VPFO Digital Transformation

Last updated: February 9, 2024

Project Overview

One of the goals of the VPFO Strategic Communications Plan is communications systems renewal. Currently, the VPFO operates and maintains a collection of websites that have overlapping audiences, purposes, mandates, and functions. These sites were built by many different owners at different times. As a result, some of these sites operate on various WordPress configurations, while two are built on Drupal 7 which will be at its end-of-life in January 2025. This project transform the VPFO’s digital ecosystem and ensure proper channel/content alignment.

This project will occur in two phases.

  • Phase 1: Definition and Discovery: The existing 13 web properties will be assessed and various research activities will be conducted to determine how the portfolio’s digital ecosystem can be streamlined and optimized for better service delivery. Project research and recommendations were conducted between June 2023 and January 2024.
  • Phase 2: Implementation (Design and Build): The collection of 13 websites will be strategically consolidated and built on a unified WordPress multisite instance.

Project Outcomes

The goal of this project is to transform VPFO’s existing digital ecosystem into a cohesive, streamlined set of tools where audiences can effectively complete their tasks and do the business of the university. One of these tools will be a unified WordPress multisite instance, as well as a building and spaces database. Please note an addition of an intranet is currently out of scope.

The deliverables of this project are:

  • Phase 1: Definition and Discovery
  • Phase 2: WordPress Multisite
  • Phase 2: Building & Spaces Database

Phase 1: Definition and Discovery

Phase 1 starts with research—gaining context, investigating, and conducting research. Our external vendor engaged with 40 internal stakeholders via an online questionnaire as well as a mix of in-person and online interview sessions. An audit was completed for each web property that covered internal VPFO insights, and technical and content assessments. Several relevant web properties were examined during a Comparative Analysis to understand how similar organizations manage and present their services and information of a similar scale. Internal UBC audience members were surveyed to uncover what VPFO-related services matter the most to them—providing data to lead a user-centric future state strategy.

Based on the research, the recommendation is to consolidate the VPFO’s 13 external-facing websites to six with the possibility of further consolidation in the future. The six websites will create a simplified ecosystem which heavily reflects the VPFO’s three main service pillars: building and spaces, finance and payroll, and safety and security. All web properties within the portfolio will be rebuilt on the WordPress-based UBC CMS multisite tech stack to allow for efficiencies both in the redevelopment process and in ongoing maintenance and support.

Additional digital tools recommended were an intranet to manage content that is currently gated across multiple sites, and a Building and Spaces database to centralize key information about learning spaces and campus buildings.

The future state digital ecosystem will consist of six websites. View the breakdown.
Blueprint and Consolidation [PDF]
Learn more about the Discovery phase of this project and the findings from Discovery.
Discovery Findings [PDF]

Phase 2: WordPress Multisite

The VPFO ecosystem will be simplified by reducing the existing 13 websites down to six. The VPFO website will be leveraged as the hub for the portfolio, providing entry points to key tasks and portals. There will be separate sites for VPFO’s service pillars: Finance, Facilities, and Safety and Risk Services. Learning Spaces and Campus Security are auxiliary websites that will be retained. This work will be approached in five phases over two years with an additional sixth enhancements phase.

Implementation has been mapped over five phases plus an additional sixth enhancements phase.
High-level Phases [PDF]
Phase 2 is estimated to take two years. View the order of operations and overall project timeline.
Project Timeline [PDF]

Phase 2: Building & Spaces Database

A discovery for the Building & Spaces database will be conducted and a plan will be created to develop the database if deemed appropriate. This Building and Spaces database aims to:

  • Improve management, consistency and integrity
  • Make data centralized and accessible for multiple audiences
  • Create a variety of tools using the same data

Project Contact

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please reach out to Tracy Pham, Digital & Creative Manager at tracy.pham@ubc.ca.