Content Management, Technology & Development

An Up-Close Look at OU Campus Onboarding

people meeting around tableChoosing a content management system (CMS) is a big deal, but getting your CMS up and running is even bigger. Planning, development, and testing can determine whether you’ll look back on your choice of a CMS as a clear win or a missed opportunity.

Knowing that, we put a lot of care into our OU Campus™ CMS onboarding process. We understand that every CMS implementation is unique and that success requires learning what’s right for you, your team, and your campus.

This focus sets us apart from other commercial CMS providers (not to mention open source CMS implementations, where you’re basically on your own). Their goal is to get you up and running as fast as possible, then move on to the next project. Our goal is to make sure you start right, then have us as a partner by your side for the long haul.

Let’s walk through our onboarding phases, outlining what you can expect once you’ve chosen OU Campus as your CMS.

Discovery

Our onboarding team works with you from the very start—even before you finalize your OU Campus decision and contract—to be sure we understand your exact needs. Our goal: Deliver a thorough, no-surprises estimate that spells out specific deliverables and outlines a precise configuration and development process.

We ask questions that help us get to know you, like: What’s your experience with content management systems—what do you like and what do you hate? What does your perfect workflow look like? What functions matter most?

We get into the details of hosting, systems integration, content migration, and more, laying out all options clearly and completely so we offer a package that best fits your needs. If you’re making the jump to OU Campus as part of a website redesign, we’ll connect with your design team right away to ensure we’re all working toward the same goals. (If you’re looking for design assistance, we offer a design library with a number of pre-built templates or we can introduce you to one of our recommended design partners.)

Discovery phases can, and do, vary in length. They usually run longer with redesigns, following your design team’s schedule. Moving an existing site to OU Campus typically requires a much shorter discovery process.

Development

This phase chiefly involves using your site’s code—generally HTML, cascading style sheets (CSS), and JavaScript—to build custom OU Campus templates that you’ll use to create different types of web pages and content.

If you’re redesigning your site, we’ll use code developed by your redesign team once site architecture, look, and layout are established. If you’re moving an existing site into OU Campus, we’ll use the code you’re currently running. We’re completely comfortable with either approach.

We build templates in XSLT 3.0, which is an extremely flexible programming language. We’ll build all your initial templates, then train your team to make edits and create new templates as you go.

We establish editable regions for each template—areas where your site contributors can add and update content using our unique drag-and-drop interface. We also connect templates with back-end data sources to pull information about course schedules, faculty, events, and the like.

If we’ve established a plan to move your content automatically (say, from an existing site where content is up to date), we perform an initial content migration once templates are built.

Finally, we test the development site for accessibility and code compliance, getting ready for your review. Start to finish, the development phase usually runs 8−10 weeks.

Quality assurance and delivery

We spend about a week checking our work against our original plans and addressing any remaining details, then hand the implementation off to you for review.

We ask you to take a close look at visual presentation, mobile behavior, initial content, systems integration, back-end interface, and so forth. If you spot any issues, you report them using service tickets that go straight to our development team for attention.

This process usually takes about two weeks. By then, your site should be almost ready to go live, pending any additional content work on your end.

As you get ready for launch, we offer whatever ongoing support you need. We provide our training team with documentation and background on your project. In turn, they help your campus contributors learn the OU Campus interface and best practices to keep your site fresh.

We deliver a complete solution designed specifically to your needs—the CMS is all yours, and you can add functionality on your own with our GitHub starter code. We provide all the training your team needs to learn features, expand your template set, and keep your site evolving. But when you need a hand, our award-winning support team is just an email or call away.

Making the leap to a new CMS is indeed a big deal, and when you choose OU Campus, it’s a big deal for us, too. Onboarding is a unique chance to win your trust and establish a partnership that will serve your school—and your most important audiences—for years to come.

Learn more about our services.

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Marcel Ayers

Director of Implementation

Marcel is a California native who has called Camarillo home for the past 19 years. A lover of both coffee and tech, he founded an online coffee bean and home roasting supply business in 2003 and then an IT and web development company in 2004. Today, as Director of Implementation at OmniUpdate, Marcel oversees the process of bringing customer sites into the OU Campus system. In his free time, you’ll find him taking advantage of the California outdoors from mountain biking and skiing, to surfing and hiking.