The Challenge

Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT NZ) is one of New Zealand's largest and best performing institutes of technology, serving a fast-growing region with a multicultural population. Highly regarded by employers, MIT NZ makes its strong regional base an asset, while also developing an international profile. It provides over 1500 courses, supporting progression from foundation to higher level qualifications including degree programmes, and on to employment.

MIT NZ faced the need to do more with less, moving business processes onto the web in line with wider sector trends and student lifestyle changes. Implementing an enterprise-level web CMS was a priority. This needed to be a platform that MIT NZ could host and resource in-house and would have to support existing online business systems. The platform would also need to provide integration options for future replacement of core business systems including a Student Management System.

The new CMS should also be capable of scaling up to run multiple new websites and allow unlimited growth in both content editors and website users. The small web team had to learn it quickly, and become independently productive as fast as possible, so as to minimise vendor support costs.

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The Solution

In the implementation phase of the project, Squiz installed a single instance of Squiz Matrix CMS on a server in MIT NZ's data centre, and used existing designs to build MIT's main website on the new platform. Squiz then trained MIT's web team, who manually migrated and cleaned up content from their existing website.

While time-consuming for the web team, doing the content migration in-house accelerated learning their new system.

"If we don't know how to do something, we prefer to take the time to learn," Web team leader Allan Gatland explains. "We wanted to move beyond the 'maintenance level' and develop in-house capability to build new websites and features ourselves, as quickly as possible."

The Result

Since Squiz built the initial website, MIT NZ's web team has built another nine websites in-house, including two intranets, one each for staff and students.

"Traffic growth on the site varies between 5% and 20% a year. What makes the difference is having the resources to keep sites current and updated with fresh content. Doing that gives users a reason to come back, and we see the growth in our web stats." - Allan Gatland, Web Team Leader

Core programme data and course entry requirements shown on the website are pulled from the student management system, with additional programme information entered into Squiz Matrix. Content is shared between websites as required, allowing 'edit once, update everywhere', with different visual designs according to the website. User authentication is handled automatically through LDAP integration.

Here's some of the stats:

  • Squiz Matrix CMS, hosted internally on one physical server.
  • Runs 10 websites, including 2 intranets.
  • Over 65,000 system assets.
  • Multiple integrations with systems including Student Management System.

Significant cost savings have come from discontinuing printing an annual course calendar. "The print run was 40,000 copies, and it took three months to produce. As a first step, we knocked six weeks off production time by exporting the course information as XML directly from the website. The next step was to question why we needed paper at all. Why not just keep it online? So, we now use our website and our Call Centre directs people there, rather than mailing a prospectus. We've done the same thing with course brochures – making savings of approximately $500,000 a year."

The system has grown to contain over 65000 assets. Website content is created and edited by 12 editors in the faculties and departments, trained and supported by a web team of three staff, who also manage and develop the system in-house, with occasional support from Squiz as required.

Planned developments include integration with the in-coming replacement student management system (Tribal ECM4) and further devolution of content authoring, mobile websites, and more social media integration to support marketing strategies.

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