The SWS Impact
We offer a range of solutions at below-market costs, while achieving reuse, development and support efficiencies, consistent branding, and secure, accessible products.
Since our inception in 2011, we have completed hundreds of projects and currently manage nearly 2,300 websites that contain hundreds of thousands of pages and total millions of combined pageviews annually.
Before we share all the ways we’re making an impact at Stanford as the university’s central web services team, first a little history.
Prior to the creation of SWS, Stanford schools, institutes, labs, and other groups routinely hired outside vendors and independent contractors for web services, resulting in a wide variation in website appearance, navigation, organization, quality, and stability.
Often websites were unsupported after launch or tied to costly long-term support contracts with vendors. There was little incentive for the vendors to share features or assets across the university to reduce the overall cost of web development and ongoing support.
As a result, large contracts were awarded to a small number of frequently-used vendors – over $1M to just the top five vendors in one year alone. Other areas that couldn’t afford such services struggled to receive web support at all.
It's at the heart of our mission to continually improve Stanford's web presence. Here's some ways we're doing that.
Improving visual appearance and increasing consistency
Websites on the Stanford Sites platform benefit from our centrally-maintained and flexible design themes and Drupal codebase. This saves time for site owners when establishing a new website and vastly increases alignment with the university’s brand and accessibility standards, reinforcing Stanford’s global reputation and brand.
Reducing the university’s risk
Stanford expects all partners, consultants, and vendors to abide by Stanford's evolving information security and minimum server and application security policies. We’ve significantly reduced the number of unsupported, non-responsive and one-off websites by retiring them and developing new, more modern ones in their place on Stanford Sites with stable support for our clients long after their website launched.
We host websites of all sizes on our Stanford Sites servers and have launched more than 300 based on our Stanford Sites Jumpstart services. Since Stanford Web Services and Administrative Systems support these servers and web applications, all of these websites are patched regularly, meet Stanford’s minimum security standards, and are monitored around the clock.
These actions, along with increasing compliance with university branding, security, and accessibility standards, relieve some of the maintenance burden from website owners while reducing the university’s risk of security breaches from unpatched code or servers.
Saving university funds
We’ve made building websites at Stanford more affordable by reducing development and design costs passed on to the client by reusing tools and templates – like Stanford Sites Jumpstart – that can be implemented across the university, especially on behalf of smaller departments, labs, and centers. These shared assets make our work faster, too, so we can reach more clients across the university.
This has resulted in a decrease of university funds going to outside vendors, who build each website from scratch and may charge for ongoing updates and support.
“We hope our efforts are saving the university money every day, allowing the money that might have gone to some web vendor to instead stay in research, teaching and health care budgets,” said Sara Worrell-Berg, Director of Stanford Web Services.
We have worked with more than 100 clients across the university, and their satisfaction is our greatest success. Sprinkled throughout our site, you can hear what some of them have to say about our service results. If you still need more, we're happy to directly connect you with past or current clients.