I spent the majority of last week with members of the Sitefinity Team at the EDUCAUSE conference in Denver, CO. This was certainly one of the larger conferences I’ve attended. With thousands of representatives from schools, colleges, and universities around the world, it seemed like every school was represented. The diversity was palpable. Each individual I spoke with shared their desire to investigate technologies relevant to their own particular organization. From identity management and cloud storage, to video/rich media delivery and web content management, their interests spanned a broad spectrum.
However, a common theme I took from visitors to the Sitefinity booth was mobile technology. Almost everyone that stopped by was carrying a web enabled cell phone, AND an overwhelming majority of them also had some sort of tablet device. I guess we picked the right prize for Sitefinity booth visitors when we chose an iPad for our raffle! Congratulations to Andrew Blakeslee on winning it! Each representative was concerned about making their school website mobile device accessible. Many of these folks had open source systems, which are fine, but lack the great features we offer in Sitefinity that would easily address their web issues (such as mobile). Not surprisingly, crowds were very receptive to Sitefinity’s Responsive Design demonstration. Time after time, folks loved the idea of only managing one set of content templates, and not having to worry about which device was being used to view their site.
For those who don’t know, Sitefinity’s Responsive Design capabilities take advantage of industry standards to adjust how content is displayed on a given device in relationship to the screen size. As the screen size changes, so too does the layout of the content delivered - cool, I know. You don’t need to know CSS or HTML, since it’s all accomplished through the intuitive Sitefinity interface.
Impressed visitors then asked, “Can you share any examples of your education clients?” Of course, this was easy to answer because we had one of our clients available on-site in our booth to answer these very questions. Lincoln Interactive had great success using Sitefinity, and are converting their entire 280 course curriculum—preschool to 12th grade—to our CMS. You can read the free case study here. Sitefinity also showcases clients by industry on our website using convenient filters, so it’s always easy to see who’s using Sitefinity.
But this really got me thinking about the genesis of the question. At heart, we are afraid of attempting new things, and are more terrified of making a bad choice. There’s a saying in technology, “no one gets fired for choosing Microsoft.” The basic premise echoes that you will avoid criticism by following the herd. For instance, there are some well-known EDU vendors that bank on EDU clients flocking to them because, well, that’s what EDU clients “do.” It really got me thinking, why this is so. Even though Sitefinity has a large number of recognizable EDU clients, the real power of Sitefinity is its ease of use, rich out of the box features, and complete customizability. These are benefits that are truly vertical agnostic. I mean, doesn’t EVERY business, financial, education, nonprofit, manufacturing, or medical client want to get their online business platform up and running quickly? Don’t they ALL want a high user adoption rate? Seems like a no-brainer to me! So I’m definitely looking forward to further conversations with the hundreds or folks we met at EDUCAUSE. We want build on the excitement people have for Sitefinity, and look forward to helping them solve—and conquer— their business problems on the web.