Hello, (brave new) world

We’re reviving the DCM blog – and for good reason.

There’s a new project on the horizon at Sussex, which we hope will transform our digital estate – taking in our website, news systems, a possible intranet and databases that power what people see when they interact with the University online.

The aim is to provide a joined-up user experience, devoid from the internal structures of the organisation.

We’ve tried this a few times before; over the past 15 years there’ve been three serious attempts to modernise the Sussex website but each one stalled for a variety of reasons.

I started at Sussex in early 2017, even then, people knew change was needed. But the drivers for change were not there. The organisation knew what it was about (interdisciplinarity, etc) and it had a well-established, segmented culture, but it was nowhere near mature enough for such a technological shift. Plus we were top-20, so everything was fine.

When I became head of digital content 18 month ago, the world was already a different place. I and others started making some noise about how our website is the foundation upon which our business exists. A few months later, we were fortunate enough to be blessed with a new associate director, Rachel Levett, who understands that the world wide web, and our visibility within it, is kind of a big deal.

Since then, we’ve been speaking to a lot of people across the university and we truly feel that most of our community appreciate the need for change.

Only today, Rachel presented the plan for a new web estate to other people in our professional services division. Many were excited by what the project can deliver.

People understand the need for one unified website, managed by specialists, that competes with our strident competitors rather than leaving us in their dust.

How we get there, in this brave new world, is another matter.

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