ITS Digital Services and UNC Creative have begun collaborating to streamline web development work on campus. This new arrangement, which has been in pilot testing and officially takes effect January 1, will enable UNC Creative to focus on its design expertise and ITS Digital Services to beef up services, including custom development.

ITS Digital Services, Carolina’s in-house web and mobile group, will begin handling all web development, web hosting and website support for UNC Creative clients. UNC Creative will discontinue these services to focus on creative strategy and design.

“We will continue to offer a full range of creative strategy and design services for branding, print, web, app and other electronic projects,” said Amanda Zettervall, Director of UNC Creative. “We will in fact be building up our team in the coming months.”

Kim Vassiliadis, Digital Solutions Manager
Kim Vassiliadis

ITS Digital Services will focus on what it does best — developing and maintaining websites, said Kim Vassiliadis, Digital Solutions Manager for ITS Digital Services.

Group manages more than 12,000 sites

Digital Services manages two growing, multi-site networks. The first is web.unc.edu, a self-service, web-publishing model with 12,000 sites. With this service, faculty, staff and students can easily create and manage websites on the WordPress content management system. The second is sites.unc.edu, from which Digital Services offers web hosting and content management to about 200 enterprise customers, including schools, divisions, departments, centers and institutes at no cost.

Fee charged for custom development services

Digital Services will continue to offer web hosting and website support, but it will begin offering custom WordPress development services for a charge.

Until this new collaboration, UNC Creative developed and hosted websites with providers outside the University and charged for that creative work as well as for hosting and for updating plugins and security.

Hosting, security, theme and plugin updates are offered at no cost with Digital Services’ enterprise WordPress solution. “This is a great service for departments and units that do not have IT staff to host and maintain their own websites,” Vassiliadis said.

Hosting and support continue at no charge

Digital Services will continue to provide free hosting and support for WordPress websites, including:

  • WordPress, themes and plugin management and updates
  • Support and assistance through the ITS Service Desk at help.unc.edu
  • Digital Services support for issues that the Service Desk is unable to resolve
  • Training assistance to help campus groups manage their own WordPress sites

Digital Services will charge $75 per hour for the development of new sites and overhauls of existing sites. If a campus group has someone in-house to develop its site, Digital Services will provide support at no cost.

Permanent support position planned

By charging for developing and overhauling sites, Digital Services can beef up its services to offer customized sites, potentially new WordPress themes and more integration. Digital Services also plans to create a permanent support development position, which guarantees an in-house employee who can answer users’ questions, provide training and offer enhanced overall support.

Zettervall and Vassiliadis are notifying UNC Creative’s 30 to 40 clients who have worked with UNC Creative on web development in the past. With their approval, UNC Creative and ITS will migrate them to the ITS network by January 1.

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