Switching CMS Vendors

In response to ongoing feedback, the Digital Services team is working to switch CMS vendors. Our new product will be OU Campus, powered by OmniUpdate. OmniUpdate was founded in 1982 and began serving higher education institutions in 2001. Unlike our current product, OU Campus has undergone numerous upgrades over the past decade to keep up with industry trends and best practices.

We went through a rigorous process to choose a new vendor. An important last step was to demo OU Campus to a number of CMS users across campus. Feedback was very positive with many asking how soon they could make the switch. We’re excited to provide this new technology to campus.

New Features

OU Campus provides a few key new features that our users will enjoy, including:

  • On-demand publishing: The user will be able to choose when to publish their new content or updates. No more waiting for that noon publish!
  • User-friendly editing: Locating and editing content will be much easier.
  • Quality control: content can be checked for spelling, accessibility, and code validity.
  • Gadgets: Gadgets are tools within OU Campus that give the user more control of and information about their content.
  • Easier off-campus access: The CMS will be accessible off-campus without the use of VPN
  • Automatic correction of bad filenames

You can watch an overview of OU Campus online.

What Does Not Transfer

There are a couple items that cannot transfer between systems during the upgrade:

  1. Webpage revisions: we will lose the history of the changes to your content. Only the most recent revision will port over to OU Campus. Learn more about how content is backed up in the CMS.
  2. Automated updates: if you took advantage of future start dates and automatic expiration dates, we will have to manually set those up in OU Campus—they won’t come over automatically.

We do not frequently need to look back at webpage revisions, but in the few cases that we do, we will use the popular tool Internet Archive. Few clients take advantage of automatically turning content on and off on a set schedule during the year. We have these few cases documented and will reconfigure these setups in OU Campus.

If you have any concerns about losing your site’s revisions or about automated content scheduling, please email cmshelp@mtu.edu and we can talk through things and find a solution.

Timeline

The Digital Services team is working with OmniUpdate to create all the necessary templates and widgets in OU Campus. Once finished, we will work on perfecting the system by porting UMC-controlled sites first. This will also allow us to test and update documentation.

We are now taking volunteers to switch over to the new system and will begin working with clients on a first-come, first-serve basis in January. We will port your content over to OU Campus and then provide training in the new system. The appearance and functionality of your website will not change—your web users will be oblivious. We anticipate transitioning all websites to the new CMS platform by June 1 and will cut off the old Percussion Rhythmyx system in July.

In order to switch systems, you must have already upgraded to the new CMS template. If you have not yet volunteered, please email cmshelp@mtu.edu.

Time Commitment

Time commitment needed from your staff will vary based on web skills and abilities.

  • We will provide an initial 90 minute group training session to those on your team charged with web updates.
  • We will provide a new CMS Guidebook with references to blog posts and tutorials.
  • Follow-up questions can be answered over phone/email.
  • Follow-up training sessions can be scheduled as needed in the coming weeks or months as questions arise.

We anticipate the 90 minute training session will suffice for the majority of CMS users, but we will have a better handle on timing as work through the first department conversions and will make adjustments as needed.

If you would like to volunteer to be an early adopter of OU Campus or if you have any questions or concerns, you can email me or cmshelp@mtu.edu.

Joel Vertin
Digital Services Manager