Online Focus Revolutionizes Royal College of Nursing Operations

September 10, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
Royal College of Nursing today announced that despite increasing their web presence by 700%, publication costs have fallen by 80% thanks to open source software.

Announcing the pending launch of a new website on October 17th, The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) outlined how much the organisation and its services have changed since they embarked on a path to utilise the web more effectively. One of the biggest Trade Unions in the UK with 395,000 members, the RCN have realised a vision that has slashed publication, event and member costs, whilst offering more services more efficiently to its members using MySource Matrix open source CMS..

Speaking at a recent Squiz ‘best practices’ seminar in central London, Leon Hughes, RCN Web Manager, outlined the project which began in 2003. “It was identified that the organisation was wasting millions of pounds a year producing several hundred publications, as well as bringing members to London for Committee meetings. We embarked on a major program of restructuring to streamline services and improve member service. The web was seen as central to solving both problems.”

The RCN set about reviewing over 30 content management systems, including most leading players in the market. Functional capability was the key criteria considered as Leon sought for a solid yet flexible product to base their web presence in going forward. After nine months of review, Squiz’s open source CMS, MySource Matrix was selected.

“The RCN had clear goals that they wanted to achieve,” explains Stephen Morgan, Director of Squiz, “both at a technical and an organisational level. We worked with them to make the most of Matrix, providing resources and expertise when needed. Overall however, they were able to achieve a significant amount themselves.”

The web has proven to be the mechanism for change they needed. “MySource Matrix has changed the culture of the RCN and made the web our primary delivery channel” explains Hughes. Over 300 content creators now exist throughout the UK, with further training to follow. By using the web as the key members tool, publication costs have fallen by 80%, member expenses falling by 60% and £8million per annum is now generated online.

The site itself has grown by 700% in three years with no increase in human resources, made possible to the devolution of content creation to over 300 authors throughout the UK. Using Matrix the web team can react incredibly quickly, with a 15 page microsite being created within hours of a request being received.

The project shows open source software has now matured at an enterprise level. The new site of 71,000 pages was created in three days, and is supplemented by 120 communities involving wiki’s video and blogs, all controlled by the nurses themselves. Throughout, the RCN has been able to control cost, programming and licensing, whilst at the same time benefiting from development of the software from the global community.

About Royal College of Nursing

The RCN is a combination of Trade Union, Royal College, Professional Body and Registered Charity and was founded in 1916. We currently represent 395,000 nurses based around the UK and are one of the biggest Trade Unions in the country. We represent nurses and nursing, promote best practice and help shape health policies through our lobbying work at Westminster and Brussels. We have over 1100 full time staff based in 15 locations around the UK, with the majority based in London and Cardiff.

About Squiz:

Squiz helps some of the UK’s leading organisations to gain more control of their web sites and intranets. For example, Oxford University, The Royal College of Nursing and Future Publishing all use Squiz’s MySource Matrix Content Management System to manage the publication of their websites and intranets. In doing so they’re saving money, improving the services they’re delivering to users, and gaining more control of their web development. We develop MySource Matrix as an open source product and then provides support services around it to help our clients get more value from their web spend. We’re kind of like the Red Hat of the CMS world. Our approach is successful because of the strength of our CMS and our experience in diverse fields. We’re also cost-effective because being open source, MySource Matrix costs nothing to acquire or use.