How many CMS systems in YOUR organization?

I spent time last week at the UPenn Wharton UI Conference 2010 in Philadelphia, where I was treated to a session that was music to my ears.

“Your CMS is Not a Toaster,” led by Jen Yuan, an IT communications analyst in Penn’s IS and computing department, hit the nail on the head: CMS is NOT the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s a tool to help you achieve your website goals. Nothing more, nothing less.

There was a lot to take in from her session (more in a later post) but it was her research into CMS systems currently being used on campus that really made my eyes pop out.

A few months ago, Yuan conducted a survey targeting anyone who manages CMS or CMS-like systems on campus. In all, 64 people responded. The slate of questions included one asking which CMS a given group or department was using.

Care to guess how many CMS systems are in play at Penn? Five? Ten? Go higher.

Yuan’s survey identified approximately 20 (yes 20) CMS or CMS-like systems in play at Penn. The leader by far: open-source Drupal, being used by at least 14 separate departments or groups on campus, followed closely by “custom systems” (eight) and Joomla (seven).

And, old friend WordPress was cited six times by respondents, recalling for me the debate we sparked here at the Myth a few months back with our post, “Is WordPress a CMS?”  But I digress.

Rounding out the remainder of the systems consisted of a who’s who of systems and tools: Adobe Contribute, Documentum eRoom, Open Text/Red Dot CMS, Expression Engine, DotNetNuke, Sharepoint, PaperThin CommonSpot … the list goes on.

Granted, Penn’s like any other large, decentralized university operating with many, many fiefdoms that don’t easily roll up into a central web authority. But it would seem a natural to try to rationalize at least some of the systems in an attempt to standardize, save on costs, reduce the range of programming expertise required, and so on. I know – easier said than done.

It begs the question: How many CMS (or CMS-like) systems are in play at your organization? And, what are you going to do about it?

About the Author
David Aponovich

A former 'CMS Insider,' David is relentlessly focused on the gap between vendor speak and customer adoption. In addition to keeping a keen eye on industry trends, he works with clients on the cultural and process implications of CMS that are so often overlooked. David wrote for the CMS Myth during his time working at Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design).

More articles from David Aponovich

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