University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Looking for some opinions out there on Content Management Systems. Our institution is looking to replace our current CMS since it is not user friendly and does not offer much.

One CMS I came across was Ektron: - Backed by a CMS400.NET API I have found this product to be powerful and offer many tools such as Social Networking & Community Platforms and Document Management Functionality.

Any info would be appreciated...


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Comment by bhaselmann on October 28, 2008 at 4:14pm
Sorry, typo in
Comment by bhaselmann on October 28, 2008 at 4:14pm
Hi Greg, just found the post searching for something else, and thought I would share a couple items. For .Net we have been using DotNetNuke ( for all of our clients. It has a great community. You can purchase additional modules for, usually, under $100 (with source code) from places like It also used a best practice development environment and you can truely separate Design, Content Management, Administration, and Development. The only drawback that I have seen is that it doesn't have content approval and workflow. Check it out.

In regard to evaluating CMS's, I have used It has a good way to compare various CMS platforms.

Take care and good luck!
Comment by Jon Crannage on October 17, 2008 at 1:31pm
I was lucky enough to go to @Media2008 and saw a great talk by Drew McLellan called 'Content Management Without the Killing' (great title!) he summarises some of it here - I guess one of the most important points he raises is that a CMS is not for life - make sure that you can access the data contained within it when the time comes to move on again.
Comment by Skip Knox on October 16, 2008 at 4:15pm
I guess that was sort of my point. If we don't have the resources, then there's no sense in buying the product. Even if it's free. There's no such thing as a solution in a box. The solution lies with the people.

All solutions to the people!

Naw, not catchy enough... :-)
Comment by Gregg Soltesz on October 16, 2008 at 4:07pm
You make a good point and I understand your reasoning. However many institutions do not have a dept./internal resources to develop and or enhance the CMS engine. With the economy going the way it is many institutions have initiated a hiring freeze. Bottom line without having the internal development support it can be difficult to expand/customize the CMS app. separate from the commitment of the institution.

Another reason why I began this post was to find the most robust CMS that offers more out of the box, has the most flexibility, and clearly outshines many of it's competitors. I am now looking into RedDot. I'd love to hear from someone who can comment on this provider...
Comment by Skip Knox on October 16, 2008 at 3:52pm
This may sound like a bit of a dodge, but...

The best CMS is the institution makes work.

By "institution" I mean at whatever level the CMS is implemented--department, college, or whole university. By "work" I mean "is used to create the vast majority of the content for that institution".

IMO, the most significant variable in CMS success lies not with cost or choice of company or any of the rest. It lies with the strength of will and commitment from the institution. The CMS will succeed exactly to the extent of that will and commitment.

Beyond that, I'll vote for open source every time, for any enterprise-level choice. A university isn't so much an organization as it is a community. As such, every university is unique in exactly the same sense that every town is unique. That is, for all our similarities, we have differences that will not be expunged. It is inevitable that each enterprise app will need to be customized. We ought not shrink from this; rather, as institutions of higher learning, our IT departments should be eager for that need, should embrace the opportunity for customization and for responding to the unique demands of our constituents.

With all respect to very good companies like OmniUpdate, there's just that fundamental difference. I *want* to grow the in-house skills that are needed in order to nurse along a Drupal or a Plone. I want to *discourage* the "we just want it to work" mind-set. That's fine for a corporation, but we aren't a corporation.

Eh. I'm getting too preachy. Any CMS will succeed, if the institution is determined to have it succeed. Oh, and by "institution" I don't mean just the bosses, or just the propeller-heads. I mean the whole community.
Comment by Bradley Livermore on October 14, 2008 at 12:26pm
Here's a nice video from Paul Albert of Cornell University

Of course there's going to be costs with Drupal, it's a framework not really meant to be a full out of the box solution. Think of it like this - you can buy a pre-built home for a fixed cost with no or very little room to upgrade or you can get the framework and build upon it yourself and get the exact "home" that you wanted.
Comment by Lance Merker on October 10, 2008 at 8:10pm
William, thanks for asking about pricing. As you know CMS fees are all over the map. Of course there’s a cost to Open Source software that’s real and (in many cases) significant. And, the cost of the high-end enterprise systems can cost hundreds of thousands. From my years of experience in the CMS market, I suggest there’s a sweet spot. You’ll get the most bang for your budget if you consider systems that offer the core feature set that you need, and provide great support. Make sure the product is scalable, and allows you to add-on and develop if you have the talent on board to do so. There are several vendors that offer just that. Humbly, I say we’re one of them. Look around and create a short list – and make sure you look at the vendor’s focus (and how many college/universities they service).

"Sweet spot", "bang for your budget", I know what you’re thinking right now: "is Lance ever going to tell us the cost of OmniUpdate?" I will. Our pricing is very scalable to fit the budgets and needs of our varied clients. OmniUpdate is used by the largest of the largest Universities (40,000+ FTEs), and the smallest of the smallest (under 1,000 students). Our pricing is based on the number of users of the CMS – which typically matches our clients budgets much better than the one-size-fits-all costs of most other CMS offerings. In rough numbers, OmniUpdate starts under $20,000 for the first year, and tops out well under the mid-range enterprise CMS offerings.

Finally, let me just say that "we get it". Our salespeople only work with colleges/universities. Our support team lives and breathes your needs/issues every day. No BS, no games, just a great product that’s used more widely by your peers than any other CMS.
Comment by William Frankhouser on October 10, 2008 at 12:10pm
I would give Ektron around an 8.. since we have dealt with them for many of their products and support. When we get support on the phone, we are able to walk through and keep getting escalated if it does not get resolved right away. We are fortunate to have a developer team that can either use what Ektron provides, or we make work arounds. Since you are a .Net shop, I think you will benefit from the feature set. They do provide many already built sites from Intranet to Gov to Edu. I think small things like their editor (which was one of their first products for the company.. which has improved, especially with their eKML and XML integration, but still is best used only on IE), Also you pay for the amount of editors in the system (or enterprise is unlimited users), multiple instances (they do allow one internal DEV domain.. and one public)

Lance, thanks for the info. For those who want more info on OmniUpdate go to which shows off their "OU Campus" product. Some highlights I see based on some of the specs: The system is configurable to manage only the sections and pages of your website ready for web content management (the system does not require "all or nothing" deployment) -- OU Campus users and administrators require no client-side software other than a web browser. Windows, Macintosh, and Linux client configurations are all supported (and their editor) which I expect to be all JavaScript like FCKEditor and others -- LDAP integration Fairly similar to Ektron, includes an API to integrate whatever you want, but out of the box does not have Discussion Forums, but do have Blogs as an add-on (which instructors and departments are asking for). It would be interesting to see what pricing is available for OU Campus. Ektron I consider mid-range, as some CMS companies have ridiculous prices of $30k or more, opposite then to the open source Free ones, but usually depend on a development team to keep it growing.
Comment by Lance Merker on October 9, 2008 at 9:14pm
As CEO of OmniUpdate, I'm totally biased on this, but since no one even mentioned us...

Please know that OmniUpdate is the most used CMS by Universities & Colleges. Today there are over 450 college and university websites maintained using OmniUpdate. To my knowledge, none of our competitors come close to matching that.

The OmniUpdate system doesn't care if you're a MS shop, Cold Fusion, or straight UNIX/Linux/apache. And, we've been around the block. Our core management team has been together for over 15 years, and our CMS has been available since 2001.

We don't get as much technology press as many of our competitors because the tech press doesn't cover many companies who focus exclusively on the college market. To your advantage however, we do focus exclusively on your needs and we understand your business inside and out.

Add us to your list!


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