TitleContent Management Software for MSU Catalog Request Date2012-11-29
DepartmentAcademic Affairs, and Registrar
RequestorRon Larsen Phone406-994-3790
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts This proposal will impact all departments at MSU-Bozeman.
Proposed Dates Start: 2/1/2013 End: 6/30/2013
We propose to purchase content management software to support both the online and print versions of the MSU catalog. The process is likely to require an RFP and may take some time, but preparations for the next MSU print catalog must begin in about five months. We either have supporting software in place at that time, or we will have to use the time intensive, costly, and error-prone manual process that MSU has used for decades. It is time to adopt modern practices for maintaining our catalog.
Content management software for our catalogs will allow students and staff significantly improved access to the information they need to make good decisions. Since the catalog provides the requirements for each degree program, there is a direct connection between the strategic planís Learning goal and this proposal. Because the catalog provides the content considered when students are comparison shopping for universities, there is a connection to the strategic planís Access goal. This is enhanced because modern content management systems will allow the data to be presented in multiple formats, including formats designed for mobile devices.

Additionally, there is a connection to the strategic planís Stewardship goal because this software will make better use of resources by ensuring that the requested changes are actually implemented the first time rather than requiring faculty and staff members to monitor and follow up, then resubmitting change requests. This software will also facilitate strategic curricular improvement processes for faculty and academic departments.
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Materials & Supplies              
Contracted Services       15000  75000     
Other Operations              
TOTAL 15000  75000     
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

This proposal includes OTO funds for a one-time license fee, and a production fee for moving existing catalog content into the content management software.  Base funds for the annual contract to use the software.

These values are estimates since the software has not yet been selected and purchasing rules limit contact with vendors prior to issuing an RFP.

Describe the Proposal

The proposal is for the purchase of hosted content management software for the MSU catalog. Conversion to a managed process will require a one-time transfer of existing information into the software, and identification of content owners. After the conversion, content owners will be able to update their content as needed.

The content management software separates the information content from the presentation format and allows the information to be formatted for a web presentation, a web presentation designed for mobile devices, and print format. Because the content is managed separately from the display of the information, updating the content causes the display to be updated in any and all presentation formats.

The timing of the proposal is a challenge because the best content management software for our needs has not yet been identified, but the process is underway. Costs of the different solutions varies widely, and the costs included in this proposal represent the lower end of the range on the presumption that cost will be a significant factor in the selection of the software. If it is determined that the feature set of the more expensive product is required, additional funding will be identified.

The software needs to be identified, selected, and installed before Fall 2013 if we are going to get the next print catalog completed in time for summer orientation in 2014.

Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

The use of content management software for the MSU catalog has three primary benefits:

  • Less hassle for the content owners – they will be able to submit changes and know that their changes will be made.
  • Fewer errors – by involving fewer steps and fewer people between the content owners and published data there are significantly fewer opportunities to introduce errors.
  • Higher quality catalogs – MSU’s online presence will be dramatically improved with better presentation of information and improved access to that information. The ability to present content in a format suitable for mobile devices meets a need of our students.
Implementation Plan

Staff from the Provost’s Office, Registrar’s Office, and University Communications are currently gathering information on the available products in order to prepare an RFP (if required) so that the software can be identified, purchased, and installed before the end of summer. We will work with ITC to ensure that this timeline is workable.

Once the software is installed and the existing content is transferred, we will begin working with departments and other content owners to update the MSU catalog by January 2014 so that a new print version can be prepared in time for summer orientations in 2014.

Assessment Plan

The assessment will be tied to the three primary benefits listed above:

  • Less hassle for the content owners
  • Fewer errors
  • Higher quality catalogs

We will contact the content owners and users after the next catalog is published to see if the intended benefits were achieved.

If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

If the content owners and users feel that the new method has not improved the process, we can always go back to the historical method of catalog preparation.

Note: I have been a little creative in the use of the signature email addresses in the next section since department head and dean signatures do not apply. Instead I have included Bonnie Ashley (my co-author) so that she can indicate her support, Jim Rimpau as VP Student Success (Bonnie's supervisor) and Martha Potvin (my supervisor).


Department Head: Bonnie Ashley (
Dean/Director: James Rimpau (
Executive/VP: Martha Potvin (