Awarded to Zoocha Limited

Start date: Thursday 27 January 2022
Value: £615,000
Company size: SME
University of Portsmouth

Drupal or Umbraco CMS development, maintenance and support for the University of Portsmouth website

10 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 1 large

12 Completed applications

10 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Friday 12 November 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 19 November 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 26 November 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
- CMS Re-platforming
- Homepage and search results UX
- Site search third party integration
- Course page
- Structured content improvements
-Forms Builder

- Salesforce Forms integration
- Salesforce personalisation
- Staff profile enhancements
- Course data integration
- Student login capability
- Minor feature improvements

Annual SLA Support
Latest start date
Monday 31 January 2022
Expected contract length
2 years with potential for extension
South East England
Organisation the work is for
University of Portsmouth
Budget range
The budget is allocated as follows:

Year 1: CMS re-platforming including migrating existing front end components and integrations, new course page build, homepage and search page design/development, search integration and forms management
= £250,000 to £350,000

Year 2: Additional Website deliverables as covered in the Website Roadmap
= £125,000 to £175,000

Website support and training, excluding hosting*:
= £70,000 to £90,000 per year for 2 years

*website hosting is outside of web agency scope

All budgets inclusive of VAT @ 20%

About the work

Why the work is being done
The University’s Web Transformation Project’s aims are to:

- Build the University’s brand and reputation
- Drive student recruitment
- Increase research funding
- Foster participation with other businesses
- Streamline user experience for key audiences

The 3 public-facing websites (, and were designed and built using Sitecore. All of the content was developed in-house.

Since the launch of these sites, there have been a number of changes in the wider external environment, higher education sector and the University which will create challenges and opportunities that the University’s websites will need to address. These include:

- A more competitive marketplace
- A broader range of cloud-based services
- A more sophisticated, digitally savvy consumer
- The need to have a 360-degree view of customers
- Publishing efficiencies driven by automation

Additionally, the University has identified some issues with the current website build (in Sitecore) that necessitates a rebuild.

The University has chosen to replace the current CMS with either Drupal or Umbraco. We are inviting responses to this tender from agencies that have significant demonstrable expertise in either CMS.
Problem to be solved
We are seeking the right specialist digital agency to help deliver the Website rebuild and ambitious Roadmap to achieve the following strategic objectives:

- Ensure student experience is consistently outstanding
- Meet changing demand and widen participation
- Significantly extend our research impact nationally and globally
- Expand international student recruitment
- Deliver sustainability across all our operations
- Transform alumni engagement

Download the Website Roadmap and 2-year Timeline documents from this folder:

To best support achieving these objectives, the new solution will use a number of specialist SaaS Cloud systems to cover key activities like content management, search, personalisation, CRM & form management, etc. supported by specialist suppliers.

The goal of this opportunity is to find the right agency to support the University in delivering and then supporting the public facing websites using either Drupal or Umbraco CMS, working in collaboration with other SaaS vendors, to achieve the University’s Website Roadmap and strategic objectives.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a prospective:

- Undergraduate or taught postgraduate student I need to find out about degree courses I'm interested in and what University of Portsmouth (UoP) is like.

- Research student I need to find out what research UoP does, who their academics are and how to apply.

- Overseas student I need to find out about courses, UoP and studying in the UK.

As an U18 year old students’ influencer (teacher, parent and careers advisor), I need to find out what UoP offers and why it is the right choice.

As an Academic from another institution, I need to find relevant research programmes and/or researchers to collaborate with.

As a Decision maker from R&I funding bodies, I need to validate claims made in funding proposals.

As an existing student, I need to find out information about studying at the University whilst enrolled.

As an existing or prospective customer of the University’s sports offering, I want to find out information about sports and activities offered by Sports.

Other users include:

- Decision maker from business
- Parents of existing students looking for support
- Influencers of public opinion
- Alumni looking to engage
- Prospective job-seekers

Websites traffic report:
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The 3 current websites were launched between 2018 and 2020.

There is a large amount of existing front end functionality to support the content display and user experience to be retained. Additional UX design work will cover:

-New course page supplied by UoP
-Improved homepage and improved search results page designs supplied by agency

All current website content has been produced in-house and will be migrated by UoP.

Existing integrations to be retained:

-Staff portal API for staff listings
-EventBrite events API
-Salesforce via embedded forms
-Salesforce chatbot embedded via GTM

The site will remain English-only for the rebuild.
Existing team
The University website rebuild project team comprises:

- Project Director (Head of Web and Digital)
- CMS Product Owner
- Project Manager/Scrum master
- Technical support
- UAT Tester
- Content migration team

We also have an internal BAU web-team with expertise in content, UX, Advertising and SEO. There are no in-house developers or cloud-facing system-administrators.

We wish to have a different hosting supplier to the web agency, so the new website’s hosting and maintenance will be separately tendered for.

The successful agency will also be expected to work with other vendors as required to deliver the project objectives.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
University of Portsmouth
Working arrangements
The new website will be delivered using Agile/Scrum methodology, with regular release sprints throughout the project lifecycle.

The agency should have at least one dedicated, technically competent, experienced representative available either online and/or in-person for stand ups and managing deliverables over the contract period.

We would expect the direction, design, production and testing to be done remotely, either in the UK or overseas. During the specification phases of each deliverable, we would expect at least one senior CMS architect to be available on-site or online.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Additional terms and conditions are described under 'Buyer specific amendments to/refinements of the Call-Off Contract terms' in the Call off Contract.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Agency has at least 4 certified Drupal developers/builders, or be an Umbraco Gold Partner, with over 5 years' extensive experience in relevant CMS
  • Extensive experience (3+ projects) with developing websites to WCAG 2.1 (AA) Web accessibility standards
  • Extensive experience (3+ projects) with developing and supporting enterprise websites that enjoy over 12 million sessions per year, with at least 5000 pages and large data sets
  • Experience in supporting multisite instances running from the same Umbraco or Drupal codebase
  • Have the following in-house specialisms - Senior CMS Technical Architect; Experienced and relevant CMS certified Developers; Experienced Front End Developers; Experienced Design/UX specialists; Visual Design
  • Experience with integrating Drupal or Umbraco with third party platforms and APIs (one and two-way) such as Salesforce and EventBrite
  • Experience with setting up and running website personalisation
  • Experience with Integrating third party AI-type search solutions in websites
  • Designing user friendly form journeys in relevant CMS
  • Experience with supporting and deploying codebase to cloud-based hosting solution
  • Proactively maintaining and supporting Enterprise level Drupal or Umbraco environments over more than 2 years
  • A rigorous pre-deployment QA and testing regime
  • Demonstrable ongoing performance testing regime
  • Have the resource and flexibility to respond to and deliver ad hoc requirements over and above scheduled work within agreed timeframes
  • Able to adhere to SLA including sub 1-hour responses to Priority 1 issues and option for extended hours support as required during certain peak times of the year
  • Ability to communicate complex technical issues to non-technical business owners
  • Ensure website build is continuously well documented in a standard way per development sprint so UoP is able to easily extend development capacity
  • Provide ongoing training as required for any application usage by the editing team
  • Provide updates/upgrades for Drupal's or Umbraco’s latest stable version and the underlying components
  • Keep application up to date with security patches and fixes required under SLA
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • ISO 9001 certified
  • Be carbon neutral or have a published roadmap to being a carbon neutral agency
  • Have the following in-house specialisms: SEO/CRO; PPC and other online advertising; Content design and content marketing expertise; System administration specialists
  • Experience with setting up and managing multi-variant testing
  • Use of industry standard ticketing system to manage issue reporting and support (e.g. Jira)
  • Ability to deploy resource on-site at client's site in Portsmouth as required
  • Experience with developing and supporting large enterprise websites in the UK Public Sector

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Agency has addressed the CMS re-platforming requirements and provided supporting evidence they have the skills and experience to deliver complex Enterprise websites in relevant technology
  • Agency can start work in January 2021 and be technically able to set the new websites live by the end of September 2021 (excluding content, which is UoP’s responsibility).
  • Agency addressed all of the Website Roadmap requirements and provided supporting evidence of past experience
  • Agency has predicted the resourcing and delivery requirements for each of the deliverables, and demonstrates flexibility to upscale/downscale resource capacity to meet unforeseen changes to requirement during project lifecycle
  • Ability to demonstrate good requirement gathering and specification
  • Technical competence with Drupal or Umbraco and end user experience
  • An exemplary QA, deployment and documentation process
  • Provides CMS training documentation and both in-person and online training support to customers
  • An enterprise level Service Level Agreement covering normal UK working hours, with flexibility to provide out of hours support as required
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be open, transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Be comfortable standing up for their discipline
  • Can work with clients with low technical expertise
  • Be able to communicate at all levels i.e. system administration team all through to Executive business level
  • Experience of working in Higher Education and/or Public sector
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you let us know a list of the Drupal certifications you will accept?
We will accept any mixture of the following:
- Acquia Certified Front End Specialist
- Acquia Certified Site Builder
- Acquia Certified Developer
Or highly significant and relevant proven Drupal experience"
2. Have you made investigations into use of 3rd party/DXP based options?
Are you factoring in that DXP might be provided by the CMS or Salesforce?
Not yet. We will look at all the architecting options with the chosen supplier and will progress with the best DXP option as agreed between both parties. A decision on DXP will likely come out the CMS re-platforming deliverable as the supplier will have a much better understanding of our business needs after that is completed.
3. Is the RFP expected to cover any of these DXP aspects, should they be offered as options within the architecture or should RFP be for the CMS and then reference capability to integrate?
Should your agency be invited to submit a proposal, we will clearly lay out what we want your proposal and presentation to cover. Regarding direction of the DXP choice, this will be chosen once the awarded supplier understands the organisation's needs in more detail. Any third party costs should be excluded from your cost estimates but caveated as a potential future cost.
4. How did you arrive at a shortlist of Drupal and Umbraco?
We ran an extensive internal process based on market research, agency reach, support capability, hosting capability in the UK using internal and industry-trusted external resources.
5. Will we get full access to your list of functional requirements for the CMS?
We have a list of CMS functional requirements which have been compiled from extensive internal research. We are confident that either CMS will achieve all of our requirements either through core functionality, existing plugin(s) and/or third party integration. What we are looking for is the best agency to deliver and then support the re-platformed website and 2 year website roadmap. Should you be invited to propose, you will be asked to recommend either Drupal or Umbraco for achieving these. We will share the functional requirements with shortlisted suppliers to support this decision.
6. Besides initial response and proposal, are there any other steps we should expect?
The University is following the Digital Marketplace process to 'Find a team to provide an outcome', and will adhere to the steps in this process for shortlisting, selection and appointment.
7. In the Summary of works, you mention Salesforce forms integration. Is that a decision that's largely expected that forms should be brought into the site via either API data from Salesforce or JSON?
We are open to the best method of doing form integration where:
1. forms are rendered directly on to web pages so they can be fully tracked
2. the website can display complex multi-step forms seamlessly
3. All form submissions are pushed in to Salesforce
4. Forms can be easily built and managed by an editor rather than a developer
5. Email notifications are used when required as a form is submitted
8. You have stated that the hosting provider will be different from Web agency. Will the selected web agency be involved in the process of Hosting provider selection?
Yes. We will consult with the selected agency in the process of choosing the best hosting services provider to provide managed hosting for the websites.
9. Is the University looking for the Web agency to make final CMS recommendation between Drupal and Umbraco?
Yes, should you be invited to submit a proposal, we will ask you to recommend either Umbraco or Drupal, and based on the information you have been given or have found out, clear reasons why you have made that choice.
10. We have equal experience in Umbraco and Drupal and we wouldn't typically prescribe a technology until we've had more discussions or discovery. We would want to leave the tech recommendation quite open so does that count against us in this procurement process if we come in quite open with which technology we would recommend?
Should your agency be invited to submit a proposal, we will require a CMS choice to be made in the proposal based on the information you have been supplied.
11. Is the requirement around login and learn (content accessed behind registration wall) such that it extends to the entirety of that portal and is there functionality described anywhere about how that portal works?
No. The scope of the myport login project will be delivering the authentication using the existing UoP user authentication service and then displaying higher value personalised content to existing students about their own student experience in Portsmouth, rather than bringing in personalised content from the multitude of other existing learning-support platforms students log in to whilst studying at the University.
12. Will Salesforce be used as either an API for knowledge base or as a client facing application?
Unlikely. Unless there is a compelling reason to have this content stored in Salesforce, it is most likely to be stored in the CMS.
13. What about the authentication for staff login?
Staff facing websites are out of scope.
14. In terms of Salesforce, is that something that could be included at least in terms of potentially providing some of the functionality for the new platform in the RFP?
We have an existing agency that supports Salesforce, and an internal CRM team that they engage with. If any additional functionality is required from Salesforce then the incumbent Salesforce agency would be contracted to deliver it, rather than the web agency.
15. Is there anything else that exists that can impact on the costing?
Should your agency be invited to propose, we will ask for a cost estimate that covers the re-platforming, 2 year website roadmap and website support based on the information that we have supplied. If, in doing the costing exercise, you identify possible areas that would effect your cost estimates, you should include these as caveats.
16. Are there any internal/external dependencies?
The current website only has a few technical dependencies in the form of the integrations which are covered in the Website Roadmap. Other future dependencies will include, but not limited to:
- hosting provider
- third party services yet to be chosen
- legal, GDPR and accessibility compliance
- content owners and content creation (mainly managed by the BAU web team)
- other UoP owned systems with which we require the website to be integrated during Year 2
17. The opportunity mentions "Streamline user experience for key audiences" under "Why the work is being done". Am I right to assume that this will be done by UoP i.e. strategy & design work? Are you just looking for tech partner or looking for the Web agency to bring some UX & design expertise?
Yes, we expect the web agency to have extensive digital UX and design expertise.
18. You mentioned the use of 3rd party for Site search. Is the expectation that they would provide any indexing of the site or should we expose an API and publish into a similar index?
We want site search to be highly effective and easy to use. How this is done will be down to what search solution gets chosen with the agency and how that interacts with the CMS. We are open to either suggestion made.
19. In addition to an accessibility tool, would you be expecting to have a supplier work with the Web agency on accessibility testing?
20. In terms of the bidders, is the incumbent involved in the process and is there a reason why over and above the re-platforming, you are looking to change from the incumbent? Any particular concerns or issues?
We cannot answer this question.

The University is carrying out a fair process, in line with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, therefore each Supplier has an equal opportunity.
21. From the commercial point of view, are you looing for a proposal that focuses on run rate for a team, some element of capped T&M the size of the budget or fixed cost proposal for the work?
Capped Time & Materials. Please refer to Payment Approach in the opportunity.
22. "Ensure website build is continuously well documented in a standard way per development sprint so UoP is able to easily extend development capacity"

What do you mean by standard way?
Apologies for the way we expressed this in the opportunity. In summary everything that is produced should be well documented. The way it is done will be agreed between the University and chosen agency.
23. You’ve asked for Extensive experience (3+ projects) with developing and supporting enterprise websites that enjoy over 12 million sessions per year, yet the website traffic report shows the highest individual sessions at 6,223,458m, or 10,546,449 if you total up the 3 sites. Can we take it that your target for sessions across the upgraded site experience is upwards of 12m sessions per year?
Yes. The University wants to select an agency that has extensive experience with working on websites that have high traffic levels. We are also anticipating progressively more traffic to these 3 sites over the next 5 years. Plus we will adding additional sites to this infrastructure in the future (which are not part of this opportunity's scope).
24. Are there key milestones, important dates, milestones we need to be aware of?
Please refer to the Website Roadmap timeline for current delivery targets.
The key University annual undergraduate recruitment cycle is built around:
- End of January - Application deadline
- August - Clearing (leading up to which there is a change freeze across all University IT systems)
There are other key milestone dates in the year which we will cover with the chosen agency
25. Are there any 3rd parties we will be working closely with that we should be aware of?
The current website is moderately 'stand-alone'. Aside from integrations mentioned in Website Roadmap and our current web agency, the main 3rd parties the University engages with:
- Hosting provider (which will be re-tendered for)
- Existing Salesforce agency, which will not change
- Small number of third party managed and unmanaged service vendors
In the future, the number of third parties will increase as functionality is added, including:
- Third party search
- Potentially third party form management
- Potentially third party personalisation and/or DXP
plus internal UoP delivery teams on other relevant platforms the CMS will be integrated with
26. Do all team members have to be working onshore, based in the UK, or are you open to a hybrid working model, with the back end, testing team offshore?
Refer to the 'Working Arrangement's section of the published opportunity.
27. You mention that website hosting is outside of the web agency scope. Could you clarify if the web hosting provider will be providing out of UK working hours application support? If not, do you expect the web agency to provide 24/7 application support year round, or only in high-traffic periods (e.g. clearing)?
For round the clock enterprise level support, we work with providers like and, and would ordinarily collaborate with them in terms of true 24/7 application support.
Yes, web hosting supplier to provide 24/7 guaranteed uptimes and requisite response times to support this. No, we do not expect the web agency to provide 24/7 application support. Out of UK business hours support will be for key times of the year, like Clearing, during which extended hours support for a small number of days. We would prefer core application SLA support to be in-house. We would consider outsourcing out of hours application support if agency can demonstrate no depletion in service offering or coverage by using third party.
28. Can you please give an example of an AI search tool? What functionality do you want that AI would provide?
There are a range of AI Cloud hosted search tools on the market currently, and we are unable to mention anything specifically in response here. We want our website users to find what they want on the site. We will choose the right solution with the web agency.
29. Has Portsmouth already purchased the SalesForce Experience Cloud that covers their personalisation requirements?
Yes the University uses Experience Cloud elsewhere, but we are currently reviewing the options around personalisation technologies. A decision has not been made yet, but our overall goal is to integrate with SalesForce. If there is to be any development effort with SalesForce, this will be picked up by our existing SF partner.
30. Can we assume that SalesForce is the CRM?
31. Is it the intention of Portsmouth to keep the 3 sites –, and – separate or amalgamate them into one website? Multisite was also mentioned, is this your preference?
Yes, the 3 sites will be kept separate as they serve different audiences. Out of scope of this project will be adding additional microsites to the same CMS infrastructure in the future, but part of the functional requirements will cover the ability for UoP to do this without needing developer effort.
32. What is the staff portal developed in? Is there a ready, documented API for integration with this?
The staff portal is built on a platform called Pure which is owned by Elsevier, is Cloud-based and has a mature and well documented API.
33. Can we assume that you will be engaging with a PaaS based hosting supplier? Do you currently have a preference? Depending on the tech stack you go with – Drupal (open source) or Umbraco (.NET) – there are different hosting solutions that are primed for both – please advise.
Yes we are in agreement with your comments. The hosting will definitely be cloud based, and likely to be PaaS based, but at this stage we are not ruling out any other cloud based options.