We have been noticeably quiet on updating you all on the progress to date with the new site and the things that we have planned for the future and the timescales that we are working to. This is a quick run down on what has happened so far in the implementation of the new site.
Sept – Oct 2018
As we announced in our last update, we’ve selected a new CMS (Drupal), a new cloud infrastructure provider (Acquia) and engaged an external partner to help us with the implementation of the new site (Manifesto). Throughout this process we had extensive engagement with our colleagues in procurement, information governance and IT who have done an amazing job helping us navigate procurement and data security requirements to ensure we have the contracts, security and support in place that we need. For those who are going through similar things, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of engaging early and regularly with your colleagues in these departments when going through this process.
Nov – Dec 2018
As many who have read previous posts will know, we spent a lot of time researching the problems we face and starting to develop prototype solutions. This helped us accelerate the implementation post contract award, but given the vast amount of information that we collected, we had to spend time pulling it all together and designing an implementation plan for the coming months. This is where the help of an external agency has proved invaluable in helping us drill down to the core requirements and the order we need to deliver items in to reach the milestones we defined.
Jan – Mar 2019
The majority of our time this year has been spent implementing that plan which, whilst intense, has been hugely rewarding to see all the hard work the team has done so far starting to come together into a tangible product. If you think of building a site much like building a lego house, the past three months (and much of the coming three months) have been spent designing what type of bricks we want to have and how they all fit together. These bricks include:
- The digital infrastructure, version control, continuous integration systems and code governance practices.
- The overall content model that defines the types of content we need and the relationships they have between each other.
- The design framework and language that will be rolled out across the site that gives us the consistency we need to emphasize our brand and its values across all our pages.
Site roll out
We decided early on in the project not to do a big bang launch of the site. At time of writing, we have over 20,000 content items on the current corporate site and that trying to migrate everything at once would necessitate a much longer wait before launch as well as large resource implications in keeping things in sync between current and development sites. We’ll therefore be looking to start the launch of the new site in July with a phased implementation following on from that. We aim to try and have the old site retired towards the end of 2020. Our milestones over the next couple of months look like this.
- March 2019 – First Beta release – Achieved!
This is primarily an internal launch that helps us prove the infrastructure and development processes.
- April 2019 – Second Beta release
We will be looking to make this more widely available to selected internal audiences to allow them to get a better sense of how the site will be structured and look as well as engaging our test community to start weeding out bugs.
- July 2019 – First release