Setting the Groundwork for a Content Management System


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  • External end-users are the most important group to succeeding in carrying out our mission. Ironically, internal end-users provide the bulk of the traffic to the site, but this is more reflective of the status of our intranet/portal, than of demographics of our “customer base.”
  • External end-users are the most important group to succeeding in carrying out our mission. Ironically, internal end-users provide the bulk of the traffic to the site, but this is more reflective of the status of our intranet/portal, than of demographics of our “customer base.”
  • Scope: We must determine the domain of applicability for the tool. Vehicle Mission: Since our starting point will be the implementation of the University Gateway, we need to define what the purpose of the vehicle is: that mission will help us determine the graphic design, architecture and what kinds of content belong on the site. It will also serve to illuminate the missions of all subsites developed in the tool: since we are assimilating the public Web sphere, all sites developed in CommonSpot should serve to advance the main site’s mission. Define Mission of Public Vehicles Define Users & Goals Define Feature Set Construct Architecture Define Constraints for Ancillary Communications Tools
  • The Seton Hall gateway Web site is a primary point of contact for nearly all of the university's varied audiences. As such, the vehicle's must strive to promote the university and inform audiences — particularly external audiences, or those who are not current students, faculty or staff — about the university's mission, catholicity, academic and cultural offerings and university related news and events.  The site will also serve as a communications tool for the internal university community and as a conduit to resources that directly address the needs of students, faculty and staff.
  • Most of our goals are tied to specific audiences, but with a product that touches so many aspects of University life, we also hold some intangible (non-gauge) goals.
  • Bolster Image: Improve the image of the University in the minds of key influencers, internal and external. Help foster sense of pride, sense that the Web is reflective of what the University really is. Provide Vision: Show the internal community where we want to take the Web. Shake off moribund use of Web; move beyond the use of the Web as a billboard and for the internal community; refocus on a dynamic Web whose primary purpose is to serve external audiences. Rallying Point: Over time, extend the CMS and the vision of the gateway to all institutional Web properties. Massive change will require belief in our vision and desire to see it implemented on the part of the University community. If we can successfully establish the gateway and get the community excited, then we’ll have won the hardest battle going forward.
  • Make sure that evergreen content — on academic programs, how to get to the University, tuition and matriculation requirements — is easy to find and easy to maintain.
  • Browsing sessions are extremely short and the vast majority are task driven — e.g., ‘what is your tuition?’, not ‘please tell me about the University’ — so we must strive to communicate information the user doesn’t necessarily know he or she wants, without stooping to the level of interruption marketing. We provide for automatic content selection — rotating content — so that the user is always exposed to a fresh site. By doing so, we use both space and time to manage the massive number of messages we have to communicate. And we also show off the myriad activities and opportunities the University offers. Note that we are explicitly going personalization; we don’t think our (external) users will necessarily take the time to personalize the site in any meaningful way. Instead we aim for localization: providing messages that meaningfully supplement the task that brought the user to our site.
  • No dead ends! Every page provides us with another opportunity to extend the discussion with the user. Every click signals the user’s interest in some aspect of Seton Hall. So, the CMS must be able to transform seamlessly dynamic content and messages developed for one context — say the home page — into almost any other context: traditional static pages, other mediums and even other communications platforms.
  • The CMS must be MS Word like in it’s operation for ordinary users. Our motto should be ‘1 minute to learn’ without ‘a lifetime to master’. If the tool is too technical or even provides too many options, then ordinary users will fail to find the tool helpful. Too much focus will be given to the product, rather than to the more important goal of communicating with end-users. Further, the tool must be simple enough that: 1) correcting a typo takes 30 seconds or less 2) no retraining or help-desk calls are necessary 6 months after training (most of our users will be sporadic users, updating content at the beginning and maybe the end of the semester)
  • The tool must be capable of hosting every single public institutional Web site at the University. It must provide for a site and user hierarchy (workflow) and it must: 1) provide for top-down global content ‘localization’ to the specific subsite. 2) provide for bottom-up content ‘globalization’ for news, events and other content developed at the subsite level. And we also strongly desire that the tool is our one-stop CMS for all browser-accessible domains, including the Private Institutional sphere (portal, at least).
  • Sketch of basic structure for requirements process Navigation Elements: determine the number and objective of each navigation element. Indicate how global content will permeate structure Determine Subsite Structure
  • Gateway: The main University Site (root site). Academics: All school, department, institute and program Web sites. Campus Life: All student support and institutional student organization Web sites. Offices & Services: All non-academic institutional Web sites. Catholic Mission: All institutional bodies involved in supporting our Catholic Mission.
  • Sends content to the Private Web: portal, Blackboard, and who knows? Accepts content from other Public and Private Web, as well as non-browser accessible tools: Calendar, Catalog, Faculty Profiles, Banner (admissions at least).
  • Setting the Groundwork for a Content Management System

    1. 1. Setting the Groundwork for a Content Management System “ Keeping the User’s Needs in Focus” Presented by: Robert Brosnan; Director - Web & Digital Communications Nancy Mustachio; Director - Application Development Marie Somers; Manager - Web Development Track 2 – Enterprise Computing and Information Systems October 20, 2005 (2:20pm-3:10pm) Meeting Room W207A
    2. 2. Session Blueprint <ul><li>Quick review Seton Hall University’s characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Define the many faces of ‘user’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Setting the Groundwork’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scope, Vehicle Mission, Users & Goals, Features, Architecture, Constraints for Ancillary Communications Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Choosing a product </li></ul>
    3. 3. Who We Are…. Seton Hall University <ul><li>Mid sized, Catholic affiliated university in suburban NJ, 15 miles from New York City </li></ul><ul><li>Two campuses – comprised of 8 Schools and Colleges </li></ul><ul><li>>5,000 undergraduate student </li></ul><ul><li>>4,000 graduate students </li></ul><ul><li>>1,900 employees, including 400 full-time faculty </li></ul><ul><li>2004-05 Fact Book </li></ul>
    4. 4. Background WebDev Info <ul><li>FrontPage chosen as web development tool in 1999 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complexity of template was a stumbling block for most users updating content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clumsy method of maintaining accounts and sub webs </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Background WebDev Info <ul><li>Over 300 websites, including student organization sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IT managed 75% of the webs image creation and design layout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT cycled thru outdated content, ‘reminded’ owners to update </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most major sites (e.g., schools/colleges) have their own “webmasters” with varying skill level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Soft stylistic guidelines (i.e. not ‘enforced’) </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Catching the Content Management System Fever <ul><li>‘ Method’ to manage content – a tool set to support guidelines, policies and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of use, including training (no need for HTML, really?) </li></ul><ul><li>Information architecture and scaleable infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Public image library of approved images </li></ul><ul><li>Versioning and track changes (and workflow too!) </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic content feeds and automatic content expiration </li></ul>
    7. 7. Stop, Heal thyself! Think about All Our Users <ul><li>Who ARE our users? </li></ul><ul><li>What do THEY expect? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Our Users Defined IT PR Image keepers University Contributors Info gatekeepers, service personnel Internal End Users Students, Faculty, Administration External End Users Prospective students and their parents, Alumni, Donors, Prospective employees… User Base Importance
    9. 9. Our Users Defined IT PR Image keepers User Base Importance First and foremost, IT and PR must forge an alliance!
    10. 10. ‘ Setting the Groundwork’ <ul><li>Scope </li></ul><ul><li>Vehicle Mission </li></ul><ul><li>Users & Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Features </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Constraints for Ancillary Communications Tools </li></ul>
    11. 11. Defining Scope
    12. 12. Browser Accessible Domains Public Externally exposed, institutional functional & communications vehicles E.g., University Web Site Private Internal, institutional functional & communications vehicles E.g., Webmail, MyWeb, HR Personal Externally exposed, personal Web sites for faculty, staff and students Academic Tools for teaching and learning E.g., Class Web Sites, Electronic Portfolios
    13. 13. Defining Mission
    14. 14. Mission Statement <ul><li>Promote University to External Audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Serve as a Conduit for Internal Audiences </li></ul>
    15. 15. Users and Goals
    16. 16. Intangible Goals <ul><li>Bolster Image </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Vision </li></ul><ul><li>Serve as a Rallying Point </li></ul>
    17. 17. External End Users <ul><li>Provide opportunities for users to learn about SHU and (hopefully) to become members of the University community. </li></ul>External End Users Prospective students and their parents, Alumni, Donors, Prospective employees…
    18. 18. Internal End Users <ul><li>Stay up-to-date with University news and events and provide a hand-off to internal University services. </li></ul>Internal End Users Students, Faculty, Administration
    19. 19. University Content Contributors <ul><li>Provide a single, simple, Web-based content authoring system. </li></ul>University Contributors Info gatekeepers, service personnel
    20. 20. PR Content Contributors <ul><li>Provide a tool for managing marketing communications campaigns across all mediums, domains and sites. </li></ul>PR Image keepers
    21. 21. System and Application Developers <ul><li>Provide a flexible, extensible and rapid development environment that reduces support and content demands on IT. </li></ul>IT
    22. 22. Features
    23. 23. Institutional Information <ul><li>Provide institutional information on the University in a user-centered context. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Dynamic Content <ul><li>Every browsing session must provide a unique experience for the user. </li></ul>
    25. 25. Global Content <ul><li>Every page delivered must provide opportunities for the user to learn more about the University. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Focus on Writing <ul><li>The tool must require little more than the ability to use MS Word. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Universal Platform <ul><li>The tool must extend to encompass the entire Public Web sphere and beyond. </li></ul>
    28. 28. Architecture
    29. 29. Architecture Objectives <ul><li>Base Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Navigation Elements </li></ul><ul><li>Global Content </li></ul><ul><li>Subsite Structure </li></ul>
    30. 30. Architecture
    31. 31. Subsites
    32. 32. School Subsites
    33. 33. Constraints
    34. 34. Plays Nice with Others <ul><li>Accepts content from and provides content to other systems through open standards, or syndication methods. </li></ul>
    35. 35. Tool Selection
    36. 36. Who’s Out There? <ul><li>IBM > Lotus Workplace </li></ul><ul><li>PaperThin > Commonspot </li></ul><ul><li>Vignette > V7 </li></ul><ul><li>Percussion > Rhythmyx </li></ul><ul><li>RedDot > ECMS </li></ul><ul><li>Minds Eye > Element </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source > OpenCMS </li></ul><ul><li>circa 2003-2004 </li></ul>
    37. 37. Vendor Summary <ul><li>Why each vendor was chosen for comparison </li></ul><ul><li>Summary of company and application description </li></ul><ul><li>Customer base </li></ul><ul><li>Collected pros & cons of the system </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed side by side comparison grid </li></ul><ul><li>Customer questionnaire </li></ul>
    38. 38. Sample Explanation of Why We Choose the Vendors <ul><li>IBM > Lotus Workplace </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Due to our relationship with the company and our current infrastructure. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Lotus Workplace would be an extension of our current Lotus Notes environment. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PaperThin > Commonspot </li></ul><ul><ul><li>History with university clients. One of the few CMS vendors on the market who has taken the extra step to understand Hi-Ed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scaleable and fits within out current infrastructure. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vignette > V7 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility of their system and scaleable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growing number of Hi-Ed clients. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>circa 2003-2004 </li></ul>
    39. 39. Sample of Application Summary <ul><li>OpenSource > OpenCMS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An enterprise-ready content management solution built in JAVA and XML from open source components. OpenCMS can be deployed on almost any existing IT infrastructure and provides feature suited for medium to large internet/intranet applications. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Runs in a “full open source” environment (e.g., Linux, Apache, Tomcat, MySQL) as well as on commercial components (e.g., Windows NT, IIs, BEA, Weblogic, Oracle RDMS) </li></ul></ul>
    40. 40. Sample of Customer Base <ul><li>RedDot > ECMS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational Customers include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Penn State AIS Dept, San Jacinto College District, Southeast Missouri State University, Trident Tech College, University of Arkansas, University of Albany </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercial Customers include </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Federal Express, The New York Times, March of Dimes, Kraft, Honda, Starbucks </li></ul></ul></ul>
    41. 41. Sample of Pros & Cons <ul><li>PaperThin > Commonspot </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Editor interface is browser based and would not require client software to operate. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Offers full control over page elements for editing, flexible levels of security. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Full training is offered for the product and tailored for the role of the user. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cons include </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does not offer dynamic environment for Lotus Notes </li></ul></ul></ul>
    42. 42. Comparison Grid <ul><li>Demo’s conducted – vendors required to follow a script (i.e. apples to apples) </li></ul>
    43. 43. Comparison Grid <ul><li>System Availability Specs (e.g., Websphere, Linux, Windows, Apache, IIS…) </li></ul><ul><li>Database Support (e.g., SQL, DB2, Oracle, Domino, Sybase…) </li></ul><ul><li>Primary System Language (e.g., ColdFusion, XML, JAVA, ASP, JSP…) </li></ul><ul><li>Support Options (e.g., Trial Period, Available Training, Phone support, Manuals, Online Help, User SIGs, Forums, Conferences, Feature Request Process…) </li></ul>
    44. 44. Comparison Grid (continued) <ul><li>Security Specs (e.g., LDAP integration, File Authoring Control, User Administration for Various Roles…) </li></ul><ul><li>Content Flow (e.g., Versioning, Approval, Audit Trail, Reporting, Expiration/Scheduling…) </li></ul><ul><li>Communications/Messaging Elements (e.g., Weblog, Discussion Forums…) </li></ul><ul><li>Development Features (e.g., Templates, User Interface, Photo Gallery, Personalization…) </li></ul>
    45. 45. Sample of Customer Questionnaire (16 questions) <ul><li>City College of New York on CommonSpot by PaperThin </li></ul><ul><li>Did you experience any difficulties during the implementation of the product? If yes, what were they? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not at all, the whole installation went very smoothly. We are running the system internally right now. We are hoping to have the full launch by the beginning of July. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What platform are you running the product on? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We are running Windows 2000 server with an SQL database. We also have Cold Fusion MX 6.1. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Which version of the product are you currently using? V3.2, though we are getting ready to finalize the upgrade to V4. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We are working on setting up the replication system before we install V4. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>With regards to the site templates, how many do you currently use? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 base master template and then 5 page layout templates. The colleges and departments can then copy over the templates for use on their sections. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Did you experience any problems with the design or implementation of the templates? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not at all, the system basically takes care of the creation for you. It is a very smooth process. The original thought was to have a whole library of templates, but after a lot of research and discussions, we agreed on 5. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you use workflow to track changes to the site? If yes, how was your experience setting up the workflow process? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We set up the workflow process for our own development right now. Each college has its own admin rights to set up their unique workflow. The system is very easy to use. </li></ul></ul>
    46. 46. “ It’s important to understand that a CMS is more than just new software; it represents a culture shift for your organization.” – John Kovacevich; Tendo’s Thought Leadership Newsletter