
Key features like simple UI, clear documentation, routing, and scheduled functions have been major hits for Albright Labs. The Pages plugin was also highlighted as a great tool for clients managing their own content.
On the efficiency front, Joe praised the comprehensive documentation, saying, "There's no need to scour the internet for answers—it’s all in the docs." The well-written core codebase has also saved them time when they need to find a solution not covered in the documentation.
Joe is optimistic about the role of October CMS in the future of Albright Labs. "October is our go-to platform," he said, emphasizing their success in deploying it across various hosting providers like AWS, Qovery, Digital Ocean, and Linode. Joe noted that the recent transition from an open-source to a paid platform initially gave them pause, but it actually made it easier to pitch October CMS to larger companies. "It seems the platform is in more 'tip-top' shape than ever before," he added. Based on this, they plan to continue using October CMS for all types of projects going forward.
Client Experience with October CMS
Transitioning to October CMS has not only benefited Albright Labs internally but has also had a positive impact on their client relationships. One of the most notable outcomes, according to Joe, is the reduction in questions and support calls from their clients. "We receive very little questions on how to do things within the system because of how simple and clear the UI is to utilize," he told us. Clients easily grasp how to use the system, thanks to the intuitive user interface and the effective documentation that comes with each project. This ease of use has been a win-win, allowing Albright Labs to focus more on new projects and less on client support. "They're able to use it as expected and intended without questioning 'is X how I do Y?'" said Joe, underlining the efficiency gains for both sides.
Joe also touched on the fact that clients, especially those from existing organizations, do care about which CMS platform is used, mainly because they have staff that need training. "Once we demo an existing system on October CMS, they’re very receptive to it. They recognize the ease of use and how easily we can tailor it for their staff," Joe pointed out. Additionally, when the financial aspects come into the discussion, clients are even more pleased to adopt October CMS, finding it a cost-effective alternative to other platforms."
Adding to the positive client feedback, Joe highlighted the impact on Albright Labs' reputation. "Clients have recognized that there’s nothing they’ve asked us for that we haven’t been able to accomplish with October," he said. This high level of client satisfaction has not only led to repeat business but also to new clients coming in through referrals. The word is out: Albright Labs has become the go-to shop for October CMS projects. This reputation as "October experts" has often been a deciding factor for prospective clients specifically seeking to use the platform.
Projects Built with October CMS
Albright Labs has an impressive portfolio of October CMS projects, covering a variety of industries and technical requirements. Although they have nondisclosure agreements with many clients, Joe was able to share a few projects that demonstrate their expertise.
One such project is Cirata, a rebrand for data and software firm WANdisco. The project consists of numerous pages and specific design elements. The backend CMS is extensively used to manage dynamic content sections, giving the client a lot of control over their website content.
Another notable project is Spring Green, a website developed for a national lawn care and pest control company. This project was built on October CMS v.2 and, much like Cirata, contains a wealth of pages and custom design elements. But what sets this project apart are the custom plugins developed for franchise locations, content scheduling, version control, and redirect management.
In addition to these, Albright Labs has also delivered Academy Management systems, Customer Relationship Management systems, API integrations, mobile app backends, and data warehouses, all thanks to the flexibility and robustness of October CMS.
Advice for Studios Considering October CMS
To close out our insightful conversation with Joe, we asked for his advice to other digital studios contemplating the switch to October CMS. His response was straightforward:
Just do it—you’ll never look back and your developers will love the ease of use and customization level possible with the platform.
If you're on the fence about whether October CMS is the right fit for your studio, take it from a team that's been there and reaped the rewards. The ease of use, level of customization, and robust documentation make it a game-changing platform that both developers and clients will appreciate.