Scroll is working with University College London (UCL) on a large-scale migration project, moving over 500 websites to a new Drupal content management system (CMS).
The Digital Presence team at UCL are nearing the end of a 4-year project to replace their content management system.
The role of Scroll colleagues is to support the mass migration of several hundred websites to the new Drupal CMS.
The project is fast-moving, requiring Scroll to deliver at pace. There are typically 50 sites going through the migration process at any time – either with the developers, with the content team or with the client.
Each site has unique requirements and post-migration issues, requiring hands-on troubleshooting and fixing.
Some UCL sites require bespoke development work and more dedicated content support from the Scroll-led content team. An example is the UCL Institute of Education site, which houses over 60 different departments and centres. These complex sites require project management of their own and can take months of post-migration support before they’re ready to go live.
Stakeholder management is critical to the success of this project. This is a time-restricted project and as a result we rely heavily on client cooperation. The level of stakeholder engagement varies, as does the level of web expertise. Some clients require more attention and support than others.
The project began in 2014. Scroll content designers were brought onto the project in October 2017 to act as migration facilitators and content specialists. In the past 14 months, we have migrated over 250 sites.
We support our individual clients from pre-migration preparations right through to their site going live.
UCL have taken an agile approach to the project and adapt the migration strategy according to what’s needed at the time. For example, when we have more capacity, we do more content fixing and when we have less capacity we leave more responsibility with the clients. Similarly, if the developers are migrating sites quickly, we’ll turn our attention to checking the post-migrated sites and sending them back to clients as quickly as possible. We work closely with the migration developers to resolve any technical issues we’re unable to fix.
The whole process (from pre-migration, to a site going live in Drupal) was much more complex than UCL had anticipated and required a large amount of administration. As a result, project support was employed to help with this, freeing up more time for the team to focus on content.
Examples of guidance we offer around good web content include:
using plain English
de-cluttering pages to make them more user-friendly
With each migration we review and (where possible) remove redirects, which takes some of the strain off UCL’s servers.
For the largest, most complex sites, Scroll offers additional support, including weekly one-to-ones for reviewing migration issues, as well as hours of online and telephone support in managing their content in Drupal.
What the client said
The work of the Scroll content designers has been of tremendous value to our large-scale project to move the UCL digital estate to a new CMS. Their content expertise and attention to detail have been pivotal in managing several hundred successful migrations. And thanks to their excellent stakeholder management and communication skills, the UCL web editor community has been fully supported through a technically complex and often challenging project.
Clare Kennedy, Digital Service and Experience Manager, UCL
Scroll’s work has been instrumental in sustaining a rapid pace of migration. A total of 256 sites have been launched in Drupal (to date), with consistent and high-quality web standards.