Real Story Group Blog posts by Apoorv Durga Copyright (c) 2015, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 11/25/2015 00:00:00 60 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.

Does Unlimited Storage from Amazon Challenge Box (and Everyone Else)? #Cloud #ecm Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:36:00 +0000 To date, cloud file-sharing and synch vendors have priced their services in part on the amount of storage you procure, but this model has been under increasing stress. In a previous blog, I’d mentioned:

I suspect most vendors will gradually lower their prices to remain competitive, and I wouldn't be surprised to see unlimited (or very high) storage quotas becoming a norm in the near future.

Now Amazon has unveiled unlimited storage plans starting at $11.99 per year for photos and $59.99 for everything else. I suspect others, especially the bigger vendors, will follow soon. Does this mean smaller vendors such as Box and others have a reason to worry?

Should smaller vendors be worried?

Well, it depends.

For small vendors, it is difficult to match these bigger infrastructure players, and they can’t probably start offering unlimited storage as easily. They will of course work to remain competitive, and seek to find more innovative ways to differentiate.

And they are indeed building new features. Box, for example, is trying to evolve into a broader collaboration offering. Dropbox has also added a few collaboration features such as ability for users to add comments and security features such as ability to expire file links.

What should you the customer do?

Remember that storage is becoming a commodity. Going forward, focus more intently what you can do with technology. As an example, while Amazon offers unlimited storage, syncing files across desktop devices remains a weak point for that platform. So evaluate vendors carefully with respect to actual business services, while negotiating unlimited (or very high) storage quotas.

You have many options today, including more enterprise-focused vendors, many of whom we evaluate in our ECM and Cloud File Sharing evaluations.

Webinar: Is Your ECM/DAM System Cloud Ready? #Cloud #trends Tue, 17 Mar 2015 21:29:00 +0000 No ECM or DAM conversation is complete without a heated discussion about cloud services.

By “Cloud Services,” we mean to what extent can a particular solution get deployed in a cloud, by you, the vendor, or a third party. It's actually not always a simple proposition, but as enterprises seek to decrease infrastructure spending and free up IT resources, the cloud has risen to the forefront on many agendas.

Join me in this webinar (in partnership with DOCUMENT Strategy Media) for a review of key aspects that you need to consider while evaluating ECM or DAM in the cloud.

We will also examine various cloud deployment models, analyze variations of what vendors call a "hybrid cloud” and also look at a few more considerations that are relevant while considering Cloud-based models for ECM and DAM technologies.

Webinar Details

Registration: Webinar: Is your ECM / DAM Cloud-Ready

Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time: 12:00-12:30 PM EST (16:00-16:30 UTC/GMT)

Hope to see you there...

Box Unboxing into Content and Collaboration #ecm #box Thu, 12 Mar 2015 06:33:00 +0000 Box has been a popular vendor in file sync and sharing marketplace; however it now wants to move beyond that, fueled in part by new funding from its early 2015 IPO.

Box sees itself as a broader provider of content and collaboration services.  The vendor wants to become a content layer that licensees can use to build their own applications that access Box’s underlying services. This is a major shift and will have architectural implications going forward.

We explore Box's prospects and provide more details in a just released update to our ECM & Cloud File Sharing vendor evaluations. The new release also includes updates to our evaluation of OpenText, based on several customer inputs.

You can download a sample here.

Using ECM platforms for Digital Asset Management #DAM #ecm Fri, 06 Mar 2015 13:21:00 +0000 Many of our customers -- especially those who have invested in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platforms from vendors such as EMC and Oracle -- ask us if they can use DAM offerings from these vendors for their Digital Asset Management initiatives. As always, the answer is: It depends.

In general, there are three types of DAM systems within an ECM suite:

  1. Where you use the general-purpose file management capabilities for your digital assets.  SharePoint and Alfresco work this way.
  2. Where the vendor has layered DAM services on top of their ECM repository.  EMC and Oracle do this.
  3. Where the ECM vendor has a completely separate DAM tool with its own distinct repository and workflow subsystem (essentially not using the underlying ECM platform).  OpenText and HP do this.

When should you use ECM-specific DAM services?

There are many advantages of using a general-purpose ECM platforms in categories one and two above. Some of these are good underlying services that an ECM repository provides, such as:

  • Metadata handling, taxonomy and related capabilities
  • Security infrastructure
  • Ability to create more complex business processes and workflows
  • Relatively more scalable in terms of handling large number of objects as well as in terms of deployment options

Besides these, an important advantage you get is the ability to use DAM in conjunction with other capabilities. This is handy, for example, when you want to manage digital assets along with documents or want to surface digital assets on same vendor’s Portal or WCM tool.

When should you look beyond ECM platforms?

In spite of what ECM vendors might say, managing audio and video assets is not same as managing documents. There are challenges related to file sizes, the nature of the files, and even use cases. So, If you are not already invested in an ECM tool, you will want to look at a broader marketplace, especially if you have some of the following requirements:

  • You want a stand-alone DAM offering
  • Your DAM solution need to integrate with a wider list of enterprise systems
  • You don’t want to just manage images but also want to manage audio and video assets
  • You need sophisticated DAM capabilities for these assets. These include capabilities for media processing, DAM and Media Asset Management-specific collaboration and workflows, and more advanced encoding and transcoding capabilities.

Need more details?

In a forthcoming advisory paper, we will explain these and other issues in more details. Plus in our  Digital and Media Asset Management report, we're expanding our reviews of ECM vendors’ DAM offerings.

Meanwhile, you can download a sample here or let us know if we can help.

Is Your Enterprise Portal Ready for the Mobile World? #mobile #portals Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:00:00 +0000 Of course, all portal vendors would answer "Yes" to that question. Many will point you to the fact that you can write a responsive Portal template that can show Portal content on mobile devices. But that’s really very basic.

When you evaluate enterprise portal technology, support for mobile experiences should be high on your list of criteria. Here’s a snapshot of what you should investigate.

Support for Mobile Web

A mobile website is often the starting point of the mobility journey for many enterprises. It entails developing a mobile-friendly version of your websites and applications and optimizing them for multiple devices and operating systems.

The assumption here, though, is that visitors primarily consume content, rather than really transaction-heavy scenarios. For supporting such a scenario, besides the ability to create responsive templates, a Portal tool should be able to provide capabilities to identify the device making the request and then based on the capabilities (and limitations of the device), it should be able to adapt the content, layout, and templates.

Support for Mobile Apps

In some cases, you will want to people to interact with your Portal via dedicated mobile apps. There are multiple ways to create these apps, but the key point to note is that you will most likely create these apps outside of your Portal environment (e.g., using a specialised tool). Now, even though the app resides outside the Portal environment, and probably uses a different technology, you still may want it to access content and functionality stored in your Portal.

In such cases, it becomes important that the Portal tool provides an easy way to access information as well as services programmatically (e.g., using an API), so you can use it within the mobile app with ease.

Portal as Mobile Middleware

You also need your Portal to provide middleware capabilities that are relevant for both the  scenarios above — i.e., for creating a mobile website as well as for supporting external mobile apps. These middleware capabilities include integration with external enterprise systems, integration with content management systems, reporting and so on and so forth.

So next time your Portal (or WCM) vendor says they can "do mobile,” you should evaluate their claims carefully. Meanwhile, vendor reviews in our Enterprise Portals Vendor Evaluation Report specifically review the mobile capabilities of all the major players.

If your organization doesn't yet subscribe to our research, you can download a complimentary sample to check it out.

The inside scoop on hybrid-cloud DAM and ECM #Cloud #EntArch Mon, 16 Feb 2015 13:21:00 +0000 “Cloud” infrastructures can have many variations (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and managed hosting), and within each of these models, a cloud deployment can be private, public, community, or a combination of one or more of these, also known as a "hybrid cloud."

Specifically, within the Digital Asset Management (DAM) and to some extent in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technology spaces, a hybrid architecture is perhaps the least straightforward. There are many reasons for this, but huge file sizes and security implications in particular become paramount. Consequently, you'll find broadly different approaches to implementing a hybrid architecture.

Below I'll review a couple common approaches.

Inside and Out

One approach is to have at least two DAM (or ECM) systems:

  • One an in-premise system accessible to your users inside your firewall
  • Another one on the outside, accessible to broader user base — your partners, and customers

In this approach, the two systems can be totally different tools or two instances of the same tool. You use some kind of a sync technique to copy your files (selectively, if required) across the two platforms (or two instances of the same platform). This is useful, for example for DAM scenarios where your internal users can collaborate internally on large-sized broadcast files, and when they are ready, the final file is copied to be shared with the outside world.

Some vendors (e.g., EMC) have acquired cloud-file sharing tools to offer this kind of functionality. The acquired platform is different from their traditional on-premise offering, but a sync service synchronizes files between them. On the other hand, some vendors (e.g., Alfresco, Microsoft) can deploy multiple instances of their platform across different environments, and then synchronize among them.

Variable Storage

Another hybrid approach involves using a single system that employs multiple storage options, often based on access and security considerations. In this approach, you typically use a combination of in-house storage and public-cloud based storage to selectively store files. Using this mechanism, you can keep a highly confidential set of files within your private cloud (or simply your own on-premise storage array), while allowing more generic documents to reside in the public cloud.

And More...

There are other alternatives as well, and as you can imagine, the use cases and scenarios for these alternatives will vary. Consequently, you will need to apply different technical skills, infrastructures, and architectures. You also probably need different governance and processes depending on these variations.

So when your vendor says they support “hybrid DAM” or "hybrid ECM," you should dig deeper and clarify what hybrid means in that context.

In the latest releases of Digital and Media Asset Management as well as other streams, we are looking closely at vendors' "cloud" approaches more closely.

Enterprise Mobile Platforms Marketplace - What to expect in 2015 #mobile #trends Fri, 06 Feb 2015 10:52:00 +0000 The enterprise mobile platform marketplace consists of a plethora of vendors and tools, and many organizations struggle to identify the right set of vendors that are suitable for their scenarios. In our newest marketplace briefing, 2015 Enterprise Mobile Platforms Market Analysis, we provide a snapshot of trends in the current marketplace and explore key trends.


In our evaluations, we group vendors into three large categories:

Infrastructure Vendors: These are large, enterprise software vendors that have offerings across different enterprise use cases such as ERP, e-Business, CRM, digital marketing, and so forth. In addition to their broader offerings, these vendors provide capabilities for mobile application development and deployment.

Mobility Specialists: These vendors are "mobility specialists" because enterprise mobility is their core focus area. Most of them provide more advanced capabilities than the Infrastructure Vendors, but lag in terms of their integration with enterprise systems. These tools are more suitable if you have multiple complex mobile initiatives and don't want to be tied to one large vendor.

Niche offerings: These technologies don't pretend to offer full-lifecycle or even cross-platform support. They tend to be specialized app environments, something like a commercially supported mobile web framework, or a vendor with a very narrow focus (e.g., Corona on gaming).


Mobile application development is gradually becoming more "enterprise-y." Smarter organizations now treat mobile application development on par with enterprise application development; as a result, there has been a considerable impact on middleware approaches, cloud-based deployment, and development tools.

Reality Check

Finally, 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 (above).

Unlike many other marketplaces, you can see in the chart above that vendors are reasonably spread-out, showing the marketplace itself is in flux, with vendors continually evolving their offerings. The full paper explains more.

Enterprise Mobile stream subscribers can download the full briefing here.