Now in its seventh year, the conference brings together up to 250 boffins of the Joomla website platform and content management system (CMS) from over 30 countries around the world.
The current incarnation of the Scottish Quality Management Centre (SQMC) Online has been built upon the Joomla platform since 2012, when the Centre outsourced digital marketing, search engine optimisation and web development to PR firm, the Big Partnership.
Joomla is an open-source CMS that has grown a community of 200,000 users and contributors in the 16 years since it began, which includes Harvard University.
In 2014, SQMC recruited Derek to manage the website in-house again, allowing greater control and progression. At the beginning of this year he began work on version 7.0 of SQMC Online, alongside visual designer and Centre director, Kenny Hannah.
"Through active, continual improvement, we aim to reach and maintain peak performance; and this process-driven philosophy fits nicely with Deming’s ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’ cycle."
“Although no website is 100% impenetrable, Joomla provides the most secure option of all the CMS platforms, including the most popular: Wordpress,” Derek told the Insight Column, before leaving the office to pack his suitcase.
“However, it’s important to keep on top of updates to the software and add-on applications because they will be targeted on a daily basis by hackers. This includes both your website and the server platform where your website resides.
“SQMC Online 7.0 will utilise the latest HTTPS protocol, which will secure the data passed from our website, meeting requirements of a modern Information Security Management System (ISMS); so our clients can rest assured the details they share with us is encrypted, secure and private.”
Derek’s hour-long seminar in Spain will focus on Growth-Driven Design (GDD), a subject of which he is most passionate; and it is an area that has significant overlap with ISO 9001-based Quality (or, more accurately, Business) Management Systems.
Derek continued: “Organisations deploying traditional ‘web design’ to meet modern marketing trends have several risks to assess. For example, a custom-built site will have a large upfront cost and a typical time commitment of around three or four months. The project may well end up over budget, out of scope and late; and there’s no guarantee that what’s launching will be highly performing, or performing at all, because design work is often subjective and not based on any real user feedback.
“An even more serious implication is that data security can become jeopardised as there is often no budget assigned for updates until the whole site is due to be redesigned – approximately every two years.”
Kenny Hannah is clearly sold on the value of the more progressive style of which Derek is a proponent. He explained, “SQMC are adopting the principle of Growth-Driven Design as it champions our web presence as part of a more holistic business model.”
PDCA as a model for Continual Improvement
“We’re systematically shortening the time to launch what will be a particularly complex and intricate work of coding, and we’re achieving this by nullifying the ‘right first time’ requirement of more traditional web design solutions. I’ve project managed all seven of SQMC’s websites, since the 90s, and experience has taught me that you just never can 'get it right first time’! You can never rest on your laurels, because the internet is always evolving. Browsers get updated or discontinued, hackers get smarter and more determined, your product line changes, and – above all – your customer’s needs can’t always be second-guessed!
“So we are constantly researching, testing and learning about our visitors, which informs our ongoing website modification. Through active, continual improvement, we aim to reach and maintain peak performance; and this process-driven philosophy fits nicely with Deming’s ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’ cycle.
“My prediction is the launch of [SQMC Online] 7.0 will be the last time visitors notice a complete overhaul in design at SQMC.org. The future is all about organic change: faster response to market demands, via constant-yet-gradual modification.
“The other bonus of the GDD formula that Derek brings to the company is that our website will have the ability to self-adapt in response to real-time user behaviour. Since our website is the only ‘salesman’ we employ, this enhanced flexibility bridges the gap between human intelligence and computer automation nicely; and I think it fits well with SQMC's unique spirit of being Systems innovators.”