University of Denver - Audit and Assessment of Web Ecosystem

Audit and Assessment of Web Ecosystem

The University of Denver (DU) is the oldest independent private University in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States, founded in 1864. In the academic year of 2021-22, it enrolled approximately 5,900 undergraduate students and 8,200 graduate students, which included 600 international students from 80 different countries. With 12 academic units – DU has a vast alumni community with 140,000 alumni members operating all across the world. Additionally, the University of Denver is on the prestigious list of top research institutions in the country, whose research helps drive innovation worldwide. DU has an extensive network of over 150 academic partners in over 50 countries, which offers overseas programs and enhanced overseas work opportunities to their students.

  • KEYSTONES:

    Drupal, WordPress, OmniUpdate, Web Ecosystem, Audit and Assessment, People, Process and Technology, Consultation, Branding and Marketing, IT, Interviews, Data Analysis, Higher Education, Migration, CMS

  • WEBSITE:

    https://www.du.edu/

Business Need

Sanmita was selected by The University of Denver’s IT to assess the current state of the du.edu web ecosystem which includes the people, process, and technology components. The goal of the audit was to identify gaps, report out the findings, and make recommendations for building a sustainable web ecosystem. This assessment was to ensure that the proposed recommendations would highlight the best practices of an effective web ecosystem, taking into account the unique situation of DU’s web ecosystems – which includes hosting infrastructure, content management systems and resource optimization.

Key Challenges

  • Ability to support the web community of DU which includes web administrators, designers, developers, content editors etc. across the 20+ units.
  • Ability to support unique requirements of each campus with their web functionality and administration as each catered to very diverse target audiences
  • Ability to manage the newly deployed CMS and identify gaps that challenge smooth functioning between the campus units and the central team
  • Gauge honest sentiments of DU’s web community towards the current system – people, process and technology to determine the most ideal infrastructure distribution

Solution

This university-wide initiative which included 200+ websites and their respective managers,  administrators, web professionals and so on. Our team conducted a one on one hybrid model interview structure with 30+ stakeholders that encouraged candid feedback, opinions and expectations. We collected updated data from them, in addition to interview responses and analyzed the numbers, the insights and feedback to get an understanding of the causes, the effects and different stages of their history with DU’s web ecosystems. Apart from the data and insights, we also delved into each key stakeholder’s expectations from the Central Marcomm and IT teams in the near future with regards to different elements of the web ecosystem – resources, processes, technology, vendors etc.

Results

The discoveries made during this exercise disclosed many gaps that required both tactical and strategic solutions to fulfill DU’s ideal web ecosystem.

People : Resource optimization for both long term and short term benefits. Our recommendation included hires, contractors, vendors based on their choice of infrastructure distribution – centralization and decentralization. We defined the team strength, along with roles and responsibilities with a proposed organizational structure.

Process : Streamlining the process to avoid unnecessary repetition or delayed communication and action. Recommendations on their ticketing system and communication channels to promote hassle free and prompt services to the campus units. Documentation of the processes for business continuity and a robust training system for all web professionals were also on our recommendation list.

Technology : The most effective and efficient way to manage and run their new CMS Drupal while supporting other platforms (WordPress) used by few units that have unique requirements.  Our suggestions were backed by data in addition to our working experience and knowledge of the Drupal and WordPress platforms.

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