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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


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    1. Implementing a Web Content Management Solution Case Study: Kent State University August 19, 2003

    2. Joe Murray, Ph.D., Director, New Media Center Christine Shih, Senior Systems Analyst Lin Danes, Web Coordinator, University Communications & Marketing Presenters

    3. 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)

    4. Where We Were • 29,739 Students(Includes 8-Campus Network) • 214 Academic Programs • 5,000 Faculty and Staff • 85 Administrative Departments

    5. 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

    6. Where We Were • CMS selection process began in 1999-2000 • CMS systems were high cost and corporate • No strong educational precedent or niche

    7. 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

    8. 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

    9. 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

    10. 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

    11. 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

    12. 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

    13. 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

    14. 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

    15. 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

    16. How We Grew: Implementation

    17. Implementation Steps • Hardware • Software • Template building • Content population

    18. Hardware: Software: • OS – Windows 2000 • ColdFusion 5 • CommonSpot 3.2 SP1 • One authoring server • Two target servers • Two SQL servers

    19. 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

    20. Hardware Diagram Firewall Authoring Target 1 Target 2 SQL 1 SQL 2 GEOCLUSTER

    21. Hardware Setup Modified Firewall Authoring Target 1 Target 2 SQL 2 SQL 1 SQL 3 replicate MSSQL CUSTER

    22. 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

    23. 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

    24. Web Trends Statistics Validate Effectiveness of Redesign

    25. 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

    26. Where We Keep Growing • Key CMS Features Utilized • Lessons Learned/Benefits Realized

    27. 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

    28. 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

    29. 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.

    30. Key Features of CommonSpot • Meta tags, alt tags • Support ADA compliance • Freshness reminders/publish dates

    31. Key Features of CommonSpot • Link management (PDFs, upload files, e-mail notifications, broken links) • HTML option • Workflow control

    32. How Departments Migrate to CommonSpot Four part process – online as pdf • Scope meeting • Preview available templates • Departments • Regionals • Assessment • Pre-production • Production

    33. Regional Campus Site www.salem.kent.edu

    34. www.kent.edu/development Administrative Unit

    35. www.kent.edu/nursing College of Nursing

    36. Administrative Unit

    37. Questions? E-mail: Joe Murray – gmurray@kent.edu Christine Shih – shih@listserv.kent.edu Lin Danes – ldanes@kent.edu