For leading healthcare organization, Bupa, maintaining consistency across a widely-distributed online presence is a constant challenge. With user experience at a premium, the organization is keen to ensure that website visitors receive the same high quality experience at every digital touchpoint, on every digital channel.
Originally based in the UK, Bupa has become increasingly international thanks to a long-term acquisition strategy, and now also operates from Australia, Spain, New Zealand and the USA, as well as Hong Kong, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, India, China and across Latin America. This expansion has resulted in a diverse array of e-commerce operations around the world. While some business units have large teams responsible for maintaining their web presence, others rely on staff with dual roles combining web management responsibility with other activities.
Maintaining a consistent - and consistently high - level of website quality in the face of a diverse and devolved publication model has proved challenging. Max Duley, Digital Standards and Quality Manager, Bupa, says: "The number and quality of sites depends on the business unit and the amount of resources they have available. So ensuring they all meet the same standard can be difficult."
To consolidate its brand, Bupa wanted to unify the look and feel of its websites. With such a wide variation in local resources to consider, a key priority was to find a way of improving and maintaining site quality which was accessible for teams of all sizes and levels of expertise. Duley says: "We needed a Digital Quality Management platform that was easy and intuitive to use, to ensure that Bupa's commitment to providing a high quality user experience could be put into practice."
Bupa first used Crownpeak DQM (formerly ActiveStandards) on its UK sites, before rolling it out across all the other business units. Duley says: "To ensure visible results as quickly as possible, we made sure that each business unit's flagship site was monitored by DQM. That way, they could use that site as a point of comparison for any other sites they may have."
Because of the way Bupa's business has grown, being able to monitor brand consistency is a particularly vital element of the DQM solution. DQM is programmed with Bupa's own brand standards and monitors the sites to ensure they all adhere to the same rules, such as including links to the company accessibility statement, local contact details and legal notices.
With such a widely distributed web presence, getting all the business units on board was a challenge - especially those with more sophisticated e-commerce operations. Duley says: "We were careful to make the point that DQM is there to make people's jobs easier, not to police them. Now, some of the business units that were most resistant at first are the most proactive users of DQM."
DQM’s strategic reporting and analytics features were instrumental in getting buy-in from senior stakeholders. Duley says: "Being able to extract detailed status reports and share them with senior management enabled them to view objective metrics about the quality of the user experience on their sites, and created a sense of urgency about website quality. It definitely helped accelerate take-up of DQM among business units, and using data from DQM to visualize progress has helped motivate people."
Bupa has experienced a range of benefits using DQM:
Improved quality and compliance
DQM has helped Bupa expand the application of brand standards throughout the organization.
"It's really helpful for web managers to be able to monitor for off-brand terminology,” said Duley. “And it's the small things that count. For example, we have a policy of never using ampersands in our content; picking that up manually over an entire website - let alone several - is very difficult, but DQM makes it simple."
DQM has empowered Bupa's web editors to identify and target website errors. Duley says: "DQM makes it easier for our business units to measure the performance of their sites. It's a great way of helping them to monitor their progress themselves, rather than feeling they are being policed by central teams. Improving their ranking in the Group League Table gives teams a sense of achievement, provides tangible proof that they are improving their website quality, and makes them look good on the management reports."
These benefits also extend beyond the core web management team. Duley explains: "DQM has been really useful in terms of educating some of our content contributors to be aware of web standards. Which is vital, because it is far better to avoid publishing errors in the first place than to have to go back and fix them."
Enhanced user experience
Using DQM, Bupa has achieved a more cohesive look and feel across its websites. It has also been able to enhance website usability to ensure that all its sites deliver the highest possible level of user experience. Duley says: "As a healthcare organization, we naturally use a lot of medical terms. To make things as user-friendly as possible, it's our policy to use common usage terms where they exist, rather than medical terminology, so we use DQM to help us filter out any language that's too technical."
DQM has helped Bupa boost knowledge about accessibility issues, which has led to a number of improvements. Duley says: "DQM helps editors learn more about each standards area and why it's important. We've found that our editors now pay more attention to issues such as including alt text for images and ensuring we state file sizes and types for downloads."
Crucially, DQM allows Bupa to measure website quality at both a local and global level.
"The great thing about DQM is that anything that can be measured is measured. This makes progress very visible," says Duley. "Some of the teams already set their own monthly or quarterly quality targets, which is great. On a global level, I use the Group Summary Report on a weekly basis to see how sites are progressing and compare the current status to previous weeks and months. DQM has been really useful in terms of educating some of our content contributors to be aware of web standards. Which is vital, because it is far better to avoid publishing errors in the first place than to have to go back and fix them."
DQM’s reporting functionality has proved vital for securing buy-in among local teams and senior management. Duley says: "Being able to export data from DQM and use it to meet different internal needs is extremely useful. For example, I can take information from the Group Summary Reports and send it to content editors or team leaders as a spread sheet, or use it as the basis for the more visual reports I send to senior management to highlight the achievements of the business units."
For Bupa, the next stage is to further raise the profile of DQM within the organization, with a view to increasing both the number of websites monitored and the focus on eliminating errors. Duley says: "Our ultimate aim is to monitor all our websites with DQM, and of course, to have no errors on any of them. A smooth user experience free of technical problems means a lower bounce rate, which can lead to higher sales."
For the teams that are already on board, the focus is on measurability and targeting key compliance areas.
Duley says: "We're in the early stages of setting tangible targets for the local teams. Accessibility is something we really want to emphasize, and part of our initiative will involve using more of the accessibility functionality within DQM to ensure that as many people as possible can access our information and buy our products. We are also seeing a lot of potential benefits for search engine optimization. All of these elements are intertwined, and affect the quality of the user experience, which ultimately dictates how effective our websites are at meeting the needs of our customers."
"The great thing about DQM is that anything that can be measured is measured. This makes progress very visible."