Case Studies

How Graduating from an Old Platform Led to Reduced Costs and Inefficiencies for College of Staten Island

4 min read

Published on April 17, 2024

Solutions: DXP – Digital Experience Platforms
Publishing & Entertainment
How Graduating from an Old Platform Led to Reduced Costs and Inefficiencies for College of Staten Island
CSI

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is a four-year, senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY) and one of 25 colleges in the CUNY system. 

CSI needed to upgrade its Drupal platform before the end of life for Drupal 7. As a result of the upgrade, CSI’s new platform significantly improves the content editing experience and overall site governance, featuring a much more user-friendly interface. It offers faster and better performance, improved security, greater accessibility, and enables more targeted ad campaigns with Google Analytics. 

By significantly reducing the number of styled templates the CSI team was using, we were able to drastically reduce unnecessary complexity in the system and in their workflows, eliminate technical debt, and create more brand consistency. In addition to setting up the Drupal platform, we worked closely with CSI to equip them with the expertise and ability to manage their own site after launch, further reducing development costs. 


At a glance

50%

Reduction in templates

33%

Decrease in superfluous users

Context & Challenges

The future sunsetting of Drupal 7 has caused many organizations and higher education institutions to rethink their website platform. CSI saw an opportunity to greatly improve its site with the impending end-of-life. The old site was weighed down by unnecessary user accounts, governance issues, and a difficult content editing experience; problems that were all remedied when it was upgraded to Drupal 9. Failing to upgrade would have compromised security and left it behind on new upcoming features and functionality. 

An arduous content editing experience can become a major burden to internal teams, increasing unnecessary costs and resulting in missed opportunities. CSI experienced this firsthand with its old site, as the website’s content and styling were difficult to manage and a major pain-point for their development team and content editors. 

One of the biggest priorities for the new site was improving website performance and enabling seamless content changes. We also aimed to reduce technical debt, eliminate unnecessary user accounts, consolidate the number of templates being used, and improve site governance. All while firmly staying within budget and reducing costs. 

Our approach and solution

Our expert team quickly identified the importance of prioritizing the upgrade, as many of CSI’s main concerns with the site would be directly or indirectly addressed by it. In our discovery sessions, we tackled how to best prioritize and consolidate the number of designed templates and superfluous users on the site. 

Staying within budget is often incredibly important to higher education institutions. We not only made this a priority throughout the entire engagement, but also engineered long-term, sustainable cost savings by focusing on building a solid framework that put its team’s most imperative needs first. Then, we collaborated with their development team so they could shadow and learn from our developers, equipping them with the knowledge needed to make additional modifications to the site themselves, while always being an available resource when needed. Empowering clients to have full control over their platform is always something we strive for, and it’s even more critical when there’s a focus on long-term cost savings. 

The platform was built on time, on budget, and as a framework for lasting time and cost savings. Editors can easily change and update content, styling is simplified, and CSI’s dev teams are empowered to continue modifying the site. Drupal 9 also has many of the accessibility features CSI was wanting built-in, helping them to reach ADA compliance. 

The success of this project is best represented in CSI’s own words:  

“The interface for updating pages is much more user-friendly, enabling the campus community to keep their sites active and updated. This increased community participation and has freed our programmers to develop applications to service the academic and administrative areas. By way of the pages being updated more frequently, we are expecting an increase in SEO, which should translate to more site impressions. Drupal 9 offers our team a new and robust platform to enable continued community engagement and timely updating. The workflow system is now more streamlined, allowing users to better manage their content, and the platform itself is much more optimized due to the many improvements to the Drupal 9 core functionality. The deployment pipeline was also significantly improved, allowing our internal development team to better stage and push updates, keeping the site modules regularly updated, which has placed them on track to be able to continue upgrading the system as we draw close to the release of Drupal 10.” 

-Joyce Taylor, Director of Application & Web Development, CSI 

Technologies

Drupal CMS 

"Working with [the JAKALA team] was an unbelievably wonderful experience. They are so knowledgeable, professional, and always willing to go above and beyond. We have worked with other vendors and never experienced this high level of support. Not only did they do a remarkable job, but they taught and shared knowledge with the programming team so we could maintain and develop new functionality on the site after they completed the project. They have a very organized system of task completion, and we learned a lot from their strategies and practices which made our everyday job less stressful and more productive. CSI was able to ask many questions and get answers on a one-to-one basis. "

 

Joyce Taylor
Joyce Taylor, Director of Application & Web Development, CSI

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