January 16, 2008

Simplicity Is Complex

Datatel's ActiveCampus eMarketing (of which I am the Program Manager) is a comprehensive product, well, actually three products in one. ActiveAdmissions and ActiveAlumni both are built on the ActiveCampus Content Management System (CMS) Platform. The system consists of a set of controls that can be assembled together to make up web pages. Each portion (dare I say webpart) of a web page is one control. For example, a banner ad might be one control, a new story another, the navigation another, etc.

ActiveAdmissions has some specialized controls such as the online application and guidance counselor functions. ActiveAlumni has its directory and authentication controls. Both products share a multitude of controls, however. Each control can be customized based on the user's needs. For example, an alumni spotlight content item may consist of an uploaded photograph, person's name, their degree, their current job and the year graduated. Another client may want to add in their favorite memory. The system can handle any number of fields for any of the controls.

Datatel consultants work with the client on best practices, but always want the client to put their own "touch" on their website so it is different from other institutions. Working together with solutions consultants, creative consultants and User Interface developers, the sites come together in a beautiful way. When tightly integrated with data from Colleague, things go well.
All of this orchestration takes a lot of work, and a lot of pieces need to fit tightly together. Software development works hard to make it all happen under the covers, and we continue to improve the product and services.

Thanks to a great team in Buffalo and Fairfax, this is a true "user experience" process that keeps getting better.

1 comment:

Ian Mortimer said...

Hey John -

I thought the content of this posting was supposed to be about getting Americans to smoke more! I agree.