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How Brigham Young University achieved greater control and consistency with a modern CMS

Learn how Brightspot solved BYU’s content complexity with a centralized approach that today supports over 900 sites across the university's entire educational ecosystem.

Brightspot case study: Brigham Young University

BYU by the numbers

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900+
Number of BYU sites hosted on same Brightspot CMS instance
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3.5K
Total CMS users across university departments and locations
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36K
Supporting over 34,000 students and 1,800 faculty on a daily basis

Educational institutions have a massive responsibility in helping shape the intellect and futures of each of their students. It’s a tall order that shouldn’t be made even more difficult with outdated systems that slow down day-to-day operations or take away focus from what truly matters most: creating an environment for students to thrive.

Brigham Young University (BYU), founded in 1875 and today home to almost 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students, realized that their content management systems (CMSs) were doing just that—holding them back from evolving and no longer serving the needs of a growing institution. It was time for change.

Entrance to Campus of Brigham Young University.
PROVO, UT/USA - OCTOBER 2, 2016: Entrance to campus of Brigham Young University.
Wolterk/Getty Images

The Brigham Young University challenge

In 2019, BYU realized that its multiple outdated CMSs posed various limitations for BYU's teams and had led to an inefficient, decentralized approach for managing the numerous websites across the university's departments and organizations. This led to inconsistent styling across sites and introduced back-end governance and security issues due to lack of oversight. The challenges even extended to the front-end experience of BYU sites, resulting in broken images and dead ends for their audience.

BYU knew there had to be a better way. It was possible to create a more centralized approach to bringing their educational philosophy, style and messaging to life in a consistent way for its audience of students and educators—and it could be done efficiently and seamlessly for the BYU team managing the process.

That’s why they partnered with Brightspot. Together, the BYU team and Brightspot experts devised a plan for a CMS solution that would not only solve the university’s pain points but also serve their digital needs long into the future—in other words, a solution that would grow as they grow.

The Brightspot solution for Brigham Young University

First, the Brightspot team worked with BYU to thoroughly audit their websites and operations, identifying ways to better optimize the overall site experience. Then, in mid-2019, they began transitioning sites from their outdated, disparate CMSs to a single modern platform powered by Brightspot.

The outcome for Brigham Young University

BYU started to reap the benefits of the centralized platform right away:

  • Improved efficiency and flexibility: Custom workflows gave BYU a flexible solution that addresses their specific business needs. For example, as they add on new sites with unique content types for different programs, courses, academic calendars or departments, custom workflows in Brightspot allow them to easily manage each site while also maintaining complete control over the content-development life cycle. Brightspot’s best-in-class editorial tools and robust admin features also helped BYU overcome bottlenecks, reduce friction and improve efficiency and effectiveness throughout the process, all from one place. 
  • Greater consistency: With Brightspot’s native multisite capabilities, teams at BYU can now quickly share essential content across multiple sites. This is a vital capability that helps serve the right information to the right people across BYU’s many colleges and departments. 
  • Time-saving features: With Brightspot’s microsite capabilities, departments and professors are able to quickly set up sites that allow students to access everything from essential projects to profiles. Other features, like Brightspot’s live website preview and bulk image upload, help save time throughout the editing and publishing process. 
  • Greater control: The Brightspot CMS allows BYU to create specific user roles so that writing, sharing, editing and even publishing content can be assigned to the appropriate people on their digital teams. They also have powerful custom user permissions to help manage the unique challenges of a large university, including a high volume of users and sites as well as the frequent turnover of students and employees. 
  • Easy integrations: BYU is able to integrate their own APIs with the Brightspot platform, which helps them regularly ingest faculty and employee data, as well as course and program data.

Fast forward to today: BYU is still reaping the benefits of this centralized approach on the Brightspot platform. They successfully moved over a massive number of sites from their old infrastructure to Brightspot and are continuing to create more content and new sites. BYU’s Office of IT is now full of Brightspot experts—they even created their own set of CMS training materials and tutorials for use across the university.

Moreover, modernizing their approach and platform to deliver a consistent centralized content hub allows the BYU team to keep the focus on the university's mission to educate and inspire their students and faculty.

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