Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2016, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 02/11/2016 00:00:00 60 Lessons from the Death of Google Search Appliance #google #trends Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:17:00 +0000 Some Google implementation partners have passed along news that the vendor has decided to sunset its venerable Search Appliance.  GSA's 14-year run is nothing to sneeze at, but there are lessons for you the customer in its passing.

GSA is particularly interesting in this respect because it was arguably the first major attempt to lift-and-load consumer-facing technology into the enterprise.  Let's review some of the good and bad that transpired.

Positive Lessons

User Experience
Google's famous push to cut away extraneous user interface elements also applied to its search appliance.  The resultset page became so canonical that other search vendors started copying the CSS to make their results "look like Google."  A simplified UX also made transitioning to mobile much easier. Start-up digital workplace technologies like Slack have taken notice.  Of course, simplicity becomes more possible when you...

...Do One Thing Well
Google didn't try to make GSA into a multifunction server.  The appliance did one thing: spider your websites or intranet, index what it saw, apply a simple algorithm, and deliver results.  At a time of SharePoint and WebSphere-inspired über-platforms, Google pointed to a function-point approach that is increasingly gaining currency in large digital workplaces.

Negative Lessons

Enterprise Search Is Hard
GSA revealed that true, multi-repository enterprise search is a tough nut to crack.  Google's internet-inspired ranking algorithms often didn't work well in the messy stew of enterprise information.  Put another way: website search is not the same thing as enterprise search.  Thank you Google, for teaching everyone that -- hopefully once and for all.

Google Doesn't Do Customization
GSA famously relied on browser-based configuration rather than true customization to modify search behavior.  That works for simpler scenarios, but in the enterprise -- where customers have more complex security needs and specific search applications to roll out -- often you need to get closer to the metal. 

Application-level Search May Matter More
Savvier enterprise customers have not tried to build out one-size-fit-all enterprise search, and instead have focused on specific search applications embedded into specific user journeys.  If I'm searching in the benefits area of the HR portal, you don't need to include marketing spreadsheets in the index.  One of the quiet victories of the past decade has been substantial improvement in intra-application search, driven largely by the rise of the impressive Lucene ecosystem.

Google Doesn't Do Corporate Customers
Google is famous for hiring people with the promise that they will never have to deal directly with us persnickety customers.  It's one thing to have a reseller or channel sales model -- many successful WCM vendors do too -- but Google seems to want to shield itself from the woof and flutter of enterprise demands.  This drives them to fulfill lower common denominator needs, which for email has worked well, but for the rest of the toolset in the Apps for Work suite has limited Google's usefulness for enterprise collaboration (consult RSG's social-collaboration vendor evaluation research for more details). 

Consumer Tech Needs to Be Adapted for the Enterprise
Hopefully by now we all get this.  Successful consumer digital experiences can teach us a lot about usability, but work remains different than play.  In an ideal world work and play are both satisfying, but in different ways.  Much of the "magic" to any technology takes place behind the scenes, and for enterprise environments -- messy, multitasking, multiplexed, mega-secured, and multilingual -- the back-end can get very complicated indeed.  Witness what's happening in the consumer-inspired cloud file-sharing marketplace, where vendors are having to chose between personal and corporate customer bases.

Parting Thoughts

Google is rumored to be rolling out a more formalized cloud-based offering for enterprise and website search as a nominal replacement for GSA.  That's good for the market as a whole, but it probably doesn't untangle the Google knot for most enterprise customers. 

You might miss the little yellow appliances (they were cute), but if you're a GSA licensee, now is a good time to review your search strategy as whole.


Webinar 24 Feb: When You Should - or Shouldn't - Use Enterprise Portal Technology #portals #cms Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:02:00 +0000 Whether it's an online corporate brochure, an ecommerce site, an intranet, a self-service application, or a rich media aggregation space, for visitors it's just a digital destination. However, not all venues are created equal.

Some of these experiences are content-heavy with dynamically changing content; others are more transaction- or application-oriented.

To develop these digital venues, you have a plethora of tools from which to choose, including good old portal technology. For specific scenarios, you could use a document management tool, a WCM system, a digital asset management product, or even a collaboration-oriented platform. Vendors add to this confusion by claiming that they can do it all.

In this session, I'll present examples and guidelines that will help you decide whether you should — or shouldn't — use a portal tool to develop a specific digital experience.

Register here

Webinar Details:

When You Should — or Shouldn't — Use Enterprise Portal Technology

Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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

I look forward to seeing you then.

Latest insights on key open source WCM vendors #cms #opensource Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:29:00 +0000 Our latest update to RSG's Web Content & Experience Management evaluation research includes updates to some key open source projects, including Drupal, Enonic, and Plone.

Let's take a quick look at each.


Drupal customers now can finally deploy the new Version 8, but interestingly, most experienced Drupal implementers we know are not recommending it (yet) to their customers.  Expect a long burn-in period.  Our latest evaluation still focuses on the dominant Version 7 trunk, but outlines where Version 8 does things differently.


It's very rare to see a Web CMS re-built from the ground up, but that's what Enonic has done.  They've smartly focused on the basics, but past experience suggests that this kind of overhaul is a multi-year journey for both the vendor and you the customer...


Plone continues to maintain a broad, loyal customer base, though we wonder sometimes if it reflects affection for Python (the underlying language) rather than the functionality of the platform itself.  Still, Plone does some things very well and the latest version (5.0) represents some good modernization.

If you're a subscriber, you can download the individual chapters or the entire evaluation report immediately.

If you're not yet a subscriber, you can sample our hard-hitting evaluations via complimentary excerpt -- for WCM it's a review of HP TeamSite.


Enterprise Mobile Technology Market - What to Expect in 2016 #mobile #trends Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:19:00 +0000 In our Enterprise Mobile Technology marketplace briefing, 2016 Enterprise Mobile Technology Market Analysis, we provide an overview of the key players as well as a comparative analysis of the relative risks and opportunities associated with each vendor via RSG's "Reality Check" chart.

The enterprise mobile marketplace is somewhat unique relative to most marketplaces that we evaluate. This is primarily because organizations have vastly different capability levels in mobile enablement. For some organizations, a mobile app sufficiently addresses their requirements; for others, more technically sophisticated requirements related to application and content management, security, and permissions demand more advanced capabilities.

In this briefing, we offer a snapshot of other trends in the current marketplace. In particular, we explore the following trends:

  • The Mobile Marketplace Is Expanding to Include IoT and Wearables
  • Mobile Adoption Is Still a Major Issue
  • Mobile-First, Mobile-Only: Where It Makes Sense
  • Mobile Centers of Excellence
  • Tools for Mobile Application Management

Enterprise Mobile Technology stream subscribers can download the full briefing here.

If your organization does not yet subscribe, you can obtain a complimentary sample first.


Updated DAM research: ADAM, Nuxeo, Bynder, Canto, WebDAM, NetX, WAVE, and MerlinOne #DAM #digitalmarketing Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:52:00 +0000 As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Digital & Marketing Asset Management (DAM) market is getting a lot more notice from the enterprise C-suite. Vendors that have historically supported small, marketing-department implementations are vying for that attention, while historically "enterprise" vendors are looking to diversify their offerings into broader MarTech functionality and cloud-oriented deployments.

RSG's latest DAM research release updates our evaluations of eight vendors who span the gamut, from fast-growing, SaaS-oriented vendors like Bynder and WebDAM, to open source offerings like Nuxeo, to industry mainstays like ADAM, WAVE, and Canto who are trying to modernize their approaches. Close competitors NetX and MerlinOne still offer both on-prem and SaaS offerings, with straightforward pricing models.

These eight represent the diversity of the market that we still call DAM -- but a market quickly becoming so much more than simple asset management.

If you're already an RSG subscriber, you can access your updates here. Otherwise, contact us for subscription details.


Axway Acquires Appcelerator #mobile Mon, 18 Jan 2016 09:41:00 +0000 Software company Axway has announced its acquisition of mobile tech Appcelerator in an all cash-deal. All the employees (around 85) of Appcelerator will now be part of Axway. Axway is registered in France and is headquartered in the US. Appcelerator is based in San Jose, California.

Axway has products and solutions that provide API management and integration capabilities. Appcelerator provides tools for mobile app development and middleware. It’s open source version Titanium is a popular tool among developers for creating cross-platform mobile apps.

What’s in it for the two vendors?

As organizations experiment with IoT and other connected scenarios, there is an increased need to integrate mobile applications with other enterprise applications. By acquiring Appcelerator, Axway obtains additional capabilities to include mobile app development and deployment to its offerings. In future, if and when Axway integrates Appcelerator with their API management, integration, and file transfer capabilities, they could offer a broader range of solutions to customers.

Additionally, Appcelerator will have access to a bigger customer base and presumably more R&D budget to improve its mobile offerings.

What does it mean for Customers?

Deals such as these do bring in some amount of uncertainty. For the time being though, both companies have said there will be no changes to their products as well as pricing in the immediate future.

For common customers, this should simplify their interactions with multiple vendors.

However, if you are evaluating Appcelerator as a stand-alone mobile application development or middleware platform, you will need to carefully assess the vendor’s roadmap. Sometimes when a specialized tool becomes a part of a broader offering, it may no longer remain suitable for those stand-alone scenarios. For example, when Pega acquired Antenna’s mobile offerings, they initially kept it separate as Antenna Mobile Platform (AMP). But those mobile capabilities are now are now part of broader Pega 7 platform.

The Enterprise Mobile Technology Marketplace is evolving rapidly and a number of specialized mobile technology vendors have now been acquired by vendors with a broader set of offerings. Our forthcoming Enterprise Mobile Technology Vendor Marketplace advisory explores some key trends as well as provides an overview of key vendors in this marketplace.

Upcoming Webinars - Plus our most popular on-demand #DigitalWorkplace #wcm Tue, 12 Jan 2016 15:01:00 +0000 My colleagues and I want you to make the right technology decisions. While nearly all of RSG's research and advisory requires a subscription, we do offer complimentary public webinars.

Forthcoming Webinars

Webinar: Selecting & Implementing DAM: Trends for 2016
Jan 19, 2016 12:00 pm ET / 17:00 UTC

Webinar: Enterprise Social and Collaboration Marketplace Overview
Feb 3, 2016 12:00 pm ET / 17:00 UTC

Webinar: Selecting and Implementing Web CMS: Trends in 2016
Feb 10, 2016 12:00 pm ET / 17:00 UTC

Webinar: The Future of SharePoint and Your Digital Workplace
Mar 9, 2016 12:00 pm ET / 17:00 UTC

Public Webinar Archive

These archives are free to the public. Enjoy!

Webinar: Digital Marketing Software 101

Webinar: Avoid Making These Five Mistakes with Your Next Technology Procurement

Webinar: How to Select the Right Software in a Big Hurry

For Subscribers Only

RSG research subscribers may access the full library of all the recorded webinars and research. Here is a sampling of topics that can be accessed via your subscription:

Webinar: Digital Workplace & Marketing Technology Predictions for 2016

Webinar: Digital Marketing at Scale

Webinar: Enterprise Mobility in the Era of IoT and Wearables

Webinar: From Intranets to Digital Workplace

Get More Info

To answer all your questions about subscribing to RSG research, webinars, and personalized analyst advice, contact us at:


Real Story Group is Hiring Mon, 11 Jan 2016 20:07:00 +0000 We are excited to announce a new job opening for a full-time New Business Manager to join our Sales and Marketing team in North America. In addition to the normal sales prerequisites, this person must possess:

  • Impeccable ethical grounding
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Desire to work as part of a close-knit team

Sound like you or someone you know? Read the full description and application instructions here.

Call for Participation - Survey on Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software #DigitalWorkplace #e20 Mon, 11 Jan 2016 13:33:00 +0000 At RSG, we have been tracking the enterprise collaboration and social software market for more than 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 five to ten 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.

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.

What You Get in Return

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. Here is the link to the survey.

Below is a sampler of what the previous edition of this survey found - 


Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Market in 2016 #cio #DigitalWorkplace Wed, 06 Jan 2016 14:47:00 +0000 Today we released our annual briefing on the state of the Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Technology marketplace. Subscribers can download the full analysis here.

  • The “Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software” market sees both growing maturity as well as an expanding set of credible offerings
  • Despite some pundit disinterest (some analysts have moved on to "hotter" topics), we find that enterprises are still experimenting heavily in this space
  • Vendors are responding by experimenting with new business and delivery models, highlighted most notably by Microsoft, which now takes a cloud-first approach to enterprise collaboration that nearly all of its peers are mimicking.
  • Concurrently, there is little consensus on core functionality or user experience design patterns; vendors continue to experiment in both cases, and the opportunity to outshine the competition has attracted even the likes of Facebook to revisit this marketplace.

The good news is that as a customer, you have more choices than ever.

One more thing you'll find in the briefing: a current snapshot of the key technology players circa Q1 of 2016 and where they lie on the change spectrum. Use this to assess if the vendors you are considering match your own enterprise tempo and can tango with you. Note there is no single magic square here - what matters most is idenfying the best-fit solution for your unique needs. 

Figure 1: RSG Reality Check for the Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Market, 2016. Click to enlarge

Subscribers can obtain the detailed briefing here. For more detailed reviews of the individual vendors, consult our complete evaluation report.


The DAM Market in 2016 #DAM #digitalmarketing Mon, 04 Jan 2016 08:12:00 +0000 My colleague Mark Davey and I have weighed in on the state of the DAM market in 2016, in a recent advisory paper for our subscribers.

I recall 8 years ago when we first published our DAM vendor evaluation report, I stated that DAM was always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Oh, how times have changed. The imperative to deliver imagery, brand assets, broader marketing campaigns and engaging media at a cloud-enabled scale has resulted in DAM sitting firmly at the feet of the C-suite. We're now constantly advising Fortune 1000 CMOs, CIOs, and CEOs on DAM, where and how it fits into the technology stack.

We also firmly believe (unlike other analyst firms) that DAM should not just be bundled into "Customer Experience Management" or "Marketing Technology" as an afterthought. It is vital and significant in its own right, whether it's integrated into a larger stack, or not. Our 2016 market analysis looks at DAM in both contexts, with quick takes on the progress of 40+ vendors in this space. You won't find a deeper or more comprehensive look at DAM in 2016 than you will here.

We explore topics such as:

  • Cloud DAM Eclipses On-Premise Offerings: While some vendors have a longer history of cloud and SaaS offerings, havoc continues to ensue due to over-promises from vendors with little more than a cloud "story".
  • Acquisitions and Partnerships Revisited: Acquisitiveness already returned to the DAM market in 2015, with Esko’s acquisition of MediaBeacon and Bynder’s acquisition of SocialExpress. We anticipate more acquisitions on the horizon, and explore the why and the who.
  • Connecting COM (Creative Operations Management) and DAM: Connecting creative ideation, workflows, copy production, and DAM came to a head 2015, and will continue to be a focus in 2016.
  • Hubbub about Content Hubs: As marketers clamor for new ways to inject digital assets into multichannel marketing campaigns, we see the term “content hub” emerging across all sectors of MarTech, sometimes just as a marketing ploy, but other times as a sophisticated product approach. Which DAM-focused vendor "hubs" are worth considering, if any?

If you're already a subscriber, let your account manager know if you'd like to set up a call to discuss how these trends might affect you. As always, we look forward to keeping you abreast of all the key DAM and broader MarTech trends in 2016.

ECM & Cloud File Sharing Market - What to Expect in 2016 #ecm Tue, 22 Dec 2015 13:57:00 +0000 In our new Enterprise Content Management marketplace briefing, "2016 ECM & Cloud File Sharing Market Analysis," we provide a comparative analysis of the relative risks and opportunities associated with each ECM vendor via RSG's "Reality Check" chart. ECM has traditionally been a slow-evolving marketplace, but we've seen considerable changes in the past year.

Our briefing explores those changes and offers a snapshot of other trends:

  • Flux in the ECM Marketplace
  • Latent Potential for an Expanding Footprint
  • SharePoint Is Ubiquitous, but Not Omnipotent
  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All
  • Increasing Cloud-Based Deployments, Especially Mix-and-Match
  • Mobile As a Key Driver for Adoption
  • Cloud-Based File Share & Sync Services Are Evolving

Click to enlarge.

Notice what's interesting about this Reality Check diagram?  It's very top-heavy. There's a surprising amount of technology change going on...

ECM stream subscribers can download the full briefing here.


The Myth of Technology Analyst Independence #digitalmarketing #DigitalWorkplace Mon, 21 Dec 2015 08:26:00 +0000 Coming up on Real Story Group's 15th anniversary next year caused me to reflect: as far as I know we are the only technology analyst firm in the world that works exclusively on the buy side.

If you had asked me 15 years ago -- when the world was reeling from an equities collapse aggravated in part by conflict-of-interest shenanigans on Wall Street -- I would have predicted that the tech analyst community would split neatly between sell-side research and buy-side research.

But that has not happened, and you the customer are the worse off for it.

The Financial Industry Analyst Model

In financial research, the industry makes a clear distinction between "sell-side" and "buy-side" analysis. A sell-side financial analyst relies on information often spoon-fed from public companies to drive activity to trading desks (i.e., works primarily on behalf of sellers), while a buy-side specialist strives to inform better investor performance (i.e., works primarily on behalf of buyers). The same advisory or investment firm can employ both buy- and sell-side analysts, but they must isolate themselves behind "Chinese Firewalls," designed to prevent buy- and sell-side specialists from even talking to each other without a lawyer present.

That firewall gets breached with some regularity. Former top Salomon Smith Barney research analyst Jack Grubman famously declared in 2000 that, "What used to be a conflict is now a synergy," and, "Objectivity? The other word for it is uninformed." The US Security and Exchanges Commission declared otherwise and banned him in perpetuity from financial services for gross ethical misconduct.

The Technology Industry Analyst Model

A technology analyst community that fails to distinguish between buy- and sell-side is essentially channeling Jack Grubman. In the tech analyst community, the incentive to advise both buyers and suppliers is not perceived as a conflict, but a synergy. Analyst firms get rated by potential vendor sponsors according to how much influence they have over buyers.

Analysts walking both sides of the street can feel like gods. "I'm sculpting the industry," bragged Grubman, "I get feedback from [buyer] institutions and [seller] CEOs. It feeds on itself. It's a virtuous circle." Except the SEC concluded it was a vicious circle for investors. Technology analyst firms similarly tout their ability to advise customers based on insider knowledge of vendor plans -- plans the analyst firm often devised on the vendor's behalf for a lucrative consulting fee.

This system creates dilemmas for tech suppliers, but even more so for customers. If the analyst firm advised a vendor on their roadmap and execution, will that same firm ever dare to criticize the vendor who acted on those plans? In the analyst industry this scenario sometimes gets laughed off as "calling your own children ugly," and unsurprisingly, it doesn't happen often.

Individuals at major tech analyst firms consistently protest that they follow a rigorous personal ethical code. I believe them. But the system is corrupt. Those Magic Quadrants you download for free? The reprint rights are purchased by vendors who reside in the upper right.

The Impact on You the Customer

Let's review how these conflicts skew analyst firm vendor evaluations. Major analyst firms tend to pay more attention to the vendors that also have business relationships with them. This means that technology evaluations tend to favor larger vendors over smaller vendors, and commercial players over open source. Major analyst firms almost universally overweight vendors' marketing acumen and roadmap powerpoints -- which have no bearing on customer success -- and underweight things like vendor technical support and implementation resources.

As a result, you get a distorted view of the marketplace. How else would you account for CMS vendor Ektron ascending to a Leaders Quadrant just as the firm started visibly declining, or HP TeamSite's persistently high Forrester and Gartner ratings despite mass customer defections?

RSG's research is far from perfect. We deliberately emphasize implementation experience and vendor/product ecosystems, and that will bias our results. But this bias stems from wanting to serve a particular enterprise buyer profile, and not from the need to generate vendor advisory business or "sculpt an industry."

What Is to Be Done?

Alas, there is no SEC-like body to oversee the technology analyst industry. You can understand why not....we're not that important. But as enterprises turn ever-greater attention and budgets to digital transformation, the stakes have gotten higher and the conflicts of interest become all that more heightened.

Change will come when customers demand it. As a customer you should insist on greater transparency rather than platitudes. You can request that analyst firms either focus on sell- or buy-side exclusively, or implement "Chinese Firewalls" to separate buy and sell sides, with the same rigor as their financial analyst firm brethren.

In the meantime, let's call the mainstream tech analyst industry what it truly is: a conflicted buy/sell-side operation masquerading under the guise of independence.

Using a portal's bundled features versus specialized tools #EntArch #pmot Tue, 15 Dec 2015 14:37:00 +0000 A few weeks back, an RSG subscriber asked me if they should use the image-management capabilities bundled with their enterprise portal platform, or deploy a specialized Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool. More recently, another client asked about portal-based solutions to use for building reporting and dashboarding capabilities.

The Debate That Never Ends

As portal platforms have matured over the past decade, they have increasingly bundled capabilities found in tools from adjacent marketplaces. So most portal offerings provide some capabilities for web content management, search, and document management. Some even provide lightweight digital asset management. As a result, you will always need to decide whether to use built-in portal capabilities or opt for more specialized, 3rd-party products and then integrate them with your enterprise portal framework.

Pros and Cons to Both Approaches

At first blush the simpler choice is to use portal-bundled capabilities. It typically emerges as cheaper and easier to manage, with relatively less integration (although this actually depends on many other factors).

However, as your requirements scale up, you hit the limits of capabilities provided by bundled services. For example, if you were using a portal-provided WCM but wanted to publish to an separate, non-portal property, you may encounter some serious difficulties.

Standalone products on the other hand will almost surely offer more robust and provide more sophisticated capabilities. But they are also more expensive and can require greater integration effort. Plus you’ll need to manage multiple vendors and licensing.

What to Use When?

So to summarize, you will usually have a choice between lightweight features in your portal platform and more robust functionality from third parties. You should use portal-provided capabilities for really basic requirements. But keep in mind your extensibility requirements and plan to use specialized tools for more complex requirements.

Coming back to the example of using a portal for Digital Asset Management, if your requirements entail basic image upload/download or simple audio and video handling, your portal might suffice. But you will certainly want to use specialized DAM tools if:

  • Multimedia assets such as audio and video are your key focus areas and you want to provide services around those
  • For a video file you want to be able to generate video logs, storyboards, text indexes, streaming snippets, and dynamically generated thumbnails
  • You want to stream video and audio assets.
  • You also want support for many different file formats and conversion from one format to another becomes a key requirement
  • Support for ingestion of externally created assets is a key requirement
  • You need color-based search and other advanced asset index and retrieval mechanisms

RSG has published a variety of advisory papers and webinars that provide more detailed guidance around these and other similar decisions. Let us know if you need help in your decision making.

Dropbox drops some consumer-oriented services to focus more on enterprises #Cloud #box Mon, 14 Dec 2015 05:39:00 +0000 Dropbox has announced it’s discontinuing two of apps/services: the photo-sharing app Carousel and mobile email client Mailbox.

Dropbox has sometimes mixed its messages in terms of the scenarios it wanted to target. It got popular as a consumer-oriented file-sharing and sync service but it also has a version targeting enterprises. Both Carousel and Mailbox were targeted at end consumers.

By discontinuing those two apps now, the intention seems to be to move away from a consumer oriented player to a more focused, enterprise-oriented service.

Enterprise Business Is Tough

But “enterprise" is a tricky market and there’s little differentiation among vendors in terms of functionality. Most cloud-based file sharing and sync services offer similar set of standard features.

In the beginning, these services became quite popular because of their ease of use and the fact that you could quickly get up and running with them without too much of integration work. However, as requirements became more complex, their relatively simplistic feature set became their weak point as it was easy to replicate that functionality.

In fact, most enterprise content and document management vendors now provide this functionality either via acquisitions or in-house development. Even longtime file-sync and share vendor Box has had to evolve into a broader-based service.

To be fair to Dropbox, they have built some enterprise-oriented features to make their product more acceptable to business customers. For example, they are working on an app called Dropbox Paper, which allows you to collaboratively work on documents, similar to Google Docs. They also sell "Dropbox Business," with features such as remote device wiping, along with better security controls.

Question Marks Remain

However, Dropbox still lags in terms of security, and has struggled to offer deployment models other than public cloud based service, or build more sophisticated collaboration and content management features.

Moreover, recent developments have begged an important question: When Dropbox can close down a service (Mailbox) that they acquired for $100M, can your enterprise trust them on their roadmap?

We’ll keep tracking them and keep you informed as we learn more. Meanwhile, if you are a subscriber, you can check out our ECM Research to know more about different vendors’ file-sharing and sync capabilities.

Self-appraisal of our 2015 predictions #trends Thu, 10 Dec 2015 08:38:00 +0000 At RSG we don't future-gaze a lot but at the end of each year, we do make an exception and offer technology predictions about the various digital workplace and digital marketing technology marketplaces that we cover. Earlier this week, my colleague Jarrod published our 2016 predictions.

And rather uniquely, we try to see how we fared the previous year. 

That is, we go back and review our predictions to see how many times we hit the nail on the head. Here are assessments of our previous years’ predictions (2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011).

Below find a review of how we fared with our 2015 predictions.

RSG's 2015 Predictions

  1. DAM Vendors Will Roll out DAM Lite
    Yes. There is definitely greater action by vendors, especially newer vendors in SaaS-oriented DAM mirroring customer interest in DAM-lite.
  2. Hybrid ECM Will Come of Age
    Halfway Yes. "Hybrid" hasn't really come of age but organizations are increasingly experimenting with hybrid deployment approaches. For example, many enterprises employ a mix of public cloud for cloud-based file sharing scenarios but use on-premise or private clouds for documents that are more confidential or have security implications. ECM vendors are also improving hybrid cloud capabilities, although with different approaches and different level of capabilities.
  3. HR Will Rejoin the Digital Workplace Conversation
    Yes. There is a renewed interest and greater investments in employee-engagement and productivity solutions. This is being reflected in workplace technology procurements and there is a greater awareness to refresh/upgrade to workplace systems. Instead of an either-or approach (productivity vs. engagement), HR is looking for solutions that incorporate both elements in the technology.
  4. Enterprise Social – Hype around Unified Enterprise Messaging
    No. Unified Enterprise Messaging has remained a hype and we haven’t really seen any major push towards efforts to integrate multiple channels of communication such as email, IM, social, video hangouts and web meetings.
  5. Digital Workplace Will Say “Hello” to Analytics and Big Data
    Yes. We’ve seen numerous examples of analytics and big data being used for internally-facing scenarios such as recruitment and hiring, finding intelligence about competitors as well as suppliers, supply chain, inventory management, fulfilment, and so on.
  6. A SharePoint 2016 Yawn
    Yawn, Yes.  Even Redmond is a bit embarrassed about SharePoint on-premise.
  7. Marketing Virtual Data Warehouses Will Go Mainstream
    Yes and No.  We did see more marketing warehouses, although enterprises use different names for them. Most organizations operate several disparate marketing systems and they are now making efforts to integrate them, but the "virtual" system to provide one source of truth is still on the drawing boards at most enterprises.
  8. Drupal Split Will Characterize WCM Market Bifurcation
    Not really.  With delays in Drupal 8, there's been a postponement....but we still think a split is coming.
  9. Enterprise Mobile: Apps Will Get Unbundled
    Certainly Yes. Mobile-first and Mobile-only strategies are driving this behavior. Mobile devices have a specific context that is different from desktop environments. Enterprises  are increasingly avoiding monolithic apps that tried to replicate the functionality of their web application, and instead “unbundling” the functionality via  task-oriented, mobile-optimized apps that do certain things really well.
  10. Connected Devices Will Become a More Ubiquitous Channel
    Yes, this is a major trend. You not only have to consider mobile phones and tablets of varying sizes and capabilities but you also have to consider a host of other devices such as Apple TV, wearables, and other Internet-connected devices. This usually means investing in specialized tools as well as creating a more sophisticated publishing environments with flexible content, templates, and distribution vehicles.

Tallying the Score

Okay, so how did we do? I total it up to 7 out of 10 (Yes - 6 times, No - 2, Partial - 2).  That’s not as good as last year but not bad either...

If you're an RSG subscriber, let us know if you'd like to understand any of these trends in greater detail or if you'd like to talk to us about any of the marketplaces RSG covers.

2016 Digital Workplace and Marketing Technology Predictions #martech #trends Tue, 08 Dec 2015 09:16:00 +0000 It's that time of year for our team of Real Story Group analysts to reveal our 2016 predictions for the technology world.

Since we're only looking one year ahead, our predictions tend to be slimmer on long-term vision and more geared towards near-term trends that may have a practical bearing on your team.

You will recognize many of these predictions as trends already underway. However, we see 2016 as a tipping point in several cases, most notably around mobile and cloud-based workplace technology.

This is our tenth(!) year in a row doing this humbling exercise. If you'd like to see how we've done recently, you can view past predictions here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Here's RSG's 2016 technology predictions:

1. Creative Operations Management Breaks Through

2. Cloud WCM: from PaaS to IaaS

3. Wearables Gain Traction

4. Mobile-First Finally Arrives

5. Content Marketing Becomes a Standard Feature

6. Social Monitoring Goes Vertical

7. Major DAM Players Flail

8. Moment of Truth for Box

9. SharePoint 2016 On-Premise Adoption Lag

10. Say Hello to the “Chief Digital Workplace Officer”

11. SaaS Becomes the Default Model for Social-Collaboration Tech

12. Office 365 User Shock

Real Story Group subscribers can download the full 2016 Digital Workplace & Marketing Technology Predictions Briefing that describes these trends (and how you should prepare and respond) in more detail.

Not yet a subscriber?  Join our public webinar describing the predictions, this Wednesday, 09 December, at 12:00 pm ET / 17:00 UTC.

Web Content and Experience Management - Industry Maps #wcxm #wcm Fri, 04 Dec 2015 10:22:00 +0000 The Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) marketplace is reasonably mature. However, compared to other mature enterprise software marketplaces, WCM has a far greater number of vendors. These range from sophisticated platform vendors to simple self-publishing tools -- but no single vendor dominates the segment. There is no 800-pound gorilla WCM vendor. 

Customers are sometimes curious about the marketshare of the WCM vendors they are considering, perhaps because it can serve as at least one signal in understanding the potential ecosystem around a product/platform. But given the WCM vendor diversity, reliable estimates of WCM marketshare are hard to find. 

To throw some light on this, we derived relative usage data from our survey of RSG subscribers and other (mostly large) enterprises. Note this data does not represent formal marketshare figures. However, it is useful to highlight key trends about the marketplace, particularly when you look at it in conjunction with the customer satisfaction scores that emerge from the same survey. 

You'll notice from the below map that "large name" enterprise software vendors do not necessarily capture a large share of the WCM market as well - something that you want to keep in mind in your WCM procurement projects. 

Figure 1:  WCM Customer Share based on RSG's 2015 Survey. Open image in a new tab / window for a larger version.  

An overlay of this customer share data with customer satisfaction ratings for these WCM products reveals an interesting insight: high market presence does not automatically translate into a high customer satisfaction rating - again something to keep in mind when evaluating vendors. 

Find this customer satisfaction heat map (different from the above diagram) -- as well as how you can use these insights in your technology selection -- in the advisory paper, Web Content &  Experience Management Industry Maps, available exclusively to our subscribers.

If your organization is not yet a subscriber, get in touch with us to explore subscription options.

The Greenfield Drupal Conundrum #wcm #cms Wed, 02 Dec 2015 01:34:00 +0000 Last month's release of the long-awaited Drupal Version 8 presents a dilemma for enterprises considering adopting Drupal afresh.  Typically customers want the latest-and-greatest version, but in this case, you'll want to pause and consider the surprisingly knotty trade-offs.

The Case for Drupal 8

Drupal 8 brings manifold improvements over 7.x, but the overall story is that the new version becomes much better suited to larger enterprise customers, employing more modern, standardized, and object-oriented frameworks.

The other reason to consider Drupal 8 is that moving from 7 to 8 will not be an upgrade.  Let me repeat: it won't be an upgrade.  It's a replacement.  Do you really want to go through that in a couple years' time?

The Case for Drupal 7

Drupal 7 offers a platform that leverages the full weight of the broad Drupal community.  All the key modules are 7-compatible.  All the major Drupal integrators and hosting companies are well-familiar with its benefits and demerits.  A large and diverse customer community has committed to it.  If you don't like Drupal 8, you'll be able to find at least one fork that will continue a 7ish trunk into the future.

Version 7 will also remain more accessible to developers.  Today much of Drupal's complexity revolves around mastering its vast and heterogeneous set of moving parts. With Drupal 8 much of the complexity will come in the level of developer expertise required to master more sophisticated subsystems.  The new version calls for more higher-skilled, enterprise-savvy developers. The  junior PHP developer who relies on an effective mental map of Drupal 7's nooks and crannies may struggle under a new system that requires greater programming expertise. 

The Case for Neither

So if you're just getting started with Drupal in 2016, which do you chose?  The quirky version the community knows, or the sophisticated new version that won't see primetime for at least another year, maybe longer?  It really boils down to your risk tolerance.  Which is worse for you: the immaturity of a new version, or the pain (some years down the road) of a replacement?

Maybe the answer is "neither."  At least one of our major subscribers recently took a very close look at both alternatives and found them prohibitively unpalatable relative to the choices presented by other Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) technologies right now.

In software, as in love, sometimes the match is right but the timing is wrong.  2016 could be bad timing for some first-time Drupal customers.

ECM and Document Management - What to Expect in 2016 #ecm #trends Wed, 25 Nov 2015 19:43:00 +0000 Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is supposedly a very mature -- even old -- marketplace. However, there's still a lot of potential for expansion.

RSG's customer research has found that traditional file shares (a.k.a., F: and U: drives) remain pervasive. And likewise email. Many employees still use their email systems and file shares to store, manage, and share documents -- even within organizations that have already invested in ECM or DM tools.

This has ediscovery and findability implications. Content spread around willy-nilly in uncontrolled repositories can become a major issue during a lawsuit or compliance-related event. There are also storage implications, specifically when you use email to share documents because as emails are forwarded and sent to different people within your organization, the storage space multiplies.

All of this clearly shows that in spite of ECM being a mature marketplace, there is still a lot of latent potential for innovation. Indeed, I see some interesting happenings in the ECM marketplace. Our forthcoming marketplace analysis advisory briefing will examine the current state of the market as well as the likely evolution in the near term.

I'll look at recent vendor evolution (e.g., EMC divesting Syncplicity and then getting acquired by Dell), the impact of cloud and mobile on ECM and document management, and other key trends.

Meanwhile, you can check out our existing research or download a sample.


Teradata files for divorce from MarTech. What gives? #digitalmarketing #martech Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:09:00 +0000 Teradata, one of the vendors we evaluate in our Marketing Automation and Social Technology research stream, announced that is looking to sell it's Marketing Applications business.

Though known more for its data warehousing software, Teradata has been playing for many years in the marketing technology software segment. According to the company, this retreat from the MarTech space allows it to focus on bread-and-butter data and analytics software.

Teradata's Marketing Cloud

In recent years, Teradata has tried to emulate the acquisitions playbook of MarTech rivals to assemble a marketing cloud of sorts, picking up:

  • Aprimo (marketing resource management)
  • eCircle (email marketing)
  • Ozone (creative agency)
  • Argyle (social marketing)
  • Appoxee (mobile messaging), and most recently...
  • FLXone (data management platform) in Oct 2015

Given these investments, Teradata's move to withdraw from the growing MarTech space may seem a bit surprising at first glance.

Sticking to Its Knitting

However, these Marketing Applications represented less than a tenth of the company's overall revenues. Also, though some products in Teradata's marketing portfolio (e.g., Aprimo) could be considered as being among the leaders in specific categories, the entire platform as a whole did not sizzle, and much integration work lay ahead. This would require ongoing resources and investments. Teradata decided (reasonably so in my opinion) to put its resources to use elsewhere in its core business, which is also in a flux because of cloud-adoption and newer Big Data technologies. 

In the MarTech space, Teradata was in a curious position. Compared to the larger players competing for large enterprise business (such as Adobe and Salesforce), Teradata had a major gap to close both with respect to the product offering and the ecosystem around the product. At the other end, SaaS vendors (such as HubSpot and Marketo - both of which have revenues comparable to Teradata Marketing Applications BU) are perceived to be nimbler and are aggressively garnerning business in the medium-sized enterprise segment. As a consequence, rivals were outpacing Teradata in terms of traction and growth

Figure: Marketing Cloud Annual Revenues by Company. Source: RSG estimates and company reports

Their current decision to hang a "for sale" sign on the Marketing Applications business is simply an acknowledgement of this: they were not willing/able to continue the investments needed to break into the big league of end-to-end marketing clouds.

By the way, it was not widely reported at the time, but in June 2015 Teradata took a loss and wrote down $340 million associated with its marketing applications acquisitions -- a signal that their MarTech business was not doing as well as hoped for.

What are the implications for you as a customer?

How this impacts you the enterprise buyer depends on who ends up buying Teradata's MarTech business. If you are a current customer, expect some near-term uncertainty as the sales process gets underway and the new owners take charge.

If you are currently in the market for MarTech software, you don't have to necessarily exclude Teradata's toolset from your selection shortlist, but until at least the dust settles down, always remember that you have many alternatives.

What's the Best Way to Select a WCM Tool? #digitalmarketing #wcm Wed, 18 Nov 2015 21:49:00 +0000 Not everyone faces this question, but when you do, it's a really important decision.

If you're facing that choice, consider joining me the morning of December 1st in Boston at the Gilbane Conference, where I'll be leading a workshop on the topic.

Spoiler alert: we'll also cover how to select DAM, digital marketing, and related technologies.

Hope to see you there.

The Meaning behind Atlassian's IPO Filing #DigitalWorkplace #socbiz Fri, 13 Nov 2015 14:48:00 +0000 Earlier this week, longstanding Aussie software vendor Atlassian filed for an IPO.  Should you care?


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

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

Social-Collaboration Continues to Grow

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

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

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


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

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

Last Call - RSG MarTech Survey #digitalmarketing #martech Wed, 11 Nov 2015 11:28:00 +0000 We will soon be closing RSG's ongoing survey on digital marketing technology. I have previously blogged about some emerging results from the survey here and here.

What is very interesting is the profile of the survey respondents. Not just marketing directors or marketing managers, the survey participants include CXOs / senior management (in fact, the largest cohort in our sample), as well as practitioners from several functions such as marketing operations, technology, digital, strategy, corporate communications, business development, and client services.

Figure: Job roles of the RSG Digital Marketing Technology Survey Participants.

It just goes to show that digital marketing is truly a:

  1. Cross-functional endeavor that involves several departments in the organization
  2. C-suite priority

What about you?

If you are involved in your organization's digital marketing efforts, please take ten minutes to participate in our Digital Marketing Technology Survey. In return we'll send you a summary of the findings and invite you to a special webinar sharing the results.

More Details

This survey assesses different aspects of digital marketing, like common use cases, tool satisfaction, and maturity levels among organizations like yours. Here, Digital Marketing Technology refers to the various software products such as campaign management, marketing automation, content marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and more. This is an illustrative, not an exhaustive, list.

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.

Next Steps

Here is the link to the survey. Please participate and invite your colleagues to do so as well. Thank you.