Why Pick a CMS Designed Exclusively for Higher Ed? It’s Just Common Sense!
by Carol Clements on April 23, 2014
We are often asked why we offer our web content management system (CMS) exclusively to higher education. Couldn't we make more money by broadening our marketing efforts beyond colleges and universities? After all, since our CMS is built on a powerful and extensible platform using open standards technology, it should be well-primed for use outside of higher ed too. Hypothetically, the answer is "yes." Our CMS technology would work for any type of industry. And, clearly, more potential business prospects should equal more and bigger sales. But more and bigger isn't always better.
At OmniUpdate, we are intentionally focused. We are strategically unique among CMS providers. Yes, of course we want to quickly grow our business. But we equally value customer satisfaction and retention, and we believe that is our path to sustainable success. Both are much easier to achieve when you are fully committed to satisfying a particular type of customer's unique needs. It's why we've chosen to focus on higher ed. It's not an accident. It's a leap of faith. We truly believe that doing the right things for the right reasons will reap the desired rewards for everyone. Prospective buyers will naturally seek out a CMS product with a history of good reviews and satisfied customers, and OmniUpdate will ultimately win in that coin toss.
The next argument we hear is, "Yeah, but all CMS products seem pretty similar. Look at this grid of comparable features, everything is checked 'yes' for all products. Should it really matter to higher ed institutions that you've decided to focus on their niche market?" The answer to this question is again "yes." Lance Merker, President and CEO of OmniUpdate, has publically stated, "We believe that respecting and understanding our customers is the foundation for a superior product and support." What exactly does he mean by that? Well, everyone knows that the CMS marketplace is crowded with options. He believes that if a company is laser-focused on addressing the needs of a particular type of customer, it naturally leads the company to develop the subtle nuances in its product that beneficially differentiates it. For example, everyone needs to preview their content on a web page before it's published; and every CMS offers (or should offer) such functionality. But, based on customer feedback and requests, we offer Multi-Browser Preview. Before publishing, our customers can instantly preview and compare their web pages in full-resolution screenshots from a multitude of browser and operating system combinations, including desktop browsers and mobile devices. It's these subtle customer-centric differences that make our OU Campus CMS unique and our users more satisfied. It follows then that more satisfied product users are much easier to support. Everyone wins.
Another argument is, "We need our CMS to work with existing systems on campus." No problem. OU Campus is extensible, and core functions can be seamlessly integrated with other systems used through REST-style APIs. It can be managed in the cloud or hosted on an institution's servers, whatever the institution is comfortable with. It can be accessed using the same account login credentials as other systems on campus and is not dependent on a specific server environment or web browser. Choosing OU Campus will open up a world of integration options—something your developers will love you for.
So, as I've said, every nuance of our product development and support is vetted through
the lens of the higher ed user. Is a disadvantage to be so single-minded? We think
no. When you need surgery, it's preferable to go to a medical expert that specializes
in treating your condition. When you have a car that needs repair, it's preferable
to take it to a reliable mechanic that specializes in servicing your make of automobile.
You get the picture. It just makes sense for us to specialize and for the wise CMS
buyer to seek out a specialist.
How do we know we are on the right track in our pursuit of perfecting a CMS for higher ed? No, we do not win every deal we bid on. But, our higher ed customer base is growing at a nice pace. And, we've had a steady 98% customer satisfaction rate and renewal rate for our OU Campus CMS for many years now—both rates truly unheard of in the software industry. So we take pride in our single-minded commitment. We are confident that our product's core features, functionalities, and services hit the mark for our target customer, and we’re dedicated to maintaining this competitive edge in the future. Our product roadmap, voted on by our higher ed customers, permits us to have far fewer detours and distractions than most CMS companies, as well as far more of a chance for long-term customer satisfaction and success.