Marlborough landscape

Council Size: 241 Employees | Population: 45,900 | Solution: Content Manager

We are reaping the benefit of shared development and Datacom's expertise, meaning we can focus on content and services.     Mandy Evans, Digital Services Manager, Marlborough District Council

The Challenge

Marlborough District Council (MDC) required a new website. Navigation was an issue on the old site, and menus were complex and not intuitive. The need was for a site that was responsive and easy to use on various devices. MDC needed seamless embedding of various content types, such as forms, videos, and maps, and an easier editing interface. There was also a need to make emergency information visible quickly.

At the same time, the existing platform licencing model needed upgrading. Technology is changing at such a rate that MDC needed a technology platform that would keep up with those changes and integrate more seamlessly with other online services and social media.

“Our previous content management system, while comprehensive, was complex. This meant a significant time overhead to train and support web editors, and also added an element of risk in an emergency if, for example, an experienced editor wasn’t available.” Mandy Evans, Digital Services Manager, MDC

The Datacom Difference

MDC had worked with Datacom on previous projects, but to understand the website needs, collaborative design workshops were held in Auckland between Datacom’s development team and the MDC web and digital team. MDC and Datacom then worked together to define the exact requirements for the new site — functionality, best practices, usability, and accessibility. This process meant that MDC business requirements were combined with the Datacom team’s knowledge of best practices for developing web content management products.

Using a shared services model and an agile development approach, Datacom was able to provide quick and early releases of functionality through the Content Manager product, enabling MDC to start content migration early while additional functionality was being developed. The agile approach also enabled MDC to define and redesign how some of those things worked from seeing them in action.


The new website using Datacom’s Content Manager has provided significant time savings for adding content. The content editor, while simple to operate, has some complex functionality behind it so adding prewritten content to web pages has become a straight forward copy and paste exercise with minor tweaks rather than every item having to be reformatted once pasted into the content management system.

Demand on web editors is ever increasing, so a time saving of, on average 20-30% per editing task, has a significant impact in allowing the team to keep up with demand. The treatment of tables within Content Manager is even more impressive — one weekly task that required a table to be recreated in the old content management system, taking approximately 30-40 minutes, takes about five minutes in Datacom’s Content Manager.

Content can get out of date quickly but the page review notifications enable the council to keep content up to date easily. Page update reminders mean time saving for staff across council as updates will no longer rely on busy people remembering to cast an eye over their content, or web staff to continually check for out-of-date content.

“To us, the ability to participate in a growing shared services user group community is a valuable advantage of working with Datacom, as we get to share ideas and solutions with other councils. We are reaping the benefit of shared development and Datacom’s expertise, meaning we can concentrate on content and services. The Datacom team is keeping our website and us abreast of technological changes, website best practice and accessibility standards.” Mandy Evans, Digital Services Manager, MDC

MDC has experienced significant cost savings from the shared services and licensing models. As further future development can take place on the same platform, this avoids the need
for a major web project every three years providing further time and cost savings.

MDC’s new website is the first main council website to use Content Manager so the approach and structure can be repurposed for other councils. The MDC website is the most comprehensive example of content as a service that the Datacom team have created to date.

“We love our new website. Not only does the site have a clean, fresh look, easy to use navigation, great responsive design and seamless integration with our other online services, but, significantly, our web team enjoys the editing experience in Content Manager, meaning the change process of learning a new system was a positive experience.”
Mandy Evans, Digital Services Manager, Marlborough District Council

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