Waves2 Overview


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Capabilities and Features of the Waves2 web content management system

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Waves2 Overview

  1. 1. <ul><li>Introduction</li></ul>Aptinet has developed a vital new piece of software, and the efforts behind it exceed anything we’ve tackled as a company in the past. The niche is Content Management. It’s very well-known to marketers and IT professionals, familiar to most in the web-enabled business world, and just another technical acronym to the rest. Known as WAVES2, we feel the price, power, and positioning are entirely unique within the current CMS arena. This is not the typical scenario where heavy marketing obscures a lightweight product. This is a heavyweight product that warrants attention. <br /> <br />Defining “CMS” is often difficult, as it creeps into a number of disciplines, some new and some old. Generally speaking, an effective Content Management System brings a company and its content together, and while most large organizations realized this years ago, mid-size and even small companies continue to reach the same conclusion. The market is enormous and continually growing. CMS software concerns itself with the large suite of collaborative processes that facilitate and streamline the management of an online presence. With that in mind, a viable CMS must accomplish the following:<br /><ul><li>Automate the content creation and publication processes
  2. 2. Empower stakeholders to flexibly and delegate content management duties
  3. 3. Provide content workflow, approval, and security capabilities
  4. 4. Use current technology to deliver key features and integrate other applications
  5. 5. Centralize and secure the content and branding of a company or organization
  6. 6. Tangibly reduce overall costs through these types of efficiencies </li></ul>Those seeking an enterprise-level CMS have already made an effective business case for their pursuit. <br />They are not necessarily concerned with the currency of a single website, but rather a complete online presence. Somewhere along the line, dealing with content has become either inefficient, fragmented, or altogether unmanageable. This may be due to simple volume, changes in processes, changes in operational structure or management, shortcomings in technical infrastructure, or the increased speed of a competitive market. <br /> <br />Regardless, content delivery is now multi-faceted, and can include a wide variety of sites and channels. A large organization may have a sizeable public-facing website, multiple delivery platforms, a suite of dedicated marketing sites, an intranet/extranet, syndicated feeds, integrated SEO elements, legacy and third-party applications, multiple databases, and a host of other custom requirements. A CMS becomes extremely valuable when it can manage the entire web footprint, and knowing what a company specifically requires is the crucial first step when seeking a new or replacement CMS. <br />While the WAVES2 system rests on over 12 years of proven CMS experience and logic from its predecessor, a new .NET platform and a host of innovative features give WAVES2 its own unique identity. While focused on core CMS architecture and fundamentals, where appropriate the system features some of the best third-party modules available. If a particular tool has already been proven and perfected in the marketplace, it’s wise to incorporate that power without trying to reinvent the wheel. This is achieved by integrating tools from companies such as Telerik, which are used to build extensible “widgets” that can be dropped into any website location. <br />Fully configured and fully enabled, WAVES2 might overwhelm a small company web manager, so most elements can be disabled or hidden. However, the same configuration might be incredibly attractive and eye-opening to the marketing team of a larger organization. Couple the flexibility of an open-source solution with the fully developed and supported offerings of an enterprise-level CMS, and you’ll find a uniquely positioned product. <br /><ul><li>The Company</li></ul>Aptinet Incorporated 130 West 42nd StreetNew York, NY 10036<br />10 full-time employees<br />Founded October 2001**Formerly New Paradigm Software – founded 1993<br />Industry: Technology Services<br />Specialties:Application Design & DevelopmentWeb Design & DevelopmentContent Management SystemsDatabase ManagementSystem IntegrationGraphic DesignVideo Services<br />Originally founded in 1993 as New Paradigm Software, Aptinet embraced the internet before it began to flourish in the general public. The company creates innovative internet technology, marrying effective front-end design with powerful back-end components. Our design work is always complemented and supported by well-executed and stable server-side systems, with the infrastructure to service and support both sides of the equation. Aptinet’s web development experience has its roots in custom software programming and integration. Our programmers have expertise in a variety of languages and platforms, and all bridged the gap as the internet came into public prominence. We are not a virtual company, nor do we have numerous vice presidents. We are not a cobbled-together collection of independent, ex-agency principals. We are a nimble, full-service group that stresses a cohesive, under-one-roof approach to our work. Our established programming expertise allows us to create innovative approaches to both existing and new pieces of client technology. We specialize in interactive website development, content management, custom web applications, system integration, e-commerce, intranets/extranets, graphic design, multimedia presentations, and video production. Our resident programming languages are C#, ASP, ASP.NET, Java/J2EE, JSP/Servlets, JDBC, PERL, PHP, and Visual Basic. We also have extensive experience with ActionScript, C, C++, Adobe Flex, and Shell Programming. Our preferred operating systems are Windows 2000/2003/2008, Unix (Solaris/HP-UX, IBM-AIX), and Linux (Red Hat). We work with any SQL-compliant databases, including MS-SQL (Server 2000/2005), MySQL, and Oracle (8i/9i/10g). With respect to web technology we work in LAMP, IIS, AJAX, XML, XSL, XSLT, ADO.NET, CCS, XHTML, SOAP, WSDL, and ActionScript environments.<br />Top companies and organizations have awarded their online business to Aptinet because extremely personalized account management is coupled with full-service technology. Every element of a client project – from pre-discovery through to hosting/maintenance – is handled under one roof and executed with efficiency by seasoned internal staff. Aptinet can tackle large initiatives with the personality and flexibility of a smaller agency, and we take great pride in our ability to maintain longstanding client relationships.<br /><ul><li>WAVES2: The Product</li></ul>3.1 Choosing a CMS<br />In today’s market, companies seeking a CMS are presented with an abundance of choices. While there are wide ranges in terms of software delivery and complexity, there are certain basic considerations that fuel both the search for a CMS and the selection of a particular system. <br />All would agree that the manual management of a deep web presence is extremely unwieldy and expensive. Content management is a fluid concept, which aligns it more accurately with business processes than business products. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as every CMS offering requires the following before it can successfully live and breathe within a business or organization:<br /><ul><li>Configuration
  7. 7. Implementation
  8. 8. Launch & Adoption
  9. 9. Administration & Management
  10. 10. Support & Maintenance
  11. 11. Upgrades & Enhancements</li></ul>These steps apply to open-source, direct installations, SaaS, and custom solutions alike. With that in mind, choosing the correct CMS is about understanding business requirements and coupling that knowledge with both a system and vendor that meets those ongoing needs. It is essential to select a flexible, intuitive, and relevant framework. It is also essential to have helpful and capable people on the other end of the phone. WAVES2 provides these qualities in an approachable, affordable manner. <br />One-of-a-kind business processes can be replicated in our CMS and rolled out in a matter of weeks, not months. Instead of being pushed out of the enterprise market by price tags and timelines, WAVES2 allows you to implement a full-featured and fully scalable CMS in a far more cost-effective and timely manner. Many are wary of the open-source market due to implementation factors and the unknown. Our capable account staff can guide you through a well-defined process, or a resident technical team can take control of the code itself. <br />With a unique set of innovative and powerful content management tools, WAVES2 puts you in the driver’s seat. If you’re on the marketing or management side, you can easily manage staff, content, and electronic assets with no technical experience. With a very modest technical background, website suites and their full infrastructures come alive within the CMS. For the technically minded, custom applications can be developed and delivered in short order. <br />3.2 Differentiating CMS Offerings<br />There are many definitions of “enterprise” in the marketplace, all with varying degrees of acceptance. At a root level, all CMS systems capture content, store content, manage content, and deliver content. WAVES2 establishes itself in the enterprise arena by offering key features such asset/file management, workflow/approval processes, indexing, multiple site publishing, interactive widgets, portal options, installed or SaaS models, true scalability, and strong customer support. Prominent WAVES2 features include the following: <br />Site BuildingSite Management<br />AJAX Layer ManagerAsset Management<br />Bulk UploadBranded Interfacing<br />Content SharingDatabase Management<br />Form BuilderIIS Management<br />Style Sheet EditorUser & Group Management<br />Template CreationWYSIWYG Editor<br />Widget LibraryXML Management<br />Site SecuritySite Publication<br />Single Sign-OnDistributed Computing<br />Backup & RestoreError Console<br />Domain ManagementMetatag & SEO Management<br />Roles & PermissionsRemote Publishing<br />System SecurityStaging & Live Separation<br />Workflow ManagementVersion Control<br />3.3 WAVES2 Technology<br />WAVES2 is an enterprise CMS built in the .NET framework. This was chosen due its stability, programming language flexibility, management functions, hardware integration capabilities, and overall market trends. The core system logic and framework is based on the system’s predecessor (the original WAVES), which was initially developed in 1998 for large educational institutions. Using a PERL/CGI framework, the original system eventually became outmoded in terms of technology and a .NET successor was developed. The top-level technology includes the following:<br />Application Framework: .NET 3.5 or higherPlatform: Windows 2003/2008<br />Languages: VB.NET, C#, Java, jQueryDatabases: SQL Server<br />Web Server: IIS 6/7CMS Framework: Custom<br />License: Installation or SaaS<br />WAVES2 interfacing is extremely comprehensive, and is typically broken into three areas on a given page: the header, the directory tree, and the main viewing area. The header contains the logo and a set of personal user options. The directory tree provides a navigation convention for the entire system. The main viewing area changes depending on what section of the CMS is active. It may contain a visual navigation dashboard, a visual editor, database grids, or many other types of data/asset/user management interfaces. <br /><ul><li>The CMS Marketplace</li></ul>4.1 Market Context <br />WAVES2 occupies a unique niche between smaller off-the-shelf CMS systems and large enterprise systems that require the services of a 3rd-party consultant or implementation team. The smaller systems generally can’t handle the vast requirements of large businesses and organizations, and the larger systems couple a great deal of time and money with the power they provide. WAVES2 is purchased by those seeking power without the price, those seeking vendor consolidation, and those who possess a modest amount of technical know-how. For what WAVES2 provides, it is extremely affordable. WAVES2 is supported fully by the parent company Aptinet, and it can also be fully implemented and managed by a capable IT team. And while the system can be used by non-technical staff, users with even a modest level of technical knowledge can truly exploit the system’s capabilities.<br />Much of the continued demand for CMS is based on companies seeking more business value from their online presence. Web-based elements continually usurp/replace offline business processes, all of which then fall under the CMS umbrella. Overall, the web has progressed from one marketing channel to the premiere marketing channel, and the concept of Web Engagement (WEM) has been spawned. WEM dovetails content managers and marketers, and relies heavily on CMS to succeed. The evolution of the online market to what is currently a multi-channel “conversation” bolsters the CMS market. <br />4.2 CMS Categories<br />While there are unique and cross-over products the blur some of the lines, most CMS offerings fall into one of four primary camps. Each category has its own set of positive and negative attributes: <br />Open SourceThere is a common misconception that open source solutions are truly “free.” While there are cases where an open source package has merit, the reality is that most open source implementations become more lengthy and costly than other CMS types. The negligible initial investment for a CMS shell is quickly overshadowed by implementation, custom development, quality assurance, training, and ongoing maintenance. This is obviously fine when it’s anticipated, but far less welcome when it’s not. Open source software has the obvious benefit of a support “community”, but that exists without the security of dedicated support and legal contracts. Leveraged development expands reach but doesn’t allow a product to mature or offer the financial incentives of commercial development. <br />Software InstallationsTangible, installed software provides a measure of security and control on both literal and psychological levels. The code sits on resident machines, and a contract generally exists both for its use and its ongoing support. There is an inherent depth of functionality based on the need to satisfy the diverse requirements of large companies and organizations. Often the entry point in terms of pricing is out of reach to smaller companies and organizations, so many do not feel that they can afford a true enterprise-level or “commercial” offering. Others cannot justify the larger fixed costs in the context of other technical or web-based initiatives, or the recurring costs of draining their own IT resources to support the product. <br />Custom SolutionsCustom solutions, by nature, spotlessly align themselves with business processes. This can be very effective in the short-term but very problematic in the longer term when those processes, and the resources behind the related programming/development, shift. While there are certain fortunate businesses that thrive on predictability, the overall CMS market has shifted dramatically to offer highly configurable products that remove most constraints from the equation. While extremely capable technology staff may exist within an organization, the related return on investment for custom CMS projects is remarkably low. By the time a custom application matures, the investment in terms of cost and man-hours is typically huge, and the application itself may continue to be more of a cost center than a cost savings. Often the company is left attempting to tackle newer challenges with older technology. <br />Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)SaaS continues to claim market share from the other CMS types due to its flexibility, lack of infrastructure and IT requirements, cloud computing power, fast turnaround, and price points. It tends to favor smaller companies and organizations for the same reasons, and certainly favors groups that have varied or work-from-home office locations. Though many take advantage of SaaS, larger entities often have distinct policies and protocols that prevent SaaS as an option. Because the CMS data, security settings, and the CMS software itself reside outside of a corporate firewall, SaaS may not be possible due to sensitivity or related risk issues. SaaS also relies on an internet connection for delivery, which is generally reliable but still a vulnerability. <br />4.3 CMS Category Pros & Cons<br />Pros Cons<br />Open SourceNo cost for code baseHidden costs for actual viability<br />Development communityNo dedicated support<br />No contractual obligationsNo contract security or stability<br />Leveraged development baseDifficult for product to mature<br />Open and accessible code Fewer commercialized features<br />Not as tested or refined<br />Software InstallationFeature-richOvert complexity<br />Full influence over softwareRequired infrastructure<br />Customized configurationsIT resource consumption<br />Strong pre-launch supportPoor/costly post-launch support<br />Strong product maturity Potentially high costs<br />Integration flexibility<br />Custom SolutionMeets precise requirementsLack of system flexibility<br />Less outsourcing required Relies on specific developers<br />Extended development cycles<br />SaaSNo hardware/softwareReliance on 3rd-party services<br />Low maintenanceReliance on live connection<br />Strong technical supportSecurity incompatibilities<br />Fast deploymentExcludes certain markets<br />Feature-rich<br />Simple system access <br />4.4 WAVES2 Advantages<br />In the delivery of WAVES2, we have combined many of the positive aspects of all CMS types and eliminated many of the related shortcomings. It is offered as either a software installation or SaaS, with several related tiers in each category. Both the software and the company behind the software play equal roles in making it an approachable and surprising enterprise-level CMS:<br />Open SourceWAVES2<br />Pro: no cost for code baseDisclosed pricing well below industry levels<br />Pro: development communityFlexible technical support<br />Pro: leveraged development baseActive clients constantly evolving application<br />Pro: open and accessible codeOpen-source for all CMS customers<br />Con: hidden costs for actual viabilityFlexible delivery with no hidden costs<br />Con: no dedicated supportFlexible account support<br />Con: no contract security or stability12 years of CMS experience<br />Con: fewer commercialized featuresWide range of powerful features and modules<br />Con: not as tested or refinedProven system with attractive interfacing<br />Software InstallationWAVES2<br />Pro: feature-richWide range of powerful features and modules<br />Pro: full influence over softwareFlexibly offered as a software installation<br />Pro: customized configurationsHighly configurable<br />Pro: strong pre-launch supportActive and reliable pre-launch support<br />Pro: strong product maturityLong-term clients with WAVES2 migrations<br />Con: overt complexityAdvanced features can be hidden <br />Con: required infrastructureCan reside on one or multiple servers<br />Con: IT resource consumptionAutomates many IT-related tasks<br />Con: poor/costly post-launch supportActive and reliable post-launch support<br />Con: potentially high costsPricing well below market levels<br />Custom Solution WAVES2<br />Pro: meets precise requirementsExtremely flexible configuration options<br />Pro: no outsourcing requiredFull-service technology company behind it<br />Con: lack of system flexibilityHighly flexible and scalable<br />Con: relies on specific developersBuilt using industry-standard technology<br />Con: extended development cyclesFast deployment and custom development <br />SaaSWAVES2<br />Pro: no hardware/softwareFlexibly offered as SaaS<br />Pro: low maintenanceNo maintenance with SaaS model<br />Pro: strong technical supportFlexible technical support <br />Pro: fast deploymentQuick deployment with SaaS model<br />Pro: feature-richFull suite of features available with Saas model<br />Pro: simple system access via browserOffered as Saas or Software Installation<br />Con: reliance on 3rd-party servicesOffered as Saas or Software Installation<br />Con: reliance on live connectionOffered as Saas or Software Installation<br />Con: security incompatibilitiesOffered as Saas or Software Installation<br />Most enterprise-level CMS offerings provide a framework for the development of custom features. WAVES2 provides that level of flexibility while offering a large suite of built-in widgets. Marketers can perform complex tasks without the need to write a line of code, as the system provides standard CMS users with the tools to perform common server-related tasks (that are typically a regular distraction to IT teams). Meanwhile, IT departments are fully empowered and enabled to administer and configure the entirety of the system. WAVES2 provides a strong central hub that allows an entire team of stakeholders to play to their strengths. The model does not rely on 3rd party consultants – the system can be installed by the company backing it, or by a client’s internal IT department. The result is a unique product backed by a company you can have a unique relationship with. <br />