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The Grass is Always Greener: What Other CMS's Offer Higher Education

The Grass is Always Greener: What Other CMS's Offer Higher Education

While WordPress has a substantial presence in higher education, it's not the only game in town. Most colleges and universities have multiple content management platforms in play across campus: used by different schools, departments, research centers, labs, facilities, libraries, athletics, alumni and admissions. Even some smaller colleges, in my experience, end up with 3-4 different ways of managing and presenting web content—and don't even get me started on learning management systems, student information systems, marketing automation and so on.

For this talk I'll focus on the other CMS platforms. What do they offer that is attractive to the higher education market? How do they differentiate themselves from WordPress? How can WordPress better compete?

Put more bluntly, how on earth did someone convince the business school to use Sitecore? Why does the college of engineering insist on Drupal? Why are so many campuses on Cascade Server?

Snark aside, you'll leave better equipped to have the inevitable conversations about the dreaded other platforms—and just might find they're doing some things we can learn from as we look to bring the joy of WordPress to more campuses.


John Eckman

July 14, 2018


  1. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus THE GRASS IS ALWAYS

    GREENER: WHAT OTHER CMS’S OFFER HIGHER ED W P C A M P U S 2 0 1 8 John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus
  2. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus HIGHER EDUCATION, THEN CMS

  3. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus CMS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

    Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash
  4. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus CMS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

    Photo by Sneaky Elbow on Unsplash
  5. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus CMS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

    Photo by Judi Neumeyer on Unsplash
  6. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus CMS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

    Photo by Rebekah Howell on Unsplash
  7. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus ALL TOGETHER NOW

  8. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus ECKMAN’S LAW Given enough

    time, the number of web sites produced by any institution of higher learning will exceed the number of: current students, faculty, staff, departments, research labs, student groups, cross-discipline initiatives, schools, colleges, alumni organizations, campuses, buildings, libraries, institutes, publications, . . .
  9. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus The question isn’t: “What

    platform does your institution use for content management” The question is: “What platforms are used, for what purposes, by whom, and how effectively?” https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/OneTrueRing.JPG
  10. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus CMS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

  11. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus HOW PEOPLE CHOOSE PLATFORMS

  12. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus THE CMS MARKET IN

  13. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus THE CMS MARKET IN

    HIGHER ED https://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2834-The-CMS-Game-of-Thrones
  14. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus THE CMS MARKET IN

    HIGHER ED https://w3techs.com/technologies/segmentation/tld-edu-/content_management
  15. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WPCAMPUS SURVEY DATA

  16. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus CMS MARKET IN HIGHER

    EDUCATION https://greggbanse.com/blog/2017-higher-ed-cms-survey/ n=96? M A R C H 2 0 1 7
  17. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus THE CMS MARKET IN

    HIGHER ED https://www.eqafy.com/web-analytics-blog/214-which-web-content-management-systems-do-us-universities-use.html S E P T. 2 0 1 6
  18. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus n=2575 N O V.

    2 0 1 6 https://www.eqafy.com/web-analytics-blog/209-web-content-management-systems-and-us-higher-education-institutions.html
  19. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus OTHER PLATFORMS https://www.flickr.com/photos/banyan_tree/1499022057 Commercial

    General Higher Ed Focused Open Source General Other
  20. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY SITECORE OR AEM?

    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
  21. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY SITECORE?

  22. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY SITECORE? Aspirational

  23. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY SITECORE? Sitecore achieved

    the highest position in execution . . . Sitecore’s position has advanced every year. . . . We’ve held the highest position on the Ability to Execute axis for three years in a row. . . . Sitecore has been positioned either highest on execution or furthest on vision a total of six times
  24. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY ADOBE EXPERIENCE MANAGER?

  25. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY ADOBE EXPERIENCE MANAGER?

  26. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY ADOBE EXPERIENCE MANAGER?

  27. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY ADOBE EXPERIENCE MANAGER?

  28. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus HOW TO RESPOND: PROPRIETARY

    Photo by Benedikt Geyer on Unsplash • High License costs • High development costs • “Out of the box” is a lie • You can’t handle personalization • A more expensive tool will not improve your content production • Estimates for implementation & licensing • Demo the authoring experience for authors
  29. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY DRUPAL? https://www.flickr.com/photos/gaborhojtsy/279354232

  30. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY DRUPAL? • Power

    users can assemble sites from modules • Tailored “distributions” - starter kits • Global community, w/ significant presence in Higher Ed • An experienced Drupal team can move quickly Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash
  31. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus HOW TO RESPOND: DRUPAL

    Photo by Thomas Fields on Unsplash • First step in the learning curve is very steep • Major version updates break back-compat • Developer experience > Author/Editor Experience • Complexity from dependency management • Requires effective team (in house or agency)
  32. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus OTHER OPEN SOURCE Photo

    by Leyre Labarga on Unsplash
  33. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus HOW TO RESPOND: OTHER

    OPEN SOURCE Photo by Kace Rodriguez on Unsplash • Will the community be significant enough? • How difficult will it be for us to maintain / support? • How much of an experiment is this? • How easily can we get content out?
  34. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY CASCADE, OU, OR

    T4? Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash
  35. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus

  36. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY OUCAMPUS?

  37. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus WHY TERMINAL FOUR?

  38. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus HIGHER ED FOCUSED COMMERCIAL

    • Reduced need for in-house development • Stronger promise of support, training, & documentation • Simpler feature set aimed at specific needs • Significant presence within specific niches Photo by Tianyi Ma on Unsplash
  39. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus HOW TO RESPOND: HIGHER

    ED Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash • Are we joining a dying community? • How can they keep up with the broader development community? • Are we renting instead of buying something we really need to own?
  40. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus HOW TO RESPOND OVERALL

    • Be open to learning. Seek first to understand. • Get beyond “marketing” to real hands-on experience • Integrate - be open to a multiplatform ecosystem • Share data, share experiences, create community • At the of the day, the platform is not the thing
  41. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus There are probably a

    dozen or more CMS platforms on which you could succeed in building out a set of digital experiences. There are an infinite number of platforms on which you could fail. Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash
  42. John Eckman • @jeckman • john.eckman@10up.com

  43. John Eckman • @jeckman • #wpcampus CREDITS • Title Slide:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/ Griffith_College_Dublin_campus_green.jpg • Slide 3 (one puppy): https://unsplash.com/photos/sssxyuZape8 • Slide 4 (3 pugs): https://unsplash.com/photos/h00rqvO5A-M • Slide 5 (5 puppies): https://unsplash.com/photos/ECjHeJtRznQ • Slide 6 (hounds): https://unsplash.com/photos/9FDKj-FrfA4 • Slide 9 (ring): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/ 7/73/OneTrueRing.JPG • Side 10 (Admin building): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Administration_building,_Washington_University,_St._Louis,_ Mo_(63237).jpg • Slide 11: http://www.cmsmyth.com/2015/04/the-real-reasons- people-hate-their-cms/ • Slide 12: http://www.realstorygroup.com/vendormap • Slide 13: https://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2834-The-CMS- Game-of-Thrones • Slide 14: https://w3techs.com/technologies/segmentation/tld-edu-/ content_management • Slide 15 (WPCampus Survey): https://docs.google.com/ spreadsheets/d/ 109Rk_AbGVBGurUaKc5icnVO5i24NMtc_mEuUCHTkyOM/edit • Slide 16: https://greggbanse.com/blog/2017-higher-ed-cms- survey/ • Slide 17: https://www.eqafy.com/web-analytics-blog/214-which- web-content-management-systems-do-us-universities-use.html • Slide 18: https://www.eqafy.com/web-analytics-blog/209-web- content-management-systems-and-us-higher-education- institutions.html • Slide 19: https://www.flickr.com/photos/banyan_tree/1499022057 • Slide 20: https://unsplash.com/photos/WLDtOWLuSgA • Slides 21-23: http://www.sitecore.com/ • Slide 24-27: https://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud/experience- manager.html • Slide 28: https://unsplash.com/photos/Qq_F_5kS7uo • Slide 29: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gaborhojtsy/279354232 • Slide 30: https://unsplash.com/photos/9OKGEVJiTKk • Slide 31: https://unsplash.com/photos/TaROFjpUBCI • Slide 32: https://unsplash.com/photos/lfyP9zTgUp0 • Slide 33: https://unsplash.com/photos/Jn34PAjUQPs • Slide 34: https://unsplash.com/photos/A_InfAQM_lU • Slides 35-37 sites of companies represented • Slide 38: https://unsplash.com/photos/xx6p28Oz9HI • Slide 39: https://unsplash.com/photos/NP4mDCN0PIU • Slide 40: Unknown. Let me know if you know. • Slide 41: https://unsplash.com/photos/0tfz7ZoXaWc