November 19, 2019
Q&A with Dan MacArthur: Director of Higher Education Solutions for Ingeniux
Interview Dan MacArthur Higher Education Web Experience Ingeniux

Ingeniux works closely with higher education institutes on their digital experiences. From implementing a new content management system to redeveloping the web experience or creating a student portal, we understand the opportunities and challenges unique to this market. To help us continue to provide technology and strategic advice, we’re introducing a new member of the higher education team at Ingeniux.

Dan MacArthur is the new Director of Higher Education Solutions at Ingeniux. He comes from Susquehanna University, where he spent the last five years as the Director of Web Communications. We grabbed a few minutes of Dan’s time to learn more about him and his views on building digital experiences for higher education.

Q: Tell us about your responsibilities as Director of Higher Education Solutions at Ingeniux

DM: I’m excited that I get to work with Ingeniux customers on a variety of levels and projects. Leveraging my experience in higher education, I’ll be defining the strategic and technical use of Ingeniux products and services with customers. I’ll also get to work closely with a group of customers as their account manager, getting to know their business requirements and recommending Ingeniux products and services to meet their needs.

I’ll be expanding on my previous work presenting at conferences, writing articles on trends in higher education, and providing direction and thought leadership. With more than five years of using the Ingeniux CMS, I’ll also be able to work internally to help enhance and innovate the product to meet the needs of higher education customers.

Q: In your last role, you worked as the Director of Web Communications at Susquehanna University and referred to yourself as a Digital Swiss Army Knife. What did you do in your time there?

DM: Anything and everything related to digital services - strategy, CMS administration, design, schema boxouts, client meetings, content creation, narrative writing, training, photography, videography, managed a social media expert and managed and mentored a full-time developer, vendor relations, digital advertising, e-newsletters, and analytics tracking. We were a one-stop-shop and we took a tremendous amount of pride in helping the university reach enrollment and giving goals.

I appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with exceptionally talented people and create unique solutions based on our professional experience, market trends, and our own research. The university went through a redesign my first year there, and we concentrated on evolving the site in the years since instead of subscribing to the blow it up every three years model.

Note: Check out the summary of Dan’s eduWeb Conference presentation: Break Free of the Redesign Cycle.

Q: What do you see as the benefits of using Ingeniux CMS?

DM: There were lots of benefits I experienced daily when using Ingeniux CMS, but I appreciated none more than the level of service and support we received. From simple questions and routine uploads to that time we were hit with a DDOS attack, and Ingeniux was on it before I even woke up that day. We had no loss of service because of the redundant servers, and during the April deposit push, that was huge.

As I talk to other web professionals across the Higher Education landscape, the thing that everyone wants is flexibility. We took full advantage of Ingeniux’s flexibility while at the same time used the power of the software to re-use content in many creative ways. It really was the best of both worlds - structured data with creative flair.

Q: What opportunities do you think there are for Higher Education and digital experience?

DM: Personalization in a way that enhances the user’s experience and delivers content they’re likely to be interested in because of the pages they’ve visited on your site. Marketing and communications offices put considerable resources into content generation, and it’s always a question of how to best deliver that. When prospective students and parents come to your site, that’s half the battle, now use their own interests to magnify the visit and get them closer to a conversion.

On the management side of the digital experience, the move to hosted environments frees on-campus resources, increases security, and maintains business continuity. In build-it or buy-it discussions, partnering with a company whose business is to anticipate and solve the problems that can wreck a university’s operations is good planning. Don’t think of it as buying a service, think of it as an investment in continuity and protection from natural disasters and cyber-attacks for a price point you could never get on your own if you tried to build the same systems from scratch.

Q: What are the key challenges they face?

DM: Nearly everyone is struggling with enrollment and certainly looking for prospective students in the same places as their peer institutions. We know from demographic data; the number of high school graduates is expected to continue to decline because of a drop in the birth rate over the last two decades. The challenge for every university or college then is two-fold: how do they stand out and how do they create their experience in an efficient and cost-effective way. A good digital experience management system helps both. It keeps your brand consistent and on point. It also increases efficiency because of how scalable and manageable it can be - fewer employees managing a system means more resources to use for other initiatives.

Q: How do you see the market for web content management in Higher Education evolving?

DM: Community, community, community. Whether that means sharing ideas, code snippets, crowd-source answers to questions, or commiserate, we expect most things in life to have communal aspects, and a CMS is no different.

Add to that an increased interest in content re-usability both within the CMS and propagation to other mediums, more built-in analytics capabilities, and increased flexibility with an even larger eye on efficiency and economic considerations.

I think the web content management system needs to help the university or college website evolve instead of getting caught in an expensive redesign cycle. I think the days of very specific page templates are coming to an end in favor of atomic design principles, and the best web content management systems can allow this while maintaining brand consistency.

Posted by Barb Mosher Zinck