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West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

This NHS trust digitally transformed and migrated from three CMS providers to a single CMS system.

About West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust provides care and community services to the population of 280,000 people who live in West Suffolk. Their outstanding work has been recognised with multiple awards won over the years.


Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk


Health and social care


4,000+Content items
3 CMS'Consolidated to one central content management system
£££s Saved by migrating to the cloud
West Suffolk NHS foundation trust had a large project on its hands when it consolidated three content management systems (CMS) into one central CMS for its staff intranet. The digital transformation challenge needed to improve the user experience (UX) for content editors and end users.

Founded in 1832, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) is a modern health service provider based in the heart of East Anglia. The trust operates two hospitals, including West Suffolk Hospital, and provides outpatient services at six health centres in the county.

At the end of 2020, the organisation recognised that their previous staff intranet was no longer fit for purpose and the way they organised their content needed to be revamped. The challenge they faced was to display and maintain critical information in a way that was accessible to everyone in the trust in the most efficient way possible.

Maintaining critical information

Being part of the NHS, with a number of clinics and hospitals to manage, the trust has a lot to juggle on a daily basis. The NHS is extremely busy, as we all know; therefore, implementing software that can speed up daily work is worth its weight in gold. With time pressures constantly on the team's minds, the three primary problems that led WSFT to a new intranet site were maintenance of multiple websites, content organisation and dated technology. 

Multiple websites

Managing three websites was a big job for the communications team at WSFT. Updates across all three sites relied on the team to manually update content one by one, across multiple sites and duplicate information in some cases. In an organisation that cannot afford human error, moving to one central intranet would improve team operations. It would also minimise the chances for mistakes, increase the opportunity for content reuse and ultimately make it easier for end users to find the needed information.

Content organisation

The team also had to juggle maintaining over 2,000 patient information leaflets and medical information stored as PDFs, which was difficult to update and access. Like many organisations did and still do, WSFT organised their medical documentation in PDFs to share with their staff internally.

At first, glance, using PDFs is a harmless choice; it is popular and effective for organisations with data that only changes occasionally. From an editing point of view, though, when your organisation needs to scale up and has thousands of documents to update regularly, PDFs can quickly become cumbersome and difficult to maintain. And from an end-user perspective, PDFs aren’t accessible or responsive and can display out-of-date information.

Dated technology

Pair that with dated technology, first implemented 13 years ago that cannot be accessed on any device, and the solution was simple. The trust needed better content management for its enormous web estate and required a digital transformation of its current processes. The team at WSFT approached Zengenti to get the wheels in motion.

“A particular process had to be carried out to access the old intranet site for West Suffolk. To access the information, first, you needed to be logged into a virtual machine, use an old version of Internet Explorer, via VPN, to load the old intranet because it was such an old system. In the end, it was clunky, not fit for purpose and offered a poor UX.”
Rob Turner, Scrum Master, Zengenti

In an emergency, the NHS need to find information fast.

The intranet at WSFT is vital for staff communications and accessing crucial information. It is a reference point for medical professionals, a go-to quick response guide that assists every department and is critical for emergencies. Essentially acting as a handbook, the intranet is a document library with clinical guidelines and policies all in one place.

Being such a central part of daily working, the digital transformation that took place needed to ensure the trust could remove cumbersome work processes, become more efficient and future-proof their digital expansion.

The first challenge was replacing hundreds of PDFs at the trust, and the solution was working with structured content in Contensis. Modelling the content into small reusable chunks, made it easier for the communications team to manage content across all platforms. With a large digital transformation project on their hands, the ability to reuse content where appropriate would make the migration easier in the long term.

Becoming more efficient

The next challenge to overcome was making the trust more efficient. The task was to reduce the number of intranet sites the team had to maintain from three to one.  This was the most significant work required from the trust, migrating information into a unified, central solution. Whilst also making sure the intranet was accessible on all devices, for example, phones, tablets and computers, for all users. 

Future-proof digital expansion

At the project's outset, the team undertook real user research to lead the direction of the intranet. The exploration revealed users required help finding the information they needed due to the site's complicated content hierarchy and information architecture (IA).


Content hierarchy: Content hierarchy refers to the way that content is arranged and structured on a web page, document or other content asset to provide a better user experience. When applied to web pages, this often involves structuring pages in an inverted pyramid, where the most important content appears at the top, and less important or content near the bottom. This strategic approach is an essential element of content design.

The intranet was overloaded with content and lacked a logical labelling system, which made it hard for users to access information. Paired with an unnecessary amount of categories and steps to follow, the lack of noticeable order meant that documents could easily get lost. It became apparent that the biggest challenge was making critical information, such as the clinical guidelines used by first aiders and A&E, quickly discoverable.

The information architecture (IA), the structural design of the information on the intranet, had remained unchanged for many years, and required remodelling. By figuring out what the biggest challenges for users were, the team at WSFT and the professional services (PS) team at Zengenti were able to solve big problems and provide a better user experience going forward.


Information architecture: Information architecture (IA) is the process of organising and arranging information to make it easier for users to find and understand. IA is essential when designing products that people will use to find information – whether online or offline. For example, libraries use classification systems to make it easier for users to find books. These classification systems are a form of information architecture.

The NHS is busy

Following the standard NHS brand guidelines and the agile approach to launching a website, the result in 45 days was a minimum viable product (MVP) developed and delivered for WSFT.

Launching news, events, top tasks, and articles in the first iteration meant the team could gather live user feedback ready for future incremental improvements. Future development, for example, how patient information leaflets can be added as structured data, was put into the backlog to be prioritised between Chris, the product owner, and the Zengenti PS team.

One central CMS for the intranet

The team achieved their goal of one central CMS, removing unnecessary upkeep of three websites, saving time, increasing content quality and accuracy. Decommissioning the old infrastructure created cost savings for WSFT too, no longer relying on external support to maintain the old software. 

“We have been able to decommission the old infrastructure and now have one main document library to maintain and update. It has made it much easier to manage content with one place that hosts all the clinical guidelines and policies” says Chris Lockwood, Digital Communications Manager, WSFT.

“The digital transformation project was hugely successful thanks to the innovation and the collaboration between the two teams and using the latest relevant technologies to drive the online user experience.”
Rob Turner, Scrum Master, Zengenti

An intranet that is fit for purpose

The new intranet was compatible with all browser types and devices by redeveloping the front end and migrating from their on-premise system to Contensis cloud.

Barriers to information sharing were reduced, and in an emergency, the staff at WSFT can reliably and accessibly get data out of the intranet, regardless of device.

“Time is of the essence in the NHS, therefore speeding up information recall on the intranet was essential. The new CMS has improved staff efficiency which will positively improve patient care.” says Chris.

Structured content - replacing hundreds of PDFs

The new CMS project allowed the trust to start fresh, with all new content added to the intranet, decommissioning hundreds of PDFs in the process. The intranet now provides a single place to create, maintain and publish their content.

“The document management features in Contensis are very beneficial to our team, and the movement from PDFs to structured data has improved the way we work. Implementing features such as version control, a content approval process in one place, validation settings, and required fields have ensured clinical information has thorough checks before publishing,” says Chris.

The trust has worked with Contensis for roughly 12 years, and we have a lot of users who know how to use the system. The retraining required has been minimal with the move from Classic Contensis to Contensis Cloud because the platform is very intuitive to use.
Chris Lockwood, Digital Communications Manager and product owner, WSFT

Document accessibility has been dramatically improved by removing PDFs and switching to structured content. The new content process has also increased the reliability and accuracy of the information published on the site.

“Easily the largest piece of work was taking the old content and moving it into the new site. At a glance, WSFT has 2,078 operating procedures, clinical guidelines and policies in the CMS and in total circa 4,000 entries and growing in Contensis,” says Rob.

The content governance features with version control and information management in Contensis have helped minimise human error.

“Highlighting what has changed within a document, especially for clinical information, and the ability to compare the two versions has also been an important feature for our organisation.” says Chris.

Overhaul of the site structure.

The team carefully implemented a sophisticated IA by overhauling the existing complicated content hierarchy. The introduction of the mega menu made it easier to get deep into the data quickly from the homepage, equating to improved patient care.

“The product owner, Chris, was really knowledgeable and had a lot of practical experience to lead the success of this project.” says Rob. “The information architecture overhaul was led by Chris and made it so a user can drill down into the content from the menu, sorting through a large amount of information, as quickly as possible, in life or death situations.” Rob Turner, Scrum Master, Zengenti.

The result of the site structure overhaul was bringing forward the document library to the main navigation and reducing time spent on site. The introduction of intelligent faceted search allowed users to find the content they needed with a few clicks, increasing usability and findability.

The updated WSFT homepage
The updated homepage for WSFT intranet

A scalable and future-proof platform

The move from the on-premise CMS to Contensis cloud using content types and entries has future-proofed the way WSFT work going forward.

“The trust has worked with Contensis for roughly 12 years, and we have a lot of users who know how to use the system. The retraining required has been minimal with the move from Classic Contensis to Contensis Cloud because the platform is very intuitive to use.” says Chris.

The intranet has provided additional visibility for internal messages with the implementation of the news and events section.

“We have better communication with the staff now; important messages and internal updates to the team are relayed in the most effective way, through the intranet.” says Chris. “Overall, working with the new technology has made work processes more efficient and scalable. Ultimately making the end-user experience better which has improved patient care,” says Chris.