University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We are currently using a homebrewed CMS right now (which I can't wait to get away from), and are starting to look into other options. However many of the popular CMSs out there aren't an option as I need to be able to connect to an SQL Server. Any suggestions?

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We have been using CMS systems for almost 11 years now and have done four full implementations. Each one helped us learn more and more about what we really needed and how to scope that for campus. We now are using OmniUpdate to maintain our 30,000+ page web system and integrate countless third party and home grown applications written in PHP and ColdFusion. We have really enjoyed this implementation and plan to be here for a while.

The key for us, and for most institutions, is that no matter what your CMS does, you need to make sure that you meet the needs of the content contributors using the system. Simple user interface with powerful features is the key. The other thing you need to consider is the vendor relationship...make sure that they listen to you about your needs and requests.

We have a process that we have followed and share with others in choosing a CMS for their institution. It seems to be helpful to most that take a look at it. Let me know if you would like to communicate further about this.
The thing to keep in mind, however, is that vendor buy-in is a fickle beast - we have worked through years of a good vendor relationship that started to turn south when they removed features from a new version and were unresponsive when we wanted to do some custom integration or had simple interface issues that we could have hacked but would have broken our TOS.

The nice think about an open source solution is that you can build a relationship with one or multiple companies which support either the entire system or just parts of it, and if you either can't afford that relationship or want to start building up your own team internally to support the solution your site is still owned by you.

It's not that all vendors are bad, or for that matter, all open source solutions are good; however, I think in today's environment the model of one monolithic vendor who provides the product and the support is a little sketchy.
You might want to check out the recent survey on Higher Ed CMS Usage:
http://doteduguru.com/id4579-results-higher-ed-cms-usage.html
The data may help you uncover options and to see satisfaction ratings for them.

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