Open Source for Enterprise: VisitEngland talk through their experience


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Alison Digital Marketing Manager at VisitEngland talks through the history of the company on its path to Open Source

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  • VisitEngland is the national tourist board

    We market England as a destination to domestic and established overseas markets and we have B2B support to champion the visitor experience to increase the value of tourism

    We have various fundng streams and are accountable to both DCMS and The Department of Business Skills and Innovation

    With the new Government and their localised agenda our external stakeholder landscape changed considerably from 9 Regional Development Agencies to over 200 local destination organisations with varying remits and budgets
  • We have gone through many changes which meant we inherited lots of costly technical infrastructure not fitting our organisational ambitions.

    We had 3 websites all with their own infrastructure which led to inefficiencies internally both from a budget and human resource perspective.

    Our contracts for our consumer website were ending and we developed a digital strategy to better define our role, activity and technical requirements for how we progressed our digital presence.

  • A single consolidated digital engagement platform designed to simultaneously reduce ongoing costs and, acting as a central digital hub, increase the effectiveness of Visit England’s communications and engagement activity.
  • Flexibility long term
    As a Govt agency we’re not always in charge of our destiny
    We have built a system that can scale and be flexible to our needs when we need

    Multiple users access to CMS

    - With a distributed publishing strategy we could have as many authors in the CMS as possible without incurring extra licence costs

    Built the CMS for our requirements, only using modules created that serve our purpose

    We are in control as to how we develop our CMS against our needs no enforced updates and superfluous modules

    Good support network
    If there is issues within the code the developers are able to research and work with communities of developers rather than waiting for professional services to administer tickets
    More developers available, it used to take a long time to source additional support as there wasn’t there very few


    - Our previous systems came with a hefty operational cost which means less budget could be spent on other resource
  • Open Source for Enterprise: VisitEngland talk through their experience

    1. 1. The story of VisitEngland & open source Alison Lewis-Jones Digital Marketing Manager
    2. 2. Agenda Scene setting Digital strategy Our journey with open source Outcomes
    3. 3. WHO WE ARE & WHERE WE WERE Setting the scene
    4. 4. Short introduction to VisitEngland National Tourist Board Established 5 years ago Changing external stakeholder environment Small organisation
    5. 5. Our inherited legacy infrastructure But with contracts ending…
    6. 6. DEFINING OUR DIGITAL ROLE Digital transformation strategy
    7. 7. What is our opportunity? “We aim to be a modern, dynamic tourist board responding to the environment in which we operate. Digital progress presents us with a significant and pressing opportunity to develop the way that VisitEngland supports the growth of English tourism.”
    8. 8. Our priorities for digital transformation Taking an integrated approach to communications and services Delivering ‘more for less’ by optimising our infrastructure Targeting our marketing efforts to avoid duplication of effort Taking a co-ordinated content-led approach to digital engagement Investing in facilitating and enabling the sector to optimise for digital
    9. 9. How could we achieve this?
    10. 10. THE JOURNEY WE WENT ON Open Source
    11. 11. Key drivers for us to consider open source With limited budget we wanted to invest in people instead of proprietary licenses and software Ability to allow multiple content authors Potential for multiple domains to service campaigns or potential for local destination sites on different domains The progressive and successful growth and implementation of Didn’t want to be locked in to costly long-term solution
    12. 12. How did we make the decision? Through our strategy we defined what we wanted to achieve – Audience research – Stakeholder research and consultation Examined existing infrastructure, processes and costs Analysed internal user requirements Sought advice from our IT department Created a development roadmap and phased delivery plan Director and Board sign off
    13. 13. What were the pros of open source for us? Flexibility long term Multiple users access to CMS Built the CMS for our requirements Good support network for bugs and fixes Lower operational and integration costs
    14. 14. OUR FUTURE & KEY TAKE OUTS Outcomes
    15. 15. What is our experience so far? Easier and more user friendly CMS allowing increased team productivity Better website health in search leading to increased domain authority Starting to change internal culture and nurturing a more co- ordinated content-led approach
    16. 16. Key take-outs Not an easy decision, do as much research, consultation and get as much advice from as many sources as possible Define your resources and requirements both short and long term as much as possible Open source isn’t just for small sites