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Happy With ECM Vendor, Acquisition Shakes Customer's Confidence

Down through the years, Stelter Company has developed a very strong bond with its enterprise content management (ECM) supplier. Founded in 2000, Stelter assists charitable organizations nationwide generate and manage their revenue. Its ECM is a key component in its Web hosting service, which has helped the company grow from a start up to a multi-million dollar business with thousands of customers during the last decade. Recently Stelter's ECM supplier was gobbled up by a larger vendor, so the company is understandably concerned about its systems and the future.

Stelter relies on about 20 Microsoft Windows servers running in a virtual environment to support its business. The company, which has about 80 employees and $15 million in revenue, creates marketing materials and hosts Web sites that help non-profit corporations raise money via deferred giving plans, such as establishing support of a charity in a will or setting up a trust. Stelter manages the plans and associated materials for non-profit organizations, such as United Way of America.

The business is very information intensive, partly because there are many different gift giving vehicles that charities can rely on. Also, these plans are all are subject to various state tax law changes and IRS rulings. Since it is difficult for an individual charity to stay on top of all of these items, the company manages these items for them. To support the company's information needs, Stelter relies on a Equallogic iSCSI SAN that holds 16 TB of information.

The corporation knew it needed an ECM from its inception at the turn of the millennium. "The dotcom boom was underway, so non-profits wanted us to take their printed content and put it up on their Web sites," says Bev Hutney, director of innovation and research at Stelter.

The company looked at a handful of products from vendors such as Broadvision and Vignette. Vignette's product fit best with the Stelter's needs because it did a good job of managing Web content. With little underlying infrastructure, the Vignette system was quickly installed, the process taking about three months from start to finish. Stelter started out with two employees managing the system Web content for a few dozen firms.

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