We’re in Vegas, baby! If you follow the world of CMS and haven’t been glued to Apple’s news all day, you surely know it’s for Sitecore’s North American Symposium. The conference brings together Sitecore experts, developers, partners and customers from around the globe for two days of education, inspiration and socializing.

We’ll be sharing more thoughts as the event’s announcements and presentations unfold, but here’s some of the highlights of this morning’s keynote by Sitecore CEO, Michael Seifert. He and his colleagues stirred the crowd up with a call for hyper-personalized web experiences that cut through clutter and get results. The unveiling of Sitecore 8 and a slew of new CMS goodies—coming before Christmas, we’re promised—drew a lot of applause, too.

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loyola

The team from Loyola University of Maryland gave a fantastic presentation at eduWeb 2014 in Baltimore about empowering authors for success with web publishing. April Arnold, Kimberly Hall and Amy Filardo co-presented on the case-study-driven story about how they wrangled more than 200 content authors from what was described as a “content crisis” to a more empowered, supported, and happier place.

The presentation, awesomely titled ‘There’s no Crying in Content Management,’ started with familiar CMS woes inside higher education. The CMS had a “bad brand” on campus thanks in large part to a decentralized environment with little structure of support.

As one of our higher education clients in a similar situation put it, “we’re a feudal society in search of a central state.”

The story at Loyola started to change in 2006 with the formation of a web communications group, shifting strategic responsibility for content and digital from IT. The new team quickly discovered that…wait for it…the pain wasn’t entirely the fault of the technology. The CMS had become a scapegoat for people not to update content and be engaged in the care and feeding of the institution’s web properties.

While it’s a common tale, organizations often complain about these realities without taking steps to improve the situation. The team at Loyola has worked hard to change the narrative.

The best takeaway for me was about the community they created called the Content Owners Network which formalized a center of excellence, training and peer encouragement among the hundreds of users in CMS. As part of this network, the web communications team requires all users to attend CMS training and works hard to provide useful tools and worksheets they can take back to their desk after the memories of the instruction fade.

Also key to the success of the network are in-person events featuring topical web themes and lecturers as well as drop in labs allowing authors to work alongside of the trainers with real scenarios. For sites that are more custom, they provide more hands on 1-1 consultations and training.

We’ve seen aspects of this type web community executed in many other organizations, but Loyola’s approach was comprehensive and consistent. It’s a good reminder that all organizations have pain around web publishing and technology, but it takes intentional actions and leadership to work through them and actually make web content management work.

Thanks to April, Kimberly and Amy for a wonderful presentation.

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174 days without a CMS incident

We welcome guest CMS Mythbuster Clint Lundmark to the blog. Clint oversees some large-scale CMS platforms in Portland, Oregon and literally has a sign in the office announcing the number of days without a CMS incident. Where there’s a sign, there’s a story and we had to hear what’s happening. A while back I inherited […]

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Running First Meetings with Prospective Agency Partners

Part 3 of a 10 part series (The right digital agency partner can make or break your organization’s online success. And yet, unless you’re extremely lucky, your partner will only be as good as the process by which you find and select them. In this 10-part series, we’ll share what we’ve learned from our clients about […]

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What You See Is Scrambled Eggs

As if this Friday couldn’t get any better, Paul Ford just published a wicked-amusing account of his trials and tribulations wrestling with a WYSIWYG editor — complete with a 484-character headline and some utterly necessary animated GIFs. Don’t even bother reading our longwinded thoughts on why people hate their CMS. Paul captures a day-in-the-life of author experience real-time fiddling with Kinja, […]

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The Inside Scoop on CMS at The New York Times

The publishing industry may be rethinking its business model, but this much we know — It’s dead serious about getting CMS right. The New York Times is the latest publisher to lift the veil on its digital publishing operations with a refreshingly open look at the platform it affectionally calls Scoop. The blog post by Luke Vnenchak, director […]

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Ditching RFPs and Creating a By-Invitation-Only Shortlist

Part 2 of a 10 part series (The right digital agency partner can make or break your organization’s online success. And yet, unless you’re extremely lucky, your partner will only be as good as the process by which you find and select them. In this 10-part series, we’ll share what we’ve learned from our clients […]

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Giddy about Governance at the U.S. Treasury Department

It’s rare to hear organizations talk positively about shared services and governance models, but tuning into a recent episode of Federal News Radio, U.S. Treasury Department Chief Information Officer Robyn East speaks to the significant progress the department has made around enterprise content management specifically. Fierce Content Management also picked up the discussion, in which East says […]

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The Auto-Magic Content Migration Myth

Few elements of a rolling out a new CMS driven website or redesign are overlooked during planning as often as content migration. I think there are a few reasons why this happens: Many project sponsors are still unaware of the critical importance of content strategy. Those who understand the many ways content can derail a CMS project may […]

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Starting Right with a Plan to Win

Part 1 of a 10 part series (The right digital agency partner can make or break your organization’s online success. And yet, unless you’re extremely lucky, your partner will only be as good as the process by which you find and select them. In this 10-part series, we’ll share what we’ve learned from our clients […]

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