University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Hi all,

I need feedback on your institution's experience with the following CMS vendors:

* Day
* Ektron
* Sitecore
* Hannon Hill
* Fatwire

And/or your experience with these open source CMS products:

* Drupal

Also do you have any experience with a support contract for Drupal or TYPO3, such
as from or

And last:

Do you have any general tips on particularly outstanding or awful enterprise-level content management products?

Thank you for your time!


Tags: CMS, Content, Management, Systems

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We built a CMS and have been supporting it since 2002. I constantly weight the pros/cons of starting fresh with a new CMS or building off the current one. Interesting to see what comes up in this conversation!
Hey Rebecca! Curious why you're not evaluating OmniUpdate? We've been a client for 4+ years here at SUNY New Paltz, and they have a killer New York State contract that saved us oodles of money.
Hey Rachel!

I would have loved to evaluate it, however they did not respond to our bid. I had no idea they had a NYS contract and will pass that along to our CMS team. Thank you so much for the info!

So are you happy with them?

I've been incredibly happy with them -- but more importantly, my end users love the product. I'd be happy to put you in touch with Michael Monina, their VP of Sales & our SUNY/NY rep.
That would be great Rachel!

And if any of you have comments on any of the other vendors I mentioned, I would appreciate the feedback on those as well.


I took a quick look at the contract (on the ITEC site) and it appears to be a hosted version. Don't know if that's a factor.
I won't use any specific names of companies or vendors, but I will share some of our experiences in searching for a CMS. In the end, we ended up developing our own CMS because it was so difficult to get exactly what we wanted.

We issued an RFP a total of three times. The first RFP we issued, I believe we got 0 responses (that was before I was hired). The second RFP we issued, we got three or four responses. One of them was way out of our price range (we budgeted around $60,000 for the project, and I believe one of the responses came in around $250,000). Another wanted to charge us around $75,000 to install a free, open-source project on our server.

We were interested in two of the response we got to that RFP.

However, when I went to check the references for those two vendors, I got the equivalent of blank stares (or whatever you get over the telephone and through e-mail) when I asked about the vendors responding to our RFP. Both vendors had provided references for the software they were planning to install; not for their companies. For one of the companies, none of the five references I checked had ever even heard of the company. For the other company, only about half had actually worked with the vendor that responded.

For the first company, that was the death knell. For the other company, who was actually the official worldwide distributor of the product, we decided to take a chance. We were impressed by the system and looked forward to working with the company. Unfortunately, over the time we were evaluating the proposal and the product, the vendor with whom we were working split from the company that developed the CMS. When it came time to sign any proposals, it got really confusing. Some of the paperwork had one company's name, some of the paperwork had the other company's name. Although company A had been the one to respond to our RFP, they wanted us to sign a contract with company B (which, at least in our state, is against the procurement regulations). We ended up having to drop them altogether and reissue the RFP.

I went through and modified the RFP again and we reissued it. However, at this same time, I started developing a CMS on my own. We hired an assistant to handle my day-to-day responsibilities while I focused entirely on development of the CMS. We ended up with a great product that was tailored specifically to our needs.
Hi Rebecca,

We've been using Drupal for about 3 years now and by and large are happy with it. We've written up a case study (somewhat out of date now but still informative) on what we built and how we use it here:

The main thing I'd stress if you're looking at Drupal is that you need to be staffed appropriately to get the most out of it, with at least one competent developer dedicated to building on top of it.

You can use Drupal as a turnkey solution with no development staff but it offers less upside relative to other products when used that way...though partnering with Acquia could help with that equation.

Thanks for posting that link. I've been working with Drupal for a few weeks (after years on Typo3) and I've been struggling with Drupal's weird (to me) organization. Plus I don't mind seeing how Amherst does cool stuff.

On a completely unrelated note... Hastings doesn't seem to have the purple ballcap with the white A on it anymore... is there a store on campus that carries that stuff?
Sure thing on the links to our drupal stuff. As to Hastings...that's odd, I bought one from there within the last year as a gift. There's no on-campus store, Hastings is the official unofficial campus store so to speak - perhaps they were just out of stock would be my best guess.
Hi Rebecca,

I had a chance to try out Hannon Hill's Cascade CMS. As a developer, my response can be summed up as "I really don't want to use this." The user interface wasn't intuitive and the simplest tasks required an inordinate amount of settings, files, and clicks to accomplish.

I'm not familiar with any of the other groups. Unfortunately my campus never had a chance to try out anything from OmniUpdate, but after a strong recommendation from Rachel I got in touch with one of their people. He sent me some info. Based on my positive interaction with him and the brief overview of the CMS in the materials supplied I think OmniUpdate is a strong choice worth investigating.
We use Cascade Server at Brandeis and overall it seems fine for our Web editors. It's hard to fine any product that is great for all level of users. I agree that I personally may get frustrated using it, but then I'd rather just use emacs :)

If anyone has questions about running Cascade Server, just let me know. To give an idea of scope, we have nearly 600 registered web editors and about 100k publishable files coming from the CMS. There are still some sites that have yet to be migrated into the CMS, but this speaks more to changes in design and re-architecture than about any specific product.



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