The new website and managed hosting service is expected to save BIS and its partners between £4 to £5 million over the next four years.
“ It is the most successful and collaborative project that I have had the pleasure to work on in my five years as a Civil Servant and demonstrates that well managed ICT projects can be procured and delivered to a high standard. „
- Kevin Herrmann, Senior ICT Project Manager, BIS
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is responsible for the United Kingdom’s business growth and lies at the heart of the country’s government. It aims to create an enterprise culture where everyone with talent is inspired to turn ideas into successful enterprises and get rid of unnecessary barriers that can stifle growth.
The BIS website aims to:
Inform – by providing credible, concise, accessible, up-to-date information on who they are, what they do and how they do it, and easy access to methods of keeping up to date on all changes in information
Assist – by providing useful guidance, resources and other online services (including clear signposts to content and services elsewhere) to help users fulfill their goals, understand the work of BIS and recognise how BIS can help them
Engage – by providing high quality, memorable content including rich and social media, and opportunities to converse or collaborate with other users or members of the Department via well-managed and integrated interactive tools
BIS was formed in June 2009 when the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) were merged. As a result of the merger, the new organisation had a much wider brief and faced a number of business issues relating to their website and the way in which they communicated with their customers online. BIS needed:
- To combine existing content from three separate websites.
- A platform for its partner organisations to use that would save them money.
- To create a more intuitive site which was less ‘click hungry’ and had a flatter structure.
- A more flexible and usable solution than their existing CMS.
Working with Sitecore partner, Eduserv, BIS wanted to develop a brand new website with a core Web CMS at its heart. The top reasons that BIS chose Sitecore include:
Usability: Having a devolved publishing model with content being managed by non-technical colleagues meant that BIS needed a system that was easy to use. This has become even more important with the advent of the shared service model. Sitecore’s familiar “Microsoft” look and feel and its logical editing process mean it’s easy for publishers to use the CMS.
Scalability: Sitecore easily enables BIS to quickly build and publish new partner websites.
Flexibility: Sitecore’s development flexibility means that it’s easy to add new functionality to websites. BIS can deliver high-quality sites that meet all required usability and accessibility standards.
Functionality: Sitecore has a range of features and functionality that allow Eduserv to build engaging and dynamic pages while making site and content management straightforward for BIS staff.
Some features delivered for the new website include:
- Homepage carousel to showcase the latest news and events.
- Integration with Twitter, Flickr and RSS feeds.
- Ability to embed rich media, such as YouTube videos and Scribd documents in main body content or in side bar panels.
Eduserv’s Government Ready Platform (GRP), is a managed hosting service, designed specifically for the public sector. Eduserv worked with BIS to develop a standard managed hosting package for their partners, so it was quick and cost-effective for partners to move to the GRP.
Eduserv also delivered a number of website templates, so that BIS partners could create professional and engaging websites quickly and easily.
British Hallmarking Council - a BIS partner
The British Hallmarking Council (BCH) have migrated their website onto the BIS corporate platform. The new website had its own logo, brand colours, navigation and homepage.
The new site is attractive, dynamic and easy to manage – a massive step forward from what BIS had previously. In addition:
- The new website will cost BIS £2.5 million less over the next four years.
- The shared hosting platform improves integration with BIS partners and is expected to save up to £2.8 million over the next four years.
- Partners can develop websites that sit within the BIS framework quickly and effectively – website functionality can be available to them within less than three weeks from initial agreement.
- The enhanced online presence of BIS and its partners further engages, informs and assists the public.
According to Neil Williams, Head of Digital Communications, BIS, “We’ve built a system for the enterprise. From the terms of the contract to the adaptability of the templates, this is a platform designed for convergence – and one which I’m confident our partner bodies will actively want to join and help us develop, saving money and effort in the coming years."