Consulting with North Valley Catholic Social Services of California

7 12 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008, I had the distinct pleasure to work with North Valley Catholic Social Services of California.  Although, the experience certainly was an overwhelmingly positive one, as I replay it in my mind, I can’t help but focus on the IT specialist that attended and his concerns as the sole web-designer, programmer-developer and “computer” specialist in the organization.  He brought up many critical concerns about dynamic web content updates that would have challenged any good consultant.  Although it may have seemed mutually contentious, it really wasn’t; our dialogue was most certainly instructive as he brought up many great concerns:

  1. How can one be sure that implementing a Content Management System will be secure?
  2. How can an organization maintain a consistent layout and yet still allow for CMS updates by non-programmers?
  3. Who is going to be in-charge of content editing?
  4. Who is going to be granted access to the CMS and how will they know if what they are updating is aligned with organizational objectives?
  5. Can an outsider hack the CMS and spam subscribers, thereby besmirching if not opening up the organization to legal liability?

There were other more minor concerns, but these were the most critical in my view.

All of these concerns are valid, IF your coming from a prospective of web programming where the “Company Computer Guy” (ala Jimmy Falon) who wears many hats in the org is unaware of the tremendous progress that CMSs like WordPress have made in the last few years.

Also, when the Company Computer Guy is so busy putting out little annoying fires with hardware and software, its easy to get cynical about the natural ability of the general public to handle content updates at a website with style and grace, let alone competence and efficacy.

So here is what I learned:

  1. Even the more tech-savvy folks among us need to maintain a level of personal research and professional development in their trade.
  2. Pointed questions ought not to be discounted and rather, embraced to arrive at the full fruit of what the proposed idea’s merit may contain
  3. Good ideas ultimately cannot be discounted because if they are truly good, there is always a positive upsides that outweighs the negative