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University Web Developers

The clock is ticking on license renewal for Cascade.

I think I got 27 days to renew. But I am hesitant to do so. Why?

First some context: This is my first foray into higher edu. Most of my career has been in web content development for news organizations. I care most about what’s on the page; not the backend stuff.

Yesterday a team member informed me that for us to get the most out of Cascade requires the addition of a full-time Web Developer. Then there is the 2k for eight hours training (book now to reserve a seat next Spring). Ouch.

We are not a big university with a robust Web team. Even IT lacks someone who eats, drinks and breathes code.

OmniUpdate (especially theSoftware-as-a-Service option) seems almost turn-key in comparison to Cascade. Is there a reason I shouldn’t make the switch? Yes, there is the re-training involved (and cultural buy-in for CMS has been rather “modest” at best).

My core requirements: A stable system that won’t have us running to an XSLT manual every five minutes, can accommodate our new redesign and supported by good customer service at a comparable to what we pay currently.

I don’t expect much do I?

Am I crazy for contemplating a switch? Or should we all buck-up and brush up on our XML?

Any advice and insights would be most appreciated.

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No Ken, you don't expect too much at all. I don't know a thing about Cascade, but can tell you I've been a very happy OmniUpdate client for nearly five years. Our IT staff has never been involved -- no heavy programming experience is needed. It's extremely turn key, and their customer support is the most responsive and thorough of any vendor I've ever worked with. I highly, highly recommend their product and company.

We use OmniUpdate here at ESU. It will be 3 years in June 2010. We were up and running within 3 months. Training was easy and over the phone. The OU Campus supports XML if you want to continue using it. We use ColdFusion here with out any issues. The great thing about this product is that is doesn't care what your back-end is and you can upload a pre-existing website into it. There business is higher ed and noting else. I am the only web guy on campus and I manage 127 content people and a 10,000 page website. I am busy, but the OmniUpdate makes it manageable. If you want to talk offline, just let me know.
Expectations are what move the world, Ken! ;)

At Hinds CC,, we use OmniUpdate, and have for about 3 years. What makes OU so nice is the accessibility for content providers throughout our district (six campuses). We have about 20 users from around the district that update their departmental content daily.

How is that helpful? That means very little IT involvement (we all know IT people aren't great for content in today's marketing world ... LOL).

However, should a problem arise, I haven't been as impressed with any customer service from any industry like I have with OU. Same-day troubleshooting responses, and customized support should we want new modules for our CMS. A+ grade for OU's support | tech guys!

OU is a stable CMS that you shouldn't have any trouble with, whether controlling page content with XML or XSLT. Like I said, with so many different users with limited technology backgrounds, it's nice to know we have a CMS that is easy enough for them to use.
I have very little "back-end" knowledge. I'm one person who oversees our 120 content providers and 1100+ page site. When I do have a problem, the customer support I've received is the best I've received from any vendor I've ever worked with...and they don't make me feel stupid when I ask stupid questions! :-) We launched our site in July and I've found it fairly easy to figure out, and to train my users how to maintain their pages.

I went from getting complaints that it took too long for me to update content on department pages, to complaints that they don't have time to update their own pages now that we have implemented the CMS. But I expected that. We're not a cutting-edge campus, and it will take some time to change the culture here. But I had identified my "early adaptors" a while back, and also the ones on campus that I knew would need more "hand-holding" - and I'm prepared to spend extra time with those folks.

Bottom line, I'm quite happy with our decision to use OUCampus.
I can echo all the comments from the others...we've been using OmniUpdate here at Ohio Wesleyan for about nearly three years and it has been a smooth process throughout that time.

It is a very turnkey system...the only involvement with any of our IT staff was during the initial setup phase and, from what I can tell (I wasn't working here at the time), it went very quickly and painlessly.

For how we're using OmniUpdate, at least, the training process is painless as well. I run the training sessions myself, and they're basically informal one-on-one sessions with the people who need access to the system. After about an hour and a half, they're pretty much ready to edit any of their content. And, except for a couple people who insist on having code-level access, all of our 50+ users aren't even exposed to the source code, so it's a very user-friendly product in my opinion.

Now, we're not yet using the fancier XSL/XSLT/etc. functionality, but if it's anything like the basic HTML functionality we've been dealing with thusfar, it'll be a piece of cake to implement that as well.

As everyone else said, their customer support has been fantastic. The handful of times that I've had to contact them for help on something, I had an answer/workaround within half a day. Everyonethere...from their support folks to their sales staff to their CEO have a "the customer is first" attitude that pervades every conversation I've ever had with any of them.

Good luck!

Doug Thompson
Manager of Web and Electronic Communications
Ohio Wesleyan University
We're in the process of implementing a CMS. A selection committee went through a number of vendors over the last two years. I joined the process in time to try out Cascade. The selection committee was comprised of a bunch of techies and we had a hard time wrapping our minds around it.

For non-tech people to maintain and grow a Cascade installation seems like a horrible task to undertake.

While OU does make use of XML and XSLT, you don't need to have programmed the CMS software in order to understand how to make it work for you. We are still in the very infant stages of exploring OU, but have had excellent experiences with customer service so far--especially in comparison to other vendors we've contacted.

I'm not sure what your ongoing costs with Cascade are, but if you compare those costs ( + extra training / salary for a new person ) vs OU's SaaS costs, you can probably have your answer right there.
Ken, taking a look at your existing administrative overhead necessary for running a system is a very wise thing to do (good to do in just about any situation, really), and can present you with many ideas to implement that could make your life easier.

I am the web guy for the Victor Valley Community College District (So. California), and we've been an OmniUpdate client for just over three years now.

When I call them, they call me by my first name, because we know each other.

We just increased our user licensing to 100 (from 25) because word of mouth has been spreading around the campus, and extremely non-technical people are loving their CMS. OU Campus allows you to be as 'non-techie' or as 'techie-psycho' as you want to be, and user adoption rate is 100% for our campus (VERY can have a wonderful system, but if the users won't use it, it is worthless to you).

When I sit down to train a user on OU Campus, they 'get it' within about 30 minutes to an hour, and they're off and updating their site later on that same day.

I cannot recommend their product highly enough. Our experience with OmniUpdate has been MORE than wonderful.
I am not an OmniUpdate client, but I have had a chance to talk with their people many times, and have always been very impressed with them and their product. They made it into our top two when we were looking at CMS platforms for our redesign. Generally as you can see, people seem to be very happy with them, and I couldn't imagine you going wrong if you chose to switch.
Ken, actually just got through looking at both CMS. I demoed Cascade Server and then Omni Update all in the same day. I do not think that you could go wrong with either of the systems. I loved both of them. Both are excellent CMS. But after the day, we would have chosen OmniUpdate over Cascade Server. There was just a couple of more customizable issues that we liked in OmniUpdate than Cascade. Also OmniUpdate is used by more colleges so we thought the support would be better and especially when it came to different modules and plug-ins written by other high ed programmers and lastly OminUpdate was very willing to work with us to try and get us a OmniUpdate system installed.
Thank you all! I appreciate your insights regarding OmniUpdate and will share them here at the college.

Sounds like there are no small share of OmniUpdate enthusiasts out there.

Thanks again and stay tuned. Decision day rapidly approaches.



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