Without a doubt, there are some great homegrown and open source web content management system (CMS) solutions out there. But, they won't work for everyone, like many of the higher ed institutions that chose to use our OU Campus™ CMS. Many started with a homegrown or open source solution, which they initially undertook with great enthusiasm. Later, it fizzled out for a variety of reasons. Why?
After lots of customer feedback, my unscientific observation is that the number one reason our customers decided to buy rather than build their CMS was a lack of resources (i.e., they have a small web team). What constitutes "small" is up for debate. Personally, I have yet to speak to a single customer who feels they have a large web team. Or at least large enough to get done what needs to get done on the never-ending to-do list. In this three-post blog series, we'll look at three common themes related to why buying a commercial CMS makes sense for an institution with a small web team.
The Need for Speed… Just Get It Done: "We Want to Use It, Not Build It"
Some institutions simply need to get their current site up and running with a CMS as quickly as possible. This need for speed is often driven by a higher institutional mandate such as improving site security or web accessibility, adding mobile or online catalog capabilities, or simply getting their content and branding under control. Their current solution may lack the functionality to get it done quickly or is simply too difficult for their content contributors to use.
Institutions in this category have no interest in building a CMS because their developers, if they have any, are stretched too thin. These customers just want their website to work and their templates live ASAP (preferably yesterday) so they can move forward with their objectives or minimize known problems. Whether we are working with an institution directly or the site implementation partner of their choice, everyone in this situation is hustling toward an end goal of better site management. OU Campus can be implemented before, after, or concurrent with a redesign. We've worked with hundreds of institutions in all phases of this process and realize how important it is to be able to adjust our schedule to accommodate an evolving process.
Once the site is launched, the feedback starts and new development ideas start to trickle in. We often hear, "What if we want to add this or integrate that?" No worries, you've got complete flexibility. OU Campus will scale easily as you bring new sites under management. Version upgrades are automatic for SaaS customers, and amazingly no Enterprise Server License (ESL) customer has ever been more than three months behind the most current version release. Because all customers are on the latest version of our product, customer service and peer sharing of code is made much easier. So, with OU Campus, this type of customer can focus on building their site, not their CMS. The Shoreline Community College case study provides a great example of an institution that attacked their web-related problem with a "just get it done" attitude.