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Implementing a Web Content Management Solution. Case Study: Kent State University August 19, 2003. Joe Murray, Ph.D., Director, New Media Center Christine Shih, Senior Systems Analyst Lin Danes, Web Coordinator, University Communications & Marketing. Presenters. Agenda.

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Implementing a web content management solution l.jpg

Implementing a Web Content Management Solution

Case Study: Kent State University August 19, 2003


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Joe Murray, Ph.D., Director, New Media Center

Christine Shih, Senior Systems Analyst

Lin Danes, Web Coordinator, University Communications & Marketing

Presenters


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Agenda

  • Where We Were (Murray)

    • Institutional Snapshot

    • CMS Perspective, Objectives and Selection

    • People and Costs

  • How We Grew (Shih)

    • CMS Implementation

    • Site Development Objectives

  • Where We Keep Growing (Danes)

    • Key CMS Features Utilized

    • Lessons Learned/Benefits Realized (Murray, Danes Shih)


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Where We Were

  • 29,739 Students(Includes 8-Campus Network)

  • 214 Academic Programs

  • 5,000 Faculty and Staff

  • 85 Administrative Departments


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Where We Were

  • All types of Web editing software used prior to implementation

  • Mostly PC based

  • Strong Mac usage in a few areas

  • 500,000 hits per day

  • 90% Web visitors using IE, 8% Netscape


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Where We Were

  • CMS selection process began in 1999-2000

  • CMS systems were high cost and corporate

  • No strong educational precedent or niche


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Where We Were

  • Resources included:

    • Gartner

    • Local development

    • NMC networking

    • Many live demos with users, editors, faculty and staff

    • PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Awards


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Where We Were

  • Costs for content management systems at the time ranged from around $12 K to $350 K

  • PaperThin’s CommonSpot™ Content Server was in the middle--at about $85 K

  • Purchased at version 2.5-- launched with version 3.0


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Web Site Stakeholders: Overall Goals

  • Student recruitment: undergraduates and graduates

  • Provision of services and resources to current students and faculty/staff

    • Operations & Curb Costs

  • Faculty and staff recruitment

  • Enhancement of connectivity with and among alumni

  • Internal communication

  • Overall advancement of Kent State’s institutional identity on local, regional, national and international level

  • Support research, teaching, learning


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Web Improvement Plan Content Goals

Redesign Must Provide:

  • Quicker, more intuitive navigation

  • Collective events calendar

  • Easier access to academic programs

  • No frames

  • Improved access to utilities such as online applications, WFS, e-mail and phone directory

  • Separation of current and prospective student audiences

  • Protection of sites redesigned in “family look” of generation II


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Web Improvement Plan Technology Goals

  • Improve system redundancy, failover protection and security

  • Leverage several key integrated technologies and innovations to improve data integrity (active directory, NSI Geoclustering, big IP)

  • Provide University Communications & Marketing (UCM) content editors with ability to directly maintain and publish content to the institutional Web presence

  • Replace homegrown TEXIS based system for content management


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Implementation Challenges

  • Implement new architecture without interrupting service

  • Systems analysts, developers, operators and UCM content editors must be trained

  • Coordinate conversion and build system in concert with next generation Web design migration and launch

  • Aggressive timeline


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HTTP Server

HTTP Server

HTTP Server

HTTP Server

HTTP Server

ColdFusion

ColdFusion

Various

ColdFusion

ColdFusion

CommonSpot

Read-Only Slave

Server

(P2)

Development

Server

CommonSpot

Read-Only

Master

Server

(P1)

InternetUsers

ColdFusion

ColdFusion

HTTP Server

HTTP Server

Implementation Strategy Proposed IS/CS Server Architecture

Firewall

KSU Only Contributors

Firewall

Moulton

MS-SQLDB Server

CommonSpot Standard or Enterprise Edition

LicenseAuthoring Server

CommonSpot Standard or Enterprise Edition

LicenseAuthoring Server

Big IP Load Balance Security Redundancy

Clustered Databases

In Different Locations

Library

MS-SQLDB Server

Firewall

Firewall

Staff Assignments/Responsibilities

Hardware System Administration: Wearley

Database Administration: Ritley

CS Application Administration: Shih

Network/servers: Roberts


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CommonSpot Implementation Timeline

  • Approximately 7-month span from initial install to data migration and launch on Aug. 26, 2002

  • Initially 18 professional staff from four different departments in the IS division (New Media Center; Network Services; Academic Computing & Technology; Help Desk) and 23 staff from UCM and other departments contributed to successful completion


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Why We Chose CommonSpot Content Server

  • Good out-of-the-box features, interface, documentation and customization capabilities

  • Price

  • Support relationship and continuity

  • Genuine interest to improve product, and work to make our implementation successful



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Implementation Steps

  • Hardware

  • Software

  • Template building

  • Content population


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Hardware: Software:

  • OS – Windows 2000

  • ColdFusion 5

  • CommonSpot 3.2 SP1

  • One authoring server

  • Two target servers

  • Two SQL servers


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Hardware Challenges

  • Firewall all the servers located in two buildings

  • Load balancing between the two target servers in two buildings

  • SQL servers in two different locations

    Solutions

  • BIG IP and Geoclustering


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Hardware Diagram

Firewall

Authoring

Target 1

Target 2

SQL 1

SQL 2

GEOCLUSTER


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Hardware Setup Modified

Firewall

Authoring

Target 1

Target 2

SQL 2

SQL 1

SQL 3

replicate

MSSQL CUSTER


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www.kent.edu

  • Institutional site has five tiers

    • Each tier has a different look

  • Departmental and Regional Campus templates also vary

  • Challenges

    • Tabs with highlights

    • Left-hand side navigation changes with tab

    • Alternating images on the home page and 2nd tier pages

    • Text-only versions of all sites required


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Template Solutions

  • Use templates written in ColdFusion for each tier/level

  • Use Javascript in the templates to control the alternating images and tab highlighting

  • Page layout is done in the templates



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Additional Web Goal Operations

  • Examples:

    • Online admissions

      • Fall 02 = 1st time online; 11% submitted electronically

      • Virtual tours

      • Arrange for campus visit

    • Grads/president’s list ($11K savings)

    • E-inside

    • Viewbooks


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Where We Keep Growing

  • Key CMS Features Utilized

  • Lessons Learned/Benefits Realized


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Ongoing Challenges

  • Replication stability

  • Sluggish through dial-up

  • MAC compatibility issues

  • Dual servers create short-term content inconsistency when large amount of changes are applied

  • Rollout to Departments


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Rollout Not a Challenge After All!

  • Administrative AND academic units coming on board

  • 35+ sites in various stages of development (templates only made available in late February 2003)

  • 10+ sites already live

  • Minimal public relations – all clients predominantly contact UCM based on word-of-mouth testimonial from other clients


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Benefits of Implementing a CMS & Pre-Defined Templates

  • Advances integrated marketing at institutional and departmental level

  • Provides departments with free resource to help:

    • Non-techies maintain departmental Web sites

    • Redesign for departments lacking budget for design

    • Web sites now compliant with recently approved Web Publishing Policy

  • Templates comply with the recently approved Web Publishing Policy

  • Use of WebTrends to monitor hits, most popular pages, etc.


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Key Features of CommonSpot

  • Meta tags, alt tags

    • Support ADA compliance

  • Freshness reminders/publish dates


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Key Features of CommonSpot

  • Link management (PDFs, upload files, e-mail notifications, broken links)

  • HTML option

  • Workflow control


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How Departments Migrate to CommonSpot

Four part process – online as pdf

  • Scope meeting

    • Preview available templates

      • Departments

      • Regionals

  • Assessment

  • Pre-production

  • Production


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Regional Campus Site

www.salem.kent.edu


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www.kent.edu/development

Administrative Unit


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www.kent.edu/nursing

College of Nursing



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Questions?

E-mail:

Joe Murray – [email protected]

Christine Shih – [email protected]

Lin Danes – [email protected]


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