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Our Work On: First Merchants Corporation

Services applied:


Web design

Content management system

Custom web software

Usability analysis


Organization Overview:
First Merchants Corporation is a financial services company headquartered in Muncie, Indiana, with four bank subsidiaries, a trust company, and a multi-line insurance company. They have over 65 locations in Indiana and Ohio, and provide a full range of personal and business services. While First Merchants Corporation has an IT Department with a variety of technology personnel that help the corporation achieve its goals, they do have challenges that best served by outsourcing.



Over the years, FMC has worked with nHarmony on a number of projects.


1. FMC first came to nHarmony in 2005. Their IT staff was very busy and they were looking for a fast and nimble partner who could take some of the burden. The first project was to create a website to allow FMC customers (at that time the customers of 7 banks) to sign up for online banking, either as a business client or a consumer client. The website needed to be able to access very secure customer information but offer no risk that such information could be hacked by outsiders! It had to incorporate the bank's workflow so that employees could process the sign-ups in a timely way. And FMC needed the work done as quickly as possible.


2. FMC approached nHarmony later with a website issue. The corporate and bank websites were distributed across several servers, they accessed different databases, and used some web page technologies with unknown risk issues. The system was quite complex and IT managers at FMC were very concerned about potential security risks. FMC wanted to revamp the website as quickly as possible, putting it all on one server, and eliminating as many potential security risks as possible.


3. Recently, FMC approached nHarmony about either recommending or developing a market research survey tool. As with nearly all bank projects, security of information was critical and staff were having difficulty locating available online tools that were inappropriate.


4. Most recently, FMC wanted a recommendation for a content manager they could use for their website. They needed to have a dynamic site, one that integrated well with their other branding, had many powerful features, and could support Internet marketing.



1. nHarmony presented several alternate plans on how to create a secure online banking sign-up process that could integrate with current work flow. Working cooperatively, we chose one that fit their needs and current IT environment. We have chosen not to publish details of the online banking sign-up system here for security reasons, but the solution was implemented and tested rapidly.


2. When FMC brought the website issues to nHarmony, we quickly developed a plan to capture their websites, convert them to one website using simpler technologies, and publish it on a server that the corporation could carefully control and monitor.


3. nHarmony recommended a custom survey tool for marketing research. nHarmony had developed a very secure, confidential, and anonymous online survey tool that had been used in a national study on research ethics. We proposed a customized version of these tools, one that could be run on FMC servers. nHarmony worked to develop a secure system that was very user-friendly. It sends emails and/or creates pdf files of surveys with mailing labels, integrates the information of both online and paper-based surveys, and provides real time results online and complete export files for detailed analysis.


4. nHarmony recommended Drupal as the CMS of choice for FMC (see Content Management for more info on Drupal). We then worked with FMC designers to develop the design of the site. nHarmony set up all modules, navigation, and other programming features. We recently upgraded to the newest version of Drupal, completed redesigned the website layout and interfaces, including creating some new Drupal modules. Soon we will begin a usability study of the website.



1. The online banking sign-up system has been used for over 3 years and the number of bank customers signing up has grown yearly. Problems have been minimal and importantly, bank auditors have rated it as having the highest level of security. The approached worked so well that FMC later asked nharmony to develop online sign-up systems for other bank products and services.


2. While we are doubtful that bank auditors would have found fault with FMCs website before nHarmony converted it, we were pleased to learn that they gave it the highest security rating after our conversion.


3. The survey tools have been well received by the Marketing Department. And FMC got a value they hadn't expected: Now they can survey groups within their organization just as easily as they survey their customers!


4. nHarmony has been able to support the design and IT departments so they do not need to become experts in Drupal. They save time and money by doing what they can, then contacting the quick and nibble nHarmony team for support.


PO Box 1938 Muncie IN 47305-1938 USA