Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2014 RealStoryGroup.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.realstorygroup.com/ www.realstorygroup.com : Blogs en-us 08/28/2014 00:00:00 60 New vendor to our DAM research: Bynder #DAM #saas Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:59:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2745-New-vendor-to-our-DAM-research:-Bynder? Bynder, one of the newer kids on the DAM block, is an Amsterdam-based, born-digital marketing and brand asset management platform, a purely cloud offering geared towards marketing technology workflows. As recently as a few years ago, Widen was easily the prominent SaaS-oriented DAM offering; today, Widen’s competitors in this space are vast: Bynder, Canto, Woodwing's Elvis, Picturepark, Shutterstock’s WebDAM, North Plains’ OnBrand all have similarly affordable and in some cases, more modern SaaS DAM offerings. 

With a rapidly growing young team, Bynder has a web-centric start-up mentality and big ambitions, now competing with the industry stalwarts and winning new enterprise clients. Bynder is VC-backed, with rapid growth and a burn rate to match - we assess the opportunities and the risks in the latest DAM research release.

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CatDV - New entrant to our MAM evaluations line-up #MediaAssetManagement #DAM Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:47:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2743-CatDV-New-entrant-to-our-MAM-evaluations-line-up? We recently released a major update to our Digital and Media Asset Management software research. This report includes evaluations of the leading vendors in the marketplace and places them into several tiers or categories, namely:

  • Enterprise Brand & Digital Asset Management
  • SMB & Workgroup DAM Platforms
  • SMB & Workgroup DAM Products
  • Niche & Regional Players
  • Broadcast Media Management

The Broadcast Media Management category consists of evaluations of MAM software from Avid, Cinegy, Dalet, GlobeCAST NETIA, Harris Broadcast, TMD, Vizrt. The latest version of our report also evaluates CatDV from UK vendor Square Box Systems.

CatDV is available in several editions and targets both "prosumers" and enterprises. When it comes to MAM systems (particularly at the enterprise level), there is a lot of complexity involved in implementing the software, integrating it with your existing technology infrastructure, and of course training the end-users. Unlike many other MAM products, CatDV is easy to deploy. But you trade-off some functionality found in larger MAM products for this simplicity.

In this evaluation of CatDV, we assess its suitability for enterprise use, the use cases it supports (and doesn't support), as well as intangibles like the smallish company's ability to provide customer support across different geographic regions. Our DMAM research subscribers can download the latest version of the report here.

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Oracle SRM gets an update - but integrated marketing cloud still a work-in-progress #Oracle #digitalmarketing Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:26:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2742-Oracle-SRM-gets-an-update-but-integrated-marketing-cloud-still-a-work-in-progress? One of the vendors evaluated in our Digital Marketing Technology research stream, Oracle, recently announced a product update for what it calls "Oracle Social Cloud."

These updates focus on Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) suite, and include a redesign of certain parts of the UI, some drag-and-drop functionality and additional metrics for social media analysis. These updates are not ground breaking enhancements and many competing products we evaluate already offer such functionality.

More interesting is that this news represents one of the few digital marketing product enhancement announcements from Oracle in a long while. Usually, you only hear about Oracle acquiring other digital marketing technology companies rather than organically building or updating them. If you’ve been watching this space, you know that in recent years Oracle has been gobbling up digital and social media marketing vendors at a frenetic pace.

As we note in our evaluation of Oracle SRM, that suite actually consists of several acquired products under the hood: Vitrue, Involver and Collective Intellect. For instance, Social Marketing functionality is offered through the Vitrue toolkit while Social Engagement and Monitoring services are based on Involver and Collective Intellect. Yet some services (e.g., “Listen and Analyze”) employ components drawn from all these three products. On top of that, if you're looking for marketing automation services, then you'd turn to Eloqua (another Oracle acquisition, of course).

Integrating these disparate products -- each with it's own approach to architectures, workflows, technical guts, UX philosophy -- is a complex endeavor, even for the likes of behemoths like Oracle. You could of course, access these products with a single login and use a single umbrella UI, but deeper integration remains a work in progress. Recent enhancements are a small step in that direction but there are many miles to go before customers see full integration -- if ever.

Let me also note that this situation is not unique to Oracle. As digital marketing technology budgets have been increasing in recent years, almost all the vendors have scrambled to try to assemble broad (i.e., end-to-end) marketing clouds. Be it Adobe, Salesforce.com, or IBM – all of them have acquired multiple marketing tech companies. So, as an enterprise customer you’re likely to see a fully integrated offering only in the sales pitches; under the hood you'll find several acquired components of varying provenances and maturities, with differing degrees of integration.

Don’t make expensive investments in marketing technology before getting the full picture.

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New and Updated DAM and MAM Product Evaluations: Bynder, Evolphin, FotoWare, CatDV, and more.... #DAM #MediaAssetManagement Sun, 24 Aug 2014 16:24:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2739-New-and-Updated-DAM-and-MAM-Product-Evaluations:-Bynder-Evolphin-FotoWare-CatDV-and-more....? Today we release a major update to our Digital & Media Asset Management product evaluation research, which has reached a rather significant milestone: we now have in-depth evaluations of over 40 vendors across the DAM & MAM marketplaces.

My colleagues Kashyap and Mark have weighed in with several new evaluations:

  • Bynder: A young and hip Dutch vendor that's making waves with a SaaS product, giving Widen, WebDAM and other brand-management oriented products another competitor
  • Square Box Systems CatDV: A lower-cost, UK-based vendor focused on video & media management
  • FotoWare: A Norwegian photo-management vendor with a long history in publishing
  • Evolphin: one of the few DAM vendors based in Silicon Valley, Evolphin's product, Zoom, focuses on creative collaboration

We've also updated our reviews of North Plains Telescope, North Plains On Brand, HP MediaBin, and celum in this most recent update. Subscribers can access the new research immediately.

If you're not yet a subscriber, you can still obtain a complimentary sample vendor evaluation.

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In Defense of the Bake-off #DAM #pmot Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:35:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2737-In-Defense-of-the-Bake-off? I have never been accused of being a chef, cook, or baker. So, I am probably the least likely to write a food-related blog post.  (I usually leave that to my colleague, Theresa.)  However, more and more I have found myself defending the practice of the "bake-off."

In the context of a technology selection project, a "bake-off" is really a competitive proof of concept where the 2 vendor finalists are asked to mimic a real implementation project and actually implement some parts of their proposed solution.  The idea is to use your ingredients (content), your bakers (digital asset managers), and your kitchen (your servers and your worker's real environments.)

The argument that other consultants, analysts, and many vendors make is that bake-offs can be too time and resource intensive - and ultimately they are a waste of time.  Well they are right. They CAN be a waste of time for the vendors that don't get selected or the consultants and analysts that get paid only when a final choice has been made by their client.  However, bake-offs are almost never a waste of time for the enterprise that is actually buying the technology.

Consider this experience we had while helping one of the largest hospitals in the United States select a new Digital Asset Management system for their marketing assets.  After the vendor demo phase, the selection team identified two finalists, but Vendor A was the clear leader in the clubhouse.

It was tempting to just abandon the plan to do a bake-off and just start the implementation with Vendor A. However, in the interest of doing their full due diligence, they went ahead with a bake-off in which they asked Vendor A and Vendor B to do a 3 week project to implement 3 of their key use case scenarios.  During the 3 weeks, the hospital's marketing and IT team worked side-by-side with the vendor's implementation team.  At the end of the bake-off, the team summarized their findings.

Some of the key lessons learned during the bake-off were:

  • While Vendor A's user interface had dazzled in the vendor demos, when it came to building out the hospital's most common use case, it was Vendor B's workflow and interface that resonated most with the hospital's marketing team
     
  • When it came to using the hospital's real content (high-res photos from numerous photo shoots), Vendor B was able to demonstrate much faster ingestion times
     
  • When it came to using each of the DAM systems via the marketing team's mobile devices (a common use case), certain key functionality was not available using Vendor A's solution (This never came up in the vendor demos)
     
  • When the hospital's marketers reached out to each of the vendor's help-desk, Vendor A's help-desk never responded!  But, Vendor B's help-desk responded immediately
     
  • And, something that should never be underestimated: the hospital's team liked working with Vendor B's team more than Vendor A's team

The bake-off should be just one step of intense testing of a vendor's fit for your unique needs.  The best selection projects test the solution at multiple points via custom scenarios in an RFP, custom (not canned) demos, and finally the competitive proof-of-concept or bake-off.

As you hear often hear RSG analysts say, there is no perfect vendor or perfect product. And I don't mean to cast Vendor B as a perfect fit in this case.  But, they were a really good fit for this client and they would not have discovered how good a fit unless they had engaged in the bake-off.  Vendor A was paid for their time and Vendor B used the bake-off work as a head-start on the actual implementation project.  The hospital has since implemented their new DAM system and are extremely happy with Vendor B's solution and services.

In this case a 3-week head-to-head bake-off was a sufficient amount of time to get the information they needed to make a decision.  In some cases, you'll want a longer time and in others, a shorter time will suffice.  But, if you are in the market for new technology, please do not skip the phase where your people test the new system with your content in your real environments.  As we've seen with dozens of successful selections, devoting the proper resources to conducting a proper bake-off before you commit to a solution will ultimately leave a much better taste in your mouth.

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Are DAM vendors really innovating by selling Product Content Management? #DAM #digitalmarketing Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:24:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2734-Are-DAM-vendors-really-innovating-by-selling-Product-Content-Management? The short answer is, no.

Technology vendors like to use the words “innovative” and “unique value proposition” when in reality, what they are offering is a generic product with very little differentiation vs. their competitors.

The Holy Grail Challenge

Lately it’s struck me that all the new features I see from DAM vendors aren’t really innovations at all. They’re more opportunistic, exploiting immediate needs and circumstances without reference to a broader, more strategic plan. Even when you see reference to a broader plan, it typically just entails a laundry list of related marketing services that the vendor doesn't offer.

That broader world beyond DAM is the “holy grail” challenge of strategic and personalized digital marketing: where customer data, digital assets, product data, and environmental factors come together to magically deliver the right marketing package at the right time, resulting in action on the part of the customer (ideally, a purchase).

We’re currently working with several of our subscribers to strategically plan how these disparate systems and data might optimally interoperate. To be sure, this is one of the biggest challenges we all face as content and marketing technologists in the decade to come.

PCM As An Add-On

The most recent opportunistic feature from DAM vendors is PCM, or Product Content Management. As the line between asset data and product data has increasingly blurred, vendors such as ADAM, celum, WAVE, and Bynder have all come to offer their own flavor of PCM. Other vendors, such as Chuckwalla, sell a PIM connector, which pulls content from a commercial PIM into the DAM. In the Web Content Management world, CoreMedia has a similar component.

Because it’s inevitable that companies will want to manage product data and digital assets in tandem, or manage asset workflows based on product data, these components have been introduced to allow for the scheduled delivery of assets and consumer-facing product data to users and systems that need to consume that information.

Note however that PCM components offered by DAM vendors are mostly just pulling and pushing data. Unlike PIM (product information management) and PLM (product lifecycle management), these modules will not manage your regulatory approvals or product development lifecycle. PCM is just a logical extension of the DAM metadata schema, something necessary for DAM to remain relevant and useful in the much grander digital marketing lifecycle.

Of course for you, the DAM manager or marketer trying to solve everyday creative and marketing workflow challenges, such “I need them now” features are often quite welcome. The complication is when they’re priced as separate components, touted as “innovative,” and then you are expected to shell out another $50k for such “future proofing.” Be cautious here, as often these components are high in price, but low in functionality.

Innovation Lite

In the bigger industry picture, what this really means is that DAM “innovation” (such as it is) is being driven by incremental improvements on existing use-cases, rather than offering major new solutions for digital marketers.

I find this a bit dismaying for the industry, but by the same token, it serves as a reminder that you should be pushing your vendors on their roadmaps, or they will continue to think small...

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How to be a smart consumer of analyst research Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:39:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2738-How-to-be-a-smart-consumer-of-analyst-research? Well, it's not exactly "a specter haunting the analyst world," but the pay-to-play issue in our industry has risen to the fore once more because of a vendor dragging Gartner Group to court over their business practices.

What’s the pay-to-play problem?

Broadly speaking, pay-to-play refers to a (usually unspoken) quid pro quo between industry analysts and the vendors they track. This can take the form of vendors purchasing consulting or other services from the analyst firm that evaluates them. The issue then becomes whether the research produced is (or ever could be) truly objective and neutral.

Before I come to that, note that analyst firms fall on a spectrum when it comes to the pay-to-play model.

  • On the one end are the “purely play” analyst firms; vendors engage these firms to produce reports for them and as long as the vendor/analyst firm are upfront and disclose who paid for the report, it’s all par for the course
     
  • On the other end of the spectrum, are the no-play firms that don't advise vendors; these are few and far between (RSG is one such firm -- please let me know of others you are aware of); here also, there is no doubt as to who the analyst firm is serving: the enterprise tech customer
     
  • Things become a bit trickier in the broad middle, where a major analyst firm seeks business both from the buy-side (technology buyers) and the sell-side (technology vendors). 

In the third scenario, the interests of these two masters clearly tug in opposite directions.

Another hazard also arises within the sell-side camp: when one vendor is a customer of the analyst firm, while the other is not, will the analyst firms offer “equal opportunity” coverage to all vendors, irrespective of whether they cut them a check or not? That's the core issue of the current dispute.

Of course, the credibility of an analyst firm is its biggest calling card and many leading analyst firms try to guard against the explicit conflicts of interest – but not always with success. 

 What’s your mitigation strategy? 

As a technology-buyer, you can guard against potential biases (explicit or implicit) that may have crept into analyst research.

  1. Use the standard 2-by-2 industry matrices (whichever name they may go by, in the end they are all 2 x 2 grids) as only a starting point for research, and don’t rely on them  for final selection or decision validation
     
  2. By extension, do not be unduly swayed by the positions of vendors in these 2 x 2 charts; the differences between the vendors could be marginal, and in any case, the rankings are generic and not in situational context
     
  3. You should seek a variety of sources of advice; this may bump up your workload a bit, but smart customers diversify and synthesize external input

When it comes to making decisions about technology suppliers, you always want to perform due diligence commensurate to the size of your investment. Take the same approach with your analyst firm as well.

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SharePoint Symposium 2014 #SharePointSym Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:27:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2736-SharePoint-Symposium-2014? For the 7th(!) year in a row Tony Byrne and I have the honor of co-chairing the SharePoint Symposium. This year it will be held on November 6-7 in Washington DC.

The SharePoint Symposium aims to be something very different, a conference on the topic of Microsoft SharePoint that focuses on strategy. Whether you already have SharePoint in your organization or are looking to acquire it, you will encounter no sales pitches here.

This year we have some exciting new speakers including:

Craig St. Claire, Intranet Manager, HOK

Susan S. Hanley, President, Susan Hanley LLC

Lawrence Hart, Content Management Strategist

We'll also have some favorites from previous SharePoint Symposiums including:

MaryGael Timberlake, Findability Leader, Ernst & Young, LLP

Stephanie Lemieux, President & Principal Consultant, Dovecot Studio

Shawn Shell, Vice President, U.S. Microsoft Platform Practice, Hitachi Consulting

Jill Hannemann, Director of Advisory Services, Portal Solutions

Rob Koplowitz, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Hugh McKellar, Chair, SharePoint Symposium & Editor-in-Chief KMWorld, KMWorld Magazine

These true industry experts will lead you through the pros and cons of SharePoint in practice, with clear advice for your strategic decision-making. From managing large, enterprise-wide installations, to considering Cloud alternatives and add-on technologies, all the conference sessions will draw from real-life experience and best practices from leading practioners.

This year's topics will include:

SharePoint Today: It's past and future

Lessons learned from the SharePoint trenches

Plugging SharePoint's gaps: Strategic Alternatives

SharePoint in a mobile and social world

2013 Migration and Maturity Strategies

Office 365 Pros and Cons

Industry Analyst Debate

The SharePoint Symposium is co-located with KM World, Enterprise Search & Discovery 2014, and Taxonomy Bootcamp.  Registration is now open here:  http://www.sharepointsymposium.com/2014/Register.aspx

We hope to see you there!

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Webinar: How to Select the Right ECM Platform for Your Enterprise #ecm #EntArch Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:38:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2735-Webinar:-How-to-Select-the-Right-ECM-Platform-for-Your-Enterprise? I know that many of you have basic questions about Enterprise Content Management (ECM). For example:

  • Are File-sharing and Collaboration part of ECM?
  • What about Records?
  • What is the difference between BPM and Workflow?
  • Can we use ECM tools to share files a' la Dropbox?
  • How can we best provide mobile access to documents for our salesforce?

If you're asking these or similar questions, join me for a fast-paced webinar next week.

Date: Wednesday August 13, 2014

Time: 12:00-12:30 PM EDT (17:00-18:00 BST) (16:00-17:00 UTC/GMT)

I'll look at the overall ECM and Cloud File Sharing marketplaces and provide a framework for customers to evaluate alternative solutions based on their own needs. Then I'll guide you through specific steps for selecting the Document Management or Cloud-based file sharing tools that best fits your needs.

Attendees will gain an understanding of:

  • ECM concepts, including Business Services, Technology Services, and Vendor Intangibles
  • Business scenarios against which ECM tools can be evaluated
  • An overview of the marketplace, key players
  • How to evaluate and select the right vendor for their requirements

Register here.

If you have any specific questions in the meantime, just tweet (@apoorv) and I'll try to address that in the webinar.

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Welcome Mark Davey, Contributing Analyst #brand #DAM Mon, 04 Aug 2014 07:00:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2733-Welcome-Mark-Davey-Contributing-Analyst? I'm pleased to announce Mark Davey as a new Contributing Analyst for Real Story Group. Based in the UK, Mark has worked in the DAM industry for 15+ years, as a consultant, speaker, and perhaps above all, eccentric & provocative experimenter with all forms of new media.

Mark and his team have worked with a wealth of UK organizations on DAM product selection, including most recently Kew Gardens and the Southbank Centre in London. A regular speaker at the Henry Stewart global conferences on DAM, Mark is also the founder & president of the DAM Foundation, which explores DAM standards, education and best practices, and hosts & maintains the DAM Maturity Model (which Real Story Group co-authored). In his spare time, Mark experiments with his 3D printer, explores gamification and new forms of digital education with a local group of 7 to 11 year olds (including his daughter), and plays a mean game of poker.

Mark’s first contributions to our research -- new product evaluations of Bynder, Fotoware, and Evolphin -- will be published in version 6.2 of our DAM research later this month. We look forward to his ongoing insights and innovations as he contributes to Real Story Group.

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This baby elephant was freed from CMS captivity, and you won't believe what happened next! #wcm #wem Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:52:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2732-This-baby-elephant-was-freed-from-CMS-captivity-and-you-wont-believe-what-happened-next!? Meet Santi, a three year-old Asian forest elephant.

For the past eighteen months she'd been forced to labor in an outdated Web CMS. The rich text editor was buggy. The taxonomy didn't support hierarchies. The system slowed to a crawl when more than two elephants were working.

Worst of all, she was forced to translate content updates into three different languages, without recourse to any change-tracking features.

Her keepers had customized the system so heavily that it could never be upgraded.

Santi had no hope.

Then one day, a senior developer named Arthur organized a project to pick a new CMS. Here's what happened next...

Are you stuck in CMS captivity? Or are you a developer watching helplessly while your colleagues suffer?

There's a better way. Our WCM research and advisory services can help propel your digital team from captivity to cuddling.

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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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The latest on Adobe AEM and WordPress #Adobe #cms Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:45:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2729-The-latest-on-Adobe-AEM-and-WordPress? The latest update to our Web Content & Experience Management Report features revamped evaluations of Adobe AEM "Sites" as well as WordPress.

If you subscribe to our WCM stream, you can download the new chapters immediately here. Meantime, here's a short synopsis.

With Version 6.0, Adobe continues its string of product name changes. Underneath, the latest version feels more like a dot-release -- albeit a welcome one. One area has seen a major change: the default editorial and marketing UI is now touchscreen-enabled. Actually, it's touchscreen dominant, and our analysis describes the attendant pros and cons for you.

WordPress continues its steady march through the WCM marketplace, extending its suitability for some basic use-cases. We describe how your hosting and support options have evolved, and what that means for enterprise use-cases that rely more heavily on 3rd-party or custom plug-ins.

Also with this update our subscribers will find a PowerPoint version of the report's executive summary, to better educate your peers and offer readily accessible context to your choices going forward.

If you do not yet subscribe to our WCM vendor evaluation stream, you can download a complimentary excerpt here.

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Facebook for your enterprise, again? #e20 #socialmedia Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:14:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2730-Facebook-for-your-enterprise-again? A small meme has been bouncing around the interwebs after this piece in TechCrunch last month speculated that Facebook might go after the enterprise social networking market.

It's interesting to think about. But really, just how plausible is Facebook as an enterprise social network?

We've Been Here Before

Back in 2008 when we released the first edition of our Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Report, we actually evaluated Facebook as one of the potential "vendors" to consider. At the time, some enterprises were reviewing Facebook (and LinkedIn) as potential venues for intra-enterprise networking and collaboration.

Recall that Facebook was then considered a young person's network, and some business leaders hoped that Facebook in the enterprise could help them better engage millennials.

The most famous example was a mainframe applications vendor named Serena Software, who launched a small PR campaign about jettisoning its stodgy intranet in favor of using Facebook for internal collaboration. At the time, it caused a stir on the conference circuit, where I recall a few pundits lauding the move as disruptive.

Less well publicized was the result: it fizzled. Serena's German employees rebelled on day one, citing quite reasonably that mandating a public social presence for use in a professional setting constituted a clear violation of privacy norms.

Serena also immediately encountered a major functional problem. Facebook does not have a notion of files. You could share images (and now video), but you can't create folders and other places to arbitrarily share files. In an enterprise setting, you don't want to separate social networking and collaboration. And file-sharing is the mother of all collaboration. The company ultimately found a different platform for file-sharing.

What About Today?

Fast forward to 2014. Grandma has more friends on Facebook than you do, so this conversation is returning with a different slant. If Facebook has "grown up," does that mean it's now finally ready for intra-enterprise networking?

The answer is still no.

Facebook is really just an activity stream -- albeit one with some fancy, if not always trustworthy, filtering algorithms. I think we've learned that activity streams alone doth not a business application make. And the action today is all about social and collaborative applications.

In terms of core functionality, Facebook still comes up short. No file sharing. No separation of personal and professional personas (something Google finally did a few years back). No real content search. And so on.

Facebook is clearly a useful channel (within limits) for enterprises to engage the outside world. In our Marketing Automation & Social Technology Report we evaluate tools that can help you manage your institutional presence across different social networks.

Facebook for internal social-collaboration? Nope. Fortunately you have at least two dozen other plausible options. If we can help you in your decision-making, let us know.

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What's the mobile strategy for your enterprise social network? #DigitalWorkplace #mobile Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:21:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2728-Whats-the-mobile-strategy-for-your-enterprise-social-network? Circa 2014, as we catalog in our enterprise collaboration and social software vendor evaluation research , the use cases for social-collaboration software inside the enterprise are more or less well understood.

The short story is that some new use cases (e.g., Social Q&A) are possible and some older use cases (e.g., Expertise Location) can be turbo-charged. However, what’s still not as well understood -- and hence not leveraged effectively -- is the intersection of mobile devices and enterprise social networks.

Mobile Today

To be sure, almost all the social-collaboration vendors we evaluate offer some sort of mobile capabilities (not to do so circa 2014 makes you an ostrich) – be it a mobile-friendly version of the web application, native apps for popular mobile platforms, or a cross-platform hybrid app.

But in almost all cases, the underlying assumption is that the mobile version plays the supporting role for the web application. In many contexts, that’s a reasonable assumption to make, since many enterprises only seek to mobile-enable a subset of the overall functionality.

Even though this offers an improvement over the status quo, there is a perhaps a better way to think about the mobile strategy for your enterprise social network.

Mobile First?

In the scenario described above, you are catering to your employees who are primarily desk-bound, mobile-enabling them for those occasions when they are away from their desks.

But what about those employees whose jobs do not require them to be tethered to a desk – think field force agents, airline crews, retail industry workers – they all work for large organizations but they may only access their laptops very infrequently. Since their face-to-face interactions with their colleagues elsewhere can be rather limited, it is all the more imperative that you leverage a mobile social network to increase organizational cohesiveness and reinforce the culture. In such cases, you want to consider a mobile-first social network. You’ll likely emphasize a different set of use cases, and will want to re-think "engagement" in this context.

Being strategic about mobile-enabling your workforce involves categorizing your employees based on their primary interaction device – desktop/laptop or tablet/phone. You can then establish the appropriate objectives and relevant use-cases for each of these segments separately. Such an exercise may reveal that the key objective for the desk segment is productivity while for the mobile segment it is both productivity and engagement.

So, you may prioritize “file sharing” and syncing-across devices for the desk-segment while for the mobile-segment you may implement group messaging services and video-streaming to get them clued-in to the remote mothership.

To summarize: I am not (yet) advocating a drastic mobile-first for the entire enterprise, but do consider seizing the opportunities for a mobile-first social network.

We can help you think through your strategy and help you select the best-fit social and mobile software tools to realize the strategy.

PS: If you have not already done so, please spare a few minutes and participate in our survey on social-collaboration software.

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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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Call for Participation - RSG Survey on Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software #DigitalWorkplace #e20 Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:41:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2727-Call-for-Participation-RSG-Survey-on-Enterprise-Collaboration-and-Social-Software? At RSG, we have been tracking the enterprise collaboration and social software market for close to a decade now. Through all these years, we have been leaning heavily on the experience of practitioners like you to provide candid insights into technology effectiveness.

So, if you are involved in your organization's internal social or collaboration efforts please take fifteen minutes to participate in RSG’s survey. This survey assesses different issues like common use cases, tools, vendors, and challenges faced by organizations like yours.

Needless to say we take privacy and discretion very seriously. All responses will be kept strictly confidential, and RSG will never publicly identify either you or your organization. In return for your participation, you’ll receive a top-line summary of report findings when published, to contrast your experience with that of your peers.

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

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The Biggest Enterprise Roadmap Regret #EntArch #pmot Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:44:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2725-The-Biggest-Enterprise-Roadmap-Regret? Lately, we've been advising many of our subscribers on their longer-term roadmaps for digital workplace and marketing technology.

This is a good sign. It means that enterprises are transitioning from reacting to emerging technologies to pro-actively planning a strategy to exploit digital opportunities.

We always try to share lessons of those who have gone before you, and in that spirit, I'd like to offer the most common "what-would-I-have-done-differently" advice we encounter. What do enterprise technology and business leaders say three years into implementing a strategic roadmap?

First, a Runner Up

One of the most common regrets is not a new one, but an increasingly important requirement in an era where customers and employees alike demand a more humane digital experience.

    "I wish we had more closely followed user-centered design principles"

Here I mean design in the broadest sense, from experience design at the screen (where you should always start) back to data and system design.

If your roadmap centers on enterprise-centered design and then tries to derive effective experiences for your employees and customers, you're inviting Business-IT conflict amid unmet expectations.

User-centered design is a discipline in the sense of a collection of coherent methodologies, but UCD is also a discipline in the sense that its greatest value comes from consistent application across all the projects in your roadmap.

The Number One Enterprise Regret

But there's an even deeper and more prevalent regret:

    "I wish we had sorted out our Identity & Access Management foundation sooner."

Every technology (and their biggest analyst and vendor boosters) wants to be foundational in your enterprise stack. Well, IAM truly is foundational. If you don't put the right tools, processes, data, and people in place to create a definitive repository of identities, roles, groups, and attendant entitlements, your ability to execute strategically can become sorely crippled.

I frequently hear feedback like, "We had great plans to bust internal silos, but then hit a roadblock when we couldn't turn to a consistent IAM store." Fragmented identity and access services almost always lead to fragmented user experiences.

Note that there's much more to this than "security." Security is important, but the long-term value of a comprehensive IAM foundation is really less about mitigating risk and more about exploiting opportunities -- opportunities to offer single sign-on, profile-based user experiences, better integrated data and services, and smoother collaboration and networking.

When to Fund?

IT leaders often complain that business stakeholders don't like to fund these sorts of infrastructure programs, which usually aren't tied directly to a specific project. That's a valid complaint. The time to deal with IAM is when you are creating a long-term roadmap that anticipates how different pieces of your digital ecosystem need to work together.

If your organization is a Real Story Group subscriber and you'd like us to sense-check your strategic plans, log in to schedule an advisory session with one of our experts.

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How to Select the Right Collaboration and Social Technology - Webinar #socbiz #e20 Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:06:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2724-How-to-Select-the-Right-Collaboration-and-Social-Technology-Webinar? Please join me for a complimentary webinar next Wednesday:

"The Right Way to Select Collaboration and Social Software"

This fast-paced session will start with a tour of the current collaboration and social technology landscape, including how vendors are (and aren't) addressing key emerging trends. Then we'll turn to a proven methodology for selecting the right solution for your enterprise.

Date: Wednesday July 16 2014
Time:12:00-12:30 PM EDT (17:00-18:00 BST) (16:00-17:00 UTC/GMT)

Register here.

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Social Media Monitoring and Analysis - Caveat Emptor #socialmediamonitoring #socialmediaintelligence Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:05:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2723-Social-Media-Monitoring-and-Analysis-Caveat-Emptor? Social Media Monitoring or "listening" to what's getting said on popular social media channels about your company or products has become an important use case in recent years.

Even the United States Secret Service released a work order last month to procure a social media analytics tool. They are looking to automate and streamline their social media (mainly Twitter) monitoring process. The solicitation lists standard functional requirements like search, trend analysis, visual reports, influencer identification, audience segmentation, and so forth.

Sarcasm Detector?

Interestingly, the Secret Service also added a requirement for the "ability to detect sarcasm and false positives." It's is easy to see the rationale for this requirement in a medium known for both the volume of chatter and the prevalence of sarcasm.  Given the current state of maturity of the software, however, I'd categorize that requirement as more as a "wish list" item.

Our Marketing Automation & Social Technology Report, in a section titled “A Caution on Sentiment Analysis,” explains how this functionality is fraught with many perils, with the accuracy of sentiment analysis usually coming in far lower than vendor claims.

Here's Why

Tone, meaning, and intent are complicated.  You can perhaps tell when a friend or a colleague is being sarcastic given your history of interaction and the presence of physical and visual clues. But can you be so certain when dealing with a stranger? If it's difficult in face-to-face interactions, mining text to predict sentiment is further limited in the absence of body language and tonal clues. Algorithms can perhaps infer tone from lengthy pieces of text but tweets with their 140 character limit pose additional challenges – there simply may not be enough context. Not to mention multiple sentiments being expressed in a single post. Or that a single tweet can have phrases in multiple languages. And don't get me started on slang.

When tool vendors claim a very high rate of success with sentiment prediction, they typically refer to plain vanilla scenarios. No doubt the algorithms for sentiment analysis are getting better as we gain more experience in this field, but these are still early days. If your enterprise is looking for social media monitoring technology, make sure your testing is comprehensive enough to yeild a realistic picture of what the tool can do and what it cannot do.

To know more about the intricacies of social media analysis, which of the services are mature and which are immature, the caveats and how different vendors stack up against social media monitoring and analysis use cases, consult our Marketing Automation & Social Technology Report.

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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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Updated enterprise social-collaboration evaluations - Jive and VMWare Socialcast #DigitalWorkplace #e20 Tue, 24 Jun 2014 19:05:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2721-Updated-enterprise-social-collaboration-evaluations-Jive-and-VMWare-Socialcast? The most recent release of our Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Report contains updated evaluations of Jive Software and VMWare Socialcast. You'll have to consult the respective chapters for the detailed evaluations, but here are some general reflections. 

No doubt, Jive represents a success story in the enterprise social software space: transitioning from its early days as a forum software vendor to a purveyor today of a rather comprehensive social-collaboration package, and the largest pure-play vendor in this segment.

Impressive this may be, but some dark clouds hover over Jive. The euphoria of a successful IPO is behind it and the company is straining a bit under the weight of accumulated losses. There is insider talk of Jive trying to find a suitor in vain. That's just speculation; as a potential customer, you should be more concerned with Jive's appetite to sustain R&D investments and product updates as Wall Street grows restless with red ink.

To be fair, though, I'll note that product updates have not suffered so far. If anything Jive customers complain about keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the components that make up the platform. In the longer term, Jive's ability to outrun deep-pocketed rivals like IBM, Microsoft, and TIBCO will be severely tested.

For Socialcast the suspicions we aired previously about possible stagnation are now playing out. As watchers of this space recall, about three years ago VMWare acquired Socialcast, one of the pioneers in bringing social networking and activity streams into the enterprise. VMWare too is a pioneer, albeit in IT-infrastructure related virtualization technology. Socialcast is a part of their End User Computing (EUC) business, and the potential synergies were not always very clear.  Today, VMWare is focusing EUC primarily on mobile services, as evidenced by its acquisition of Mobile Device Management vendor Airwatch earlier this year.

Expect to see more vendor re-focusing in the enterprise social software segment as the space matures. At RSG, we'll keep an eye on your behalf.

The updated report is available for immediate download for our subscribers. Others can obtain a complimentary sample, which incidentally is our review of Jive...

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Pros and Cons of SharePoint Search 2013 #search #microsoft Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:26:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2720-Pros-and-Cons-of-SharePoint-Search-2013? Over the years, Microsoft has taken a variety of different approaches to search. In the SharePoint 2010 era, customers had to make an often confusing and fraught choice among various flavors of SharePoint Search versus the much different FAST offering.

With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft simplified its offerings in a single -- mostly new -- platform, albeit throttled depending on your license.

The new search service is not quite the SharePoint Search of old, and not quite FAST, either. We decided to closely investigate the impact of this major change, in a new advisory paper, "SharePoint Search 2013: How It Differs and what that Means for You."

Written largely by contributing analyst Shawn Shell, the paper looks at key product and licensing differences, then delves more deeply into technical and functional changes, including:

  • User Experience
  • Index Enrichment
  • Customization & Tuning
  • Enterprise-Wide Search
  • Scalability
  • Cloud
  • Administration

A concluding section offers practical advice for current or future SharePoint licensees.

The advisory paper is available for immediate download to our SharePoint and ECM stream subscribers. Others may purchase the paper separately.

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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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