Real Story Group Blog posts by Apoorv Durga Copyright (c) 2014 RealStoryGroup.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.realstorygroup.com/ www.realstorygroup.com : Blogs en-us 07/29/2014 00:00:00 60 Developing Mobile Apps is not sufficient for Mobile Experience Management #EnSW #mobile Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:01:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2731-Developing-Mobile-Apps-is-not-sufficient-for-Mobile-Experience-Management? When planning new enterprise initiatives or extending existing implementations, most customers now include mobile access to their enterprise applications as an essential requirement. This often leads to a discussion of "apps" and then requirements for a mobile application. While that is an essential exercise, it may not be sufficient.

In our evaluations of more than 20 Enterprise Mobile Technology vendors, we address the most common considerations that you should think of when you decide to get serious about mobile.  There are a number of issues that you have to consider and consequently number of decisions that you have to take.

Some of the considerations that we address and provide advice around are:

  1. Which devices to target? We highlight the issue of device diversity in terms of operating systems, capabilities, and device types, as well as what it takes to target properly
  2. Decision tree in terms of deciding what type of mobile apps you should develop: there are many types of mobile apps -- pure native, cross-platform, hybrid, mobile web and others. What are the pros and cons and what approach is suitable for you?
  3. Most incumbent platforms -- such as your existing Portal or ECM tools -- provide mobile apps. Should you then just use any native apps provided by those incumbent tools?
  4. A mobile application is much more than a stand-alone app. It often needs to integrate with existing repositories as well as non-mobile applications. How do you then align your mobile architecture with overall (non-mobile) architecture and experience?
  5. What about "mobilizing" existing applications?
  6. If there are  specific Management and Administration implications, how do you address them?  

This list is not an exhaustive, but a sampling of most common issues that our customers face. We address these (and others) as well as  how each of the individual products in our evaluations incorporates (or doesn't incorporate) these.

If you want to know more details, here is the link to our existing evaluations. You can also download a sample here.

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What to make of the Apple-IBM partnership #mobile #EnSW Fri, 18 Jul 2014 09:18:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2726-What-to-make-of-the-Apple-IBM-partnership? Since the days of this 1984 commercial when Apple supposedly attacked IBM, the two firms have come a long way.

As you know, they announced a new partnership around four core areas. Quoting from their PR statement:

  • A new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  • Unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • New AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and
  • New packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

What They Get Out of It

Apple wants to get a huge push for its enterprise ambitions riding on IBM's relationships. Sure, Apple's devices (iPad and iPhone) are popular within enterprises, but Apple has never really been an enterprise-focused company. Focusing on enterprises requires not just a new mindset (e.g., how do you deal with enterprise relationships) but also a host of new capabilities around enterprise concerns such as administration and security. IBM offers these.

IBM, on the other hand could win additional services business by way of managing AppleCare administration and related support opportunities. IBM also has many products in its "MobileFirst" offering, including those for app development, application and device management, testing and so forth. This partnership could be helpful in selling more of those as well.

But this is all really vendorspeak. 

What About You the Customer?

Let's look at this from your perspective.  What do you really get here?  Perhaps not so much.

If you are hugely invested in both IBM and Apple, and have standardized on Apple's devices  within your organization, this partnership could offer better integration and management capabilities. Fine.

But businesspeople also care about capabilities that will make them more effective at work, and here you should remain skeptical about the value of "a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions."  Enterprise apps are not as commoditized as consumer apps. Enterprise apps have vastly different requirements in terms of integration with varied back-end systems, security issues, administration, and so forth. So even if you find a suitable app, you will probably have to customize it for your specific requirements.

Moreover, when an increasing number of organizations are encouraging employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, fewer will want to restrict their employees to Apple devices. You don't want to ignore the large amount of Android devices out there -- especially for firms outside North America. The lesson of Blackberry's demise is that today, enterprise applications will not typically drive employee device adoption.

When it comes to tablets, Apple's iPads may still have an edge within the enterprises but that foothold may become tenuous, again particularly if you look at it in a global context.

If IBM were truly customer focused, it would come up with parallel offerings for Android and others. 

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Public vs Private Cloud for File Sharing and Sync #Cloud #ecm Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:58:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2722-Public-vs-Private-Cloud-for-File-Sharing-and-Sync? Our ECM and Cloud File Sharing (CFS) evaluations cover a number of cloud-based file sharing and sync tools. While you'll find many functional differences among these offerings, you'll face a particularly important technical decision related to security and storage choices.

At some level, all the tools cater to “secure file sharing.” All of them encrypt files, have strict policies for data center security, and implement password-controlled access. While this will suffice for many organizations, other customers will require more stringent security services. In some cases, this becomes matter of perception, but other times, you may need tighter control on documents due to confidentiality, or legal requirements to maintain certain documents in a particular locale. You may also seek better control over reporting and compliance-related issues.

To cater to such scenarios, some tools offer alternative deployment models that allow organizations to plug in their own storage systems lying within the organization’s own data center (and therefore IT control). Whether an on-premise location truly improves security is debatable, but the fact remains that some tools provide you with the flexibility to mix and match options in such a way that you can store some types of files (the ones that are highly confidential, for example) within your own storage environment, and keep other, less critical files in the public cloud.

So if you were considering tools and vendors such as Dropbox, Box, Accellion, Citrix, EMC, Oxygen, or Workshare, remember to evaluate their offerings for private cloud deployment if security and sophisticated enterprise controls lie at the top of your list. We evaluate storage, security, and other aspects in our recently updated ECM & Cloud File Sharing evaluations. You can download a sample here.

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Oracle and Salesforce - More similar than different? #socbiz #socialmediaintelligence Thu, 12 Jun 2014 13:28:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2716-Oracle-and-Salesforce-More-similar-than-different? In our recently updated Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluations, we review a number of Digital Marketing Platform Vendors including Oracle and Salesforce.

Oracle and Salesforce represent two very different vendors that share a vision of integrated digital marketing, but come to this space from very seperate directions. Salesforce is trading on the strength of its CRM facilities, while Oracle has cobbled together a surprisingly wide array of social functionality.

What's common though between these vendors is that both of them have created their suites mostly via acquisitions.

In 2012 Oracle acquired four companies – Eloqua, Vitrue, Involver, and Collective Intellect. Of these, the last three form the basis of Oracle’s rebranded "Social Relationship Management" (SRM) Suite. Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud is a separate offering for marketing automation.

Salesforce's story is similar too. It acquired ExactTarget, Pardot, Buddy Media, Radian6, Social.com and a few others to create its own "integrated offering" called "Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud."

However, beyond this similarity, the individual products that make up Oracle's and Salesforce's respective suites are quite different when it comes to specific functionality, with markedly divergent weaknesses and strengths. We review these similarities as well as differences in detail in the updated reviews.

You can download a sample here.

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Should You Use CRM Platforms to Manage Documents? #ecm #mobile Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:32:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2718-Should-You-Use-CRM-Platforms-to-Manage-Documents? In a webinar last week on options for enabling salespeople to access documents, one alternative I discussed was to use your incumbent salesforce automation / customer relationship management (SFA/CRM) platform for document management. Many CRM platforms now provide interesting capabilities like basic document lifecycle management and file sharing as part of their core services.

Advantages

This option has several advantages. If your salespeople already spend considerable time in one of those environments, then they can carry out basic file sharing and document management in context of their everyday business flow. So for example, if salespeople use your CRM for managing leads and prospects, then documents such as brochures can be managed as part of lead management process.

Similarly, customer related documents such as bid responses, contracts and other similar documents can be managed in a CRM system in tandem with your standard bid and sales processes. Essentially, your salespeople can access documents “in the flow” of their daily work without having to go to another, disconnected application.

The second key advantage is that when you use an existing platform, you save on licensing costs as well as potential integration costs with an external document management system.

Disadvantages

But there are trade-offs in using this approach. If you are using multiple different systems, you will have documents spread all over and there won't be single "source of truth".  Also, this approach is like a walled-garden, meaning you may not be able to see and use those documents outside of that CRM platform.

Finally, mobile access presents yet another challenge. Mobile interfaces into CRM-type tools could prove overly complex for simple file sharing. In fact, salespeople will frequently need a different mobile app for file-related functionality when separated from that platform’s core functionality. Also, you will likely not get advanced features beyond really basic ones -- such as sync across multiple devices and so forth.

Salesforce.com is probably the most well-known example here, although several other platforms offer similar document and file management services. In fact, Salesforce offers multiple options, most notably Salesforce Files (earlier called Chatterbox). However, that offering is undergoing significant changes in the wake of Salesforce’s acquisition of connector vendor EntropySoft. Salesforce has had multiple changes to its document management strategy and that should give enterprises some pause.

Fortunately, you have many more options to enable your salespeople to access your company documents, including using a document management platform or licensing one of the cloud-based file sharing and sync tools.

We evaluate all the major players in our recently-updated ECM and Cloud File Sharing evaluations. As always, you can obtain a sample here.

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IBM, Oracle and Salesforce -- How integrated are their Digital Marketing Suites? #socialmedia #digitalmarketing Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:31:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2717-IBM-Oracle-and-Salesforce-How-integrated-are-their-Digital-Marketing-Suites? IBM, Oracle and Salesforce -- three "Digital Marketing Platform" vendors we recently updated in our o Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluations -- have created their suites by acquiring numerous companies, many of who in turn had previously made their own acquisitions.

So if you want to do "end-to-end digital marketing", should you go with one of these suites or opt for point solutions?

In theory, there are obvious benefits of going with a single mega-vendor: it's easier to manage relationships, licensing, contracts, and so forth. The vendor might also give you a single point of accountability, should something go wrong.

However, as things currently stand, the suites are not nearly as integrated as the vendors would like you to believe.

IBM EMM is a loose collection of about fifty distinct products of diverse origins and architectures. Some of the pieces of EMM are integrated but many are not. Salesforce.com only recently took some first steps by introducing ”Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio". Oracle's story is slightly better -- you can now access all of the services that Oracle acquired from a single interface that connects everything via single sign-on (SSO).

Also, it seems likely that these suite players will make further acquisitions in this space, because there are still gaps in their offerings. So while these vendors have a vision of providing "end-to-end digital marketing", it will take time for them to truly integrate their offerings, if at all.

Nevertheless, many of products that these companies have acquired were well regarded on their own. So for now, you should evaluate their features based on their individual merit and not based on the fact that those services are part of a larger suite.

In fact, in Digital Marketing, whether you actually need very tighter integration between these modules itself is a debatable aspect. So instead evaluate individual offerings within the suite and spend some time understanding how easy is it to integrate with external products such as your Web Content Management or Portal platforms.

We have more details about these platforms as well as many other vendors in our forthcoming update to Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluations. You can download a sample here.

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Webinar Tomorrow: Mobile Enabling Your Salespeople #mobile #ecm Tue, 03 Jun 2014 11:44:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2714-Webinar-Tomorrow:-Mobile-Enabling-Your-Salespeople? Your enterprise salespeople are increasingly mobile. More than ever, they need access to collateral — brochures, presentations, contracts, pricing charts, and so forth — while on the move. How can you provide effective access to the latest documents for salespeople who aren’t tethered to your internal enterprise network?

In this webinar, we’ll try to address this issue. We will look at the key requirements of salespeople in detail. We will then evaluate four strategic options for your enterprise to address the needs of salespeople (as well as other employees who need these services). We’ll also look at key tools for each of these options.

It’ll be a short (30 min) but a fast-paced webinar. You can register here.

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Portals Research Updates to Liferay and Microsoft SharePoint #Cloud #mobile Wed, 28 May 2014 07:20:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2708-Portals-Research-Updates-to-Liferay-and-Microsoft-SharePoint? Earlier this month, we released updates to our Portals and Content Integration evaluations. The new version focuses on significant upgrades of Microsoft SharePoint and Liferay Portal.

Our Liferay review has been updated for release 6.2. The key changes are related to new mobile delivery capabilities (along with a new mobile SDK) and a re-designed admin interface. We also take a critical eye to Liferay's new Marketplace, its new collaboration architecture, as well as its personalization capabilities.

As you know, Microsoft SharePoint 2013 represents a major upgrade to SharePoint 2010. However, we argue that for enterprise portal services, it’s more an upgrade in degree than kind, even if the much vaunted (though little used) “app store” gave it some short-term street cred. What's new is Microsoft’s emphasis on the cloud-based version of SharePoint, now an integral part of Office 365. We evaluate portal services in the cloud, and much more.

You can of course download detailed evaluation of each of these vendors as well as the complete report here.

Besides this report, there are a number of advisory papers as well as webinars related to Portals that subscribers can access as well.

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ECM file sync - dedicated folder vs arbitrary folders #Cloud #DigitalWorkplace Wed, 14 May 2014 12:20:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2706-ECM-file-sync-dedicated-folder-vs-arbitrary-folders? One new feature that many ECM platforms (and all Cloud-based file sharing tools) provide is the ability to sync files across your multiple devices: desktop, laptop, mobile phones, and tablets. The idea is that you should be able to access your files -- and optionally complete tasks -- irrespective of your location or device type.

To do this, you typically install a client application provided by your vendor. It monitors your folders on the server as well as local environment, and syncs any changes between the server, computer, and other devices via device-specific apps. There are a number of variations here but you want to pay attention to how folders are synched.

Some tools such as dropbox and Box expect you to create a dedicated folder -- or create one automatically on installation. Then when you put in files in that folder, the service syncs those files with the server and other devices. What this means is that you will keep track of which files to sync and them copy (or move) those files to that specific folder resulting in duplication of files and other associated issues. The benefit of course is that this approach is simpler and straight forward.

Other tools, such as EMC Syncplicity, allow you to add any arbitrary folders to your sync list. The main benefit is that you don't have to worry about moving or copying files but instead you can keep working with files in their usual locations. Of course, when the number of sync folders increases, you might get into manageability issues.

We explore this and other aspects in much greater detail on a vendor-by-vendor basis in our recently released ECM and Cloud File Sharing evaluations. You can subscribe or download a sample here.

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Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud introduces Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio #socbiz #CoIT Mon, 12 May 2014 13:59:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2702-Salesforce-ExactTarget-Marketing-Cloud-introduces-Radian6-Buddy-Media-Social-Studio? No, that title is not a link bait.

Salesforce announced a new product called "Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio" which is part of its "Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud." In an age when 140 characters can have a far reaching impact, that's a rather longish name. But let's look beyond the name.

Salesforce's Marketing Cloud consisted of many products, including Radian6 for Social Media Analytics and Buddy Media for Social Media Marketing. In our evaluation of Salesforce, describe how Salesforce Marketing Cloud has been more of a marketing package rather than a truly integrated offering.

Salesforce took first steps to integrate some of the individual products within the suite and announced this new product earlier this week. As the name suggests, "Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio" is an integrated offering that provides capabilities from Radian6 as well as Buddy Media. It provides workspaces for teams to work together along with shared calendars, ability to publish to Facebook and Twitter, and social media analytics.

You may hear claims that it's not a "cobbled together solution," but rather a completely new platform. I don't believe that's entirely true. To me, it appears to be a new interface that pulls together a subset of capabilities from Radian6 and Buddy Media. The underlying platforms are still the existing ones. Nothing wrong with that, as those are platforms that are reasonably well regarded in their own right -- but calling it a new platform gives a different impression.

We will have more to say about this in our forthcoming updates to Marketing Automation and Social evaluations. But in the mean while, if you are evaluating Social Studio, make sure you understand what are the specific capabilities of Radian6 and Buddy Media that are available from within Social Studio.

Products in this space can be long in name but not always long on suitability for specific enterprise needs.

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Thinking about encryption and security in your cloud ECM platform #Cloud #CoIT Fri, 02 May 2014 16:04:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2697-Thinking-about-encryption-and-security-in-your-cloud-ECM-platform? In our recently released ECM and Cloud File Sharing evaluations, we assess some new requirements, including:

  1. Mobile Access to ECM-managed content
  2. Ability to share and sync files across multiple devices (think Google Drive or Dropbox within your enterprises)
  3. Cloud-based architectures (of which there are several variants)

A common theme running through these requirements is security, and in particular how files get encrypted. This can especially resonate when employees use their own mobile devices to access documents residing in a cloud environment.

Different types of encryption

Of course there are many dimensions to security, especially in a cloud context.  With respect to external security, most ECM vendors will describe all kinds of advanced security algorithms to encrypt your files in remote locations. But, as always, you’ll want to look closely at the details here.

In particular, note carefully the difference between:

  • Encryption “at rest," while the files are stored in the cloud or on their servers
  • Encryption “in transit” or “in flight,” while the files are being transferred between the server and your devices or among different devices
  • Encryption at the "end-points" when the file gets downloaded

Most vendors say they encrypt files in-flight and at rest -- in their repository. However, not all vendors encrypt files when it resides at one of the end points – that is, after the file has been downloaded to your mobile phone or tablet. This has important implications because employees can leave organizations (and take their devices along) or devices can get stolen.

Some enterprises have recourse to address this latter challenge via mobile management platforms, which can do things like remotely wipe files when an employee quits or a device gets stolen. Some ECM vendors can do this too, but not all.

We closely evaluate these capabilities in our vendor evaluation research. Feel free to download a sample or let us know if we can help.

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Which Hybrid Cloud Model Works Best for ECM? #cio #Cloud Fri, 25 Apr 2014 11:57:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2692-Which-Hybrid-Cloud-Model-Works-Best-for-ECM? “Hybrid Cloud” is a deployment architecture in which you combine the capabilities of  different cloud-based deployment models (public, private, community, and so forth). This can potentially mitigate some of the security and compliance concerns that may arise in a public cloud environment.

These concerns are particularly germane for the enterprise content management (ECM) tools and consequently, hybrid clouds are somewhat of a rage amongst ECM vendors these days.

In fact, ECM vendors are increasingly claiming support for hybrid cloud solutions in a bid to exploit this trend. But as with everything else "Cloud", there are many variations of what "hybrid" means.

In this just-released advisory briefing, we analyze major variations among what ECM vendors term as hybrid cloud. As always, customers will want to fully understand the implications for each different approach before signing on.

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IBM to acquire Silverpop #digitalmarketing #ibm Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:32:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2687-IBM-to-acquire-Silverpop? Last week, IBM announced a definitive agreement to acquire marketing automation vendor Silverpop. Silverpop is an Atlanta, GA-based, 500-employee company. Its marketing platform "Engage" offers email-based campaign management and lead management, along with rudimentary landing page management.

In our last update to RSG's Marketing Automation and Social evaluations, we had mentioned that the company is a prime acquisition target as one of the few remaining major independent marketing automation vendors. All the big ones -- Oracle (Eloqua and Responsys), Salesforce.com (ExactTarget and Pardot) and Adobe (Neolane) have already been active in M&A in this marketplace and so in that sense, this wasn't a big surprise.

Recall that IBM’s digital marketing offerings for the most part lie within its broader Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) umbrella. EMM is a loose collection
of approximately about fifty distinct products of diverse origins and architectures. For marketing automation capabilities, the key pieces are IBM Campaign (formerly Unica Campaign), IBM Marketing Center, and a few other email marketing modules. In fact, marketing automation and social marketing functionality has been split across disparate products at a time when many competitors can offer a straightforward, point solution to these challenges.

Silverpop will likely change that. It is comparatively simpler alternative to their existing, rather complex offerings. Silverpop is also B2B focussed as opposed to IBM's existing capabilities that are predominantly B2C. Still, this will be IBM's fourth or fifth different email campaign management solution, depending on how you count.

A lot depends on how IBM executes the merger and integrates the offerings. IBM already promotes a catalog of about 100 SaaS-based offerings, which Silverpop will join. However, it is entirely possible that Silverpop will get lost in this vast sea of multiple and overlapping offerings. We'll keep watching and informing you about what we learn. Meanwhile, you can check out the existing reviews of IBM EMM and Silverpop, or download a free sample.

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Updated ECM reviews including Documentum, IBM, Alfresco, Oracle, Microsoft, OpenText, and others #Cloud #ecm Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:23:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2686-Updated-ECM-reviews-including-Documentum-IBM-Alfresco-Oracle-Microsoft-OpenText-and-others? This week, we release a new Version 10 of our ECM research. It's a major release and you'll find a lot that's new. Below, I highlight the key changes:

New category of vendors

We now define two categories in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM). These are:

  1. ECM/DM vendors who provide a wide range of services around document and enterprise content management
  2. Cloud-based File Sharing & Sync (CFS) vendors that offer cloud-based services for  lightweight document management, collaboration, sharing, and sync services

The latter is a new category. Popularized by consumer-oriented services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and so forth, vendors such as Box.com and Syncplicity (now part of EMC) can provide broad services for cloud-based file sharing, sync, offline work, and lightweight collaboration for enterprises. 

At first blush, it would appear they are two separate marketplaces. However, we’ve found out from our research that there is considerable overlap of services between these Cloud-based File Sharing (CFS) vendors and ECM vendors.

And so, we've renamed our set of evaluations to "ECM and Cloud FileSharing Report."

New Evaluation Scenarios

We revisited our crucial vendor evaluation scenarios and simplified them, to make it easier to compare vendor "fit" across business cases. In particular, we dropped a few scenarios and clarified several others.

New Functional and Technical Evaluation Criteria

Just like scenarios, we also refreshed our evaluation criteria. Specifically for functional criteria, we have added sections on Mobile Access as well as File Sync & Sharing services. For technical criteria, we have added a new section on Cloud Services.

And then you'll all new evaluations of individual vendors. For now, we have updated all the ECM vendors and incorporated existing research CFS vendors.

You can download a sample here.

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Webinar: Is Your ECM/DM Cloud-Ready? #Cloud Tue, 08 Apr 2014 20:16:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2685-Webinar:-Is-Your-ECM/DM-Cloud-Ready? The Enterprise Content Management marketplace has been roiled by upstart — but increasingly successful — cloud-based file-sharing (CFS) vendors. Traditional ECM software vendors have responded in diverse ways, including acquiring cloud services, building-out cloud-enabled services, or creating completely separate, cloud-based products.

From a customer perspective, this means you have more choices than ever, though most options will bring integration challenges. Join me tomorrow, Thursday at 12:00 pm ET / 16:00 UTC or 09:00 pm ET / 01:00 UTC for a review key things to consider when evaluating Document Management/ECM in the Cloud. We'll also provide a brief overview of the marketplace for these services — based on our soon to be released ECM vendor evaluation research.

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OpenText Suing Box and Dropbox Buying Readmill - What Does It Mean? #Cloud #EntArch Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:19:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2680-OpenText-Suing-Box-and-Dropbox-Buying-Readmill-What-Does-It-Mean? The past few weeks have been abuzz with news in the cloud-based file sharing and sync marketplace. Box filed for an IPO in March, then Dropbox acquired Readmill (h/t David Hobbs), and now OpenText is seeking damages from Box for patent infringement.

This activity strengthens my belief that cloud-file sharing as a simple, stand-alone category of tools is not going to persist for long.

OpenText (who sell multiple content management offerings and has its own cloud-based file sharing service called OpenText Tempo Box) says Box infringed 12 patents in areas such as "System and method for the synchronization of a file in a cache", "Method and system for facilitating marketing dialogues," and "Web-based groupware system." It seems hard to believe these pertain just to cloud-based file sharing and sync capabilities, but OpenText has certainly picked a propitious time to put Box's feet to the fire.

Similarly, Dropbox's acquisition of Readmill shows an industry stretching beyond simple file sharing services. Readmill is a social reading app that allows you to comment, annotate, and participate in discussions while reading a book online on your mobile devices. This gives Dropbox the ability to offer collaborative authoring capabilities such as those provided by Workshare, as well as online document viewing capabilities provided by Box's recently launched "Box View" (which came to Box via its acquisition of Crocodoc).

Cloud file sharing and sync tools have proved immensely popular on the consumer web and are now increasingly targeting enterprise customers. This category of tools got popular due to the simplicity and ease of use of consumer facing services -- such as Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive -- but that may not prove differentiating in the future.

These platforms will increasingly become complex as they transition into areas beyond simple file sharing.  As a result, many tools from adjacent marketplaces will start offering these capabilities as part of their overall functionality. We're already see this happening in case of Document Management vendors, most of who have started offering similar services. Similarly, collaboration vendors and even enterprise software vendors (think Salesforce.com) provide similar offerings.

For you the customer, the key thing then is to think long term and evaluate if a stand-alone cloud-based file sharing and sync tool is the way to go.  You have several options here.  We discuss some of these in our recently released advisory paper "Giving Your Salespeople Mobile Access to Key Documents: Strategic Options."

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Mobilizing your Salesforce: EMC|Documentum, IBM FileNet, SharePoint, Box, or...? #mobile #Cloud Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:06:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2676-Mobilizing-your-Salesforce:-EMC|Documentum-IBM-FileNet-SharePoint-Box-or...? Your enterprise salespeople are increasingly mobile. More than ever, they need access to collateral — brochures, presentations, contracts, pricing charts, and so forth — while on the move. How can you provide effective access to the latest documents for salespeople who aren’t tethered to your internal enterprise network?

It sounds like a simple question, yet from a functional standpoint, numerous key requirements emerge. And likewise you can chose from a panoply of technology options, ranging from traditional document management tools, to cloud-based file sharing and sync tools, to CRM and collaboration platforms.

Our just-released advisory paper, "Giving Your Salespeople Mobile Access to Key Documents: Strategic Options", evaluates four major strategic options for your enterprise to address the needs of salespeople (as well as other mobile employees.)

The paper also mention key tools for each of the options that we discuss. Our forthcoming update to the document management evaluations provides an in-depth review of all these vendors.

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When your incumbent WCM or Portal platform won't work for mobile-first #mobile #cio Wed, 26 Feb 2014 13:34:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2668-When-your-incumbent-WCM-or-Portal-platform-wont-work-for-mobile-first? Its no longer uncommon to see mobile-first strategies for application development. After all, the number of mobile Internet users is growing at a much faster rate than those that access the Internet from non-mobile devices. If you still have doubts about a mobile-only strategy, just remember WhatsApp is a mobile-only service that Facebook acquired for a huge sum.

However, to implement a mobile-first strategy, remember that mobile users have different requirements (and not necessarily a subset of web interface) and contexts.  To account for this, you may need a dedicated and capable mobile development and deployment platform.

Your existing enterprise software tools -- such as your Web CMS or Portal tools -- can take you only so far.  The argument in their favor is that the these tools separate content or raw information from its presentation. So then if you already have a content management system managing content for your website, then it is just a matter of creating a new template optimized for mobile. But is it really that simple?

Probably not, especially if you want to go mobile-only or mobile-first. Your incumbent web delivery platform will work for very simplistic mobile scenarios. As you increase the complexity -- in terms of devices, operating systems, application capabilities, and so on -- this fails to become a scalable model, and you should start considering specialized tools.

One way to look at enterprise mobile platforms is to determine what they actually do. Consequently, we examine these key categories of attributes:

  • Devices & Development Services: This includes support for different types of "apps" (native, hybrid, web), OS and device support, capabilities of development environment and the extent to which they support "native" features
  • Deployment & Delivery Services:  This category includes mostly mobile middleware capabilities such as cloud services, integration, reporting & analytics, security and management services

Of course there are other evaluation criteria besides the above functional features. This KMWorld article summarizes how to go about evaluating this tools. Of course, our Enterprise Mobile Technology evaluations go much deeper and provide an in-depth review of around 20 vendors including Antenna, IBM, Kony, Motorola, SAP, Verivo, Adobe, Appcelerator, Netbiscuits, Oracle and others.

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What does a vendor really mean when they say they cloud? #cio #Cloud Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:09:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2667-What-does-a-vendor-really-mean-when-they-say-they-cloud? One of the attributes that we evaluate in most of our vendor evaluation reports is "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.

Definitions of cloud vary and at the very outset, you'll want to distinguish between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (Saas). Beyond that, when a vendor says they “do cloud,” it could mean a variety of things:

  1. The vendor certifies its software for installing in virtualized environments. Many vendors now offer versions of their software that can be installed in a virtualization environment such as VMWare. Other virualization environments such as Oracle’s VirtualBox are not that popular though and sometimes all the modules/features don’t work in a virtualized environment.
     
  2. The vendor or one of its partners offer managed hosting on a traditional version of the software in a datacenter somewhere. You still have control over customizing, extending, and upgrading the software; really, they're just replacing your hardware and network connections with theirs. We could debate whether this is truly “cloud,” but it may be useful.
     
  3. The vendor or one of its partners offers to host your software -- such as document management instances in a public cloud service, like Rackspace, Amazon, or Azure. You'll find many variants here. You could host your document management application on-premise, but take advantage of cloud elasticity for your content delivery infrastructure, to support global delivery or spikes in activity. Alternatively, you could split your storage between an on-premise setup and a cloud-based setup. The vendor (or their partner) may or may not manage your relationship with the cloud provider. The vendor may or may not convert its one-time license fee into a monthly subscription model. As always, you will need to pay more money to the cloud vendor to achieve greater levels of redundancy, reliability, and global dispersion. Also, don't forget the cost and hassle of VPN connections to your cloud instances.

    As above, you are still running “traditional software” as a dedicated instance and are responsible for whatever changes you make to the application, unless the vendor includes that as a managed service. Note that not all on-premise solutions will work in the cloud today.
     
  4. The vendor has built a multi-tenant, SaaS solution from the ground up. You'll find only a few serious SaaS options in the document and records management marketplace.
     

Nevertheless, be wary of hosting companies or other vendor partners that take on-premise software and convert it to multi-tenancy to sell as a shared service to more customers; this frequently does not end well.

We'll have more to say about different cloud related aspects in future blog posts as well as evaluations.

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Should you use a portal platform for your workflow and business process needs? #cio #EntArch Wed, 12 Feb 2014 12:38:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2662-Should-you-use-a-portal-platform-for-your-workflow-and-business-process-needs? A common question keeps popping up among our subscribers: when to use built-in services within a portal technology platform, versus opting for a third-party solution.  Sometimes this question arises in connection with workflow services.

Many portal platform implementations entail workflow services. Since portals usually provide access to multiple systems, the ability to define multi-step procedures that can span multiple systems and actors may prove a critical feature for you. Also, most portal tools provide some sort of content management -- either for managing website content or for managing documents.  By extension, most portal tools also provide workflow or Business Process Management (BPM) capabilities.

So should you use portal-provided workflow capabilities or integrated an external tool -- such as a Document Management tool like Alfresco, Documentum, Nuxeo, or one of the others that we review in our Document Management research?

The short answer is that in general, portal platform workflow services are usually somewhat lightweight, but typically come included in the price, and decently well integrated into the portal. Pure-play workflow or content management tools tend to be substantially more robust, but represent an additional license fees, and greater integration work.

While simple task-based workflows prove sufficient for many use cases, you might require more sophisticated BPM capabilities to model complex business processes or even as a basis to integrate multiple applications. Portals often provide a simple web based interface for workflows but when it comes to BPM, you will likely need to master a third party DM or BPM product, or manipulate complex APIs yourself to create those processes.

Of course, the portal vendors will disagree and point you to their "sophisticated" BPM capabilities. So if your requirements include complex business processes, take extra time to understand how portal vendors can truly help you model and execute such processes with real-world tests.

You can learn more in both our Portals and our forthcoming Document Management research.

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Self assessment of our 2013 predictions #DigitalWorkplace #trends Fri, 17 Jan 2014 08:23:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2655-Self-assessment-of-our-2013-predictions? Every year, we make technology predictions about the various content technology marketplaces that we cover. And rather uniquely, we go back and see how we fared. Here are our assessments of our 2012 and 2011 predictions respectively.

And here's how we fared with our 2013 predictions:

  1. SharePoint 2013: Consultants Rejoice, Customers Yawn
    Yes. In spite of what Microsoft's nifty demos would have you believe, SharePoint is a complex platform especially when it comes to customizations beyond really simple tasks. You require consultants for that. A lot of them.
     
  2. Trans-Media Trumps Multi-Channel for Brand Marketing
    Yes. At least smart marketers are doing this. With improvements in technology, it is relatively easier to target your message based on context and channel instead of broadcasting the same message to all channels.
     
  3. Convergence of Social Media Monitoring and Social Media Marketing
    Yes, this is happening big time. Customers are increasingly using inputs based on monitoring of the social web and using that for their social marketing campaigns. Vendors are attempting to respond, mostly via acquisitions but true integration still remains a stretched goal.
     
  4. Cloud Adolescence: Business and IT Both Deal with Growing Pains
    Another yes. We continue to see Business as well as IT teams struggling even with basic Cloud issues.
     
  5. Web Content & Experience Management Vendors Litter Systems with Outbound Digital Marketing Services
    Sort of. Perhaps this was an overstatement. WCXM vendors did add many such services, but they are also responding to a marketplace that seems to prefer integration with best-of-breed digital marketing tools.
     
  6. The Autonomy Debacle Reverberates Across Several Technology Sectors
    This happened but only partially. While there were no big-time acquisitions in WCXM space, the search market really didn't open up as we had predicted.
     
  7. Document Management and Cloud File-Sharing Vendors Compete Head-to-Head
    Big Yes. We have seen a lot of short-lists with DM and CFS vendors on it. Both category of vendors are trying to spread their wings and building capabilities to provide services across both marketplaces.
     
  8. Contextual Mobile Delivery Rises to the Fore
    Certainly Yes. Context is becoming increasingly important as enterprises begin to switch from device management to multi-channel experience management. Hiding content based on screen size is becoming yesterday's news.
     
  9. Big Data Gives Way to Useful Data
    Another Yes.  Small-but-better-quality trumps Big.
     
  10. Rise of Social Media Compliance Concerns
    Did not happen in a meaningful way. Sure, Social Media compliance is indeed a concern but we didn't see any major differences from what it was last year.  Companies in heavily regulated industries may have to slog their tweets through onerous workflows, but increasingly they are engaging...
     
  11. Broadcast & Media Management Focus on Social TV Strategies
    Yes and No. Yes because Social TV certainly got more popular. The industry embraced second screen apps and companies like Samsung and Apple acquired second screen app companies. And No because MAM vendors were not at the forefront of this change.
     
  12. Several DAM Vendors Morph into Digital Media Management Suites
    No not really. Although some DAM vendors do provide other capabilities (such as document management), there's been no meaningful change in their overall positioning.

Okay, so we hit the nail on the head 8.5 out of 12 times (Yes - 7 times, No - 2 times, Partial Yes - 3 times) with .5 for predictions that were partially correct. That's not as high as it was last year but not that bad either in my opinion.

Let us know if you'd like our detailed inputs of any of these or if you'd like to talk to us about any of the marketplaces we cover.

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When it rains, it pours (Oracle) clouds #digitalmarketing #Cloud Mon, 06 Jan 2014 17:41:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2647-When-it-rains-it-pours-(Oracle)-clouds? Late last year, Oracle announced it has agreed to acquire Responsys for $1.5 Bn.  San Bruno, CA-based Responsys makes marketing software and targets B2C scenarios.

Oracle already had Eloqua as part of its Marketing Cloud. Both Eloqua and Responsys have similar functionality; it is the focus that was different (B2B vs B2C). So along with the software, what's also important is that Oracle also gets Responsys' 1000 or so employees who have deep expertise in B2C marketing scenarios -- something that Oracle lacked, with its traditional focus on B2B.

Of course, Oracle is not the only vendor to have multiple marketing software tools in their arsenal. Salesforce also has somewhat overlapping tools in ExactTarget and Pardot, so Oracle has just gotten even.

As a customer, choices mean you have access to a broader set of capabilities, spanning a very diverse range of scenarios from a single vendor. This means you have fewer vendors and contracts to deal with (even if not immediately), and signing up for "all you can eat" types of deals can have cost advantages also.

Let's look at some of the technical dimensions here though.

According to Oracle,

"With Responsys, the Oracle Marketing Cloud now provides leading business to consumer (B2C), business to business (B2B), content and social marketing capabilities on a single platform, supporting any industry or business model"

So what is this single platform?

At a high level, there's Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud, which in turn consists of a Sales Cloud, a Commerce Cloud, a Service Cloud, a Social Cloud, and a Marketing Cloud. Each of these have multiple suites and products. Social Cloud consists of products acquired from Vitrue, Collective Intellect, and Involver. Similarly, Marketing Cloud now consists of Eloqua and Responsys, each of them having multiple modules.  So for example, Responsys' Interact suite actually has five products/modules namely Profile, Program, Campaign, Insight, Content and Connect.

As you can see, even if we concentrate only on Social and Marketing Clouds, there are considerable number of modules, products and overlaps in that "single platform."

Oracle has done this before; at some point in time, they had four or five different Portal products. However, it took a really long time for them to actually consolidate and integrate multiple offerings. So while it may be a good thing to get different options from one single vendor, just be very skeptical of what a "single platform" means. Take your time to understand and account for different complexities and overlaps across different products and then chose the right products for your needs.

 

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Apache Cordova supports Ubuntu Touch -- How long before IBM, Oracle, and others follow? #cio #EntArch Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:45:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2646-Apache-Cordova-supports-Ubuntu-Touch-How-long-before-IBM-Oracle-and-others-follow? Apache Cordova, the open source hybrid app development environment, has released a new version (3.3.0 for those tracking it). This release fixes a lot of bugs for Android, Windows and Blackberry devices. More importantly, it also now supports Ubuntu Touch and Amazon's Fire mobile operating systems. My colleague Tony in this post had talked about rise of Ubuntu and other platforms, and why we need to pay attention to them.

Apache Cordova is very popular not just amongst developers but also amongst other enterprise mobile technology vendors. The big vendors like IBM (Worklight), Oracle (ADF Mobile), Adobe (PhoneGap), and several others use Cordova as the basis of their own tools. These vendors bundle their own value adds on top of Cordova and extend its capabilities for their customers.

However, there's a key shortcoming that you need to be aware of if you were considering one of those tools that OEM Cordova. These tools don't use the latest version of Cordova; in fact some of them actually use a very old version of Cordova. This has two implications:

  1. You won't get latest features (such as support for Ubuntu Touch in this case)
  2. Upgrades could be painful, since those vendors have created their own extensions

Now, some of this lag is only natural.  When a manufacturer releases a new mobile device, upgrades an operating system, or releases a new SDK, Cordova implements it and then commercial toolmakers implement it even later. There's a lot of testing that goes in between to make sure everything works.

However, from your point of view, this lag should become one of your evaluation criteria when evaluating these tools. Find out how long does it take for a vendor to implement support for new features released by device manufacturers. Of course they'll detail the difficulties predicting lags against future changes, but you can look at past history; unlike financial markets, past performance here can actually be an indication of future performance.

And finally, the emergence of new mobile operating systems such as Ubuntu elevate the importance of cross-platform development tools. We evaluate more than 20 such tools in our Enterprise Mobile Technology Research.

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Oracle playing catch up with EMC and OpenText for Cloud File Sharing and Sync #ecm #Cloud Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:18:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2641-Oracle-playing-catch-up-with-EMC-and-OpenText-for-Cloud-File-Sharing-and-Sync? The more customers I speak to, the more I'm convinced that cloud-based file sharing (CFS) and sync services within enterprises are increasingly getting subsumed with enterprise software from other categories, most notably the Document Management and ECM tool vendors.

To refresh your memory, here's a sampling of vendors from our research that have something to offer for cloud-based file sharing:

  1. EMC: They acquired Syncplicity
  2. Microsoft: SkyDrive Pro
  3. Nuxeo: Nuxeo Drive
  4. Alfresco: Alfresco Mobile
  5. OpenText: Tempo Box

I have not mentioned Oracle in the list above but they are also working on a cloud-based service called "Oracle Cloud Document Service." It sounds like it might have something to do with Oracle's WebCenter Documents service, but the two are completely different (in fact, this cloud offering is not even a part of WebCenter).

This new service is Oracle's belated response to the likes of EMC and OpenText who already provide cloud-based file sharing and sync services. Oracle's offering wants to mimic services such as Dropbox and Box in terms of capabilities for light weight collaboration, file sharing, sync, and offline features.

For customers of Oracle's WebCenter quasi-suite, this could provide a useful supplement to be WebCenter Content, to provide additional sync and sharing service along with Oracle's enterprise security and administrative controls. However, remember that the new service is delivered stand-alone, so you can subscribe to it whether or not you have WebCenter Content.

But note also that it will take some time for this new service to mature.  Oracle had no choice to get in this game, given that their competitors already have something similar, but they are a bit behind.

I have in the past maintained that many DM/ECM products are not architected to provide simple cloud-based file sharing and sync services, which is why these vendors have been a bit sluggish here.  But given the obvious overlap between Document Management and CFS technology and use cases, I think we'll gradually see more and more DM/ECM/Collaboration type tools providing these services.

Of course, you'll still find subtle but important are differences among feature sets across different vendors. For example, some platforms require you to have the parent DM/ECM repository as a backend for file sharing, whereas some others can run stand-alone without requiring you to license the parent DM/ECM repository. As always, we will cover this and other differences in greater detail in our forthcoming major update to our Document Management (ECM) report.

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