Chichester Cathedral was built over 900 years ago to serve as the mother church of its diocese. Today the cathedral organisation balances a variety of roles in the community, from education to social outreach, ecclesiastical training to fundraising, all while delivering a full schedule of worship and music.
The Cathedral Council was tasked with updating an ageing and disorganised web presence. The cathedral’s network of five websites was outdated and poorly optimised, failing to serve the increasing demands of worshippers, tourists, administrative and ecclesiastical staff.
The cathedral is many things to many people, and as such, its web profile needed to fulfil a wide variety of functions. The project would revitalise every aspect of the cathedral’s online operations, from providing schedules of worship to booking accommodation and dining at its hospitality venues to collecting and processing job applications through its careers portal.
IDENTIFYING THEIR NEEDS
Lacking technical knowledge and insight into the digital economy, the council needed a third party consultant who could balance the requirements of the various parties involved and provide clear explanations to support their decision making.
The Cathedral Council needed a consultant with extensive experience who could identify what they needed and supply a clear, coherent specification for their new online presence. They also needed guidance through the digital tender process, as the project would involve multiple contractors and stakeholders.
As the cathedral is publicly funded, transparency, compliance, and excellence were required throughout their planning and decision making process.
MEETING THEIR NEEDS
Because of the complex technical requirements of the project, communication was the key element of our role. We began by meeting with all internal stakeholders in order to gather the information required to understand and analyse their many and varied requirements. We provided clear, concise reports to the Council at each stage, ensuring that we explained everything in simple, everyday language.
As part of our analysis, we presented the Council with detailed findings from a survey of more than 250 stakeholders, outlining the various requirements and expectations of the new system, allowing them to balance the needs of the cathedral organization’s many facets. We also carried out online analysis of the existing site, using Google Analytics and other tools to identify areas for improvement and make recommendations.
The cathedral being a publicly funded institution, the Council were under pressure to deliver a cost-effective solution and a clear timeline. Responding to this need, we made sure we offered clear, definitive guidance on time required for each element of the project, and helped the Cathedral to form realistic expectations.
Every report we prepared for the Cathedral Council was presented clearly, in plain English, with supporting infographics designed to simplify complex concepts and support straightforward decision making. In designing these reports, we took care to meet the quality standards fitting an institution like the cathedral, resulting in beautifully-presented, informative materials.
Once the Cathedral had reached their decision on how to proceed, we were there to research suppliers, assist with drafting the Request For Proposal document which would begin the online tender process, and manage implementation, ensuring that the project met several key deadlines.
How it helped
Our work allowed Chichester Cathedral put out to tender a complicated project with minimal impact on internal resources. By engaging with stakeholders we were able to support the development of a system which met the differing needs of the cathedral’s many roles.
By giving the Cathedral Council the benefit of our specialist experience in specifying and implementing large scale projects, we ensured that they were able to make informed decisions which ultimately led to a system which ties together every aspect of cathedral life, and which was completed within tight deadlines and at minimal cost.
The key element of this project was in collecting and then presenting complex technical data to a non-technical group of decision makers. The informative materials we wrote, designed, and published brought clarity and transparency to a potentially bewildering process. These materials, along with our insight into timescales and suppliers, ensured that the tender process was efficient and resulted in the cathedral achieving the results desired by all stakeholders.