How a Washington State agency gained better control of its website
Technology upgrades can feel like a never-ending merry-go-round for state agencies, especially when it comes to website functionality. Justly so. Updates can be constant and costly, and always seem to go out of date within five years (at best).
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) in Washington State was feeling this pinch of outdated technology. Adobe Contribute, the file editing system used to manage their website, is no longer supported by Adobe. Furthermore, it doesn’t run on Windows 10.
As an important agency that protects insurance customers in the State of Washington, OIC helps nearly 100,000 people a year with insurance issues via their public website. It is vital that their content team of up to 40 content publishers can quickly update information so that it be easily accessible to the citizens they serve.
The Office realized it was the time to implement a content management system and that Drupal 8 was the best fit. The choice was a good one, here’s why.
Migration from static to database
When an agency transitions from static HTML to a database-driven content management system such as Drupal, everything gets much easier. Not only does Drupal offer the benefits of database-driven structured content, Drupal 8 now increases a site’s longevity more than ever with continuous integration.
As the winning vendor of a competitive RFP process, GovWebworks set out to fulfill the objectives of the project. After discovery and site audit, the team used Sketch to refine the information architecture and define page structure with wireframe layouts. The existing HTML content was then mapped to the content types in the new Drupal 8 implementation. Nearly 400 hours were saved by transferring the content using Drupal’s Migrate API instead of manual migration. The content in Drupal now exists as data that can be easily maintained and updated across the site.
The migration time savings meant there was more bandwidth for customization of the Drupal backend for the content editors. To make it as streamlined as possible, the options were weaned down to five content types and two page layouts. This allows for quick and easy updates that minimize the time and cost of content maintenance.
Since the existing design was maintained, the average visitor may notice little difference in the upgrade to Drupal 8. However, behind the scenes, the new site is a tool that can stand the test of time.
Increased site longevity with Drupal 8
When OIC is ready to update the design, the styles and visual elements can easily be changed via the Drupal template.
As well, security and module updates are now done on a monthly basis. This assures that the new site maintains current technology, functionality, and data integrity.
Best of all, future releases of Drupal won’t require the same level of effort and resources as transitioning from Drupal 7 to 8. While upgrading Drupal releases in the past was often a complicated process, the outlook for Drupal 9 is more encouraging. The continuous innovation model allows for releases to be installed on an ongoing basis.
“Rather than having to wait for years to get new features, users now get sizable advances in functionality every six months,” says Dries Buytaert, Drupal’s founder and product lead. “Furthermore, we committed to providing a smooth upgrade for modules, themes, and distributions from one six-month release to the next.”
“We believe that the advantages of Drupal’s minor upgrade model (e.g. from Drupal 8.2 to Drupal 8.3) can be translated to major upgrades (e.g. from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9).” For more on this, see “Making Drupal upgrades easy forever” by Dries Buytaert.
The OIC gained three major benefits with the decision to migrate their site to Drupal 8:
- Transition from static HMTL files managed by Adobe Contribute to structured database-driven content allows for better control of the content. This means more accurate and timely data for users.
- Customized backend means OIC staff can update the site with greater efficiency.
- Continuous innovation model embraced by Drupal 8 offers enhanced site longevity and reduced upgrade costs in the future.
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