This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Monday 22 May 2017
Oxford Brookes University

Replacement Web CMS for Oxford Brookes University

17 Incomplete applications

15 SME, 2 large

28 Completed applications

25 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Monday 8 May 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 15 May 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 22 May 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Replace the Oxford Brookes instance of Ektron CMS with an alternative solution, including content migration, system integration, search facility, hosting of CMS and website content.
Latest start date
Monday 18 September 2017
Expected contract length
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Oxford Brookes University
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
Oxford Brookes University needs to replace the web content management system (CMS) used for its corporate web presence because vendor support for the current solution is likely to cease during 2018. Remaining with the existing solution (Ektron CMS) presents a significant risk for the University.
Problem to be solved
Replace Oxford Brookes University’s web CMS with an alternative solution. Work in partnership with the University’s web and IT teams to select and implement the solution.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The current CMS supports approximately 650 users with a wide range of roles, requirements and skillsets. Details of user needs are covered by the requirements, which will be shared after the initial shortlisting stage, i.e. when the suppliers are invited to share their proposals.
Early market engagement
We've spoken to a number of vendors about their latest CMS offerings (and a few implementation partners/agencies to help determine ballpark costs). Most appear to meet our needs at a high level with some bespoke development (as anticipated), so we intend to identify a best fit CMS/overall solution AND implementation partner with the shortlisting and selection process.
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery phase complete: interviews and analysis of current users and stakeholders - as well as the early market engagement mentioned earlier - to help derive scope, approach and requirements.
Existing team
The supplier will be working predominantly with the core project team which comprises the Central Web Team (Marketing and Communications directorate), staff from IT Services, and CMS superusers representing faculties and directorates. CENTRAL WEB TEAM: Web Communications Manager (leads the team); 2 back-end Web Developers; 1 front-end Web Developer; Senior Digital Designer; Digital Designer; Web Content Editor; Digital Communications Officer. IT SERVICES: Project Manager; Enterprise Architect; Others as required. FACULTIES/DIRECTORATES: 2-3 Web and Digital Media Officers; Others as required.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The majority of the work by the supplier is expected to be undertaken remotely, but we would like to establish frequent co-located development alongside our developers to foster collaboration e.g. lead developer working one week remotely/one week on site*. Instances of regular project meetings should on occasion be face to face on site.

*Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Oxford, OX3 0BP.
Working arrangements
We would like our developers to be involved in the implementation of the solution so they are involved in key decisions, self-sufficient prior to project closure, and fully able to maintain, upgrade, and continue to develop on the solution.

Our developers will undertake appropriate training courses and should be treated as an extension of the supplier's team. One (or more) of the supplier's developers should work alongside them on site on a regular basis.

Expenses related to on site development, attending meetings or performing tasks away from the supplier's premises will be borne by the supplier.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

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
  • Analysing existing site features/content, determining improvement opportunities and ensuring implementation follows best practice for the CMS (not migrating/replicating exactly as is if it should/could be done better)
  • Successful planning and implementation/configuration of a CMS for large/complex sites for customers from a broad range of sectors
  • Automating content migration from one CMS to another
  • Designing and implementing CMS solutions for multi-site publishing
  • Designing and implementing user permissions and workflows for CMSs
  • Designing, implementing and refining a successful feature-rich site search
  • Designing and developing bespoke extensions to a CMS to meet specific customer needs, that require minimal re-configuration when upgrading the underlying CMS
  • Developers leading configuration and development of CMS solution must have strong proven experience of the selected CMS, and ideally certification
  • Working successfully and collaboratively in partnership with a client's internal development team to ensure a comprehensive transfer of knowledge and self-sufficiency
  • Integrating a CMS with external systems and services, including authentication and authorization
  • Designing and implementing a secure solution architecture to mitigate current and emerging security threats
  • Developing and implementing a caching strategy for a CMS, managing performance testing and making performance improvements "optimising"
  • Applying usability best practice, conforming to accessibility standards, and maintaining (preferably improving) search engine rankings as part of a CMS migration
  • Designing and implementing a cohesive solution architecture (hosted on premise, externally and cloud-based) appropriate for meeting SLAs given anticipated levels of usage and volume of content
  • Providing user documentation and training to enable a train the trainer approach
  • Planning/managing an incremental launch due to large volume of content to migrate and mitigating challenges of having multiple live systems
  • Providing ongoing support for bespoke CMS development and configuration, and implementing (or advising on) upgrades
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Designing and implementing solutions that comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679)
  • Identifying and assessing needs against a range of CMSs and providing reasoned recommendations
  • CMS project delivery for customers within the Higher Education sector
  • Developing a CMS-based solution to maintain and publicize complex course information for a university
  • Integrating a CMS with a CRM platform to facilitate a personalized user experience of a website

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach and solution meets requirements (user needs, system requirements, legislative compliance, standards adherence)
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
  • A solid reputable CMS; system with potential longevity
  • NB. There will be an extra assessment method (no option to add to the list below). Use of a sandbox/demo instance of the recommended CMS
Cultural fit criteria
  • Pro-active - forthcoming with information, good/bad
  • Transparent and collaborative when making decisions (and in general)
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Work as a team with our organisation
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What's your preferred CMS going forward?
We have no preference for a particular CMS at this point. We are looking for a solution that will best meet our requirements. NB. Requirements will be shared with suppliers shortlisted (based on skills and experience) for the assessment stage.
2. Whilst there is no preference, is there any university preventing adoption of an open source solution?
There are no policies or rules preventing consideration or adoption of an open source solution.
3. Will the solution be deployed in the cloud or internal infrastructure? If cloud do you have a preference for the provider?
We are keeping our options open on hosting at this stage. Cloud hosted seems most likely in light of other recent initiatives here, but we'd like to assess different hosting options for the solutions proposed e.g. cloud/external (including PaaS if applicable) and internal. No preference for cloud provider currently.
4. Is there a budget for this work?
A budget has been approved and assigned. We are confident it is more than adequate. Ballpark costs were derived for a range of solution options with input from different suppliers. The resulting cost range was sense-checked with Gartner, and the higher figures were approved as the budget.
5. Can you please give us an indication of the budget allocated for this project? Also is this budget to include the hosting costs? If there is a separate budget for the hosting costs can you please give us an indication of what that is?
A budget has been agreed internally but I'm afraid we won't be sharing the amounts. We are confident it is more than adequate. Ballpark costs were derived for a range of solution options with input from different suppliers. The resulting cost range was sense-checked with Gartner, and the higher figures were approved as the budget. The budget is broken down into implementation and operational/ongoing costs (hosting, licences, support).
6. Can you give an example of the bespoke developments which you see as extending the CMS?
We need a facility for course promotion, i.e. adding and maintaining course details on our website. We currently have a course wizard tool, which helps populate 3 variations of course template with standard but many fields. It has its own approval workflow. Core course data may come from the new Student Record System (depending on timing of that and this project) and then enriched (possibly enhanced) with other course information via the CMS.
7. The requirement- "Integrating with external systems and services"- can you give an example of the type of integration you require- do they have API's is the integration beyond what you have now ie single view of the customer?
Example existing integrations: Brookes' LDAP to authenticate and authorise requests for access to the CMS; Converis data via a web service.
Potential integrations: (1) new Student Record System (Banner by Ellucian recently selected) will be required at some point to provide a feed of core course data, whether it is in scope for this project will depend on the timing of the implementation of both, but assume APIs will be available. (2) New consolidated CRM system, no solution selected yet.
8. What is the traffic to the current site in an average month and what is the peak load currently experienced?
Monthly average figures: 1.5M page views; 565K sessions; 240K users.
Using sessions per hour as a measure of peak load, the highest figure for 2016 was ~3500 sessions/hour during week 1.
9. How many content editors would manage the website?
There are currently 655 users of our current central CMS (Ektron). Approximately 200 of these users only log in once or twice a year to edit course description content. The rest vary from frequent, regular users to people who log in infrequently to update content on one or two pages.
10. What are the project timelines and what is prompting that date?
The main driver is that our current CMS, Ektron, is no longer being developed and support may end in 2018 (date still tbc). Supplier selection should conclude with an award mid-July and we would like the supplier to start no later than 18 September. While there is some urgency the overall timeframe is not fixed at this point. A delivery plan will need to be developed by the selected supplier in collaboration with the Brookes project team.
11. Are there any particular hosting requirements?
We are keeping our options open on hosting at this stage. Cloud hosted seems most likely in light of other recent initiatives here, but we'd like to assess different hosting options for the solutions proposed e.g. cloud/external (including PaaS if applicable) and internal. No preference for cloud provider currently.
12. One of the skills is - Designing and implementing CMS solutions for multi-site publishing. We take this to mean a separate tree of content and a different domain name held in a single CMS instance, is this correct?
Yes, that's what is meant.
13. You list in the essential requirements: "Developers leading configuration and development of CMS solution must have strong proven experience of the selected CMS, and ideally certification", yet you also say that you also want independent advice on CMS platform selection. As these two requirements are necessarily opposed (e.g a supplier may be Sitecore certified but think that the open source Umbraco is a better solution for you so cannot give impartial advice), can you please clarify your requirements and state which one takes precedence?
Suppliers aren't required to recommend a CMS until after shortlisting.

"Identifying and assessing needs against a range of CMSs " is a nice to have, so would only come in to play with a tie for 7th place based on essential skills/experience scores.

To clarify scoring of the essential "Developers leading....", if a supplier demonstrates strong proven experience for a CMS then that will be scored as "met". If they are also certified in that CMS it will be "exceeded" (maximum pts). If a supplier has strong proven experience in multiple CMSs then that will also be scored as "exceeded".
14. Are you able to provide more information on what data is stored for a course?
Other than some standard links the majority of data on our course pages is stored in a database which is populated/maintained manually via a series of web forms (aka a "course wizard"). There are currently 3 variations of course DTD.

Example course pages:
Please browse/search the website for more if required

NB. A master version of core course data - but not everything required for the website - will be held in a separate central system in the near future, and we would like to reduce the risk currently presented by manual entry where possible.
15. Are you intending on migrating the entire site as it is, or, are you intending to do some information assurance on it to reduce the scope of work?
Not entirely as it is. There will be areas to migrate as is, automatically. Others may benefit from improving the current implementation and/or the change of CMS may necessitate a different implementation approach. Some areas aren't managed in the current CMS (Ektron) so some content rationalization/restructuring is expected. Saying that we are continuing to move content to Ektron to reduce the amount of manual content work required during the project itself. NB. Some content on the Brookes domain isn't part of the main corporate website and is out of scope for this project - see details in the next answer.
16. [From Brookes] We ran out of space to provide some high level detail about the volume of content to be migrated in the previous answer. Here are a few more details:
Brookes’ corporate web presence (i.e. the scope of this project) consists of approximately 33,000 pages*. This consists of a central website and 18 academic department websites (See

* This is not the sum total of Brookes’ web presence. Google reports 146k pages from the domain, but this includes content from other Brookes systems that serve public web pages, for example our Research repository ( These systems are out of scope of our central content management system.
17. Does the 22 May deadline means a certain time of day (for applications) or simply close of play?
Our understanding is that the deadline is 12 noon on 22nd May rather than the end of the day, as the advert was placed just before 12 noon on 8th May.