The RCPCH website services an audience spanning membership and the general public, with many sub groups, including international visitors. It provides information and advice, and acts as a hub for membership management, CPD services, examinations and events.
RCPCH's existing Drupal site was coming to the end of its life-cycle and needed a full overhaul - part of an internal Digital Transformation project across the whole organisation.
The site featured many full and partial integrations, including one with their Care CRM system. These had become difficult to maintain - limiting changes that could be made to member services.
In addition to the burden of legacy integrations, their team had other concerns:
Dated look and feel, with unwieldy site architecture and user journeys
Content published as word docs, not web pages, due to issues with the CMS
Challenges with site availability during peak traffic surges
It's interesting to note that while our commitment to 'engineering excellence' is key to delivering a project of this scale and complexity, it was our approach to design that won RCPCH over to choosing us as a partner for the project.
Platform for change
With a large number of client-side stakeholder groups involved at different points in the project, we needed a plan that ensured engagement and delivered in a timely and reliable way.
Project divided into 15 discrete work packages, with clear inputs and outputs
Timeline divided into Agile discovery phase and Waterfall delivery sequence
Integration work by pair-programming team with daily oversight and reporting
Our emphasis on delivering a 'platform for change', a site that was designed for continuing innovation in service delivery across its life-span, was as important as reliable project delivery.
Comprehensive user research conducted up front, before planning began
Bi-weekly client workshops to discuss options, challenges and decisions
Careful observation of Drupal and OOP best-practice in configuration and code
In addition to the above, project governance was steered by ‘Digital Board’, convened every two months. This included representatives of all RCPCH stakeholder teams and key members of our production team.
Member management application
A key part of the integration was the creation of a middleware library and test harness to simplify the job of connecting to the CARE CRM.
With this in place, building the Membership Management system that lies at the heart of the new site was significantly easier. Whereas a direct integration would have to fire multiple requests for a simple action, the middleware allows the integration to make a single request and achieve the same result.
This middleware library can now evolve into a microservices layer, allowing any 3rd party members services application to use the same simplified connection into CARE.
RCPCH and NDP consulted at length about hosting options. Their experience with their previous site, where exam booking created surges of traffic that would cause site access problems, needed to be addressed.
Working in partnership with Code Enigma, the new site was launched on an Amazon AWS auto-scaling cluster. This infrastructure provides the capacity to deal with traffic surges, while also lowering the overall cost of hosting because server resources are minimised during normal traffic periods.
“You've all been incredibly available, patient, highly competent, and responsive. Absolute troopers!”
Alan McMahon • Head of Information Systems • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Effective collaboration, based on a strong common understanding of the project, has allowed us to meet all project milestones within an acceptable margin.
The CMS setup provides the level of flexibility and control to ensure that content editors engage with the CMS, rather than uploading documents as a work around. Content management has been devolved lower in the organisation as a consequence - enhancing RCPCH’s ability to keep the site fresh and up to date once live.
With the middleware/microservices in place, work continues on discussing and planning a long-term migration of member services so that they all plug into this layer. This also makes it easier for RCPCH to bring new member services online as it greatly simplifies integration with the CRM - expanding their opportunities and shortening the time to market for new member services going forwards.
The site was launched, after 2 years in the making, in April 2018. The AWS hosting has provided RCPCH with a responsive, low cost and best-in-class service delivery under all conditions.
What we do
We help clients realise their digital ambitions - extending their touch points with users, reaching further into people's lives...
Festival Republic V Festival
A collaboration with the Festival Republic design team to create and manage the VFestival site. High traffic loads, fast content updates and real-time announcements...
An international platform, providing insight, commentary and to-the-minute updates on global data protection legislation...
An ongoing project of design, development, support and digital marketing strategy for this high profile consumer gardening brand...
A bespoke learning platform, which brings together interesting UK arts content, combined with English language practice...