Defining “effective”

Our primary function is to provide an effective web presence for the University. It’s essentially our mission statement.

As I’ve settled into my new role I’ve realized the meaning of “effective” has evolved since the creation of University Relations. The web office was previously focused on ensuring the underlying technology and tools were functional…the CMS rolled out and thoroughly implemented, servers operational, plugins installed, errors addressed, support provided.

Those things are still important, but with the institution wide focus on enrollment and identity management, “effective” now goes a great deal further than simply “operational”.

Chart showing the progression of website management from tactical to strategic.

The organization web maturity model demonstrates the shift from tools-first to goals-first management of an organization’s web presence.

I created this web maturity model to demonstrate the state of an institutional website (or portions thereof) from the early phase of “we need a website because they exist and other organizations are doing it” through “perhaps we should consider the impact of this tool on our audience and bottom line” to “the website is a strategic resource and must be carefully and intentionally managed”. Essentially, web maturity can be measured in the pervasive attitudes within the organization. If the thinking is about redesigns and new developments without in-depth strategy, that’s within the “Tools” phase. If the thinking is about ensuring intentional, purposeful management of a strategic resource, that’s within the “Goals” phase.

Previous work took the University through modernize and well into the support phase. We’re now entering the manage phase, where we begin to utilize the established infrastructure to turn the website into a strategic, sustainable, institutional asset. That’s our new definition of “effective”: goal driven and meeting defined success measures. The focus now is on establishing clear goals and building a team to support institutional success.