University scraps website management system

The University is scrapping its current website management system – part of a $1 million website revamp started nearly two years ago – claiming it no longer suits GW’s online needs.

GW revealed its website redesign project in 2008, announcing plans to use a content management system called Vignette for its reliability.

But 18 months later, the University is now searching for a new platform “better suited to higher educational institutions,” said David Steinour, the chief information officer for GW’s Division of Information Technology.

“We have spent the last 18 months gathering business requirements and learning about the University’s needs and desires for its websites,” Steinour said. “We will apply lessons learned as we move forward.”

University spokeswoman Jill Sankey declined to comment on the new platform’s cost. A content management system is the software used to store, edit and control a website’s content.

Matt Story, director of business development at D.C. Web Designers, a firm that specializes in website design, said implementing a new platform on a large-scale website could easily cost several hundred thousand dollars, but determining an accurate cost estimate would depend on the custom functions needed. Story said GW could be moving away from Vignette if it has limited customization capabilities.

“It just must be a matter of the functionality out of the box,” Story said, adding that perhaps Vignette cannot be tweaked to the University’s needs.

Sankey also declined to comment on the limitations the current platform presents, along with features GW is looking for in a new platform, saying only that the University is looking for a “flexible” system that meets the needs of the school and its stakeholders. She declined to comment on who the stakeholders are.

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