Global Education Publishing Organisational Design and Mobile First WCMS Solution

Client Company: Hidden
Employees: 6,000
Valuation: €5.000 billion
Location: Hidden
Technology: WCMS
Sector: Publishing
Sub Sector: Educational – B2B, B2C, C2C Services
Product: Online eCommerce and Private Social Network

Background

The client had a number of issues with their existing web presence and had tried an failed to resolve them over the years with their technology department. 

Scenario

I was brought in at the request of the business to work in technology, to facilitate whatever changes would be necessary to enable the business to function.

Work

There were several pieces of work some highly technical others pure consulting, my first activity was to discover the problem statement.

Problem Statement

I did this in a positive way by conducting workshops with the c-suite regarding what outcomes they needed, then the attributes of those outcomes as services this was done through a card sort exercise taking several hours. The Business Teams made a real effort in this engagement flying senior people in from around the globe. I also ran the workshop virtually with leadership teams in Kuala Lumpur and New York City. Doing this type of workshop with such senior people was something very new to them and very useful for setting the strategic priorities of the work. I conducted a similar set of work within Technology but had to resort to interviews as the leadership were unable to prioritise the my work in their calendars. I also engaged with their distribution network and end customers with face to face workshops in Oxford and Krakow and teams in the USA and the Philippines to ensure that the work would not be UK centric. I won’t put the problem statement in here because it’s commercially sensitive still, but suffice to say there were a number of pieces of work required to mitigate the problem.

Digital Strategy

There were clearly a number of disconnects between the business and technology. They were all clear on their activities but there was no translation layer to enable success, I proposed a digital strategy with some key principles that would support the organisation as a whole and combine the two aspects into one clear set of outcomes. The Digital Strategy was a high level document with a focus on four key components; Customers, Processes, Technology and Governance. Neither the Business or Technology would own the Digital Strategy it would become the province of a new internal Digital Agency acting as the coordinator and translator for business needs into actionable technology requests.

Internal Digital Agency, Business Case

I discovered digital projects being conducted all across the enterprise, in many cases they were the exact same project but for different titles with the same feature lists and interactions. There was at that time no project index of past, present and future work as each area was so siloed and held its own budget so was able to spend it without recourse to internal standards or requirement for value for money principals through reuse.  The proposal was then to centralise all digital activity under and internal digital agency, even if it did not deliver all digital services or products it would maintain a central view of existing digital assets, templates and interactive language as a style guide in the same way that marketing owned the identity.

Organisational Design, Business Case

The organisation did in fact have a traditional line support system in place for the business to request technology to carry out changes to their web presence and digital products. There were major timeline issues with change where the business had waited 8, 6 and 4 years for changes. A meeting was set up with the Business, CTO and head of support. The head of support lounged in their seat expressing that nothing was a problem, I thought he was a new person , later finding out he had been in position for 10 years, my first recommendation was that he should be “fired him out of a cannon into a burning building” as he was the main reason for the estrangement between the business and technology. My recommendation to fire was not acted upon though it would have made the right impression on the business and would have meant that later 100 IT people would not lose their jobs, the CTO moved him sideways.

Organisational Governance to ISO/IEC 38500:2008 (now updated in 2015)

Another essential element that was missing was Digital Governance, seperate from IT Governance as it would have been the framework for acceptable working practices and service level agreements. I created a document based upon ISO/IEC 38500:2008 that would both support local governance and policy creation and provide an at scale delivery across the global enterprise. Included below are some of the diagrammes created to describe the proposed Digital Governance Model.

Training Business Case

One of the major issues that was highlighted was that there was no training given to people who would use the WCMS on a daily basis. Only one person had received any training of approx 4 hours and they trained over 150 people in how to add and manage content. What was not clear to them was that their experience of the local client was not the same as a user of the web client in another country in the world. Overall they had done a fantastic job with no support whatsoever, all training had been focused in IT and none in usage. In the final budget proposal publisher training was set at 17% of the whole programme budget, because there is little point in having great technology that no one can use.

WCMS Business Case

I put this one in at this point because given the previous discoveries it was clear that the business was having a horrible experience of technology. One of the key requests was to look at getting rid of the current WCMS and replacing it with something that worked. Only by unpacking that against the previous knowledge was I able to find that the technology was not at fault, the service contract, implementation, training and baseline requirements not being met were at fault. Given that the work could have been done piecemeal but would not have been provided the necessary gravitas to be completed. I therefore proposed that a new implementation of the latest version of the WCMS be built in parallel to the existing one and that all the systems be migrated to up to date standards and versions (including 110 mini sites that were not compatible with the existing WCMS)  but that in the latest version could be built from the WCMS and using a centralised asset store in order the maintain oversight on those assets. This was agreed with the new WCMS, Search Appliance and Engineering taking 30% of the budget.

WCMS Requirements

Apart from the organisational design, business cases and governance, I also created the full Requirements Specification for the Global Web Presence. Rather than describe at length, I will just include the index, I worked with a very talented Enterprise Architect and a Programme Manager and we remain friends today more than a decade after the work was done. Low hanging fruit was discovered in the secondary market for their published materials and close social network was proposed where educators could sell the materials they created based upon the original content with the publisher taking a small transaction fee.

1.0 INTRODUCTION ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

1.1 Background……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

1.2 Document Purpose…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

1.3 Conventions………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6

2.0 USE CASES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9

2.1 Use Case: Public User > ALL USERS ………………………………………………………………………… 10

2.2 Use Case: Public User > TEACHER…………………………………………………………………………… 29

2.3 Use Case: Public User > STUDENT …………………………………………………………………………… 37

2.4 Use Case: Public User > PARENT……………………………………………………………………………… 44

2.5 Use Case: Public User > ORGANISATION / INSTITUTION…………………………………………… 51

2.6 Use Case: Public User > DISTRIBUTOR …………………………………………………………………….. 54

2.7 Use Case: xxx User > FIELD OFFICE / SALES ………………………………………………………….. 56

2.8 Use Case: xxx User > CONTENT MANAGEMENT > USER…………………………………………. 60

2.9 Use Case: xxx User > CONTENT MANAGEMENT > APPROVAL EDITOR……………………. 61

2.10 Use Case: xxx User > CONTENT MANAGEMENT > TECHNICAL USER ……………………… 62

2.11 Use Case: xxx User > CONTENT MANAGEMENT > TECHNICAL EDITOR…………………… 63

2.12 Use Case: xxx User > MANAGEMENT INFORMATION > REPORT USER……………………. 64

2.13 Use Case: xxx User > GEOGRAPHIC ADAPTATIONS ……………………………………………….. 65

2.14 Use Case: IT User > CONTENT MANAGEMENT > INFRASTRUCTURE……………………….. 65

2.15 Use Case: IT User > OTHER SYSTEMS…………………………………………………………………….. 66

3.0 OTHER DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS…………………………………………………………………………… 73

3.1 Business Rules………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 73

3.2 Assumptions ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 73

3.3 Data Dictionary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 74

3.4 Content Metadata Logic ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 75

4.0 NON FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS …………………………………………………………………………. 76

4.1 Baseline Specification ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 76

4.2 Supported User Platforms …………………………………………………………………………………………. 76

4.3 Look and Feel Requirements …………………………………………………………………………………….. 77

4.4 Usability and Accessibility Requirements…………………………………………………………………….. 78

4.5 Security Requirements ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 86

4.6 Performance and Stress Requirements ………………………………………………………………………. 87

4.7 Availability and Reliability ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 88

4.8 Scalability Requirements …………………………………………………………………………………………… 89

4.9 Application Audit and Logging ……………………………………………………………………………………. 90

4.10 Storage Capacity Requirements…………………………………………………………………………………. 92

4.11 Hosting and Operational Service Requirements …………………………………………………………… 93

4.12 Data Backup and Recovery Requirements ………………………………………………………………….. 93

4.13 Support Requirements………………………………………………………………………………………………. 93

4.14 Legal Requirements …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 94

5.0 OTHER DOCUMENTS REQUIRED…………………………………………………………………………….. 101

5.1 xxx Web Governance Strategy………………………………………………………………………………… 101

5.2 xxx Digital Style Guide …………………………………………………………………………………………… 101

5.3 xxx Tone of Voice Requirements …………………………………………………………………………….. 101

5.4 xxx Training Material Requirements…………………………………………………………………………. 102

5.5 xxx Disaster Recovery Strategy ………………………………………………………………………………. 102

WCMS Design

WVMS design based upon the creation of a  multidimensional content object to facilitate golden source data systems for five primary audiences in 114 countries. The content object was used to understand the WCMS envelope required to display the the content and the language that the target audiences would use to find what they were looking for. Below is the entity relationship model that was used to guide the creation of the content object model.

Publishing Entity Relationship Model 

Below is the design of the WCMS including applications to support navigation and information architecture, this content is only being shown as it is significantly out of date and no longer exposes the client’s current business strategy and innovations. 

Outcome and Value

Funding was allocated to create an internal digital agency which would coordinate all digital and technology projects within the business. Some years back I heard that the business decided to outsource all of their technology losing 100 jobs, that had been an option in my work, but my findings were that they were broken but could be fixed with a bit of effort. It appears the business ultimately decided to have a different relationship to technology, I know who won the bid so I expect the saga continues to today.

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