May 6, 2005

Benson coop never Metadot it didn't like

Author: Tina Gasperson

A Benson, Arizona energy services cooperative has found an open source content management system (CMS) that gives it the power needed to run not only the company intranet, but a handful of external-facing Web sites as well. On top of that, with Metadot Portal Server, the cooperative is saving thousands of dollars on licensing fees it would otherwise have had to pay if it made use of proprietary CMS software.

Sierra Southwest Energy Cooperative is a non-profit energy services and staffing provider in Boston. Because of its not-for-profit status and the fact that it is owned and controlled by its customers, Sierra operates on a tight budget. Tony Cardenas, Sierra's security administrator, was looking for a content management system that was easy to use and inexpensive.

Because the company uses its intranet to facilitate communication of important information to employees, he needed a system that would allow him to quickly upload content without having to hand-convert everything to HTML. Additionally, it had to be simple enough that non-technical staff could learn how to update their own departments' content so that Cardenas could concentrate on more important IT tasks.

Sierra also hosts Web sites for other cooperatives, and Cardenas needed to insure that the other companies could update their content without having to call him every time something needed to be changed.

Cardenas says, "I ran across Metadot and implemented it on a trial basis." Cardenas moved one Web site over to Metadot's Portal Server and found that it took only a few hours to set it up. The same was true for the installation process with Metadot's intranet software.

Cardenas, the sole staff member in his department, likes that Metadot has been "extremely easy" to use. "Our intranet and the sites we hosted were based on standard HTML," he says. "This software facilitates the company's needs -- the dissemination and posting of information on a timely basis."

He also appreciates the thoroughness of Metadot's documentation. "The instructions for the Linux platform were straightforward and easy to follow. We had it up in a couple of hours." Cardenas was running the company intranet on Windows before the migration to Metadot. Now all the company's internal and external sites are running on SUSE 8. Cardenas is in the process of training several selected staff members to use the Metadot backend.

Metadot runs on Linux, Solaris, Windows, and Oracle, and is freely available for download. The company makes money by selling services such as installation and ongoing support.

Metadot also makes available a professional edition of the software that costs about $2,000 per year. The package includes the Metadot Portal Server, installation support, software updates, professional customer support, access to Metadot's online training center, and optional managed hosting.


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