Real Story Group Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software blog posts Copyright (c) 2015, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 11/13/2015 00:00:00 60 The Meaning behind Atlassian's IPO Filing #DigitalWorkplace #socbiz Fri, 13 Nov 2015 14:48:00 +0000 Earlier this week, longstanding Aussie software vendor Atlassian filed for an IPO.  Should you care?


I think there's three things you the customer should know:

  1. Enterprise social-collaboration (a.k.a., Enterprise 2.0) is alive and well
  2. Selling to developers is a good business, but not a growth business
  3. Atlassian will change after its IPO

Social-Collaboration Continues to Grow

Although known mostly for its developer-oriented Jira tools, that market has natural limits, and so Atlassian is placing a bigger bet on its Confluence and HipChat offerings to provide growth going forward.  We're seeing more interest in Confluence as well, but at the same time, some of our enterprise subscribers get turned away by Atlassian's techie-first approach to the product's roadmap and ecosystem (you can read more in RSG's vendor evaluation research). 

For you the customer, the pending IPO brings more evidence that -- despite waning interest among industry analysts looking for The Next Big Thing -- social-collaboration continues a steady rise in the enterprise as organizations learn more each year about how to resource and govern it properly.  We're also seeing more experimentation with multi-vendor architectures as SharePoint continues its strategic retreat within Office 365. 

So as a customer, a lively social-collaboration marketplace awaits you, and Atlassian's IPO hints at a market getting still livelier.


But it's also a marketplace in transition, and Atlassian too will change -- as all companies do when they go public. You'll see more funds spent on sales and marketing along with intense demands for short-term revenue growth, and that will change Atlassian's culture. The company will inevitably lose some of the intimacy its longtime customers have enjoyed.

If in return, however, Atlassian focuses more on business buyers, that could become a plus for you.  We'll keep watching, listening, and interpreting...

New and Updated Evaluations - Google, Jive, eXo, Igloo, Interact, and More #DigitalWorkplace #cio Mon, 26 Oct 2015 15:44:00 +0000 We've just released the latest version of our Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Evaluations Report with updated reviews of Google, Igloo, Jive, Liferay Social Office, Telligent/Verint, and Traction. The new entrants to the report are eXo and Interact. Here's a sneak peek of some findings. 

Updated Reviews

Google: Google Apps for Work offers a plethora of collaboration tools and services, and Google signals that it is serious about the enterprise business segment. Most of the tools here are updated, but the star of this show remains email: still the #1 reason why businesses sign up for Google Apps for Work.

Igloo: Igloo Software continues to maintain its focus and positioning as an easy-to-use (and implement) social intranet software for customers that prefer breadth over a best-of-breed or depth strategy.

Jive: As we've noted before, Jive is at a crossroads and is placing its bets on the new mobile-first apps strategy. You now have narrowly focused mobile apps for key enterprise collaboration use cases. This is also an effort to land customers who do not want or need such a broad-ranging and complex platform, but it remains to be seen whether this will bear fruit for Jive. 

Liferay:  Social Office is a distro of sorts for the full-fledged Liferay Portal server, but it's specifically for collaboration-oriented scenarios. The word on the street is that the star is not shining too brightly for Social Office, perhaps warranting a wait-and-watch strategy for new customers. 

Telligent/Verint: It seems change is the only constant at Telligent. Briefly, it was Telligent + Zimbra = Zimbra. But now, Zimbra = Zimbra (of Synacor) & Telligent = Telligent (of Verint). Yes, it makes your head spin, but the big question is whether Telligent will pull off a Phoenix-like turnaround.

Traction: With a fairly loyal customer base, Traction continues to punch above its weight. The company is finding interesting use cases for the TeamPage software particularly in the ISO / quality management space for manufacturing customers. 

New Evaluations

eXo: Our Portal stream subscribers will be familiar with eXo, the longstanding vendor of open source portal software. The company shifted gears and pivoted to a social-collaboration play a couple of years ago, and is undertaking the journey to transform to a business-applications vendor from being an infrastructure software vendor. 

Interact: Interact is a UK vendor of intranet software and it manages to stand out in that crowded marketplace by dint of its broad offering. It has seen wide adoption in the home markets and now has big ambitions in the North American market. 

Next Steps

This updated report is available for immediate download to RSG subscribers. If you're not yet a subscriber, you can download a sample evaluation.

Meet with RSG at the Frankfurt Book Fair #martech #DAM Wed, 30 Sep 2015 08:51:00 +0000 I'm excited to be participating in the Frankfurt Book Fair (Oct 13 – 18), the world’s largest trade fair for the publishing industry. Held annually, the Book Fair has a 500-year old history and goes back to the time when Gutenberg invented the printing press.

In this year’s edition, I will be speaking on Selecting the Right Technology for Success.

Here is today’s harsh reality: software is eating the world. Even more so - if you are a publishing or a media group.

To survive, you need the right software tools to effectively showcase your offerings, target your audience, and market efficiently. But the technology landscape of Digital Asset Management, Web Content Management, Digital Marketing, and Big Data can be very complex and confusing.

Drawing upon RSG’s rich experience of working with customers across multiple industries (including publishing), I will demystify the marketplace, help benchmark your current state and based on your business objectives, help you identify the best-fit software tools for your specific requirements.

If you are an enterprise technology customer planning to attend the Book Fair, get the technology answers relevant to your company. Schedule a one-on-one session or send me an email.

Look forward to seeing you in Frankfurt.

P.S.: If you are not coming to Frankfurt, I invite you to attend this RSG webinar for the publishing industry customers on Oct 7, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT / 1600 UTC.

Webinar - From Intranets to the Digital Workplace - September 30 #DigitalWorkplace #intranet Tue, 15 Sep 2015 16:08:00 +0000 You may have heard of the emerging concept of the "Digital Workplace," where employees go to get work done digitally. What is this concept, and what does it mean for traditional intranets, emerging social collaboration spaces, and line-of-business systems?

Savvy enterprise digital leaders are coming to recognize that their purview has broadened considerably. Based on the advisory sessions with KM and Intranet managers among RSG subscriber base, we know can present a daunting challenge.

But the notion of a Digital Workplace is also an opportunity for those with vision to reshape the employee experience by working from the screen backwards.

Join Tony Byrne as he shares recent RSG findings on best practices for transitioning from a traditional intranet to a modern digital workplace.

Register here

Webinar Details:

From Intranets to Digital Workplace

Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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

We look forward to seeing you then.

Webinar - How to Select the Right Software in a Big Hurry (September 23) #DigitalWorkplace #standards Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:11:00 +0000 In an ideal world, enterprise technology procurement teams would take their time to bring new solutions into the enterprise, patiently gathering requirements, prioritizing needs, and testing solutions. In the real world, selection teams don’t always have the luxury of time.

Join RSG's Jarrod Gingras as he presents a faster, more agile approach to technology selection.

Drawing on more than a decade of case studies, Jarrod will show you how to run a more efficient, iterative, and empirical selection process that will get you business value faster.

Register here

Webinar Details:

How to Select the Right Software in a Big Hurry

Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Time: 2:00-2:30 PM EST (18:00-18:30 UTC/GMT 19:00 BST)

We look forward to seeing you then.

Webinar: Best Practices for Selecting the Right Digital Agency or Integration Partner (July 29) #digitalmarketing #DigitalWorkplace Tue, 14 Jul 2015 12:39:00 +0000 Enterprise customers of digital workplace and digital marketing technologies must frequently turn to outside suppliers -- integrators, agencies, or consulting firms -- for implementation help.  Indeed, for larger projects, the majority of the expense falls here.

But how do you select the right services firm? It turns out that many of the same agile methodologies that you should use to select software vendors apply here as well – but with a twist.

Start off on the right foot.  Join RSG's Director of Advisory Services Jarrod Gingras as he leads you through the process of selecting the right integrator for your project.

Register here

Webinar Details:

Best Practices for Selecting the Right Digital Agency or Integration Partner

Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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

I look forward to seeing you there.

SharePoint Survivor Stories #sharepoint #DigitalWorkplace Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:29:00 +0000 I have already circled back to you about the dimming of SharePoint's dominance as the de facto platform for workplace collaboration. Now I'm back with some survivor stories culled from the same survey. This is more animated and agitated because it is straight from the (customer) gut.

The text in the graphics are verbatim responses from customers regarding their SharePoint experiences.

May this Share-Pain-Point prove a wee bit therapeutic for you. Don't suffer in silence.

Industry analyst research is invaluable in social-collaboration software selection #DigitalWorkplace #cio Thu, 04 Jun 2015 13:13:00 +0000 Let me warn you upfront that this article may appear to be self-serving. Alas, my (main) motive here is not to promote the value of our research. I am writing this in response to a question we get asked all the time: do you have any data to prove the ROI of your research / advice.

So, I dug into the data from our most recent industry survey on enterprise social-collaboration technology.

In the survey, we asked customers to rate how satisfied they are with

  • the social-collaboration software products they are using (based on functionality and features) and
  • the vendors of these products (based on their responsiveness and support)

In a separate question, we also asked customers about the different inputs that went into their technology selection process.

Here is what we found: Customers who used industry analyst research in their technology selection process were more satisfied with their software products and vendors than those who did not.

Figure 1: Customers using industry analyst research to inform social-collaboration software selection are more satisfied with their products and vendors. Click the image to enlarge.

Could these results be due to chance? Some basic data science (ANOVA / tests of group means, in case you are interested) indeed confirms that the results are statistically significant -- i.e., not just due to random chance. There you go.

I suspect you intuitively understand the cause and effect here.  Expert knowledge about the products/vendors, in-depth understanding about their strengths and weaknesses, the experiences of other customers who used those products -- all get reflected in industry analyst research such as RSG's.

This can help you choose the best-fit software for your requirements and avoid expensive mistakes down the road. Such customers are naturally more satisfied than those who ended with products that don't work as advertised or simply prove to be a mis-match. Time and again, we hear this from our blue-chip customers anecdotally.

Now, there's also quantitative evidence about the impact of analyst research more generally.  I'm certainly happy to be part of your success.

When IT and Business Think Differently About Social-Collaboration #DigitalWorkplace #EntArch Thu, 28 May 2015 05:26:00 +0000 Many employee- and customer-facing digital projects can prove very difficult to pull off, but to paraphrase Tolstoy, each is hard in its own way. Partly it relates to how different "silos" in the organization perceive the key challenges.  The two main protagonists in this drama, Business and IT, are very often not on the same page.

But is there is a way for enterprise leaders to pin-point how and where this Business-IT gap shows up?

Consider the Case of Social-Collaboration

Consider social-collaboration technology, where an analysis of the challenges faced by large organizations provides some useful insights about the Business-IT chasm.

RSG's 2014 survey of Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software (get summary here) found that customer satisfaction with social-collaboration technology remains middling and enterprises have not yet achieved a high degree of maturity in leveraging this technology.


Figure 1: Main challenges faced in Social-Collaboration projects, as seen by Business and IT (Click image for full-size version of the chart).

As you can see from the above chart, Business and IT perceive that their social-collaboration initiatives face different challenges. Along with executive buy-in, business stakeholders consider insufficient staffing, training, and lack of best practices to be their main challenges. Apart from executive buy-in, IT stakeholders tend to perceive a very different set of challenges: lack of user adoption, insufficient governance, and funding shortages.

Among the list of main challenges, only "executive buy-in" appears on both sides of the aisle. 

Figure 2: Executive Buy-in is the only common challenge cited by Business and IT.

Some of This Is Normal

Some tension here is to be expected and maybe even welcomed -- a bit.  IT and Business stakeholders have different jobs so you might expect they bring distinct sets of concerns to digital projects.

However, different stakeholders prioritizing separate challenges may indicate teams pursuing different goals and divergent paths to maturity. They may be trying to solve localized or departmental problems, rather than pursuing enterprise-wide objectives.

Do you experiences similar alignment challenges? Talk to us - we can help untangle complex enterprise social-collaboration initiatives.


[Webinar] Digital Workplace at Scale: A Checklist for Large, Global Organizations #DigitalWorkplace #EntArch Thu, 21 May 2015 15:07:00 +0000[Webinar]-Digital-Workplace-at-Scale:-A-Checklist-for-Large-Global-Organizations? If you manage the intranet or digital workplace for a large enterprise, you know that scalability matters — a lot.

Yet "scale" is a tricky concept in technology. In the world of packaged applications — the kind that we evaluate — people talk about scale when referencing very different things, such as feature breadth and scenario diversity (scope), functional depth and richness (complexity), and transaction volumes and traffic intensity (usage).

Since all of these meanings are relevant, notions of scale can become vague, generic, and take on a marketing-speak quality.

You don't want that.

Join RSG Founder Tony Byrne for a scalability checklist for large, global organizations. Designed to align both business and IT leaders, this checklist will help you address the unique problems of super-sized enterprises that vendors often neglect.

Register here

Webinar Details:

Registration: Digital Workplace at Scale: A Checklist for Large, Global Organizations 

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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

I look forward to seeing you there.

What does the future hold for Jive Software and its customers? #e20 #sharepoint Tue, 19 May 2015 11:57:00 +0000 As our Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software research subscribers know, Jive Software is a major player in the enterprise collaboration software space. During the “Enterprise 2.0” mania of the last decade, Jive was structured and valued as a high-growth play — both before and after its splashy IPO.

However, the company is now experiencing decelerated revenue and customer growth. This along with the continued lack of profits is leading to a significant reduction in its market capitalization.

Figure 1:  From a peak of $1.7 billion in April 2012, Jive's market cap has declined to about $400 million at the beginning of May 2015. Source: YChart

Without concurrent cost reductions, this performance plateau calls into question Jive’s path-to-profitability and therefore its future viability as an independent company.

  • What does this mean for Jive and the enterprise collaboration software market as a whole?
  • What are the implications for current and future customers of Jive (most of whom, btw, seem quite happy with the platform)?

We just released a detailed 12-page paper that analyzes the strategic choices confronting Jive and makes specific recommendations for current and prospective customers.

As a bonus you also get our analysis of the desirability of different suitors for Jive Software in any M&A overtures - but from the perspective of enterprise customers, using our hand-crafted Suitorbility analysis.

Figure 2:  RSG Analysis of motivation to acquire Jive and impact on customer for different suitors, along with some wild cards. (Click to enlarge.)

This briefing is available to our Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software research subscribers for immediate download. If you are not a subscriber, you can purchase it for $895.


New Reference Models for Your Digital Workplace #DigitalWorkplace #KMers Wed, 06 May 2015 12:51:00 +0000 The term "Digital Workplace" has become quite popular, and although some old hands view the term with cynicism, at RSG we are quite bullish on the concept.

Here's our definition: your digital workplace is the collection of digital systems that your colleagues use to get work done. And the foundational problem with employee digital experience today is that these systems reflect primarily how the enterprise wants that work to get done.

Many of our enterprise subscribers recognize that they need to reverse this equation and focus on employee experience "on the glass."

However, this quest gets hampered by a lack of practical frameworks that assess current state, analyze the environment from multiple vantage points, and help charter a custom roadmap.

So today we're sharing a couple of reference models with our subscribers.

1) A more traditional, architectural reference model that describes a layered inventory of digital workplace systems, to form a baseline for further analysis of functional, integration, and security needs

2) A complementary approach that examines the efficacy and usability of enterprise systems from the perspective of the employee -- tying systems analysis more closely to business value via the pursuit of employee effectiveness, engagement, and satisfaction

Subscribers can download the briefing,"Reference Models to Chart the Future of Your Digital Workplace," straight away.

If your firm is not a subscriber (and maybe it is, already), peruse this information to learn more about RSG research.


[Webinar] Making Sense of the Collaboration Tool Landscape #DigitalWorkplace #intranet Fri, 24 Apr 2015 04:13:00 +0000[Webinar]-Making-Sense-of-the-Collaboration-Tool-Landscape? The landscape for enterprise collaboration technology is shifting rapidly. On the one hand, a variety of new, simpler solutions have hit the market for simple networking and project management. On the other hand, we have reached the era of "peak SharePoint," forcing customers of that longstanding platform to look beyond their SharePoint estates for innovation.

Meanwhile, most organizations still struggle to align people-oriented social networking capabilities with document- and process-oriented collaboration services. Fortunately, though, as a customer you have many choices depending on the breadth of your appetite and depth of your internal capabilities.

Join Real Story Group founder Tony Byrne in partnership with CMSWire for a tour of Collaboration technology choices, circa 2015. Based on RSG's qualitative vendor evaluations and customer survey research, Tony will lead you through a process of understanding your technology choice and making good decisions to improve collaboration this year.

Register here.

Webinar Details

Registration: Webinar: Making Sense of the Collaboration Tool Landscape

Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Time: 1:00-1:30 PM EST (17:00-17:30 UTC/GMT)

I look forward to seeing you there

You might already subscribe to our research and not know it... #EntArch Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:22:00 +0000 I frequently run into people at conferences or in social media who don't realize that their employer subscribes to our research. Of course we work to get them quickly logged in.

Well, it's not exactly like a bank error in their favor...but it's a useful professional boost they didn't know they could use.

Could that be you, too? Maybe. I can't share our subscriber list here, but if you work for a large enterprise in particular, there's a chance you may already be eligible for a seat. (You can see some examples of current and past subscribers here.)

To be sure, you can check with whoever handles IT research for your organization. Or if you want a really quick answer, just ping our customer care team and they can let you know.

It's not free money from the bank, but our research can definitely save you time and trouble...and perhaps license fees on your next technology purchase.


New and Updated Evaluations - Jive, SharePoint, Liferay, Drupal, and Zimbra #DigitalWorkplace #sharepoint Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:32:00 +0000 We've just released the latest version of our Enterprise Collaboration and Social Networking vendor evaluation report, with updates to Microsoft, Drupal, Jive, and Zimbra, along with a new entrant, Liferay Social Office.  Here's a sneak peek at some findings.


All these years we've advised that you adopt from among "complement, supplement or extend" strategies for your SharePoint platform. Now, we add a fourth: "postpone."

That's because of the convoluted and confused steps emanating from Redmond on multiple fronts -- migration to Office 365, integration with Yammer, and hybrid cloud deployments. Even though the SharePoint ecosystem is gearing up for SharePoint 2016, the majority of customers have been taking a rather sensible wait-and-watch attitude towards SP 2013. Consult our research for more details.


While Acquia remains a good shepherd of the Commons distribution, we note that momentum is building around the OpenAtrium distro, an emerging solution for social-intranet scenarios. 


Some things in life just don't change. Just like you can always count on Jive to rename their products with each release. But this time Jive is changing more than just nomenclature; the vendor has begun a journey of unbundling the platform (which is at risk of becoming unwieldy because of all the feature additions) into narrowly focused but more usable apps.


Zimbra (neé Telligent) is trying hard to catch-up with larger rivals in the space who have stolen a march despite Telligent's early momentum. The real question though is whether Zimbra's social platform can expand beyond its traditional use cases around communities and whether the company has the wherewithal to pull it off.

Liferay Social Office

Last but not least, we also added a new vendor to our evaluations line-up. Think of Social Office as a Liferay Portal "distro" of sorts where you get an enterprise portal plus social-collaboration platform in one package. There is a yin and yang thing going on here, with both pros and cons. 

This latest report is available for immediate download to RSG subscribers.

If you're not a subscriber, you can download a sample evaluation here.

Immersive Environments Still Not Ready for Enterprise #DigitalWorkplace #immersive Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:28:00 +0000 In 2011, Real Story Group published an advisory, “Is Immersive Collaboration Software Ready for Prime Time?,” which concluded that the value of virtual worlds and other immersive environments remains questionable and risky for enterprise customers.

As an enormous enthusiast and independent researcher of these platforms, I consider this analysis still applicable today. Continuing interface complexity, coupled with difficulties in scaling due to fundamental limitations in bandwidth, means that best-case uses of immersive environments remain rooted in non-enterprise sectors.

For example:

  • Progressive education
  • Design and prototyping in a collaborative but limited context (for example, design of a theatrical stage set)
  • Some site- and scenario-specific training (such as machine control rooms or cultural training for personnel operating in foreign environments)
  • Arts and entertainment

Utilizing virtual worlds today continues to require a user base that is amenable to exploration and novelty and where “creative play” is valued above efficient productivity. End-users must still invest substantial time and effort to master the steep learning curves needed to function fluidly in a virtual environment; it takes significant skill-sets to traverse and utilize these platforms.

More common technologies such as video conferencing and desktop sharing of industry-standard applications--augmented by communication channels (for example, CAD on shared desktops using Skype)--remain more accessible, effective, and efficient solutions for enterprise.

However, technical and design innovation in the immersive space continues, and increasing VC interest is promising. Paul Allen-led Vulcan Capital recently invested in High Fidelity, a next iteration of complex virtual world by the creators of Second Life. High Fidelity has built into the user interface support for gesture and facial mapping onto avatars via camera and sensor inputs, as well as viewing via Oculus Rift. Once mature, these technologies could greatly reduce the complexity of use and navigation. The acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook is another monetary vote of confidence that may augur well for next-generation immersive platforms.

But, nearly three years after our initial assessment, there has yet to be a breakthrough application that radically changes the analysis regarding enterprise use.

Additionally, I predict that the vendor-provided model of virtual platforms will not be the final path to enterprise and mass adoption. Rather, the next iteration of the web—one that will be 3D and immersive in its entirety—rests in the ability of HTML5 and frameworks such as WebGL to deliver standardized 3D in the browser without the need for additional plug-ins, media players, and disparate user-controls.  Critically, advances in camera and sensor technologies integrated into laptop and mobile devices, are necessary to alleviate the enormous, current burden on the user, who is asked to manually pilot avatars in a complex environment while not losing sight of where he is on the spreadsheet.

While some evangelists claim that virtual worlds make online engagement “more human and life-like,” they succeed in this only to the extent that everyone is rendered more vulnerable to chagrin as unintended events and simple user error become publicly observable. In good-natured and flat organizations where everyone is able to be equally fallible, this may be acceptable. In those where some modicum of professional authority and hierarchy is desired, virtual worlds continue to risk rendering everyone equal along a spectrum of the absurd.

Is there a Swiss Army Knife for Enterprise Collaboration? #socbiz #DigitalWorkplace Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:19:00 +0000 RSG's Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software survey (get summary here) revealed that SharePoint is not a swiss army knife for enterprise collaboration -- i.e., a single tool that can serve multiple use cases. To be sure, it probably never was.

Still, I find it interesting that many vendors (even those lacking the breadth of functionality typically found in a larger platform like SharePoint) will aggressively promote their solutions as do-it-all-systems that match all the diverse use cases that many organizations have.

The rubber-meets-the-road reality is quite different.

Horses for Courses

Using the data from our industry survey, we crunched the numbers for organizations having more than 1000 employees and found that they are employing multiple social-collaboration software products -- on average, 2.6 in an organization. (For the statistically inclined, the 95% confidence interval is 2.3 to 3.)

This leads to the obvious question: why are organizations deploying three collaboration software products? Firstly, vendors simply can't do it all. The diversity and complexity of collaboration use cases (which has only increased with cloud and mobile technologies) is such that vendors can only support adequately a sub-set of the use cases. 

Figure 1:  You're in for a surprise if you think a social-collaboration software product is like a swiss army knife that holds all the tools you need.  Image: Swistik Knife, installation art by Biju Joze at Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Secondly, despite vendor claims / case studies of enterprise-wide deployments, many implementations remain at the departmental level and different departments could have procured different tools.

What's the Implication for Technology Buyers ?

Technical functionality and features are only parts of the puzzle. You are most likely going to rely on multiple products for meeting your enterprise collaboration requirements. So, don't ignore the integration capabilities of the products you are evaluating. Carefully look under the hood to understand how well they can play with the other systems in your technology stack.

Our in-depth product evaluations can be very handy here.

March Madness 2015: Digital Workplace and Marketing Technology Edition #digitalmarketing #DigitalWorkplace Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:23:00 +0000 As technology advisors, every day can feel like Selection Sunday when working with our subscribers.  For most enterprises, selecting technology can be like picking a winner of the NCAA Basketball Tournament:

  • Lots of guessing
  • Favoritism to the teams/vendors you know
  • Limited research
  • A mix of predictability and surprises
  • Untold amounts of money changing hands
  • Madness...

At the Real Story Group, we have helped thousands of enterprises across the world make this process a lot less maddening. Our vendor evaluation reports and interactive online tools help you get to an appropriate short-list – an Elite Eight or Final Four, if you will. We specialize in winnowing down your choices from an entire marketplace to the vendors and products that could best fit for your needs.

Fill in Your Bracket

Thus, we are once again providing you with a Digital Marketing Technology Bracket and a Digital Workplace Technology Bracket to help you get started in your quest to "cut down the nets" with a successful technology solution.


You can download your own full-size Digital Workplace Technology Bracket here.


You can download your own full-size Digital Marketing Technology Bracket here.

Some Disclaimers

There's no such thing as a "best" software vendor. Thus, these depictions of the Digital Workplace and Digital Marketing technology landscapes are not indicative of any seedings; rather it is a simple grouping of some of the more significant content technology vendors that we cover. The vendors chosen were done so randomly since we actually cover more than 250 products from 172 vendors (you can see the full list here.) 

Good luck! And if you need help finding the right Digital Marketing or Digital Workplace technology for your enterprise, contact us and we'll help you pick a winner.

2015 Vendor Map - The Big Picture #digitalmarketing #DigitalWorkplace Thu, 05 Mar 2015 10:59:00 +0000 Earlier this week, we released the latest version of our Digital Workplace & Marketing Technology Vendor Map.

H1 2015 RSG Subway Map (click to enlarge)

The Big Picture

Many themes persist in this latest version (and I'll get to those below), but in the meantime, I'll answer what an RSG subscriber asked me when she first saw this latest version: "What's the big picture?"

There is no single Digital Workplace or Digital Marketing platform.
You simply cannot purchase a single product -- or even a single suite -- that will give you everything you need. That means that a workplace or marketing leader has to be conversant in several technologies, and your enterprise needs a strategy around how the different pieces will fit together.

Some technologies -- like portals, mobile and WCM -- apply to both digital workplace and customer engagement architectures.
But the way you'd use them can differ dramatically on whether the key stakeholder is an employee or customer/partner. And that's why most enterprises employ different solutions for internal- vs. outward-facing use cases.

What Is Old Is Still New

Some older trends persist...

These are highly fragmented marketplaces.
Sure, some vendors get "hot" for a year or two, but in all these marketplace except perhaps enterprise portals, no vendor can claim more than 5% marketshare overall. You have a lot of choices -- many of them good choices -- but you want the best-fitting choice, and our evaluation research will help you sort that out.

Most innovation happens at the periphery than the center.
Microsoft has largely abandoned digital marketing use cases, while IBM, Oracle, and Adobe have tended to buy innovation, rather than grow it themselves.

Get a high-rez, printable version of the map.


Why HR Should Care About the Digital Workplace #DigitalWorkplace #intranet Sun, 01 Mar 2015 12:55:00 +0000 My colleague Kashyap has analyzed recent survey results that show corporate communications teams paying more attention than HR leaders to digital workplace issues. I'd like to think this will change, and anecdotally, I see it changing in more forward-thinking enterprises.

Why? Because the quality of your digital workplace turns out to be a big-time HR issue.

Transitive property of employee user experience

More and more we hear that enterprises look for employees who can think on their feet and make good decisions. Yet many internal business information systems treat employees like children, or worse yet, like assembly-line robots.

This phenomenon leads to what I call the transitive property of employee digital user experience:

  1. "This business application thinks I'm an idiot"
  2. "It's an enterprise application" - Therefore...
  3. "The enterprise thinks I'm an idiot"

Some organizations have tried to escape this dilemma by experimenting with social technologies and encumbering those projects with "transformational" ambitions. Well, if you've seen RSG's Social-Collaboration Technology evaluation research, you know that:

  • Many of these platforms have serious usability problems themselves, and
  • Social technology is less about becoming exceptional and more about improving your business capabilities

The digital workplace is bigger than any one application or system. It's a mindset that employee effectiveness matters just as much when they are working in front of a screen.

Clearly there's a role here for HR

Those HR teams that have made strong moves to add employee engagement and effectiveness to their portfolio are particularly well placed to add significant value.

For a growing number of employees, the workplace has become largely digital. IT quite properly seeks to address enterprise concerns like security, cost-effectiveness, and architectural alignment. But institutionally, who advocates for the needs of the employee? Your best colleagues are increasingly judging the quality of their workplace by the usefulness of their business applications.

HR leaders who don't want employees to feel like idiots will pay closer attention to just how effective that digital workplace really is...

Your Next Step

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

Enterprise Collaboration and Software Vendors - Net Promoter Scores and More #DigitalWorkplace #RSGwebinar Tue, 24 Feb 2015 09:05:00 +0000 Many of you would be familiar with Net Promoter Score, a management tool to measure customer loyalty or more specifically, a measure of how likely you are to recommend a product or service that you use to friends and colleagues. 

RSG's Enterprise Collaboration and Social Sofware (ECSS) Industry Survey 2014 (download summary report here)  collected rich data on customer satisfaction about the products they use. We are using this data to derive Net Promoter Scores for key products that we evaluate in our ECSS market research stream

Essentially, customers are divided into three categories:

  • Promoters - who are very happy with the product and will recommend it to others
  • Detractors - who are very dissatisfied and dissuade others from using a product
  • Passives - who are neutral about their experience and neither promote nor demote

The NPS score can range from -100 (all customers hate the product)  to +100 (all customers love the product). Here is a preview of the Net Promoter Scores of a few enterprise collaboration software products (for more detailed analysis, consult our research).

Figure 1:  Net Promoter Score for Atlassian, Drupal, Google Apps and IBM Connections based on RSG's 2014 Customer Survey. (Click image to enlarge).

In tomorrow's webinar ( Feb 25, 12:00 TO 12:30 EST), I'll be discussing  key market trends as well as the Net Promoter Scores for 10 collaboration and social software products. Here is the registration link for the webinar - I hope you will join me there. 

2015 Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Market Analysis #e20 #DigitalWorkplace Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:20:00 +0000 Today we released our annual briefing on the state of the Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Technology marketplace. Subscribers can download the full analysis here.

This 10-page briefing provides

  1. An overview of marketplace trends and 
  2. Where vendors lie on RSG's risk-reality spectrum a.k.a., the RealityCheck.

This represents a moment-in-time perspective. For detailed evaluations of the individual vendors, consult our full vendor evaluation report.

The key trends we discuss in this briefing include:

  • Enterprise social use cases that are finding traction
  • Transition of collaboration technology into the cloud
  • Challenges facing social-collaboration in the enterprise

In addition to the broader market trends, you'll also find where the vendors we evaluate in our Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Report and their products fall on a change spectrum. Here is the snapshot.

Figure 1: RSG Reality Check 2015 for the Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Technology Marketplace (click image to enlarge)

Note that there is no single magic square here. What matters most is that you identify the best-fit solution for your needs.

In addition to the visual trajectory, you'll find "key things to keep in mind" commentary about each of the above vendors. Get the full briefing here.

Organizational Models and Social-Collaboration Success #DigitalWorkplace #e20 Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:43:00 +0000 RSG conducted an industry survey in Q3/2014 on social-collaboration software usage, where survey respondents included a cross-section of organizations drawn from different industries. (You can get a complimentary copy of the survey results here.)  Now we're doing some follow-up analysis of the underlying data.

In a new advisory paper, we turn our attention to analyzing the experiences of large (1,000 to 10,000 employees) and very large (10,000+ employees) organizations with respect to organizational models and attendant effectiveness with social-collaboration technology.

Specifically, we look at the effects of the organizational model on application / use-case maturity, as well as the breadth of challenges enterprises face based on the model they choose. We see two broad models across enterprises

  • Traditional intranet teams are also responsible for newer, social software implementation. We call this the "Single Team Model".
  • Alternately, the social software team is distinct from the Intranet team. We term this the "Separate Teams Model"

Here's a preview of what we found:

Figure 1: Enterprise Social-Collaboration: Impact of Organizational Model on Maturity versus Program Hurdles

The key implication is that you need to create organizational capabilities to leverage social-collaboration opportunities.

The briefing, available for immediate download for our Collaboration-Social stream subscribers, offers additional charts and in-depth commentary on how you can improve your enterprise social implementations.

If you are not a subscriber, check out your subscription options, and download a sample evaluation chapter.

Join us at IntraTeam Event in Copenhagen #DigitalWorkplace #intranet Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:37:00 +0000 Late next month, we'll be teaching and speaking at the IntraTeam event in Copenhagen, Denmark, the region's premier event about the digital workplace, enterprise search, and related topics. If you're in Northern Europe and looking to quickly expand your knowledge of these areas, please join me there.

I'll be teaching half-day seminars on how to select the most appropriate array of digital workplace technologies for you, and also hosting sessions on collaboration & social technology, as well as a deep dive on mobile platforms for the enterprise.

Early bird pricing ends this week, so be sure to book your participation soon. Hope to see you there!