Brunel University in West London is one of the UK's top universities, having been ranked in the top 2% of global academic institutions. It currently has a study body of over 15,000 and draws a diverse range of students from over 110 countries around the globe. Founded in 1966 and named for the great British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the university has flourished in recent years with large investments in social technologies, accommodation and facilities.
Brunel's website had been running on a legacy system for a number of years. Like most legacy software, it worked well initially but soon failed to meet the growing requirements of a modern university.
Brunel's student body was growing rapidly, with the vast majority of new students being drawn from the Millennial Generation - in other words, they had high digital expectations for dynamic and social content which were not being met by the university's tired website. There was also growing demand for greater access to information like course schedules and subject outlines, which was increasing the already heavy load on Brunel's system.
These two factors served as the initial catalyst in Brunel's search for a new digital solution.
The project needed to include an entirely new technology solution, new graphic design scheme, university-wide roll out and extensive training.
The first challenge, therefore, was communicating the significant scale of the project to the Brunel University board and gaining their support and approval.
Another challenge lay in the diverse requirements of different audiences, such as prospective students, current students, media, and the general public. All of these users would need access to different types of information including course finders, event calendars, staff directories and department details. It was also vital that every piece of information be completely up to date and accessible at all times.
Finally, the site needed to accommodate a large number of different schools and departments, each with their own specific content and functionality requirements. This meant that a one size fits all approach just wouldn't do.