The Challenge

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is New Zealand's newest university, with nearly 24,000 students across three campuses in Auckland, Manukau and North Shore cities. AUT identifies itself as "the university for the changing world."

The AUT web team were frustrated by the limitations of their current CMS. AUT needed a web presence that reflected its leadership in technology and its identity as the university for the changing world. AUT also needed a modern intranet solution that would enhance staff collaboration and productivity.

With the business demanding more online services and the current web publishing system unable to deliver AUT needed a CMS that was powerful, fully featured and flexible but cost effective. The solution needed to provide AUT with the capability to be largely self sufficient after the initial implementation so that they were able to manage the majority of development work in-house and not be forced into contracting the vendor to perform any minor development work required.

AUT's list of system requirements was well researched and formidable, including:

  • Edit audit trail
  • Content approval
  • Granular privileges
  • Login history
  • Session management
  • SSL compatible, SSL logins, SSL pages
  • LDAP authentication
  • Multi-level hierarchy navigation with no limit
  • Friendly URLs
  • Template access
  • WYSIWYG editor with spell checker
  • Asset management

With great design skills in its small but talented web team, AUT looked around for a CMS and implementation partner that would support their web strategy, impose no design restrictions, and work in partnership with them.

Given the high number of content editors within AUT, it was identified that an open source CMS solution with no licence fees or per-user costs was required. But the CMS product also had to have proven implementations in universities around the world, a clear product roadmap for future-proof investment and the implementation partner needed to be able to provide genuine 24/7 support, commercial warranties and a full Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Case Study Divider

The Solution

After a comprehensive review and demonstration of several CMS products and vendors a Matrix solution provided by was selected as the logical CMS for AUT. The university saw Matrix as a "best of both worlds" solution, combining the cutting-edge nature of the technology and cost effectiveness of open source with the security of a commercially supported warranty and SLA from Squiz.

Once Squiz installed the new Matrix CMS platform (that would run both the main AUT external website as well as the AUT intranet) this project was a genuine collaboration between Squiz and AUT. The university's web team designed and coded the new public site and Squiz integrated the AUT designs as templates in Matrix and created a parse file for the site, they then configured Matrix to provide the site functionality and integration of course data.

Squiz and AUT undertook the content migration process together and most content was manually migrated from the existing AUT site into the new site complete with new information architecture and visual design. Once the new site was designed and pages could be created in the site, Squiz created a Simple Edit Interface for AUT that allows for easy editing of web content by non-technical content authors.

Squiz trained the AUT web team in Matrix system management and the AUT web team then worked with Squiz to develop customised training for content authors, which they delivered themselves to a core team of content editors. Once the public site was operational, attention turned to AUT's intranet, "The Wire". AUT's web team provided the design flat files for Squiz to cut up, code and build the site within Matrix, connecting to AUT's LDAP user directory for authentication.

The Result

The Squiz Matrix solution delivered AUT a single web content authoring and management platform for the university's public website as well as its intranet. The new website and intranet now meet business requirements and provide AUT with a future-proof solution for their web services, both external and internal.

The improved performance, architecture and discoverability of content through Matrix integrated search has enhanced the user experience, while the Simple Edit Interface means non-technical content authors can now quickly and easily add and update content. Because of the specialist training provided by Squiz and the inherent flexibility of Matrix, AUT has been able to build three major additional sites entirely in-house, including the AUT library site:

AUT host their own servers and have observed that since the implementation of Matrix their public website and intranet are more than ever business critical tools. To provide greater reliability and uptime AUT have recently upgraded to a replicated environment with enhanced redundancy / fail-over.

The key business benefits for AUT of using Squiz to implement their Matrix solution have been around cost, time and efficiency savings. They now have a world-class, commercially supported, future proof web solution with none of their budget wasted on licence fees or per user costs.

The Simple Edit Interface means ease of use for content authors and has removed technical publishing barriers so that content can now be maintained by content experts rather than technical experts.

The system management training provided by Squiz means that AUT are now largely self sufficient and can build and develop additional sites in-house, where as before implementing Matrix they would have to contract their old CMS vendor for any development work required.

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