A Healthy Partnership

Empowering an organisation with a next generation, cloud based content management system.

The Company

UCLPartners is an academic health science partnership with over 40 higher education and NHS members, and a central team providing operational support and clinical academic leadership through a not-for-profit company.

Their purpose is to translate cutting-edge research and innovation into measurable health and wealth gain for patients and populations – in London, across the UK and globally.

Together, their member organisations form one of the world's leading centres of medical discovery, healthcare innovation and education. They have come together through UCLPartners to improve health outcomes and create wealth for a population of over six million people in north east and north central London, south and west Hertfordshire, south Bedfordshire and south west and mid Essex. By working together, their members are able to implement improvements in healthcare at greater scale and pace.

UCLPartners was designated by the UK government as one of the first 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) in England in May 2013. As one of the largest AHSNs in the UK, they came to endjin to help them to develop their digital strategy and build out their online presence to meet the communications challenges of this new type of organization.

The challenge was to manage a disparate group of stakeholders across many partner organizations throughout the world, helping them to collaborate on a diverse range of projects, sharing information, experiences, training and research to enable the delivery of clinical advances to the patients who desperately need them.

Our approach

Working with their communications team and senior management, we used a series of workshops to map out the complex network of people who interact with UCLPartners through their global online presence.

We helped them to develop personas for the key stakeholders across dozens of academic research groups from more than 20 institutions and over 20 teaching hospitals and trusts, elaborating a set of user journeys that their next generation web platform should deliver across mobile, tablet and desktop devices.

This enables their content creators to work together to build out the global content strategy – creating more than 3,000 page versions in a couple of weeks of intensive effort. This was streamlined by the use of Vellum's powerful templating capabilities, and true WYSIWYG editing experience.

During this period, we also worked with their team to develop their brand and evolve the site's tone of voice, colourways and visual identity; the layout team built out the responsive page templates using Vellum's visual editors, and our designers worked on the CSS to create a custom Vellum theme supporting UCLP's overall brand.

We delivered the project using short week-long iterations, delivering multiple updates per week to the User Acceptance Testing environment, hosted in Microsoft Azure, to allow rapid feedback from the UCLPartners stakeholders. The short iterations allowed for easy "course corrections" to occur. One example of this was the significant changes we made to the originally planned site taxonomy due to early user feedback on a ‘live' version of the site.

This iterative approach allowed us to launch early in order to take advantage of the Future of Health Conference 2013, while continuing to develop and deploy features from the original product backlog. To promote the launch of the site at the conference we also designed UCLPartners exhibition stand, pop-up banners and flyers.

Training & Mentoring

We augmented Vellum's standard online help documentation with custom help content, including step by step guides, to support UCLPartners workflow and production process; this was supported by a series of hands on training workshops for key staff.

The Results

In addition to standard features like full text search, rich taxonomization, news feeds, a multi-user blogging platform, social media aggregation, publishing and discussion, UCLP took advantage of other Vellum components, such as forms and workflow, a staff and organization gallery, events management, and a job board. A key requirement was also to be able to manage and distribute digital assets to the project teams, such as conference abstracts, rich video content and consultation papers.

Vellum helped to improve their SEO by automatically generating SEO friendly URLs and by embodying other standard SEO best practices in the reusable page templates.

Since launching the UCLPartners team have generated over 8,000 page revisions, for regional and global audiences of over 25,000 regular users. Key content such as news, events & jobs have been syndicated to other internal systems in order to promote awareness of the impact of UCLPartners programmes to the broader team.

The combination of Microsoft Azure and the Vellum CMS platform allowed UCLPartners to create and manage sophisticated content without the day-to-day involvement of an Agency Partner or IT Department, giving them back control of their digital presence.

See other people we’ve helped work smarter…



  • Strategy
  • Experience
  • Development
  • Cloud