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3 min read

Go-live Story: The Royal College of Surgeons

Optimized user experience with Sitecore and Ucommerce


RCS and Ucommerce Powerhouse Partner, Clerkswell - a collaboration to ensure RCS' continued support to the surgical community now and into the future

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) is an independent professional body and registered charity that promotes and advances standards of surgical care for patients and regulates surgery and dentistry in England and Wales. They provide education and assessment to nearly 30,000 surgeons and dental surgeons at all stages of their careers.

The Challenge

RCS faced a significant challenge with their existing technology stack; Sitecore XP version 8.1 and Ucommerce version 4. The first issue was that Sitecore version 8 was reaching end of support, which would open RCS up to security and compliance risks. Furthermore, Sitecore 8.1 was becoming slow and had numerous bugs for which only major rework could ameliorate the problem. Ucommerce Powerhouse Partner, ClerksWell’s recommendation was to upgrade to Sitecore 10.2, downscaling to an XM topology and to the latest version of Ucommerce. 


The Solution

Ucommerce Powerhouse Partner, ClerksWell’s solution was to create a like-for-like website on Sitecore version 10.2. The upgrade was performed on an IaaS infrastructure configuration, which proved challenging as most upgrade documentation concerned a PaaS set up. The aim was to maintain functionality and refactor any code which was not compatible with version 10. A significant change was transitioning from Lucene to Solr for search indexing, altering how indexing worked within the system.

The Ucommerce component also saw a major update, moving from version 4 to the newly released version 9.7. ClerksWell and Ucommerce worked collaboratively to troubleshoot teething problems and ensure the new version worked harmoniously with Sitecore version 10. We implemented Elastic search with Redis caching to provide an updated search experience.  

By working alongside Ucommerce and RCS, the go-live process was executed smoothly, with meticulous preparation that included a content freeze and comprehensive testing protocols.

James, the Digital Manager from RCS said, "I’ve seen some absolutely fantastic work by your QA guys on this. I’m personally disappointed by how few bugs I’ve been able to raise”.


The Results

The RCS’s new website is now compliant and working effectively on version 10. The best result is that end users remained unaware of any significant upgrades or changes. ClerksWell’s skills have been strengthened through building a solution with both Sitecore and Ucommerce on their latest versions.

The RCS website is now more robust and better equipped to meet all user needs. Future surgeons who rely on the platform for educational resources can still access exams and other essential content effectively. This ensures that the RCS continues to meet its mission of supporting the surgical community now and into the future.

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