Non-profit organizations are faced with a unique set of problems when evaluating technology solutions. Often the underlying technology is as valuable (if not more) to their cash-tight operations as it is for Fortune 500 companies. Efficiencies gained from information technology can help ensure precious funds are saved for realizing the organization's mission rather than funding administration.
The United Way of Metropolitan Nashville had similar goals when it first came into contact with InsightBuilder® 2. Although it had a well-designed site, it relied a 3rd party for making changes to its web site. This required waiting for even the most basic content udpates, as well as expensive maintenace charges for those updates. At best this amounted to a costly nuisance - at worst, in times of emergency, it was unacceptable. However the United Way realized it did not have the budget to bring in a full time, HTML trained web designer to handle needed regular updates.
Additionally, the United Way owned affordable shared server space that saved the organization on monthly expenditures, but did not allow installation of a database or content management software. The only solution would be to reuse an existing server to develop and author content, and then publish this content remotely to the shared hosting account. However this server had to reside inside the United Way's firewall, accessible onl to individuals inside the network.
Many of the large solutions intended for firms with large IT staffs and budgets would divert important resources to high license and consulting fees. Yet low priced solutions featured significant scalability and security problems, and could not effectively handle the remote publishing needs.
Security was a major concern. Contrary to what may be obvious, non-profits such as United Way are frequently the targets of hackers with opposing political beliefs. Because the United Way sought a solution in residing on a secure server inside their network, a software solution that could work with such an custom environment and still deploy content to a more open, remote location was essential. An "ASP" solution would not suffice in this case - nor would installing the software remotely as the hosting environment was "shared" - without root access.
After an internal review and product selection process, the United Way chose InsightBuilder® 2 for several reasons:
- A license fee up to 50% less than competitors'
- Easy to use, WYSIWYG editing interfaces
- Ability to replicate the United Way's desired layouts precisely with flexible InsightBuilder® 2 XSL templates
- Need to affordably abtain certain high-end features such as remote publication
Once the decision was made, the implementation process took very little from the United Way team. The team at Polar Design took their existing site which was entirely in HTML, broke it down into reusable components that would allow for even greater control over the sites appearance than previously possible, then converted each of these components into the XSL templates that InsightBuilder® 2 uses to generate the published HTML pages. Because these pages are published, the performance of the site is greatly improved over the database driven solutions available on the market.
Once the site was converted to InsightBuilder XSL templates, the Polar Design team trained members of the United Way staff on its use. Introductory stage took less than an hour of time and provided the United Way with enough knowledge to make 95% of needed changes to the site.
In the final stage of deployment, Polar Design assisted the United Way's IT manager to configure firewall, DNS and other security settings, allowing the software to easily publish content to the remote hosting server via automatic FTP.
Once Polar Design completed setup, installation and training, minimal additional time was required by the United Way staff to learn to use the syste, The result is a comprehensive, easy to use solution that allows the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville to change their site easily, cost effectively, without relying on 3rd parties -- all at a very affordable price!