Give IT a Bigger Role in Redesigns
Relying More on IT During Website Redesigns Can Pay Dividends in Long Run
Not surprisingly, most organizations count on their information technology department to manage the build phase of a website redesign, but there is so much more value that IT can bring to the table.
First and foremost, the IT team can assemble a wealth of data and analysis to show how well your current website is performing, and where it is falling short of your goals and objectives. In addition, as your internal technology experts they are on the cutting edge of the new technology trends and applications that should consider as part of your redesign.
You'd be wise to take advantage of this internal source of expertise as it could potentially save you time and money in the long run.
Early Planning Phase
If you think of your website redesign plan as the blueprint for the project, then who better to help create that plan than the people who will be implementing it? By involving IT heavily in the initial planning phase, they can ask questions and get clarity on the overall objectives, helping to avoid confusion and costly missteps down the road.
More important, however, is that IT has reams of data and analysis to shape the plan from the beginning. Website traffic, page views, click-through rates, and time on site are just a few of the data points the IT team either has readily available or can pull together quickly. By comparing the website's performance to your overall objectives, you can identify which parts of the site that are working well and which areas need improvement.
You also might want to consider asking your IT team to assume a project management role in the build phase of the project, especially if you're thinking about implementing changes to your website in phases because of budget constraints. Their expertise will contribute to the determination on how best to approach the project sequentially. For a simple example, audience research, design and architecture, and wireframes might fall into phase one, while the actual build of the new site could follow in the next budget cycle, but there are many ways to group the services so your organization is splitting up tasks appropriately.
Best in Class Technology
It's more than likely that your IT team is composed of the "alpha geeks" — those people who have the fingers on the pulse of technology trends and are aware of new applications before the general population — in your organization. You can tap that expertise to redesign your website not only for your current needs, but also with an eye on the future.
For another simple example example, if your data indicates a growing use of mobile devices among your visitors you'll want to make sure your website is built with responsive design for better display on the smaller screens. Also, if you anticipate posting a more robust mix of content from an increasing number of people, the IT team can help you identify a content management system such as Sitefinity that not only can accommodate additional content types all in one system, but also is user-friendly and scalable to allow for more users.
There is one caveat, however, to keep in mind: IT teams are often understaffed and carry a wide range of responsibilities. If your IT department doesn't have the bandwidth to take on a website redesign, you might consider bringing in a vendor that has the needed expertise and can coordinate with your in-house team on your project.
That said, by bringing in your IT department early in the planning phase and tapping their expertise throughout the process, you'll likely find your website redesign to be a much more efficient and cost-effective endeavor.
President Vanguard Technology