The road to content management

Educause has a paper published in 2003 about Gonzaga's move to a content management system. The article details the perils of starting with a centralized system and then realizing that a monolithic organization can't handle the publishing for the many small units, groups, departments etc. that make up a modern university. Sounds eerily like the state of affairs I'm familiar with.

By the way, this problem is not unique to universities. I've been with several companies that struggle through the same thing. Having built a system for content management using text files in 1996 it's odd to see organizations trying to figure out, nearly a decade later, what the solution is.

Many technologists begin to think the world is about their technology. They jealously guard the company product - "we use product X" the line goes. (Though in higher education the product portion is often left out.) In their view the world begins to revolve around their product. They stop seeing faculty and staff members as organizational peers who have needs that might be met by technology and begin to see users. Part and parcel of this shift is the view that product X can do everything any user might want. If it doesn't then the user is mistaken about what they want. The conversation shifts from being driven by the question "What do you want to do?" and is replaced by "You need to use product X."