Tech Lesson from the ANC

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The African National Congress (ANC) recently launched (13 October 2018) a new website under a new domain name (anc1912.org.za). The new website was launched in response to the shut down of the original ANC website under its original domain name. Media reports indicated that the website was shut down due to non-payment and disagreements with the service provider. The ANC is not the first organisation whose website website has been shut down by a service provider, it will not be the last. Other organisations and businesses can learn a lot from this development.

The first lesson relates to the response of the ANC. Another important lesson relates to what the organisation could have done to prevent the shutdown.

THE NEW SITE

The manner in which the ANC responded is impressive and may prove to be more beneficial for the ANC online. The organisation responded by creating another website with a significant domain name that bears they year of its founding, 1912. It’s not easy to get a fitting domain for a brand after losing the original domain name.  

The new ANC website is an improvement from its previous website. The user experience is far more better than its original site. The site is also responsive and mobile friendly. In other words, if you view the website using your mobile phone or tablet the site adapts itself to be viewable.  The responsiveness of the site is one of the positive aspects of the website.

The new website however is missing critical and historical information of the ANC. The look and feel of the website is important however nothing is more important than the content. The new website does not reflect historical documents of the organisation which are important than the look and feel. To improve the credibility of the site the organisation may have to bring back organisational documents, newsletters and other critical documents.

In order to improve the quality of the website content the organisation may have to integrate its archives website into the newly created website.


WEB LESSON

The experience of the ANC with its site should serve as a lesson to other organisations. One of the key lessons relates to the management of the website. It seems the ANC website was managed by an external company. This should not have been the case and other organisations should not allow such  a situation. The website of an organisation is an important resource that should be managed internally. Resources within the organisation should be assigned to the management of the website. Depending on the critical nature of the content on the website, an organisation should host its own website and not outsource this function.This can be a costly exercise but a necessary one to avoid a shutdown when the relationship sours with a website service provider.

The ANC online presence is important  for more than just communication. The quality presence of the ANC online is important for historical reasons and to illustrate the organisations attitude towards technology. What the ANC does with its website reflects what the organisation can do with technology in government. The recent development with the ANC website does reflect well for the organisation and its ability to user technology to govern. The ANC should do everything in its power to reflect all its historical content on the new website.

Other organisations and businesses should view the recent developments with the ANC website as an important technology lesson to avoid a similar experience.

Kay Ann