11 Years and Counting


Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 1:00pm -- Kat Liendgens


Happy Birthday to us! Hannon Hill turned 11 last month. Our chairman, David Cummings, founded the company in his dorm room at Duke, back when most organizations were not using content management systems and the process of maintaining web content was much more tedious than it is now. Thanks to David’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit, Hannon Hill has come a long way. The company has grown every year, we have added amazing people to our team, and Cascade Server now powers thousands of higher education websites. At this time, I thought I’d take a few moments to talk about some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years, including, but not limited to the following:
  • The importance of a strong corporate culture cannot be overestimated. As David said, “Corporate culture is the only long-term, sustainable, competitive advantage within your control.” Are we picky when it comes to hiring? You bet. We only consider people who truly embrace our core values by being positive, self-starting, and supportive. As a result, we are able to provide unrivaled customer service. In addition, due to our focus on team work and collaboration, there are no silos. That’s why it’s not uncommon for an engineer to get on a support call, or for our support manager to answer questions on a consulting call. Because of our unique company culture, we are able to foster autonomy. For instance, we don’t track vacation days, and we also allow our team members to work on special projects of their choosing. If you would like to learn more about our corporate culture, check out Holly’s blog post.
  • Always be open and transparent. Some may wonder why our knowledge base, our GITHUB code repository, our videos, and even our pricing are accessible to everyone. The reason is a simple one. We subscribe to transparency as our philosophy, and we put our money where our mouth is. You don’t have to be a customer to have access to our pertinent resources.
  • It’s more than content management--it’s about content empowerment. We are firm believers in fresh, quality content. Your content is the heart and soul of your web presence, and it’s the reason why people visit your site. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to provide tools that not only help contributors manage their content quickly and easily, but to empower them to maximize the effectiveness of their content. We are committed to continuing to enhance your ability to optimize your content and to analyze what works best.
  • You have to understand content in order to build a great CMS. In order to be able to build not just the most powerful, but also the most useful content management and empowerment solution for your customers, you have to develop a strong appreciation and thorough understanding of the importance of content and content strategy, as well as modern marketing concepts.
  • Collectively identify new opportunities. We involve every department in our product road map brainstorming sessions, since we believe in taking every Cascade Server user level into account. In addition, we are thankful to our large Cascade Server community and the amazing ideas that they bring to the table. It’s important to us that our product road map process includes suggestions and feedback from a wide variety of users, so that we can identify the features and improvements that make each stakeholder’s life easier. If you haven’t signed up for our idea exchange, please feel free to do so.
  • Find the right fit. Every organization's needs are different, even within a specific sector, such as higher education. Over the last decade, we've learned to identify organizations that are great fits for Cascade Server as well as some that may not be able to fully benefit from its flexibility. Since nothing is more important to us than providing value to and establishing a long-term relationship with our customers, we will not talk you into an investment that may not be the best solution for you in the long run.
As we are entering our 12th year, we would like to say a heartfelt Thank You to all of our customers and to all of our Hannon Hill team members.

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