Boyce Thompson Institute
for Plant Research

Cornell University

Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) / 2014

BTI is an independent, nonprofit plant research organization affiliated with and located at Cornell University. Originating 90 years ago, BTI was founded on the premise that plant research can contribute to addressing societal issues.


    Brand Identity, Website Design, CMS Development, Web Application Development,
    AcademicsWeb CMSImplementation & Support


Business Need

BTI served three key constituents, i.e. researchers, students and collaborative partner companies, so it was important for BTI to publish research and educational data on timely basis. Over 30 contributors continuously made updates to some 3000 pages on the BTI website, however often those changes were not published immediately or  were published only on certain parts of the website. The immediate business needs were to eliminate delays in publishing research data on the website and keep content up to date and in sync on multiple areas of the vast site.

Long term business needs were refining brand identity to convey what BTI was, revising information architecture to make it easy to navigate the website and deploying the site on a robust and secured infrastructure that can handle the peak web traffic without slowing down the site.

Key Challenges

  • Site used an outdated WordPress theme.
  • Existing theme made it difficult to scale and add features.
  • Recurring site outages and security issues.
  • Excessive delays in publishing content.
  • Site design did not reflect institutional identity.
  • Interns recruitment app required many manual steps to operate.


Our solution involved fixing the immediate issue first, i.e. making sure the site was hosted on a secure and stable platform. To achieve that we moved the site on a Managed Hosting Platform with 24×7 monitoring ability. Then we started looking into the information architecture (IA) of the current website and consolidated over twenty (20) navigation links on the home page to just three (3) i.e. Research, Education and Impact to align with their three core audiences i.e. Faculty, Students and Businesses.

The new site was developed on AcademicsWeb CMS, a SaaS product,  which ensured that the content was published immediately and the content stayed in sync across the various parts of the site. By using many out of the box features of CMS e.g. Home Page Carousel, Events Calendar, Staff Directory and News Articles, we reduced the development cost and launched the site on a record time.


  • Immediate publishing of research data e.g. patents, research articles.
  • Increased average site uptime from 90% to 99.8%.
  • Mobile-friendly responsive website increase Google page-speed by 20 points.
  • Improved information architecture (IA) reduced bounce rate by 24%.
  • AcademicsWeb SaaS CMS saved about 20hrs of IT time each month, resulting in saving of approx $24,000 per year.
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