IWMW 2002: Virtually Everything Virtually Everywhere: Pursuing A Radical Web Strategy

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  • Virtually everything virtually everywhere: pursuing a radical web strategyAndrew Aird, Director of Web Services, Kings College London

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Founded in 1829, 1721, 1553 and 606ADKings College (1829) merged with United Medical and Dental Schools in 1998 (itself a merger of Guys [founded 1721], and St. Thomas, [founded 606AD,1553 in modern form])

    10 schools4 main, several subsidiary sitesc. 120 departments16,200 students

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Web StaffDirector (since May 2001)Establishment of 2 senior web officers, 1 junior (none yet appointed)Currently 1 part-time (.4) officerIncreasing use of contractors for training and programmingTemp clerical help as required

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • StatisticsOver 400 IPs616,000 files15,000 visitors a dayAverage time over 14 minutes70 % overseas49% of applicants cite web as first contact

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • The impossible jobAmateurs responsible for 90% of contentBalance between corporate/departmental interestsPoliticsNo realistic strategyNo resourcesOther usual problems

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • The coming crisisLondon HE recruitment difficult

    Present situation worsening post 9/11More places available

    Importance of clearingOverseas competition

    Value for moneyPost 9/11 worries

    Web is under exploited tool and weapon

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • The web is overContentManagementStrategies for:

    Marketing (external communication)Internal CommunicationLearning and teachingPersonal web publishing

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Key strategy planksEverything on the webVarietyIntegrationCore datasets feeding many applicationsScalabilityUniversalityPublishing not filesharing

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Good thingsSo much content!Willing contributorsResources not a problem for current infrastructureIncreasing belief/support from topGood technology available

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Bad thingsSo much content!Low quality of contentLack of corporate EVIWere coming from behindIncompatible technologiesInadequate structureCentre/parts tension

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • The Strategic VisionFor the web to become the primary means of the distribution and exchange of information within the CollegeWhere possible and appropriate the web will replace conventional documentation as the definitive source of that informationAll members of the College community can become consumers and contributors to the KCL web regardless of their level of technical expertiseAccess to the web is global, permanent and resilientAppropriate mechanisms and systems are implemented to protect the security of users, contributors and subjects of the KCL web The infrastructure, content and management structures must be sufficiently scalable to adapt to ever increasing demand

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Strategic goalsMaterial primarily created by and for consumption by members of the College (e.g. departmental handbooks, staff phone numbers, financial information, etc.)Information and resources in support of the Learning and Teaching in the College (e.g. lecture notes, student timetables, on-line study resources, etc.)Content designed for users outside the College (e.g. Prospectuses, Whats On information, Schools page, etc.) Personal web publishing

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • How?Pre-emptive structureElectronic or paper (not both)Controlled contributorsDifferent facilitiesResourcesAccountabilityThe right team

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Unpopular goalsNo subdomains (e.g. kcl.ac.uk/pharmacy rather than pharmacy.kcl.ac.uk)Search engine submission blockedStrict content lifespans (content dies)No Word or PDF filesAdherence to style, presentation and contentBan Dreamweaver and all other web editing softwareNo FTP access or local serversWeb contributions produced by groups not individualsWeb Team has ultimate say-so. No buts.

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Popular goalsNo software to learnPublishing process much quickerProgramme/group/person orientated navigation (rather than school/faculty/department)Clear role of contributionsLess photocopying, money savedCurrency of informationResilience

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Pre-emptive structureHierarchical, inevitably based on structure of institutionEvery programme, group, person has a place and default information (from core sources)Simplification of urls intuitiveBetter navigationSubject/person orientated access

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Electronic or paperStrategy covers all publishingSpecifies which type of documentsElectronic or paperElectronic always definitiveImplies low technologyEverything through the browserNo web-based paper distribution (PDF, Word etc. banned)

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Controlled contributorsSystem of responsibilitiesWeb co-ordinator job descriptionsForm based contentDevolved server licensing systemSupport / SL agreed with web teamAuditCascade training

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Different facilitiesEveryone a publisherFacilites for staff, student homepages; un-moderated, not guaranteed, independentDevelopment serverNo public departmental serversBest-in-class technology, servers with 300% capacity

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • ResourcesSavings from paper printing costs prospectus 50,000 each minimumMIS functions in web teamIdentify stakeholdersIncome generationManage in-houseUse of contractors better value

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • AccountabilityPromise accountability how much does it all cost?Performance indicatorsPublish resultsDo some sums on page turnover, shelf-life, stock valueProve the web has value / value added

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Balance sheetPages are assetsThey depreciateThey have a falling valueAfter a point they have a negative valueCost of page / value of page not the sameGood =1, absent=0, bad=-1So whats it worth?

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • The right teamClout at the topClear strategic and operational rolesFormalised support Blend of skillsFocus management of areasManage stakeholders too!

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Electronic prospectuses- for the userUp-to-dateSelf-containedInteractiveAttractiveInstantRelevant and focussed

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Electronic prospectuses- for the institutionResources releasedDemonstrates commitment to mediumMore pervasiveResolves contractual issuesContent better managed

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Recruitment implications?Students with higher IT skill baseMedium is strategic messageSpecial needs accessBetter teaching and learningBetter retention rates

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Lets do itMIS has 18 staff (Web team will have 4 - hopefully!)Separate content, form controlled centrallyDe-technologiseAct like bureauRecognise distinct web areas, get right expertiseOther models include PR, Finance, Estates etc.Control of appropriate resources

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Loss of freedom?Staff / student publishing facilitiesThe place of paperInformation policiesSticks and carrots

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • Added valueE-commerce24/7 webcast channelConferencingL & T applicationsResilienceStandardsAccountability

    Andrew Aird - November 2001

  • ConclusionWeb has a valueNo going back, only forwardAfter strategy everything else is tacticsSomeone will jump higher, soonerWhere do we want to be in 3 or 5 years?Are we the right people for our jobs?MBA for web managers?

    Andrew Aird - November 2001