Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Commence Negotiations

Do we have a CMS yet?

We're getting there! Read on...

The sound of Silence

Did you notice re.web has been silent on the issue of CMS selection since posting "Have we met?" shortly after the January 24 demonstrations of Cascade and RedDot by our friends at Global Image.

If you haven't already, you might want to read that post. In it we summarize feedback from those of you who attended; and in the 14 associated comments, we explain several of the differences in the way Cascade and RedDot implement specific key features.

Digging Deeper

We already had a demo. What else do we want to know?

Everything! We have been reviewing both Cascade and RedDot extensively, researching numerous questions, reading through knowledge base articles and user forum posts, and talking to CMS administrators at universities using each product.

I can't summarize every question we've thought up. But fortunately, our colleagues at Virginia Tech published an outstanding RFP as part of their Web CMS selection last year. You can get a sense of the level of detail of our questions by looking over sections A-L. (Thanks VT!)
Realizing that this RFP hit the streets months before the tragedy last April, and the subsequent demands on Web communication at VT, the questions in the RFP are prescient—and I'm sure the folks who wrote it were commended as the CMS negotiations progressed into April and May.
So, do we have a CMS yet?

As of today, we are opening negotiations with Hannon Hill for the purchase of the Cascade Server Web CMS.

As Susan said earlier: "Good choices are made from good options"—and both Cascade and RedDot are strong contenders in the Web CMS marketplace.

Here are a few points of interest regarding Cascade:

Cascade is currently in use at universities such as Duke, Cornell, Brandeis, and even down the road at the University of Richmond.

Cascade is on a Virginia Association of State Colleges and University Purchasing Professionals (VASCUPP) contract, which means another participating Virginia university awarded a contract based on an RFP from which all VASCUPP schools may buy. We will now attempt to customize a package of software, support, and training to meet our specific needs.

The re.web team believes that Cascade is a good fit for William and Mary. We particularly like the Asset Factories.

Asset Factories allow our implementation team to define types of content such as standard pages, News, Events, or Press Releases which will allow the user to fill in a few fields and have the CMS create the page in the correct location, link it to the appropriate template, and move it into the correct workflow. Asset Factories can also be associated with images and other types of files and media to simplify content creation.

If you click through above, you can also check out the WYSIWYG Editor, Inline Spell Checker, Image Editor, and many other features (some of which are for us programmer types). The Advanced section of the Knowledge Base gives you a hint of the power behind the scenes in Cascade, via XML/XSLT, Web Services (included SOAP/WSDL APIs), plug-ins, and the Cascade Advanced Server Toolkit (CAST).

Another thing we really like: It's all there for anyone to see— video demos, the Cascade Server Users' Forum, the Knowledge Base, and much more.

As one of my daughter's favorite characters would say . . .

Plus also, if you look at the Hannon Hill Products page you will notice that Cascade isn't competing for attention from Hannon Hill. Nor is it complicated to figure out which modules or add-ons we should buy—they are all included in the base product.

posted by Andrew Bauserman

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