Software and cloud based tools for extranet project

Is complex software always the answer?

Sometimes not.

SMS can also be the answer to an unmanageable series of disconnected systems. So simple – SMS and a mobile phone. Why was this not suggested back in March/April 2020, by someone in UK authority for the fast track legal clearance of a UK Covid 19 Track and Trace system for pubs and restaurants? Or the NHS Test and Trace disease control system?

The SMS technology is proven and has been there for along time. But our government, advised by countless government approved “Technology Consultants”, have insisted on wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayers ££££s on testing useless “apps” that create more problems than they’re supposed to solve.

Bad for technophobes, bad for the elderly, bad for the poor, bad for people who don’t have a smartphone and bad for any poor soul tasked with the job of “Track and Trace” implementation at a retail, leisure or social gathering. When I’ve gone out to eat and drink since June this year, I’ve ended up with numerous different new tracing apps on my phone, clogging the memory. Or I get asked to fill in a piece of scrappy paper.

To be honest I’ve not stayed in places that insisted that I downloaded an app, especially if that is the one and only visit in my life. I’m no Luddite and I use apps all the time, but sadly all the app money spent on this programme has already gone down the drain.

Extranet project in Scotland

With a server and cloud based tools hybrid, a large budget of around £40 million, this was a large project working with IBM who were leading the technical side. This was a more traditional server deployed software rather than fully cloud based tools. It was a fully agile environment with an international on-site project team of 110 personnel. My day to day management of resources included web publishing team, marcomms and brand and product stakeholders. It was called Adviserzone. See full history of previous projects.

Adviserzone webpage offering cloud based tools

What needed doing

In addition to the stakeholder management, there was the co-ordination of all website content, dynamic, rich media as well as optimisation content, legacy content and new creative content streams from agencies and other suppliers. I helped schedule the CMS build and deployment, working with technical design architects on the new portal technology using Agile scrum. Finally working with an external agency, Dare London, to define information architecture and site structure to align with user journeys.

The key starting point using cloud based tools

When the Programme Manager at Standard Life asked for a status report after I’d audited my part of the project he looked concerned. My predecessor had failed to understand some very basic concepts of website planning. Luckily being a content wrangler and capable expert with cloud based tools, I was able to turn things around quickly for them.

The project itself was professionally run with IBM in the driving seat

Release 1 delivery of Adviserzone a large 500 page CMS Extranet website. A large project working with IBM who were the technical leaders. A fully Agile/Waterfall environment with an international on site project team of 110 people on-shore and 50 offshore.

My key role

Day to day stakeholder management of the content resource including; Web Publishing, WebSphere Retail Ecommerce, Marcomms, Brand and Product Stakeholders. The co-ordination of all website content, dynamic, rich media, optimisation content, legacy content and new creative content streams from agencies and other suppliers.

Advising on CMS build and deployment, working with Technical Design Architects to build and help deploy new portal technology. Working with external design agencies, Big Mouth Media and Blackad. Defining the Information Architecture and site structure to align with required user journeys.

Defining and establishing BAU operating models. Working on several sub-projects within main project. Scheduling multivariate testing sessions. WebSphere, Agile, Prince II, MS Project, Excel and Silverback.

Laurence Dunn