Optimizing UBC’s Finance and Operations with a Digital Ecosystem Strategy


University of British Columbia



Project Details
The University of British Columbia’s Vice-President Finance and Operations (VPFO) portfolio embarked on a journey to revamp their digital landscape, aiming to consolidate content, build efficient internal digital processes, and create a knowledgeable and data-driven path forward.
Problem Statement
The VPFO sought digital consultation services to assess their current portfolio of websites and find the best path forward for providing a better UX and a more manageable ecosystem. With 13 current sites, complex internal departments, and a diverse audience, the VPFO was looking for a research-backed roadmap and robust implementation plan to address the following key problems:

  1. Inefficiencies in information architecture and internal processes
  2. Complex IT structures with multiple web platforms and hosts
  3. UX and design inconsistencies


websites in portfolio

With a goal to streamline these significantly.


of users couldn’t find what they were looking for

Our main goal was to find ways to reduce this number and improve the user experience.

What We Did
21% of VPFO’s audience reported that they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Therefore, together with the client, we established a vision for a simplified VPFO hub with a focus on the needs of the user. Our collaboration aimed to transform VPFO’s digital ecosystem into a cohesive, streamlined set of tools where audiences could effectively complete their task.

To get there, we conducted extensive research to understand VPFO’s divisions, audience needs, and existing technologies. Research activities included:

  • Stakeholder surveys and interviews, in person and virtual
  • Focus groups
  • Content audit
  • Comparative analysis
  • Technical audit of existing properties
  • Technical research into UBC systems and current CMS platforms

With our extensive research findings and guiding strategy, Paper Leaf built VPFO a roadmap, technical strategy, and implementation plan with an actionable path forward. The strategy for structuring their digital ecosystem included recommendations such as:

  • The introduction of a VPFO intranet, which will contain internal information enabling UBC staff to do their work and get access to critical information
  • Moving two websites off of Drupal into UBC’s WordPress multisite
  • A consolidation of Space and Facilities data into a single database that can be queried into various contexts throughout the VPFO portfolio
  • An updated primary domain for internal VPFO support services with:
    • Improved navigation strategy throughout the ecosystem and brand experience
    • Unique task-focused templates
    • More accessible points of contact
    • Enhanced news and updates space

The implementation plan included:

  • Phases of development, steps, milestones, and key outcomes
  • Time and cost allocations per task
  • A realistic timeline that aligned with VPFO requirements

This consulting project has since moved into the building phase, beginning with the consolidation of VPFO’s various spaces and facilities data sources into a new centralized database. We look forward to partnering with the VPFO as they continue to develop tools and enhance user experiences for administrators throughout UBC.