Real Story Group Blog posts by Apoorv Durga Copyright (c) 2016, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 02/09/2016 00:00:00 60 Webinar 24 Feb: When You Should - or Shouldn't - Use Enterprise Portal Technology #portals #cms Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:02:00 +0000 Whether it's an online corporate brochure, an ecommerce site, an intranet, a self-service application, or a rich media aggregation space, for visitors it's just a digital destination. However, not all venues are created equal.

Some of these experiences are content-heavy with dynamically changing content; others are more transaction- or application-oriented.

To develop these digital venues, you have a plethora of tools from which to choose, including good old portal technology. For specific scenarios, you could use a document management tool, a WCM system, a digital asset management product, or even a collaboration-oriented platform. Vendors add to this confusion by claiming that they can do it all.

In this session, I'll present examples and guidelines that will help you decide whether you should — or shouldn't — use a portal tool to develop a specific digital experience.

Register here

Webinar Details:

When You Should — or Shouldn't — Use Enterprise Portal Technology

Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Time: 12:00-12:30 PM EST (17:00-17:30 UTC/GMT)

I look forward to seeing you then.

Enterprise Mobile Technology Market - What to Expect in 2016 #mobile #trends Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:19:00 +0000 In our Enterprise Mobile Technology marketplace briefing, 2016 Enterprise Mobile Technology Market Analysis, we provide an overview of the key players as well as a comparative analysis of the relative risks and opportunities associated with each vendor via RSG's "Reality Check" chart.

The enterprise mobile marketplace is somewhat unique relative to most marketplaces that we evaluate. This is primarily because organizations have vastly different capability levels in mobile enablement. For some organizations, a mobile app sufficiently addresses their requirements; for others, more technically sophisticated requirements related to application and content management, security, and permissions demand more advanced capabilities.

In this briefing, we offer a snapshot of other trends in the current marketplace. In particular, we explore the following trends:

  • The Mobile Marketplace Is Expanding to Include IoT and Wearables
  • Mobile Adoption Is Still a Major Issue
  • Mobile-First, Mobile-Only: Where It Makes Sense
  • Mobile Centers of Excellence
  • Tools for Mobile Application Management

Enterprise Mobile Technology stream subscribers can download the full briefing here.

If your organization does not yet subscribe, you can obtain a complimentary sample first.


Axway Acquires Appcelerator #mobile Mon, 18 Jan 2016 09:41:00 +0000 Software company Axway has announced its acquisition of mobile tech Appcelerator in an all cash-deal. All the employees (around 85) of Appcelerator will now be part of Axway. Axway is registered in France and is headquartered in the US. Appcelerator is based in San Jose, California.

Axway has products and solutions that provide API management and integration capabilities. Appcelerator provides tools for mobile app development and middleware. It’s open source version Titanium is a popular tool among developers for creating cross-platform mobile apps.

What’s in it for the two vendors?

As organizations experiment with IoT and other connected scenarios, there is an increased need to integrate mobile applications with other enterprise applications. By acquiring Appcelerator, Axway obtains additional capabilities to include mobile app development and deployment to its offerings. In future, if and when Axway integrates Appcelerator with their API management, integration, and file transfer capabilities, they could offer a broader range of solutions to customers.

Additionally, Appcelerator will have access to a bigger customer base and presumably more R&D budget to improve its mobile offerings.

What does it mean for Customers?

Deals such as these do bring in some amount of uncertainty. For the time being though, both companies have said there will be no changes to their products as well as pricing in the immediate future.

For common customers, this should simplify their interactions with multiple vendors.

However, if you are evaluating Appcelerator as a stand-alone mobile application development or middleware platform, you will need to carefully assess the vendor’s roadmap. Sometimes when a specialized tool becomes a part of a broader offering, it may no longer remain suitable for those stand-alone scenarios. For example, when Pega acquired Antenna’s mobile offerings, they initially kept it separate as Antenna Mobile Platform (AMP). But those mobile capabilities are now are now part of broader Pega 7 platform.

The Enterprise Mobile Technology Marketplace is evolving rapidly and a number of specialized mobile technology vendors have now been acquired by vendors with a broader set of offerings. Our forthcoming Enterprise Mobile Technology Vendor Marketplace advisory explores some key trends as well as provides an overview of key vendors in this marketplace.

ECM & Cloud File Sharing Market - What to Expect in 2016 #ecm Tue, 22 Dec 2015 13:57:00 +0000 In our new Enterprise Content Management marketplace briefing, "2016 ECM & Cloud File Sharing Market Analysis," we provide a comparative analysis of the relative risks and opportunities associated with each ECM vendor via RSG's "Reality Check" chart. ECM has traditionally been a slow-evolving marketplace, but we've seen considerable changes in the past year.

Our briefing explores those changes and offers a snapshot of other trends:

  • Flux in the ECM Marketplace
  • Latent Potential for an Expanding Footprint
  • SharePoint Is Ubiquitous, but Not Omnipotent
  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All
  • Increasing Cloud-Based Deployments, Especially Mix-and-Match
  • Mobile As a Key Driver for Adoption
  • Cloud-Based File Share & Sync Services Are Evolving

Click to enlarge.

Notice what's interesting about this Reality Check diagram?  It's very top-heavy. There's a surprising amount of technology change going on...

ECM stream subscribers can download the full briefing here.


Using a portal's bundled features versus specialized tools #EntArch #pmot Tue, 15 Dec 2015 14:37:00 +0000 A few weeks back, an RSG subscriber asked me if they should use the image-management capabilities bundled with their enterprise portal platform, or deploy a specialized Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool. More recently, another client asked about portal-based solutions to use for building reporting and dashboarding capabilities.

The Debate That Never Ends

As portal platforms have matured over the past decade, they have increasingly bundled capabilities found in tools from adjacent marketplaces. So most portal offerings provide some capabilities for web content management, search, and document management. Some even provide lightweight digital asset management. As a result, you will always need to decide whether to use built-in portal capabilities or opt for more specialized, 3rd-party products and then integrate them with your enterprise portal framework.

Pros and Cons to Both Approaches

At first blush the simpler choice is to use portal-bundled capabilities. It typically emerges as cheaper and easier to manage, with relatively less integration (although this actually depends on many other factors).

However, as your requirements scale up, you hit the limits of capabilities provided by bundled services. For example, if you were using a portal-provided WCM but wanted to publish to an separate, non-portal property, you may encounter some serious difficulties.

Standalone products on the other hand will almost surely offer more robust and provide more sophisticated capabilities. But they are also more expensive and can require greater integration effort. Plus you’ll need to manage multiple vendors and licensing.

What to Use When?

So to summarize, you will usually have a choice between lightweight features in your portal platform and more robust functionality from third parties. You should use portal-provided capabilities for really basic requirements. But keep in mind your extensibility requirements and plan to use specialized tools for more complex requirements.

Coming back to the example of using a portal for Digital Asset Management, if your requirements entail basic image upload/download or simple audio and video handling, your portal might suffice. But you will certainly want to use specialized DAM tools if:

  • Multimedia assets such as audio and video are your key focus areas and you want to provide services around those
  • For a video file you want to be able to generate video logs, storyboards, text indexes, streaming snippets, and dynamically generated thumbnails
  • You want to stream video and audio assets.
  • You also want support for many different file formats and conversion from one format to another becomes a key requirement
  • Support for ingestion of externally created assets is a key requirement
  • You need color-based search and other advanced asset index and retrieval mechanisms

RSG has published a variety of advisory papers and webinars that provide more detailed guidance around these and other similar decisions. Let us know if you need help in your decision making.

Dropbox drops some consumer-oriented services to focus more on enterprises #Cloud #box Mon, 14 Dec 2015 05:39:00 +0000 Dropbox has announced it’s discontinuing two of apps/services: the photo-sharing app Carousel and mobile email client Mailbox.

Dropbox has sometimes mixed its messages in terms of the scenarios it wanted to target. It got popular as a consumer-oriented file-sharing and sync service but it also has a version targeting enterprises. Both Carousel and Mailbox were targeted at end consumers.

By discontinuing those two apps now, the intention seems to be to move away from a consumer oriented player to a more focused, enterprise-oriented service.

Enterprise Business Is Tough

But “enterprise" is a tricky market and there’s little differentiation among vendors in terms of functionality. Most cloud-based file sharing and sync services offer similar set of standard features.

In the beginning, these services became quite popular because of their ease of use and the fact that you could quickly get up and running with them without too much of integration work. However, as requirements became more complex, their relatively simplistic feature set became their weak point as it was easy to replicate that functionality.

In fact, most enterprise content and document management vendors now provide this functionality either via acquisitions or in-house development. Even longtime file-sync and share vendor Box has had to evolve into a broader-based service.

To be fair to Dropbox, they have built some enterprise-oriented features to make their product more acceptable to business customers. For example, they are working on an app called Dropbox Paper, which allows you to collaboratively work on documents, similar to Google Docs. They also sell "Dropbox Business," with features such as remote device wiping, along with better security controls.

Question Marks Remain

However, Dropbox still lags in terms of security, and has struggled to offer deployment models other than public cloud based service, or build more sophisticated collaboration and content management features.

Moreover, recent developments have begged an important question: When Dropbox can close down a service (Mailbox) that they acquired for $100M, can your enterprise trust them on their roadmap?

We’ll keep tracking them and keep you informed as we learn more. Meanwhile, if you are a subscriber, you can check out our ECM Research to know more about different vendors’ file-sharing and sync capabilities.

Self-appraisal of our 2015 predictions #trends Thu, 10 Dec 2015 08:38:00 +0000 At RSG we don't future-gaze a lot but at the end of each year, we do make an exception and offer technology predictions about the various digital workplace and digital marketing technology marketplaces that we cover. Earlier this week, my colleague Jarrod published our 2016 predictions.

And rather uniquely, we try to see how we fared the previous year. 

That is, we go back and review our predictions to see how many times we hit the nail on the head. Here are assessments of our previous years’ predictions (2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011).

Below find a review of how we fared with our 2015 predictions.

RSG's 2015 Predictions

  1. DAM Vendors Will Roll out DAM Lite
    Yes. There is definitely greater action by vendors, especially newer vendors in SaaS-oriented DAM mirroring customer interest in DAM-lite.
  2. Hybrid ECM Will Come of Age
    Halfway Yes. "Hybrid" hasn't really come of age but organizations are increasingly experimenting with hybrid deployment approaches. For example, many enterprises employ a mix of public cloud for cloud-based file sharing scenarios but use on-premise or private clouds for documents that are more confidential or have security implications. ECM vendors are also improving hybrid cloud capabilities, although with different approaches and different level of capabilities.
  3. HR Will Rejoin the Digital Workplace Conversation
    Yes. There is a renewed interest and greater investments in employee-engagement and productivity solutions. This is being reflected in workplace technology procurements and there is a greater awareness to refresh/upgrade to workplace systems. Instead of an either-or approach (productivity vs. engagement), HR is looking for solutions that incorporate both elements in the technology.
  4. Enterprise Social – Hype around Unified Enterprise Messaging
    No. Unified Enterprise Messaging has remained a hype and we haven’t really seen any major push towards efforts to integrate multiple channels of communication such as email, IM, social, video hangouts and web meetings.
  5. Digital Workplace Will Say “Hello” to Analytics and Big Data
    Yes. We’ve seen numerous examples of analytics and big data being used for internally-facing scenarios such as recruitment and hiring, finding intelligence about competitors as well as suppliers, supply chain, inventory management, fulfilment, and so on.
  6. A SharePoint 2016 Yawn
    Yawn, Yes.  Even Redmond is a bit embarrassed about SharePoint on-premise.
  7. Marketing Virtual Data Warehouses Will Go Mainstream
    Yes and No.  We did see more marketing warehouses, although enterprises use different names for them. Most organizations operate several disparate marketing systems and they are now making efforts to integrate them, but the "virtual" system to provide one source of truth is still on the drawing boards at most enterprises.
  8. Drupal Split Will Characterize WCM Market Bifurcation
    Not really.  With delays in Drupal 8, there's been a postponement....but we still think a split is coming.
  9. Enterprise Mobile: Apps Will Get Unbundled
    Certainly Yes. Mobile-first and Mobile-only strategies are driving this behavior. Mobile devices have a specific context that is different from desktop environments. Enterprises  are increasingly avoiding monolithic apps that tried to replicate the functionality of their web application, and instead “unbundling” the functionality via  task-oriented, mobile-optimized apps that do certain things really well.
  10. Connected Devices Will Become a More Ubiquitous Channel
    Yes, this is a major trend. You not only have to consider mobile phones and tablets of varying sizes and capabilities but you also have to consider a host of other devices such as Apple TV, wearables, and other Internet-connected devices. This usually means investing in specialized tools as well as creating a more sophisticated publishing environments with flexible content, templates, and distribution vehicles.

Tallying the Score

Okay, so how did we do? I total it up to 7 out of 10 (Yes - 6 times, No - 2, Partial - 2).  That’s not as good as last year but not bad either...

If you're an RSG subscriber, let us know if you'd like to understand any of these trends in greater detail or if you'd like to talk to us about any of the marketplaces RSG covers.

ECM and Document Management - What to Expect in 2016 #ecm #trends Wed, 25 Nov 2015 19:43:00 +0000 Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is supposedly a very mature -- even old -- marketplace. However, there's still a lot of potential for expansion.

RSG's customer research has found that traditional file shares (a.k.a., F: and U: drives) remain pervasive. And likewise email. Many employees still use their email systems and file shares to store, manage, and share documents -- even within organizations that have already invested in ECM or DM tools.

This has ediscovery and findability implications. Content spread around willy-nilly in uncontrolled repositories can become a major issue during a lawsuit or compliance-related event. There are also storage implications, specifically when you use email to share documents because as emails are forwarded and sent to different people within your organization, the storage space multiplies.

All of this clearly shows that in spite of ECM being a mature marketplace, there is still a lot of latent potential for innovation. Indeed, I see some interesting happenings in the ECM marketplace. Our forthcoming marketplace analysis advisory briefing will examine the current state of the market as well as the likely evolution in the near term.

I'll look at recent vendor evolution (e.g., EMC divesting Syncplicity and then getting acquired by Dell), the impact of cloud and mobile on ECM and document management, and other key trends.

Meanwhile, you can check out our existing research or download a sample.


Categorizing IoT Devices and Wearables Part 3 - Read-Only versus Read-Write #IoT #Wearables Fri, 30 Oct 2015 10:01:00 +0000 In earlier posts about categorizing IoT and wearable marketplaces, I explored two categorizations, based on:

In this post, we explore another way to slice this marketplace based on the type of interactions you can do with the device.

Read-Only or Read-Write?

Are you just a content consumer or can you also produce and contribute content via these devices?

This is an important criteria in deciding your strategy for building content, services, and applications for wearables.

Many devices only allow you to read or consume information (or service). For example, most health and activity trackers let you view statistics and other health information. However, you typically can’t do much beyond view that information.

Many other classes of wearables, however, have the capacity to do much more than just view information. You can share articles with others, comment on them, and even do basic workflow tasks (e.g., approve a news story). Smart watches are a good example of devices with such capabilities, and many publishers now have apps for watches that allow you to do things beyond viewing.

Finally, there are devices that are somewhere in-between. They are read-only for you but internally, they generate additional data that goes back to a back-end. For example, some wearables generate GPS data that can then be sent back to the server to generate charts and graphs.

Once you categorize devices like this, you can decide what kind of apps to create for each target class of device, and what strategies to pursue in order to target different types of devices effectively. Each of the above device types require different decisions in terms of application development, device and application management, and data models.

In our Enterprise Mobile Technology evaluation research, RSG is increasingly examining the wearables dimension. You can download a research sample here.

Categorizing IoT Devices and Wearables Part 2 - Screen Dependency #wearables #IoT Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:36:00 +0000 In an earlier post, we looked at how digital workplace and marketing professionals can categorize the IoT marketplace based on device dependencies.

Another way to categorize the marketplace is in terms of device screens.

Absence or Presence of a Screen

Most Internet devices — computers, mobile phones, tablets, and even handheld devices — have a screen. The screen itself might have different capabilities (which I discuss below), but the screen has always been there.

However, many newer types of devices don’t have a screen. In these cases,  the device usually gets tied to your mobile device and you use the mobile screen to control or monitor the remote device. It also means that you don’t have to worry about sending content to that device (there can be exceptions) and you only need to concentrate on getting data from that device.

However, if the device does have a screen, you typically need to have some sort of an app for that screen and you must deliver content to that device.

In either case, you still need to be able to make use of device capabilities (e.g., various sensors) in your apps.

Size and Capabilities of Screens

If the device has a screen, then there can be many variations depending on:

  1. Size: Most devices have a very small screen, but there are many variations in size to keep in mind.
  2. Capabilities: The screens can have different capabilities. These capabilities can be screen related (e.g., resolution, the ability to display in landscape or portrait view, or whether the screen supports touch gestures), or they can be related to other features manifesting via a screen (e.g., the ability to respond to messages).

When starting, we recommend that you create a grid based on these factors and then evolve separate strategies that take advantage of screen capabilities and make appropriate allowances for screen limitations.

In a following post, I'll look at yet another approach to classifying IoT technologies.

In our Enterprise Mobile Technology evaluation research, RSG increasingly examines the wearables dimension. Look to your right to download a research sample.

Categorizing IoT Devices and Wearables Part 1 - Phone Dependency #IoT #wearables Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:38:00 +0000 Many enterprises have begun to experiment with Internet-connected devices, such as hand-held devices, wearables, and other so-called "Internet of Things” (IoT) devices. If you want to include such devices as part of a broader digital workplace and marketing landscape, many questions arise.

  1. Can mobile middleware tools support IoT use cases?
  2. Should WCM be used to deliver content to wearables?
  3. Should these devices be included in your mobile strategy?
  4. How can publishers deliver content to such devices?
  5. And so on...

However, before you even address these questions, you'll want to categorize the IoT marketplace in order to understand it better. In this post and some follow-ups, I'll look at different ways to classify such devices.

Phone-Dependent vs. Phone-Independent

One way to classify IoT devices is in the degree of dependence on mobile phones/tablets.

Many devices are linked to your mobile phone or tablet in some way. Smart watches, such as Apple Watch, are a prime example of this category, since you use your mobile phone to provide content and services (e.g., GPS) to the watch. Other types of wearables, such as activity trackers, require an app on your mobile phone for configuration, setup, and monitoring. Of course, you could use a watch without a phone, but that would be useless.

Then there are devices that are not dependent on phones. Examples are Internet-connected appliances or sensors used for inventory management in warehouses, or those used in refineries to monitor things like oil pressure. You could still use a mobile app as an additional interface to these devices, but they typically don’t need a mobile phone to function.

Of course, there's no hard line separating these categories. Instead, it's really a continuum: on the one hand, you have devices that are completely dependent on a phone; on the other, you have devices that don’t require a phone or a tablet. Most devices will be in-between and will have varying levels of dependence on mobile phones.

By thinking of the IoT marketplace in this way, you can categorize the devices and evolve a strategy to target them. For example, once you figure out what kind of devices can be addressed via phones and tablets, you can use your existing WCM or mobile middleware tools to deliver content to them. This can be helpful in increasing the number and types of devices you support whilst using existing technologies.

In a future post, we will examine some other ways to classify the IoT marketplace.

In our Enterprise Mobile Technology evaluation research, RSG is increasingly examining the wearables dimension. Meanwhile, you can download a research sample here.

B2E Mobile Apps: If You Build Them, Will They Come? #mobile Tue, 08 Sep 2015 09:19:00 +0000 Consumer ecommerce companies increasingly give additional discounts to people who make a purchase via mobile apps instead of from a desktop site session. They want to incentivize more customers to download that company's app.

An interesting question came up the other day with one of RSG's subscribers: Can this logic be extended to the enterprise?  Should we incent employees to use mobile workplace apps?

Incentives to Increase Mobile Adoption

Based on my conversations with a few customers, I think such incentives can be helpful (within limits) for intra-enterprise cases.

Of course, instead of offering a discount, organizations offer other kinds of incentives, such as gift cards or movie vouchers.  There is precedent for this in intranet and social network settings, where you might need to overcome some initial resistance to get your colleagues to try some new features.

However, questions then arise around how long you can sustain these incentives and what happens when these incentives are withdrawn. We've learned from previous "adoption" campaigns that goodies can never replace genuine business utility if you want long-term employee engagement.

Make Sure the Mobile Apps Are Good

Ultimately, the app will need to be able to self-sustain and deliver useful services to the employee.

This is easier said than done in an enterprise environment. Some of the issues that need to be addressed are:

  • Too many apps: People can suffer from screen overload, and you'll want to ensure that your app literally “stands out,” especially when it probably coexists with a number of B2C apps
  • App complexity: A mobile app that just tries to replicate a desktop site can also replicate complexity. Never overlook context and simplicity in a mobile context.
  • Poorly defined and implemented BYOD policies: A lack of clarity in what employees can or can’t do hinders mobile adoption.
  • Ecosystem: You can go from one site to another on the web, but can’t easily switch from one app to another on your phone (although newer devices and larger screen sizes are mitigating this with split-screen experiences).

This is not an exhaustive list, but is still a good starter set to consider in any discussion of mobile adoption.

If you depend solely on incentives, employees will game the system the same way buyers do with e-commerce sites: use desktop interfaces for the first few screens, then take the final step of ordering from their mobile devices to get that one-time benefit. That’s a huge waste of resources for everyone.

Parting Thought

Incentives are like a test ride; real value actually comes from the app.

Updated Enterprise Mobile Technology Evaluations #mobile #trends Fri, 21 Aug 2015 10:32:00 +0000 RSG has just released an update to the Enterprise Mobile Technology vendor evaluations.

The new release includes updates to detailed reviews of IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, FeedHenry/Red Hat, July, Motorola/Zebra, Verivo, Xamarin, and Kinvey.

Enterprise Mobile Technology is a rapidly evolving marketplace and it has seen a number of acquisitions. As a result, some vendor names have changed (e.g., FeedHenry) and more importantly, some of their strategies, too.

The wearables and IoT marketplace has also started to affect mobile decision making. Vendors have started providing support for these devices, although that support remains very nascent. RSG's research identifies specific capabilities where applicable.

Finally, you'll find updates for several existing evaluations based on customer and expert feedback.

As always, if you are a subscriber, you can log in and download your copy immediately. If you are not a subscriber, you can download a complimentary sample.

New Roles for WCM Technology in an Age of Wearables #wcm #mobile Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:48:00 +0000 In the good old days, WCM technology primarily served to deliver content to a website -- hence the name "Web Content Management." At best, "multichannel" referred to the ability to deliver content to more than one type of website; e.g., an intranet and a public-facing website.

Of course, things have changed drastically since then. You not only have to think of delivering content to mobile devices of varying sizes and capabilities, but also to a number of other devices such as hand-held devices, wearables, and other so-called IoT devices.

Use Cases for WCM + Wearables

There are a number of use cases for which you might consider using a WCM to deliver content to devices such as wearables. In fact, if you are sending content to a website and sending some snippets to a watch, you could consider WCM as a single repository rather than duplicating your content for each target environment. Several news providers, such as CNN, ABC News, and others now support Apple Watch.

While you may know about mobile middleware tools for creating and delivering mobile apps, you might wonder whether you need WCM technology at all. Well, even if you are using mobile middleware, you'll still need a digital content repository from which mobile devices and wearables can pull information, regardless of the middleware.

CNBC App for Apple Watch. Screenshot source:

What to Look for in Your WCM

When considering using a WCM to deliver information to wearables (via middleware tools or otherwise), two very important aspects emerge:

  1. Capability to create, store, and manage content in a device-agnostic way
    You should be able to create content without regard to the target device types. This means that the WCM should support a very strong separation of content from presentation so you can adapt content at the time of presentation. In addition, the WCM should have an above-average API for remote access to WCM content and services. It should also allow you to integrate with the middleware tools of your choice.
  2. The WCM should be aware of the capabilities and limitations of specific wearable devices
    Your WCM should be able to make appropriate steps to mitigate limitations and take advantage of device-specific capabilities. An obvious example of this would be the screen size of the wearable or the availability of specific sensors on those devices.

At first glance, these two requirements seem contradictory. The first one says the WCM should be device agnostic; the second one says the WCM should be aware of device capabilities. However, both of these are necessary if you want your WCM to deliver content in a truly multi-channel fashion.

The Marketplace

Different vendors have varying capabilities for targeting wearables, but most of them are rather rudimentary.  We will (of course) keep tracking them and let you know what we find, via our evaluation reports.


New Advisory and Webinar -- ECM Survey Results #ecm Mon, 20 Jul 2015 10:28:00 +0000 Real Story Group conducted an online survey in Q1 2015 to obtain practitioner perspectives on key enterprise content management software-related themes. The survey results included a cross-section of organizations that were drawn from a variety of geographies and industries.

This new advisory paper (subscribers-only) summarizes key results around system usage, how SharePoint is (and isn't) deployed, on-premise vs. cloud, and mobility issues. The deck concludes with an analysis of how your peers rated their ECM efforts against an industry benchmark.

For subscribers and non-subscribers, we are also conducting a webinar to share some of the highlights of the survey findings:

Date: July 22, 2015

Time: 12:00-12:30 PM EDT (16:00-16:30 UTC/GMT) (17:00-17:30 BST)

Register for the webinar

EMC De-syncs from Syncplicity #ecm #Cloud Wed, 08 Jul 2015 10:22:00 +0000 Private equity firm Skyview Capital is acquiring Syncplicity from EMC.

Acquired by EMC in 2012, Syncplicity is a cloud-based file sharing and sync service (CFSS), focused on enterprise customers. Some similar services are Citrix ShareFile, Oxygen Cloud, Box (which now wants to move beyond CFSS), and a host of other, mostly consumer-oriented services like Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, and others.

Here are some interesting tidbits from the release:

  • EMC's sales team will continue to sell Syncplicity
  • Syncplicity will remain an EMC partner
  • EMC says it remains committed to Syncplicity’s growth
  • Syncplicity did quite well as an EMC business

So Why Is EMC Selling It?

Customers have found a considerable synergy between Document Management/ECM products and CFSS services. As a result, a number of ECM vendors have built or acquired CFSS services. Alfresco, OpenText (Tempo Box), Oracle (Oracle Documents Cloud Service) and most other ECM vendors now have an offering. In fact, just last week, IBM and Box made a big splash with their partnership.

So when every ECM vendor is going after this space, why is EMC seemingly giving up on it?

EMC says it wants to focus on its core infrastructure business and that Syncplicity is a “step away” from that. The company's presser also hints that Syncplicity needed to be on its own to take advantage of a fast-evolving CFSS marketplace.

As our research subscribers know, Syncplicity differs from other ECM vendors’ CFSS offerings in a couple of ways. While most others focus on collaboration (with sync thrown in), Syncplicity’s strength lies in advanced synchronization services (for details, see our ECM Report). Syncplicity also has some good security and policy-related features for administrators that other tools lack.

However, as a standalone service, Syncplicity probably wasn’t lucrative enough for an EMC sales strategy that focuses on large deals. Moreover, customers who are not "EMC shops,” and others will probably find it easier to deal with a standalone Syncplicity instead of EMC.

Is EMC Really Giving up on CFSS?

Even though EMC has divested Syncplicity, I don’t believe they have given up on CFSS services. In fact, in my opinion, they can’t while they still sell Documentum licenses (and no, I’m not speculating that they are spinning off Documentum as well).

EMC has multiple similar services in its arsenal. There’s VMware AirWatch, and then there’s Mozy. Sure, they target different use cases -- Mozy targets online backups and AirWatch is known for MDM/EMM -- but both of them have capabilities for file sharing and sync.

What’s the Impact on Syncplicity?

Sure, it’ll get more flexibility and will be able to target customers who usually stay away from EMC. However, this is a very rapidly evolving marketplace and as I’ve written before, it will be very tough to remain a standalone CFSS service. Whether they get acquired by another vendor in the near future or remain with Skyview is something time will tell.

What about You, the Customer?

If you are a Documentum-only customer but were evaluating Syncplicity, you must spend more time in due diligence and get a committed roadmap from EMC regarding the future of integration as well as plans for potential alternatives. Finally, if you are evaluating CFSS services, remember that in addition to Syncplicity, you have several other enterprise-focused options, most of which we evaluate in our ECM Report.

Subscribers can experiment with permutations using RSG's RealTime Vendor Comparison tool.

Liferay Partnering with Red Hat - Implications for the Portals Marketplace #portals #EntArch Tue, 23 Jun 2015 13:00:00 +0000 Liferay and Red Hat have entered into a partnership to combine Liferay Portal with Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP). JBoss EAP is Red Hat’s key middleware/application server. As of this writing, the partnership is limited to EAP, but Liferay says it will gradually expand to include integration with other Red Hat middleware products.

What Does this Mean for Liferay and Red Hat?

First, a refresher.

Red Hat has its own portal product called Enterprise Portal Platform (EPP). EPP is based on the GateIn project, which was a joint initiative between Red Hat JBoss and French vendor eXo. Since both JBoss EPP and eXo platform were based on GateIn, functionally, they were quite similar in terms of presentation functionality. However, Red Hat’s differentiator was its middleware expertise; as a result, Red Hat integrated the core GateIn project with other JBoss tools and technologies, and then they tested and certified them.

This announcement puts curtains on EPP. Red Hat has stopped offering new subscriptions to JBoss EPP. Unfortunately for them,  EPP was never very successful. If you subscribe to our Portals research, you know that EPP lacked many key features and its development was rather slow. Incidentally, eXo (Red Hat’s partner in the Portal project) has also moved away from being a horizontal portal product. Going forward, I'd expect Red Hat to focus more on selling middleware licenses to Liferay customers.

For Liferay on the other hand, this announcement pretty much leaves them as the last major open source player standing. The Portals technology marketplace is shrinking, and while IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft still provide plausible offerings in this space, overall it's becoming an oligopoly.

What Does this Mean for Customers?

For Red Hat customers who invested in EPP, this is bad news. Red Hat will support you until March 2018, but effectively, this is a dead product and you should start looking at alternatives. It's a lesson, too, that "open source" does not always mean more stable or durable.

While Liferay will seem like a natural alternative, there are some others as well. You should carefully evaluate whether portal technology is still the best solution for building what you need to build.

For Liferay customers, this won’t have an impact in the short term. Liferay has always supported the JBoss application server (among others), so no big changes there. However, as Liferay and Red Hat gradually improve the integration, their joint customers will see benefits in terms of integration with the JBoss operations network and other Red Hat tools.

For detailed evaluations of all of the key vendors and their major weaknesses and strengths, subscribe to our Enterprise Portals Technology research.

Should you consider IoT and Wearables in your Mobile Strategy? #IoT #Wearables Thu, 11 Jun 2015 08:35:00 +0000 First, let's acknowledge that "Mobile" and "Internet of Things” (or IoT) are very large and quite separate technology domains. However, the way current market is evolving, I see some overlap, as shown in the attached graphic (click to enlarge).

At the intersection of Mobile and IOT

Wearables to a large extent fall under the rubric of IoT-oriented, connected devices. However, some fall at the intersection of Mobile and IoT, and you'll want to consider them as part of your overall mobile strategy.

Consider for example devices that are linked to your mobile phone or tablet in some way. Smart watches, such as Apple Watch, are a prime example of this category since you use your mobile phone to provide content and services (e.g., GPS) to the watch. Other types of wearables, such as activity trackers, require an app on your mobile phone for initial configuration and setup.

Besides the ability to be able to deliver content and services to these devices, another example is the ability to push information from these devices back to your mobile phone. Analyzing data from your morning bike ride on your phone, or getting a notification on your mobile app as you check out an exhibit in a museum, represent a couple examples here.

Tool support for wearables?

So as you evaluate tools for enterprise mobility, you should consider what kind of support they provide for phone-connected wearable devices.

Start with what kinds of devices they support. As an example, IBM’s MobileFirst provides some support for Apple Watch and Android wearables. Many other mobile app development platforms also support some sort of content delivery to wearables.

Note however that most of these tools consider wearables as an extension of your mobile device. While that is a good way to quickly scale up your device-delivery capabilities, it could also become a major limitation if you wanted to support wearables more generally.

In our Enterprise Mobile Technology evaluations, we're increasingly examining the wearables dimension. Meanwhile, you can download a research sample here.

IBM renames Worklight and tightens WCM integration #cms #mobile Tue, 09 Jun 2015 10:46:00 +0000 IBM’s mobile offering has seen many name changes in recent past. IBM acquired Worklight in 2012 and initially kept the name. Big Blue then renamed it IBM Worklight Foundation in 2014 before recently doing away with the Worklight moniker altogether. It's now "IBM MobileFirst Platform Foundation."

Functionally, though, not much has changed. What you get is mainly a platform for building hybrid mobile apps based on Apache’s Cordova hybrid container. There’s support for other types of apps — notably mobile web and native apps, but conditions apply.

More recently, however, IBM has improved integration with their "Digital Experience" suite. What this really means is closer integration between IBM’s WCM and Mobile capabilities. So you can now create content in WCM and make it available, via services, to your mobile apps created using MobileFirst. In addition, there is a new interface/content authoring portlet for creating mobile content (an improvement, since current authoring portlets have major usability issues).

This is a useful capability and something I have discussed earlier, for example in this post.

So if you are already an IBM customer — meaning you have invested in IBM WebSphere Portal and WCM and have entitlements for MobileFirst — this is good news for you. But remember that while this combined solution can target a lot of scenarios, it remains a complex set of platforms. For most of you, it will constitute too many repositories, servers, and integration points, and you will need serious IBM talent to manage the setup. Also, for a lot of mobile scenarios, IBM WCM will probably be overkill. Fortunately, there are simpler WCM alternatives that you can consider.

We take a closer look at IBM’s MobileFirst in our Enterprise Mobile Technology evaluations. Mean while, you can download a sample here.

Last chance to benchmark your ECM systems #Cloud #ecm Fri, 22 May 2015 12:28:00 +0000 We are currently conducting a customer survey on Enterprise Content Management and related aspects such as Document Management and Cloud-File Sharing & Sync (CFSS), including questions about cloud and mobile in an ECM context.

I'm pleased to report we're getting some very interesting insights from customers. If you want a copy of the final summary results, you need to participate -- but you'll want to do so right now, since the survey closes Tuesday, 26 May.

Meanwhile, here are some interesting (provisional) findings.

Traditional File Shares and Email still rule the roost

Okay, to be honest, a high prevalence of traditional file shares and email systems for document management wasn’t totally unexpected. However, such a high percentage is noteworthy -- even within organizations that have implemented more formal ECM systems.

      (Click to enlarge.)


Usability a major concern

Customers can use this survey to benchmark their own implementation against the ECM Maturity Model, a model that RSG co-created with other industry colleagues. Usability is one of several dimensions to compare yourself with peers. More than 50% of respondents found the usability of their systems lacking. How does your situation compare?

  (Click to enlarge.)

How to get the final results yourself

This is just a small sliver of the findings you can expect from the study, and doubtless the data will change when all the entries get tallied. FYI, we're seeing some really interesting trends on mobile and cloud, too.

If you are a customer of ECM technology and have not yet completed the survey, you can still participate (before Tuesday!) and receive a summary of the final findings. Here is the link to the survey.

Mind the Overhead in Digital Marketing Suites #digitalmarketing #EntArch Mon, 18 May 2015 07:30:00 +0000 When a vendor acquires another product and puts (vendors will say "integrate") that tool within an existing “suite,” it usually comes with a key side effect: overlapping features across multiple products within the suite. You've probably seen this phenomenon before in the Portals, ECM and other marketplaces. More recently, this issue is surfacing in a big way in the Digital Marketing marketplace.

Multiple acquisitions add overlapping features

As an example, Salesforce has acquired many tools that are now packaged as part of their "Marketing Cloud." Additionally, Salesforce also created some of its own applications, such as Social Studio, which exposes functionality from those acquired tools, thus further increasing your options. So analytics is available across Radian 6, Buddy Media, and Social Studio. Similarly, publishing can be done from Buddy Media as well as Social Studio. Similarly, you'll find features for engagement in Social Studio, Buddy Media as well as in Radian 6.

Implications for your team

Salesforce and other suite vendors will argue that these are not overlaps. They’ll say multiple products target different use cases and therefore give you the ability to target a broader set of opportunities.

Even where this is true, you the customer will have to spend considerable amount of resources just to understand these overlaps and educate your colleagues on when to use what tool.

Again to take the example of Salesforce, Both Radian6 and Buddy Media provide features for social media analytics. Radian6 is a general-purpose social media monitoring and intelligence tool and provides broad capabilities for social media analytics. Buddy Media on the other hand, provides capabilities for monitoring to your own social presence, like your Facebook page, Twitter account, and so forth. The difference lies in focus; Radian6 is for broad social media, while Buddy Media is for your own specific social pages. Are those two different people in your enterprise?

This is just one example. With digital marketing suites from Oracle, Adobe, IBM, and others your team may also need to master multiple products -- many of which do very similar things -- to get the most benefit. You'll find this brings extra overhead to your processes, when you have to not only train people how to use different products, but then also educate them on the often subtle differences of doing similar tasks from different places.

In RSG's Marketing Automation and Social Technology report, we pay special attention to the suite vendors and call out these differences in greater detail. If you're already an RSG subscriber and would like to discuss this in more detail, don't hesitate to reach out to us.

WCM in a Mobile-only world #mobile #cms Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:45:00 +0000 While many enterprises debate between "Mobile on par with Web” and “Mobile-First,” some live in a “Mobile-Only” world. For some organizations (e.g., Uber), this makes eminent sense. For many others, such as Flipkart in India, mobile-only has become a strategic gambit.

The jury is still out as to whether or not this is the right approach for other types of organizations, but let's look at some system implications.  In particular, if all your digital engagement happens through a mobile device, do you still need a web content & experience management system (WCM)?

Multi-channel means a lot more now

The answer is a big "yes." However, those WCM tools need to have specific capabilities.

Many WCM tools have been tom-toming about their multi-channel delivery capabilities for a long time now. Earlier, multi-channel usually meant ability to deliver to multiple sites (e.g., public facing website and employee facing Intranet) or at best the ability to repurpose experiences using a simplified template to make it palatable on mobile devices.

However, channel has completely taken on a new meaning now. In an omni-channel world you not only have to address mobile devices of varying sizes and capabilities but also consider watches, bands, glasses, and interfaces still to come -- not to mention a plethora of distribution arteries.

More than WCM

First, recognize that for "mobile-only" -- placing all your bets on the mobile channel -- you will almost certainly need more than a WCM platform.

You'll also likely need specialized mobile delivery tools with capabilities such as mobile middleware, notifications, device adaptation and so forth to be able to service those devices.

What should you look for in a WCM platform

However, your WCM will still be the place where your editors and marketers will craft content and experiences for people in mobile environments.

Consequently, you'll want to look closely at a key set of capabilities in any WCM tool. At the very minimum, you should look for:

  • Ability to publish in a decoupled mode: you may need to push raw content out to mobile devices and not HTML streams, and therefore...
  • Availability of APIs that can easily publish to external applications, including native and hybrid apps
  • Ability to preview content on mobile devices: Content creators should be able to preview content as it would appear on mobile devices. And this preview should not be limited to 2 or 3 broad, generic categories (e.g., phone, tablet) but there should be facility to preview across a wide range of specific devices and potentially apps, too
  • Special workflows targeted at mobile delivery
  • Ability to decompose and target content and experiences for different devices without duplicating effort

We've been having some interesting conversations with our subscribers on this topic, and increasingly focus on mobile-specific capabilities in our WCM evaluation research. Download a sample and see for yourself.

Call for Participation - Customer Survey on ECM and Cloud File Sharing #ecm #pmot Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:23:00 +0000 Amongst RSG’s different research streams, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has been one of our oldest coverage areas. Over time, the marketplace has evolved and our coverage now also includes cloud-based file sharing and sync services.

As you may know, RSG has always focused on feedback by end users and practitioners. We now invite you to contribute — this time in a more structured manner — via RSG’s survey on ECM and Cloud File Sharing technology. So, if you are involved in your organization’s efforts in ECM or related areas such as Document Management, Business Process Management, Document-centric Collaboration, Imaging & Capture, File Sharing & Sync and so forth, we will sincerely appreciate your participation in this survey. This survey assesses different issues like impact of cloud and mobile, common use cases, tools, vendors, and challenges faced by organizations like yours.

In return for your participation, you’ll receive a top-line summary of report findings when published, to contrast your experience with that of your peers.

Take the survey here.

The survey also has an additional question related to ECM maturity, based on the ECM Maturity Model. This is an optional question, but answering it can help you quickly benchmark your organization against the maturity model. Your responses, in return, will help us fine tune the model.

A note on privacy: We take privacy and discretion very seriously. All responses will be kept strictly confidential, and RSG will never publicly identify either you or your organization.

Please weigh in with your inputs and also help spread the word. Many thanks!

Clouds vs Best-of-Breed in Digital Marketing #socialmedia #socbiz Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:16:00 +0000 Do you remember the early years of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) -- when it was promoted as an all-encompassing technology consisting of Web Content Management (WCM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), Knowledge Management, Document Management, Collaboration and many other services?  Well, in the digital marketing space, those years are returning under a new guise.

All In One?

In the ECM era, we were all pitched "suites," mostly from large infrastructure vendors, that claimed to do everything you needed for information management. Major analyst firms often recommended you to establish a "strategic relationship" with (a.k.a., standardize on) one suite vendor so you could fulfill all your needs with a single product family.

It Was a Myth

Those "suites" typically cobbled together multiple products to give an impression of one single platform, whereas in reality, there were totally different solutions with different architectures, repositories, user management, administration, and so forth.

Also, the requirements for different use cases (e.g., web vs. document management) very different turned out to be quite different. Expecting one product to do everything could at best give you a compromised experience. Which is why, in the end several ECM vendors (e.g., Oracle, Alfresco, and Documentum) ended up removing WCM capabilities from their main document management platforms.

History Is Repeating Itself with Digital Marketing

We see the same thing -- the same hype -- getting repeated in the Digital Marketing marketplace. Many vendors are pushing Digital Marketing "Clouds" -- the new moniker for suites.  And the same cast of industry analyst shills are lining up to promote them on vendors' behalf.

As with ECM Suites, most Digital Marketing "clouds" are actually a collection of independent products, brought together via acquisition from multiple different companies. Vendors of course disagree and will point to how you can manage disparate functionality from a single dashboard. In reality, once you get into the applications themselves you'll find radically different architectures, disparate user and content repositories, different admin modules, separate security implementations, divergent licensing models, and diverse user interfaces.

Our Advice

Digital Marketing is a very rapidly evolving marketplace. Larger enterprises in particular often need fairly specialized services and not generic dashboards. For example, you may well require social media marketing features from one product but for social media monitoring, you might require a completely different offering.

While some Marketing Clouds have acquired companies whose products were well regarded in their respective arena (e.g., Radian6 for Social Media Monitoring), you should evaluate each product individually on its merit and not because it's part of a suite.

In other words: it's too premature to align with a single über-vendor here.

Fortunately, you have many options. You can always download a sample of RSG's hard-hitting vendor evaluations, or ask us for advice.