For those unfamiliar with it, The Daily WTF is a collection of ridiculous stories from technology. It has a decidedly geeky focus though, and at times, they mention a joke in some programming language that even leaves me scratching my head. But, there is an overarching theme to a great many of the articles that come through in that some geek recounts how he was hired to rehash some system, somewhere that someone cobbled together with something that somewhat worked.
While good for a laugh, it belies the fact that a lot of organizations simply do not have the budget to hire a tech or web person (at least prior to this global economic crisis anyways.) This in turn means that someone who is probably happier taking photographs or coordinating reports becomes the de facto in-house tech person and is forced to make a great number of decisions that aren’t necessarily beneficial to the organization short of helping some goal limp to its finish. Then, somewhere down the line, someone stands back, shakes their head, and says, “Holy hell, this needs some advising from someone with the word ‘technology’ in their title.”
I’m assuming that there is something of a similar backstory to this and is the reason that Tobias at Kabissa posted an open discussion about web solutions in Africa. It’s a good thread, which most likely due to the tragedy in Haiti hasn’t been seen by a lot of folks due to the work going on amidst the destruction there and the work that needs doing.
I just wanted to point it out as there have been a great variety of items submitted to the discussion. I wrote a lengthy chunk that I actually want to work over a bit and post here as I left out Google Sites as an option and a number of things could be refined.
Overall though, people were suggesting a great many of the CMS solutions that exist for free and for an organization with a limited budget present fantastic opportunities to leave behind whatever set of static HTML pages 27 people had added to over the last 10 years. More input is needed though and as Tobias pointed out after a number of posts had come through, there should be more of a focus on finding whatever most approximates a silver bullet insofar as a solution goes. Naturally this varies a great deal given the environment and focus of the organization, but still there are a number of different options that are all good, but most of us showed up to the discussion ready to ride our favorite bicycle, which probably hasn’t helped the organization in deciding on what they should go with. I suppose it’s because ultimately there is no perfect solution and so, the discussion needs more discussing.