Facilitating Digital Transformation at a School of Medicine

Facilitating Digital Transformation at a School of Medicine


Exemplifying the breadth of our digital expertise, we at Facet Interactive spearheaded an extensive digital transformation for the School of Medicine at a renowned West Coast University in 2017. We undertook a comprehensive mission – architecting a strategy to migrate over 300 websites from multiple platforms to a unified Drupal distribution.

Our two-month Digital Transformation Discovery Workshop marked the start of this significant project. Our dedicated team conducted exhaustive interviews with a diverse range of stakeholders, including the university's students, professors, and administrative staff. Our collaborative work with the Office of the CIO at the School of Medicine was pivotal in formulating a cohesive go-to-market strategy. Together, we developed a robust digital operating model and an integrated roadmap that effectively addressed various stakeholders' needs. We leveraged our proficiency in solutions architecture, business analysis, Drupal architecture planning, and using Acquia platform features and third-party tools to deliver this expansive project.

Our team was led by Discovery Consultant Jordan Ryan, who worked seamlessly alongside several stakeholders from the School of Medicine. Internally, our team embraced multiple roles, including those of Drupal Architect and Solutions Architect. We closely interacted with key stakeholders from the School, such as the CIO, the Director of Digital Support, and the Assistant to the Dean's office. These individuals played a significant role in aligning our project with the school's objectives.


At Facet Interactive, we grappled with several challenges: managing a wide array of over 300 customer websites, handling diverse existing site technologies, and dealing with intricate source data. Our solution needed to be scalable and easily manageable by a small staff, which called for innovative thinking and strategic planning. The mixed nature of the existing websites required a manual site rebuilding approach, substantially amplifying the task's complexity. The complexity was further elevated by sites with complicated source data, demanding a thorough plan with phased workshops, end-customer collaboration, and automated migrations where possible.


  • In this project, the unique challenge of the scale of internal website customers coupled with the typical challenges of a higher education institutions budget constraints required that we get creative with determining the right digital operating model — and the staffing structure and roles required to give those customers support.
  • The school had many customer websites to create on behalf of departments.
  • Content support needed to be scalable, both in initially creating the sites and supporting them after launch.
  • There was a wide portfolio of WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore, Wix, and other sites that needed to be migrated — which would require automated migration support.


To address these challenges, Facet Interactive proposed a comprehensive phased approach to digital transformation, Drupal architecture, and a digital operating model to redefine how the school of medicine's digital support team would operate:

  • Digital Transformation and Digital Operating Model - A meticulously planned digital transformation strategy was presented, including the blueprint for successive phases of rollout, projected costs, and team structure.
  • Drupal Architecture - Qualification of usage of partner university's Drupal distribution, including plans to partner with other university's in furthering the distribution's capabilities and roadmap. 
  • Phased Drupal Migration Plan - To handle the variety of existing website technologies, websites were grouped based on their platform for phased migration, while sites with complex source data were tackled with a combination of manual content workshops and automated migration scripts.
  • Site Migration Governance - The order of site migration, influenced by internal politics, was managed by considering the motivations of each department and fostering partnerships with the digital support team.
  • Business Plan for Digital Support Desk - Creation of a charter for multiple digital support roles and staffing plan for student workers program to support the creation and content support of over 300 Drupal sites. 


Our efforts resulted in the formation of a strategic partnership between the School and other institutions within the university network. This collaboration led to the centralization of a single Drupal Distribution for the School of Medicine that became the bedrock for all Drupal website development going forward. This project further cemented Facet Interactive's reputation as a leading digital consultancy, adept at delivering strategic, technical, and managerial solutions to complex, large-scale challenges.