Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2015 RealStoryGroup.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.realstorygroup.com/ www.realstorygroup.com : Blogs en-us 05/22/2015 00:00:00 60 Last chance to benchmark your ECM systems #Cloud #ecm Fri, 22 May 2015 12:28:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2852-Last-chance-to-benchmark-your-ECM-systems? We are currently conducting a customer survey on Enterprise Content Management and related aspects such as Document Management and Cloud-File Sharing & Sync (CFSS), including questions about cloud and mobile in an ECM context.

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

Meanwhile, here are some interesting (provisional) findings.

Traditional File Shares and Email still rule the roost

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


      (Click to enlarge.)

 

Usability a major concern

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


  (Click to enlarge.)

How to get the final results yourself

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

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

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[Webinar] Digital Workplace at Scale: A Checklist for Large, Global Organizations #DigitalWorkplace #EntArch Thu, 21 May 2015 15:07:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2851-[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.
 

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What does the future hold for Jive Software and its customers? #e20 #sharepoint Tue, 19 May 2015 11:57:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2850-What-does-the-future-hold-for-Jive-Software-and-its-customers? 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.

 

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Mind the Overhead in Digital Marketing Suites #digitalmarketing #EntArch Mon, 18 May 2015 07:30:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2848-Mind-the-Overhead-in-Digital-Marketing-Suites? When a vendor acquires another product and puts (vendors will say "integrate") that tool within an existing “suite,” it usually comes with a key side effect: overlapping features across multiple products within the suite. You've probably seen this phenomenon before in the Portals, ECM and other marketplaces. More recently, this issue is surfacing in a big way in the Digital Marketing marketplace.

Multiple acquisitions add overlapping features

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

Implications for your team

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

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

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

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

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

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[Webinar] Making Sense of the Mobile Tool Landscape #mobile #tech Sun, 17 May 2015 20:32:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2849-[Webinar]-Making-Sense-of-the-Mobile-Tool-Landscape? As the enterprise mobility marketplace matures, smart customers have started to think beyond device management and apps to consider the employee and customer experience. In order to do this however, customers need to consider specialized tools that help with mobile initiatives rather than relying on their incumbent tools (including WCM, portal, and appserver platforms).

Join my colleague Theresa Regli for an overview of the platforms that support enterprise mobile initiatives. This webinar will take our usual tough, critical approach, helping you sort myth from reality in this increasingly essential technology segment.

You will gain an understanding of:

- Business scenarios against which enterprise mobility tools can be evaluated
- The marketplace and key players
- How to evaluate and select the right vendor to meet your requirements

Register here

Webinar Details:

Registration: Making Sense of the ECM Tool Landscape 

Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Time: 11:00-11:30 PM EST (15:00-15:30 UTC/GMT 16:00 BST)

I look forward to seeing you there.
 

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Is your social media monitoring software emotionally intelligent? #socialmediamonitoring #socialmedia Thu, 14 May 2015 14:52:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2847-Is-your-social-media-monitoring-software-emotionally-intelligent? In a relatively short span of time, Social Media Monitoring and Intelligence capabilities have become a useful part of the marketer's toolkit. We evaluate several specialist and larger marketing technology vendors in our Marketing Automation and Social Technology research.

From Listening to Sentiment Analysis

Social listening tools offer you the ability to mine vast streams of conversations on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, and surface several insights that you can potentially use in customer support, product design, marketing communications, and competitive intelligence.

Monitoring tools rely on a mix of statistical methods and natural language processing techniques to try to understand the sentiment of a single post or a tweet and usually classify them into three types: positive, negative, and neutral. At the aggregate level, this could reflect consumer sentiment towards your brand, and many tools assign a numerical score to indicate the strength or intensity of that sentiment.

As I note here, you need to exercise caution in any interpretations because of certain inherent software limitations as well the complexity of the human communication process. Social media monitoring, like all other metrics, is best used in conjunction with other analytics, and is often best employed as starting point for further investigation.

Specific Refinements

After several years of enterprise experimentation, we are now starting to see some refinements in these tools.  Given that the accuracy of sentiment classification is not going to be 100%, most tools now offer you the ability to override the automatic classification.

Of course, it won't be humanly possible to sift through the fire hose, tweet by tweet -- so you have to prioritize. Tools can help you zero-in on the influencers or people who seem to be shaping sentiments (usually by virtue of their large online following). Some tools offer multiple-language support. Some tools are tailored for specific industries and contexts (e.g., sports events) which have their tongues and terms. Many of these refinements are actually efforts to improve the accuracy of the predicted sentiment.

Consult our research for a deep-dive of the functionality and vendor comparisons.

...And Now to Emotional Intelligence

While the average sentiment score has it's uses, it's a rudimentary rendition of the vast range of human feelings and emotions. Anger, fear, and sadness are lumped under a negative score while emotions such as joy and trust get classified as positive. If you knew the specific emotional state of the consumer, you could perhaps take more sophisticated and accurate approaches. This is what I call the emotionally intelligent social monitoring tool.

When you combine psychology research with the bread-and-butter social listening techniques like NLP and statistics, you can get to emotion detection. It's early days but we are starting to see the emergence of such emotion tools. Adobe Social -- in an experimental release -- tries to classify content into eight emotional categories: Joy, Admiration, Fear, Surprise, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Anticipation.

Figure 1: Emotion widget in Adobe Social. Image Source: adobe.com

In addition to the "beta" nature of such tools, there are a few other caveats. 

For example, when content gets classified into a far greater number of categories (i.e., 8 emotions), each segment will have a smaller amount of data and potentially reduce the accuracy of classification. And even then, some critics contend that important emotions such as "Pride" are missing from the core emotions. 

Having said that, if you are an early-adopter marketer, you can begin to experiment and figure out differentiating use cases.

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[Webinar] Making Sense of the ECM Tool Landscape #ecm #Cloud Mon, 11 May 2015 12:14:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2846-[Webinar]-Making-Sense-of-the-ECM-Tool-Landscape? The enterprise content management (ECM) marketplace is evolving rapidly. This marketplace actually encompasses two broad categories of tools:

  1. Emerging cloud-based file sharing and sync services that let you get up and running relatively quickly
  2. Traditional ECM and document management tools, although relatively complex, still work best for more sophisticated use cases

With nearly two-dozen players, how do you make sense of this marketplace?

In this webinar, we'll look at the overall ECM and cloud file sharing arena and provide a framework to evaluate this marketplace based on your own needs. We'll guide you through specific steps to select the best-fitting tools for your enterprise.

In a fast-paced session led by RSG research director Apoorv Durga, you will gain an understanding of:

  • ECM concepts — including business services, technology services, and vendor intangibles
  • Business scenarios against which ECM tools can be evaluated
  • The marketplace and key players
  • How to evaluate and select the right vendor to meet your requirements

Register here

Webinar Details:

 

Registration: Making Sense of the ECM Tool Landscape

Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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

I look forward to seeing you there.

P.S. Our research is based on feedback by end users and practitioners in the space. We invite you to participate in a survey on ECM and Cloud File Sharing that should take 5-10 minutes to complete. The results of this survey will be compiled into a detailed report and you will have access to that advisory paper.

 

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New Reference Models for Your Digital Workplace #DigitalWorkplace #KMers Wed, 06 May 2015 12:51:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2845-New-Reference-Models-for-Your-Digital-Workplace? 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.

 

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Google's affirmative action is a wake-up call for your enterprise mobile strategy #mobile #google Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:03:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2844-Googles-affirmative-action-is-a-wake-up-call-for-your-enterprise-mobile-strategy? There is a joke in the world of search:

Q: What's the difference between the Google Search Algorithm and the Almighty? 

A: The Algorithm, mysterious though are its ways, is not arbitrary.

Suffice to say that it is not surprising that when that leviathan is updated, the levee can easily break and upend the order of things.

I am of course referring to the recent update to Google's search algorithms, which will now give preference to mobile-friendly webpages when the search is performed on a mobile device. As we all know from personal experience, the order of Google search results is paramount - if your business/brand/site does not show up in the first few results pages, it is virtually non-existent for millions of customers. 

Of course, this change has been announced in advance and does not apply to web searches conducted on desktop computers and  real-intent-behind-the-query considerations are not ignored in favor of mobile-friendliness.

But in a world of choice and where consumer interactions are increasingly initiated on the smartphone, being pushed back in Google results pages can be highly detrimental to your bottom line. In short, while this is an affirmative action for businesses that have mobile-friendly websites, it's a big kick in the behind for those that have been ignoring mobile.

Not just small businesses but surprisingly, many big brands also have been caught napping. Before it's too late and (mobile)  consumer loyalties shift away to your competition, mobile-enable your digital estates. My advice is that don't just stop at making your websites mobile friendly but use this as an opportunity to craft a longer-term mobility strategy for your organization. Also, make sure that your mobility strategy is not only for your customers and marketplace but also encompasses your employees and the digital workplace.

Competence in crafting superior mobile experiences for your customers and employees is turning out to be the killer-app for competitive differentiation. But it requires that you think and approach your mobility projects differently than your regular IT projects or even your early mobility projects centered around mobile device management or simplistic app management practices. 

There's no app for that but our enterprise mobile technology research has got the bases covered when it comes to identifying best practices and picking the products and tools you'll need to help you on this journey.

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[Webinar] Making Sense of the Collaboration Tool Landscape #DigitalWorkplace #intranet Fri, 24 Apr 2015 04:13:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2843-[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

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WCM in a Mobile-only world #mobile #cms Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:45:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2842-WCM-in-a-Mobile-only-world? While many enterprises debate between "Mobile on par with Web” and “Mobile-First,” some live in a “Mobile-Only” world. For some organizations (e.g., Uber), this makes eminent sense. For many others, such as Flipkart in India, mobile-only has become a strategic gambit.

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

Multi-channel means a lot more now

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

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

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

More than WCM

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

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

What should you look for in a WCM platform

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

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

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

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

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Call for Participation - Customer Survey on ECM and Cloud File Sharing #ecm #pmot Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:23:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2841-Call-for-Participation-Customer-Survey-on-ECM-and-Cloud-File-Sharing? Amongst RSG’s different research streams, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has been one of our oldest coverage areas. Over time, the marketplace has evolved and our coverage now also includes cloud-based file sharing and sync services.

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

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

Take the survey here.

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

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

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

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Say hello to Machine Learning, the newest cloud marketplace #Cloud #analytics Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:08:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2840-Say-hello-to-Machine-Learning-the-newest-cloud-marketplace? Marc Andreessen famously said that “software is eating the world.” One of the enablers of that march is "Machine Learning," and so Amazon's new “Machine Learning in the Cloud” services are worth noting. 

Here is a quick primer on Machine Learning in the cloud, a snapshot of the leading vendors in this very nascent space (where Big Data, Analytics and Cloud converge), and some enterprise implications.

Figure 1: Paul the Octopus, a pioneer in the field of predictions as a service, passed away in 2010 but his work serves as inspiration for today's "Machine Learning Services in the Cloud: Image Source: IBTimes.com

What is Machine Learning?

Let’s face it – Machine Learning is a bit mystifying even for many of us in the software industry. Discussions about Machine Learning usually bring forth complex-sounding terms like Support Vector Machines, Naïve Bayesian Classifiers, and Hidden Markov Models – all which can be overwhelming if you do not have a background in computer science and math.

Well, you don’t need to know all such nitty-gritty of what goes on under the hood to appreciate Machine Learning use cases or explore applications in your industry/domain and understand what major players in the space are up to.

For our purposes, Machine Learning is simply a branch of computer science that uses some advanced mathematics and statistics to build algorithms that can make predictions by analyzing existing data to unearth patterns. The algorithms get better (i.e., they learn) as they crunch more and more data and receive feedback on the accuracy of their predictions.

Simply put, Machine Learning is a key piece of "predictive analytics" and so you could think of ML in the cloud is a "Predictions Service" or "Predictions as a Service."

What are the use cases?

Predictions can range a wide spectrum - from

  • The simpler use cases (e.g., predicting whether an email is genuine or spam, or an online comment is spam or not) to 
  • The more complex like fraud detection (e.g., is a credit card transaction genuine or spurious?) and
  • Shopping recommendations (which catalog items to promote, whether to offer a discount or not)

The applications are virtually limitless.

When it comes to the content management space, automated real-time translation of content, content personalization, and recommendations come to mind. We will explore the content management use cases more fully in a later briefing for our research subscribers, but for now, such applications are not as mature compared to the commerce use cases and hence may offer a opportunity to differentiate your business.

Who are the key players?

Amazon
The Amazon announcement has generated a lot of interest not only because they are one of the leading cloud infrastructure vendors but also because they are the text-book case for employing sophisticated machine learning algorithms. Not surprisingly, Amazon’s pitch is that now you can also leverage similar algorithms. Amazon offers a simple pricing structure – linked to the amount of data stored, time it takes to crunch your data, and the number of predictions (batch-mode or real-time) spewed out.

Microsoft

You don’t normally think of Microsoft as an early mover or a pioneer these days but Azure Machine Learning services have been available since last year. While the just-launched Amazon services currently offer a single predictive model / algorithm, Microsoft provides a few more additional models. You can also find a (currently sparse) marketplace to develop third party prediction services as well.

Google

Google has been offering a Predictions API for a few years now but it does not appear to have actively/aggressively sold this service to enterprises. This appears to be changing with the launch of the Big Query (for analysis of Big Data) and Nearline Storage for data storage. Google also plans to launch a service called Data Flow (to get the data ready for analysis) in the near future.

IBM

IBM’s servers have been defeating world chess champions (Deep Blue) and trouncing jeopardy winners (Watson). Watson platform services are available in the cloud as well. True to form, Big Blue is focusing on the higher-end of the market for such services, compared to the more do-it-yourself approach of an Amazon or a Google.

Note that in addition to the big vendors, there are several start-ups and vertical specialists as well.

Enterprise Implications

So, early days.  For you the customer, I leave two interim thoughts:

  1. Traditionally, companies employed teams of data analysts and statisticians and bought (expensive) tools like SAS and SPSS to build predictive models. In the long-term, prediction services in the cloud model can upend that approach.
     
  2. Nevertheless, while Machine Learning itself is not new, Machine Learning services in the cloud are relatively new and not very mature yet. But they offer you an interesting avenue to experiment. You can try out a few pilots and test your own readiness to integrate them into your use cases, technology architectures, and business processes.

 

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Is Adobe AEM Sites a CMS of Last Resort? #Adobe #wcm Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2839-Is-Adobe-AEM-Sites-a-CMS-of-Last-Resort? In almost any business technology marketplace, for any given era, there's a vendor whose solution emerges as the most complex and therefore typically the most expensive of the lot. In the Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) marketplace, that position is held today by Adobe with its "Adobe Experience Management Sites" (AEM Sites) offering.

Complexity is not a good or bad thing. In software, complexity augurs more opportunities and more work, and it falls to you to balance that equation. Nevertheless, a question arises for any prospective AEM customer: do we need this level of complexity?

Limitless Ambitions, Limited Resources

Digital marketers today face a dilemma. On the one hand, you have nearly limitless ambitions for richer customer engagement. On the other hand, you face internal resource shortages, and need to take more agile (read: simpler) approaches to digital initiatives to adapt quickly as you learn.

A platform like AEM seems well suited to richer engagement, since -- with enough funds and experienced developers -- you can get it to do nearly anything you want. Unfortunately, AEM is not well suited to agile approaches. It's simply too developer-intensive and requires an exceptionally sophisticated and well-resourced digital team on the business side to exploit.

Never Default, Always Test

So should you always avoid choosing Adobe for WCM? No, AEM has its place.

But in an era where you face greater risks of overbuying than underbuying WCM technology, you should only select AEM as a last resort. In other words, you should make sure that you perform hands-on tests of simpler alternatives. Then, only after having concluded empirically that those alternatives cannot flex to your needs should you zero in on AEM.

For deeper evaluations of AEM and its 35+ competitors, consult our Web CMS Report.

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Xamarin - a knight in shining armor for Microsoft's mobile malady? #mobile #microsoft Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:26:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2838-Xamarin-a-knight-in-shining-armor-for-Microsofts-mobile-malady? Microsoft turns forty this April and is staring at a serious mid-life crisis. Of course, Microsoft is still the third-most valuable company on the planet, with a $90 billion cash pile.  But there's no denying some serious clouds hang over Redmond's future. Is it on a slow but steady path to irrelevance in a "consumer-first, cloud-first, mobile-first" world?

A couple of charts illustrate how the ground is shifting for Microsoft.

Figure 1: Microsoft marketshare of desktop operating systems. Data Source: Net Applications

As you can see Microsoft still lords over the desktops with a 91% marketshare. In the good old days when a personal computing device was synonymous with a destkop (or a laptop), that was awe-inspiring and Microsoft was more or less the software sheriff of the universe. 

Cut to today and look at smartphones and tablets. Here is the platform marketshare picture. 


Figure 2: Platform marketshare for all personal computing devices currently in use. Data Sources: Benedict Evans and RSG estimates

You can see that Microsoft has already lost its crown. What should be even more worrisome for Microsoft is this: PC sales are falling but smartphone sales are sky-rocketing, and Microsoft is shipping less than 3% of those smartphones. Certainly, the future isn't what it used to be. 

So, everyone (including Redmond) knows that Microsoft has a mobile problem the size of Mars. The new leadership in Redmond has been more proactive than before but the big question is whether their initiatives on the mobile front will amount to little more than a rearguard action. 

As we all know, people don't typically purchase a mobile phone for only the hardware. We buy into the apps and ecosystem around the mobile platform. But that's a chicken-and-egg situtation for Microsoft and its Windows Phone platform. 

Figure 3: Primary platform for professional mobile developers. Data Source: Vision Mobile

Despite some serious courting by Microsoft, less than 10% of app developers target Windows Phone as the primary platform. Understandably so, for they make next to nothing from developing for the Windows Phone platform. 

Figure 4:  Median monthly revenue per app by mobile platform. Data Source: Vision Mobile

A classic catch-22 here: You don't want to buy a Microsoft mobile device because of the limited availability of apps; but because there aren't a significant number of users to target, developers won't build for the Windows platform. 

The risk to Microsoft is that even the currently loyal developers (however few they may be) may abandon ship. If that happens Microsoft won't at all be able to revive it's fledgling franchise in the mobile space. 

Enter Xamarin

Xamarin, a vendor we review in our Enterprise Mobile Technology evaluations stream, is a cross-platform mobile development tool. It lets you develop mobile apps not just for the Windows platform but also for Android and iOS -- albeit using C# and .NET, the traditional Microsoft technologies.

In other words, the legions of traditional Microsoft developers can potentially become mobile-app developers, without having to learn new programming languages. This could help alleviate the "app-gap" (i.e., the lack of apps and an anemic appstore) to some extent extent. 

Microsoft realizes this. Microsoft and Xamarin are partners and work closely together. But Xamarin doesn't want to commit exclusively to Microsoft and has been working with other platform players as well. It is oft-speculated that Microsoft will acquire Xamarin. Perhaps. Such a solemnization might be prove more fruitful (to Microsoft) than the big-ticket acquisition of Nokia, which really has not moved the needle much for Redmond.

We'll keep track of how Microsoft's mobile story unfolds. In the future, acquiring Xamarin might prove to be a good move for them. However, as an enterprise buyer, you need to evaluate Xamarin on what it brings to the table -- its strengths and weaknesses and its relative match against your enterprise mobile strategy and developer expertise.

Our Enterprise Mobile Technology report delivers the goods on that.

If your firm does not yet subscribe, you can get a sample evaluation here.

 

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Clouds vs Best-of-Breed in Digital Marketing #socialmedia #socbiz Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:16:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2836-Clouds-vs-Best-of-Breed-in-Digital-Marketing? Do you remember the early years of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) -- when it was promoted as an all-encompassing technology consisting of Web Content Management (WCM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), Knowledge Management, Document Management, Collaboration and many other services?  Well, in the digital marketing space, those years are returning under a new guise.

All In One?

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

It Was a Myth

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

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

History Is Repeating Itself with Digital Marketing

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

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

Our Advice

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

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

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

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

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Join Us at Henry Stewart DAM Events in NYC and London #DAM #brand Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:07:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2837-Join-Us-at-Henry-Stewart-DAM-Events-in-NYC-and-London? Coming up soon in both New York City (May 6 - 8) and London (June 24-26) are the Henry Stewart Events on Digital & Media Asset Management, the premier conferences for the DAM industry.

To kick off the conference is a full day of tutorials, where I'll be teaching two half-day educational seminars on The Fundamentals of DAM, and a second on Marketing Automation, Campaign & Lead Management.

Following will be a two-day conference with hundreds of fellow DAM practicitioners in attendance. My plenary session this year will focus on the topics of scalable architectures, innovation and risk-taking, and building strong technology foundations. As the conference continues, my colleagues Jarrod Gingras and Mark Davey will be talking about technology selection as well as where DAM fits into the world of Web 3.0. Get ready to talk omni-channel!

You can use the code RSG100 to get a discount on registration.  If you're a subscriber, please let us know if you'll be there, and we'll be happy to welcome you to the customer appreciation dinner we'll be hosting during the conference.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Web CMS Customer Survey Findings Webinar on April 16th #cms #wcm Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:41:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2835-Web-CMS-Customer-Survey-Findings-Webinar-on-April-16th? In the beginning of 2015 RSG conducted a survey targeted towards the Web Content Management professionals, including those who subscribe to our WCM evaluation research. You can now benefit from the feedback of 300+ professionals (non-vendors) who deal with everyday Web CMS-related challenges.

On April 16th RSG Founder Tony Byrne will share survey results in a fast-paced, 30-minute webinar:

Webinar: Web CMS Customer Survey Findings

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 9:00 am PT / 12:00 PM EST / 16:00 UTC/GMT

Register Here

About the topic:
RSG conducted an online survey to obtain practitioners' perspectives on key Web Content and Experience Management software-related themes, including common use cases, tools and vendors, implementation patterns, and challenges.

We'll discuss key survey findings in the following categories:

  • Satisfaction with WCM technology
  • Extent of current and future transitions to the cloud
  • Major technical organizational challenges

We look forward to seeing you there...

Register Here

(P.S. RSG customers should contact us for details on a subscribers-only briefing.)

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The CMS Game of Thrones #digitalmarketing #wcm Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:49:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2834-The-CMS-Game-of-Thrones? The Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) marketplace is complicated and fragmented, and we know that some of you would rather attend a Red Wedding than sit through a series of vendor demos.

In an effort to simplify still further, I offer you a Game of Thrones guide to WCM vendors.

Why did we assign a vendor to a particular character? You can find the answers in our research report...

Or if you want to sample our assessment of Joffrey Baratheon -- er, HP-Autonomy TeamSite -- that's the complimentary evaluation that you can download here.

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You might already subscribe to our research and not know it... #EntArch Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:22:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2833-You-might-already-subscribe-to-our-research-and-not-know-it...? 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.

 

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Does Unlimited Storage from Amazon Challenge Box (and Everyone Else)? #Cloud #ecm Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:36:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2832-Does-Unlimited-Storage-from-Amazon-Challenge-Box-(and-Everyone-Else)? To date, cloud file-sharing and synch vendors have priced their services in part on the amount of storage you procure, but this model has been under increasing stress. In a previous blog, I’d mentioned:

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

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

Should smaller vendors be worried?

Well, it depends.

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

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

What should you the customer do?

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

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

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New and Updated Evaluations - Jive, SharePoint, Liferay, Drupal, and Zimbra #DigitalWorkplace #sharepoint Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:32:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2829-New-and-Updated-Evaluations-Jive-SharePoint-Liferay-Drupal-and-Zimbra? 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.

SharePoint

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.

Drupal

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. 

Jive

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

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.

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Immersive Environments Still Not Ready for Enterprise #DigitalWorkplace #immersive Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:28:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2831-Immersive-Environments-Still-Not-Ready-for-Enterprise? 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.

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[Webinar] DAM Customer Survey Findings #DAM #MediaAssetManagement Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:44:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2830-[Webinar]-DAM-Customer-Survey-Findings? RSG conducted an online survey in late 2014 to obtain practitioner perspective on key digital & media asset management software themes such as common use cases, tools, vendors, implementation issues, and overall challenges. The final survey results included a cross-section of organizations drawn from a variety of geographies and industries.

Join me in this webinar next Thursday, where I'll discuss key survey findings, including:

• Satisfaction with the technology
• The extent of current and future transitions to the cloud
• Departments that are leading digital asset management projects
• Key organizational challenges
• The extent of DAM integrations with other enterprise systems

Webinar Details

Registration: DAM Customer Survey Findings

Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015

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

I look forward to seeing you there…

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(P.S. If you are an RSG research subscriber, you will also receive an invitation for a detailed briefing.)

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