The Pensions Regulator

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is the UK regulator of workplace pension schemes. TPR make sure that employers put their staff into a pension scheme and pay money into it. They also make sure that workplace pension schemes are run properly so that people can save safely for their later years.

The TPR corporate website receives around 5,000,000 visits per year, with customers accessing over 1000 pages of content and 600+ downloadable documents. The site also offers a number of interactive tools to further engage its audiences

The Challenge 

With TPR’s CMS platform fast approaching ‘end of life,’ they faced a real challenge to meet the future needs of TPR and its customers. Therefore, TPR began looking for an implementation partner to build on Sitecore XP4 V9.X in Microsoft Azure PaaS.

A future-proof, stable CMS platform, however, was only part of the story. The TPR audience is becoming more diverse; pensions are regularly headline news. To better serve their customers, they needed a simplified, refreshed look and feel with new arrangements for hosting, support and maintenance of the CMS product and website. They also wanted their partner to migrate existing content from their current website over to Sitecore with no content freeze period.

The Solution 

TPR had been engaged in a lengthy consultancy piece which encompassed a rebrand. It was a clear challenge to any partner that they would have to incorporate the deliverables of this stream of work at a fairly late stage of the build process.

TPR began getting their internal project team qualified on Sitecore at the start of the project as it was important that the team become self-sufficient prior to the go-live of the new Sitecore site.

Prior to the actual project kick-off, TPR needed to buy their Sitecore licences. ClerksWell held a workshop with them and modelled what they would need to begin with and what they would need years down the line. Our Sitecore tech leads led the infrastructure and licencing requirements gathering and then proposed both to meet their requirements.

The PaaS infrastructure had unique requirements and this was the first time these had been successfully met in Sitecore PaaS. There were specific requirements for disaster recovery, deployments and extremely high standards of resilience. ClerksWell has a depth of experience using Sitecore in Azure, which is unique at agency level. We provided TPR with:

  • Multi-region set up

  • Full DR documentation

  • ARM templates

  • Service Apps

  • Service Application Plans​

  • Azure SQL​

  • Azure Search​

  • Redis Cache​

  • Application Insights​

Move to Sitecore

TPR’s CMS was built in legacy technology which was unreliable and very difficult to manage. Content could not be created easily so new templates had to be created and a high level of technical skill was required just to manage content day-to-day in the CMS. Because their website was so unwieldy to use, it was very difficult for TPR or their end users to be confident in a single source of truth. TPR have a number of other websites which they manage and information was often contradictory and hard to find across their whole digital presence.

The Project 

Once we had defined the infrastructure and licencing, we created an implementation plan. This implementation plan was tested to make sure it was robust and this assured TPR that the go-live date would not slip due to anything on ClerksWell’s side.

TPR had a thorough discovery period where ClerksWell documented many things including release management, DR process, and a migration proof of concept. These documents were requested for two main reasons. Firstly so that both teams would never progress based on assumptions as everything was predefined upfront where at all possible. The second reason was that TPR needed to get upskilled and self-sufficient quickly, by having documentation TPR had accountability of what had been done.

TPR’s requirement was to not have a content freeze period. This meant that within the overall project there was a T&M re-migration project whereby ClerksWell used a tool to crawl the old site for any changed content. TPR would then tell us where this content was meant to be placed on the new Sitecore site and we would migrate it. In order to manage costs we were requested to provide an estimate to undertake a manual content migration activity. Our approach to this was as follows:

  • Undertake a thorough assessment of what was required to be delivered and method of delivery.

  • Provide an estimate and place project contingency.

  • Produce a plan that ensured the estimate could be delivered to in terms of time, resource and budget.

  • Undertake the activity and monitor it closely, providing detail on effort being spent weekly.

The result overall led to a 25% saving on the estimate. The primary reason is that it was closely monitored and with joint effort from the teams, we had been able to deliver on time but with reduced effort. As we had jointly worked on delivering, the team identified simple and more efficient ways of delivery through the duration of the migration. Collaboratively we adapted the plan to accommodate the learnings found and this allowed us to deliver within the estimate.

The build side of the project followed an agile methodology because we knew we had to incorporate a change to the TPR brand. By working in agile and collaborating with TPR we were able to bring in the branding changes with no disruption to the momentum of the project.

TPR website before and after

TPR Before