With online higher education booming, students have a great deal of choice about where to complete their degrees. While this situation is great for students, it’s putting a lot of pressure on the administrators to deliver on high-quality education in innovative ways.
Designed to meet the needs of a changing global business environment is Nexford University, a next-generation university based in Washington DC. This new online, American player has switched up the traditional university model by thinking of its learners as consumers and putting their success at the heart of its programs. With a competency-based learning model – in other words, by teaching job skills – the university has already established a worldwide learner community studying on its Bachelor of Business Administration and MBA degree programs. Its mission of enabling greater social and economic mobility by providing affordable, high-quality education requires a highly responsive content management system (CMS). Geo-targeting and personalized content for its diverse audience was a must from day one.
“We evaluated several market-leading CMS options,” said Paul Coleman, Chief Technology Officer at Nexford University. “But what we found was that they were expensive in terms of both time and money.”
Coleman’s team also explored platforms like WordPress but were unimpressed with the solutions at the other end of the scale too. “WordPress is great as a blog platform, but for a comprehensive CMS it was difficult to compare capabilities. We certainly wanted to avoid the hassles of self-hosting particularly when it came to issues of security and uptime,” he shared. Undeterred by the initial lackluster offerings, Coleman reached out to Sitecore to assess their CMS offerings. “While Sitecore has traditionally served large corporations, I knew that they had a reputation for flexibility and innovation, which was certainly true in this case,” he said.
The Sitecore KickStart CMS platform was developed to meet the CMS and digital marketing needs of lower to mid-size organizations and XCentium enhanced the offering with a turn-key solution in Flex Accelerator . “Flex Accelerator was built with organizations like Nexford University in mind,” shared Jeff Chung, Vice President Client Services at XCentium. “It’s a hybrid platform that allows users to take advantage of many types of customizable, prebuilt components, giving users flexibility to create their own Sitecore site, faster than ever before..”
“A disruptive organization like Nexford University needs a CMS solution that’s going to keep pace with them, something that will scale as quickly and seamlessly as the rest of their organization has. Sitecore Kickstart delivers on that need,” added Rick Shepherd, Vice President for Inside Sales in North America at Sitecore.
For Nexford University, this offering was close to perfect. “What we got by working with Sitecore and their partner XCentium was a turn-key solution that got 90 percent of what we wanted for our site as well as cloud-hosting, managed solutions, and on-going support,” said Paul. “If we’d held out for 100 percent, the costs would have been prohibitive and the site would still be in development. It enabled us to develop an enterprise-grade website and customer experience platform 3 to 5 times more quickly than if we’d opted for a traditional custom development.”
But the advantages didn’t stop when the site was built. According to Paul his marketing team enjoys working on the site each and every day. “Nexford University is a period of active growth and we need be able to change our course offerings as they come to market,” he shared. “The team can make these updates and changes seamlessly with no impact on the users and without having to wait for an external team to push the changes live on their schedule.”