Ja.net

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JANET(UK) connects the UK’s education and research organisations to each other, as well as to the rest of the world, to form an education community via the Internet. The network includes UK universities, Further Education Colleges, Research Councils, Specialist Colleges and Adult and Community Learning providers, thereby serving a potential audience of 18 million users.

Challenges

At present, JANET(UK)’s customers typically have to go to different websites for different services, such as video-conferencing or booking events, which are often hosted on different IT hardware platforms. Instead, JANET(UK) was keen to provide a single destination for its users from which they can access the entire range of services, thereby simultaneously improving the user experience and reducing the hardware footprint.

Russell Nelson, Head of Communications at JANET(UK), explains, “Our service portfolio is inherently based upon the community we serve, as we enable organisations to communicate, collaborate and co-operate in the shared interests of education and research. However, as our web presence has evolved incrementally over time, a number of our services have become disparate and not entirely integrated within a common service offering. We have approximately 35 content contributors within JANET(UK) alone and many third party suppliers who maintain their own areas and as such, the structure of the sites was in danger of becoming a hindrance.”

Nelson continues, “We have now reached a critical mass whereby we need to deliver a coherent and integrated service portfolio to our users and improve the accessibility to all our services. We wanted to make it possible for staff from one university to log onto their own university web portal and then be able to access all our services on our website directly, without needing to log in again or having to go to another site. But this was beyond a basic access permissions issue – we had to improve the underlying website infrastructure in order to achieve this.”

Solution

JANET(UK) selected Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions provider, The Content Group (TCG), to consult on and programme manage the implementation of a web content management solution. TCG will provide ECM Expert – a best practice methodology designed by TCG – to ensure a successful web content management project.

TCG was chosen specifically because of its independence and because it is technology agnostic and can provide the solution that is the most appropriate for the business and problem to be solved. Nelson adds, “If we were to ask a technology vendor for advice and a solution, they would be more than happy to sell us their product, but would potentially do so irrespective of whether it was actually the best fit for us. Instead, we wanted an independent consultancy who would act as an ‘expert friend’ and through extensive experience, would be able to match vendors or products to our specific situation and needs.”