Telling Our Schools’ Stories Through Digital Development

GEMS Education schools are getting new websites. We speak to Pablo Arguello Cazar, the man behind the virtual upgrade.

Why are you changing over to the new platform?

We live in a world where content and the way it’s presented matters, which means it is more important than ever to ensure that all our school websites are visually appealing to enable them to attract parents and prospective parents while having the latest functionality.

GEMS Education offers a variety of curricula and price points to families and enjoys an excellent reputation so we are a natural first choice for parents to click on when they are looking for a new school for their child. The new websites better reflect our brand and the ethos of the schools by having a fresh, modern and high-tech look with a vastly improved customer journey.

What are the noticeable changes?

The design will be the most noticeable change, but internally a lot will change too. Our schools will have more control over their websites now. It means that they have the ability to reflect their true identity and show more of the school’s personality. We are giving them a solution that is more flexible; almost to the point that they feel they are designing their own website.

Why did you select this platform over other platforms?

It is enterprise grade and very well-respected in the digital world. It’s used by large companies like L’Oréal, American Express, and Flydubai. The platform, which is called Sitecore, is considered a market leader that empowers companies to deliver personalised content to the end users and better meet their requirements.

It was positioned among five leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms report this year. The good thing is that this platform offers a lot of new functionality around quality control, governance, and compliance without us being too restrictive.

What are the other advantages?

It provides a lot more features not only in terms of the flexibility, but also in terms of its marketing capabilities. There are a few features that are built-in that can help our schools with their online marketing. This means that our schools can be a lot more independent when it comes to creating dynamic web content on their websites. This is a big advantage over our current platform, which has resulted in schools having to come to us for simple things like creating a form, an events page or pop-up on the Home Page. This will be a big advantage for schools going forward as they will have a lot more control.

There are more advanced features with the platform including content personalisation where built-in features will allow the schools to show different content to different users based on their behaviour. For example, if the system detects that someone has an interest in the school and has seen the fees and admission process then it can determine that they are ready to sign up. To make things simple it will create a pop-up for prospective parents for them to express their interest in the school at the click of a button.

Have you implemented the platform at any schools yet?

No. The first schools will be up and running with the platforms before the end of the year. We will start with seven schools, and rollout more each month. Completion will be by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Under the rollout plan, not all the features will be available on day one, but the capabilities will be there to do so much more in the future. As time goes by, we will ensure more advanced training is given to unlock the platform’s full potential.

The feedback Pablo has received from the schools he has visited to date has been very positive. ”At GEMS FirstPoint School, we are always looking for ways we can improve our communication. This platform will allow us to tailor our website to represent our school personality and to clearly articulate our vision through rich content and a modern design… and keep our community updated with news, notices and events,“ said Matthew Tompkins, Principal/CEO, GEMS FirstPoint School — The Villa.