Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2015, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 02/25/2015 00:00:00 60 Sneak Peek into Web Content Management Customer Survey #wcxm #trends Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:57:00 +0000 RSG is currently conducting a customer survey on Web Content & Experience Management Technology usage. You can still participate, but only if you complete it this week (closes March 1st).

More than 250 of your peers have already taken the survey and here is a sneak peek of findings based on the initial set of responses. 

WCM is a multi-disciplinary endeavor

The job roles of the respondents are quite diverse - executives to individual contributors and subject matter experts and helps provide a holistic perspective. It also attests to the fact that WCM is a multi-disciplinary endeavor at the intersections of marketing, IT, Communications, and Design. 

Figure 1: Job Roles of Respondents. (Click image to enlarge)

Developer Availability and Systems Integration are the top technical challenges

More than 40% of the organizations consider the availability and affordability of developers and integrating WCM with other systems as prohibitive or difficult problems.

Figure 2: WCM Technical Challenges. (Click image to enlarge)

Insufficient resources and lack of content strategy are top non-technical challenges

Note that while only two technical challenges rated 40% or more, five non-technical challenges receive ~40% or greater scores. Insufficient development resources and staffing are linked to the availability of developers mentioned. Lack of a defined strategy in general and lack of a content strategy in particular are also challenging.

Figure 3: WCM Non-Technical Challenges. (Click image 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. We're really looking forward to digging into the details so you can benchmark your implementation against your peers.

If you have not yet completed the survey, you can still participate (this week only!) and receive a summary of the final findings. Here is the link to the survey.

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

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

Essentially, customers are divided into three categories:

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

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

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

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

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

This 10-page briefing provides

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

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

The key trends we discuss in this briefing include:

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

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

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

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

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

The inside scoop on hybrid-cloud DAM and ECM #Cloud #EntArch Mon, 16 Feb 2015 13:21:00 +0000 “Cloud” infrastructures can have many variations (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and managed hosting), and within each of these models, a cloud deployment can be private, public, community, or a combination of one or more of these, also known as a "hybrid cloud."

Specifically, within the Digital Asset Management (DAM) and to some extent in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technology spaces, a hybrid architecture is perhaps the least straightforward. There are many reasons for this, but huge file sizes and security implications in particular become paramount. Consequently, you'll find broadly different approaches to implementing a hybrid architecture.

Below I'll review a couple common approaches.

Inside and Out

One approach is to have at least two DAM (or ECM) systems:

  • One an in-premise system accessible to your users inside your firewall
  • Another one on the outside, accessible to broader user base — your partners, and customers

In this approach, the two systems can be totally different tools or two instances of the same tool. You use some kind of a sync technique to copy your files (selectively, if required) across the two platforms (or two instances of the same platform). This is useful, for example for DAM scenarios where your internal users can collaborate internally on large-sized broadcast files, and when they are ready, the final file is copied to be shared with the outside world.

Some vendors (e.g., EMC) have acquired cloud-file sharing tools to offer this kind of functionality. The acquired platform is different from their traditional on-premise offering, but a sync service synchronizes files between them. On the other hand, some vendors (e.g., Alfresco, Microsoft) can deploy multiple instances of their platform across different environments, and then synchronize among them.

Variable Storage

Another hybrid approach involves using a single system that employs multiple storage options, often based on access and security considerations. In this approach, you typically use a combination of in-house storage and public-cloud based storage to selectively store files. Using this mechanism, you can keep a highly confidential set of files within your private cloud (or simply your own on-premise storage array), while allowing more generic documents to reside in the public cloud.

And More...

There are other alternatives as well, and as you can imagine, the use cases and scenarios for these alternatives will vary. Consequently, you will need to apply different technical skills, infrastructures, and architectures. You also probably need different governance and processes depending on these variations.

So when your vendor says they support “hybrid DAM” or "hybrid ECM," you should dig deeper and clarify what hybrid means in that context.

In the latest releases of Digital and Media Asset Management as well as other streams, we are looking closely at vendors' "cloud" approaches more closely.

Web CMS - Mind the Gaps #wcm #trends Fri, 13 Feb 2015 08:46:00 +0000 The Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) technology marketplace continues to evolve rapidly, with a continued emphasis on empowering the digital marketer. We can all agree that's a good thing, but my sense is that many WCM tools getting pitched today have gotten way ahead of most organizations' ability to exploit them.

So a practical digital team will carefully assess both what the tools can really do, as well as their own capacity to exploit emerging capabilities.

In particular, you will want to mind two key gaps.

Source: Real Story Group

The Vendor B.S. Gap

The first gap lies on the right-hand side of the diagram above. WCM Vendors exaggerate about what their platforms can do, either by concealing the level of customization effort, or demonstrating rose-tinted scenarios, or focusing on all the intra-suite integration they are working on.

Of course, as a technology customer you know this is nothing new. RSG's WCM evaluation research is designed to help you close that gap. And a savvy buyer will carefully test any platform before signing a contract.

Still, as a nearly two-decade observer of the WCM space, I believe this gap has never been wider. You want to remain particularly wary of what the likes of Sitecore and Adobe claim here.

The Customer Capacity Gap

The other gap, on the left, falls more on ourselves than the vendors. Many of our organizations simply do not have the capacity to exploit advanced digital experience technologies. "Capacity" can mean many things, like:

  • The breadth, depth, and experience level of your digital team
  • The availability and quality of marketing technologists
  • Suitable content richness and breadth for segmentation and personalization
  • Solid CRM infrastructure for core customer data
  • And so on...

This means that, while vendors exaggerate what their platforms can do, many customers still can't take advantage of real capabilities that do exist.

Lately we've been working with many of our subscribers on both gaps. If you are an RSG subscriber, reach out to schedule an advisory call (login required). If you're not a subscriber, check out your options.

How does your enterprise stack up?

How do you benchmark against your peers today with respect to web content & experience management? Be sure to participate in our survey to find out.

New to our Digital and Media Asset Management Research: ZONZA #broadcasting #DAM Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:29:00 +0000 ZONZA is a newer face in the DAM market, backed by stalwarts of the advertising industry, Deluxe Entertainment Services and Hogarth Worldwide (Hogarth Worldwide is itself owned in majority by WPP; one of the world’s biggest advertising companies).

ZONZA was conceived in 2009 and went live in 2011 as a tool to support the DMAM needs of Hogarth Worldwide and Deluxe clients; today both Hogarth and Deluxe heavily market ZONZA as an Enterprise Asset Platform.

Most customers originally used ZONZA for high-end, high-volume media distribution; ZONZA came much later to the world of enterprise DAM.

At RSG, we started getting numerous inquiries about ZONZA from our subscribers in early 2014, especially by larger, Fortune 1000 customers who already worked with the parent firms. One of ZONZA’s first customers was a globally recognized clothing brand, and the vendor has since signed on a handful of large enterprise firms that operate global brands. WPP also has a tight relationship with Microsoft. There is talk of other big-name partners coming into the fray, demonstrating that ZONZA really does have friends in high places.

Still, we couldn’t help but ask: Can an advertising company also be a software provider to the same — or similar — clients?

We weigh in on ZONZA’s past, current, and potential future state in the latest edition of our research.

Enterprise Mobile Platforms Marketplace - What to expect in 2015 #mobile #trends Fri, 06 Feb 2015 10:52:00 +0000 The enterprise mobile platform marketplace consists of a plethora of vendors and tools, and many organizations struggle to identify the right set of vendors that are suitable for their scenarios. In our newest marketplace briefing, 2015 Enterprise Mobile Platforms Market Analysis, we provide a snapshot of trends in the current marketplace and explore key trends.


In our evaluations, we group vendors into three large categories:

Infrastructure Vendors: These are large, enterprise software vendors that have offerings across different enterprise use cases such as ERP, e-Business, CRM, digital marketing, and so forth. In addition to their broader offerings, these vendors provide capabilities for mobile application development and deployment.

Mobility Specialists: These vendors are "mobility specialists" because enterprise mobility is their core focus area. Most of them provide more advanced capabilities than the Infrastructure Vendors, but lag in terms of their integration with enterprise systems. These tools are more suitable if you have multiple complex mobile initiatives and don't want to be tied to one large vendor.

Niche offerings: These technologies don't pretend to offer full-lifecycle or even cross-platform support. They tend to be specialized app environments, something like a commercially supported mobile web framework, or a vendor with a very narrow focus (e.g., Corona on gaming).


Mobile application development is gradually becoming more "enterprise-y." Smarter organizations now treat mobile application development on par with enterprise application development; as a result, there has been a considerable impact on middleware approaches, cloud-based deployment, and development tools.

Reality Check

Finally, 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 (above).

Unlike many other marketplaces, you can see in the chart above that vendors are reasonably spread-out, showing the marketplace itself is in flux, with vendors continually evolving their offerings. The full paper explains more.

Enterprise Mobile stream subscribers can download the full briefing here.

What to Make of the Ektron and EPiServer Merger #cms #wcm Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:50:00 +0000 Well, Ektron and EPiServer's new owners picked Door #1 -- a flat-out merger.

Merging the two vendors after they got bought by the same investment company might seem the cleanest approach. But in the end I believe it will turn out to be the messiest alternative for the only stakeholders that really matter: you the customer.

Apples and Oranges

The fundamental problem here is that Ektron and EPiServer have two very different business and technology models. The business models can maybe get reconciled, but the technology models likely cannot.

Fig. 1: Ektron is more of a product; EPiServer is more of a platform.

EPiServer is a platform on which you can develop highly customized experiences; Ektron is a feature-rich product with a slim and developer-unfriendly API. Both tools have their place in the broader market. But given their radically different codebases, there is scant hope of combining them.

Not surprisingly, the initial vendor communications around the merger focus on ethereal concepts like "experience platform," "disruptive digital transformation," and "a single platform in the cloud." So at least we can say they are buzzword-compliant.

In the real world -- the world where you labor every day -- these technologies are not going to mesh. A "single platform" is a PowerPoint-only pipe dream. Investors can dream, but what about you the customer?

Customer Impact

For EPiServer customers, the news is not all bad. You'll just want to avoid signing on for Ektron services or modules that salespeople will be incented to cross-sell to you in the coming months.

Ektron customers should investigate alternatives. To be sure, there's no immediate need to rush to the door. But migrating to EPiServer technology -- and that is almost surely where this is all going -- will never be an upgrade. It's a replacement.

And if you are going to replace your Web CMS, why not pick the successor yourself? Sure, perhaps EPiServer is a contender, but if you want a simpler, less developer-intensive WCM product (like you had with Ektron), you'll want to consider Kentico, Sitefinity, or Umbraco. Or moving beyond .NET, look at the likes of Magnolia or WordPress, to name just a few.

If you need some advice on this journey, let us know.

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

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

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

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

Here's a preview of what we found:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2015 Marketing Automation and Social Software Technology Market Analysis #digitalmarketing #trends Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:53:00 +0000 Today we released our annual briefing on the state of the Marketing Automation and Social Software Technology marketplace. Subscribers can download the full analysis here.

This 9-page briefing provides (1) an overview of marketplace trends (with emphasis on near-term practical implications for customers rather than pie-in-the-sky crystal gazing) and also (2) how the vendors lie on RSG's risk-reality spectrum a.k.a., the Reality Check. This represents a moment-in-time perspective. For detailed evaluations of the individual vendors, consult our MAST report.

One of the trends we dwell at length in this briefing is what to make of tall vendor claims (particularly large vendors) about their fully integrated end-to-end marketing platforms or clouds that can cater to all your marketing requirements. Well, circa 2015, such a fully-integrated marketing cloud is like the Himalayan Yeti or the Loch Ness Monster. Sightings are often rumored but a closer look reveals that these continue to remain elusive and mythical.

Figure 1: A fully integrated marketing cloud is just as elusive as the Himalayan Yeti. Image Source: Philippe Semeria (click to enlarge)

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

Figure 2: RSG Reality Check 2015 for the Marketing Automation and Social Software Technology Marketplace (click to enlarge)

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

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

Microsoft gives up on Web CMS for SharePoint Online #cms #sharepoint Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:26:00 +0000 As readers of RSG's Web Content & Experience Management evaluation report know, SharePoint is a poor fit for external-facing CMS scenarios.

In fact, Web CMS has always been the unloved step-child at Redmond.  With the push to the cloud in general and Office 365 (including SharePoint Online) in particular, Microsoft clearly had an opportunity to create a more web-focused, standards-friendly WCM offering -- something that could keep up with the expanding needs of digital teams who need to innovate more rapidly than SharePoint's traditional three-year cycle.

But it was not to be.  In fact, the cloud-version of SharePoint Web Publishing only offers a subset of the capabilities found in the on-premise edition.  More generally Microsoft just doesn't seem interested in digital marketing.  To be fair, Redmond has been increasingly candid about this.

So it wasn't a big surprise over the winter holidays when Microsoft rather quietly pulled the plug on "Public Websites" in SharePoint Online.  Current users will still receive product support for a couple more years, but no new public websites can get built.

Redmond's announcement hints at partnering with or reselling WCM services from a 3rd-party supplier.  If so, the choice will be telling.  If Redmond promotes a more productized, lower-end solution, it will speak volumes about its assumptions about its core Office 365 customer base.  If it offers a more sophisticated, integration-friendly offering, larger SharePoint Online customers may take a second look.

Either way, we'll keep watching, and sharing deeper analysis with our WCM research subscribers.

Participate in our WCM customer survey #cms #trends Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:40:00 +0000 RSG is currently conducting a customer survey on Web Content & Experience Management technology usage.

If you are an end-user of WCM technology, please participate. In exchange for ten minutes of your time, we'll send you a summary of the findings once complete.

Here's a link to the survey.

If you're interested in the types of questions we ask, here's an example:

The very next question asks about non-technical business challenges...

Looking forward very much to hearing what you have to say and sharing the results!

Teradata tucks-in Appoxee and mobile marketing is now so sexy #digitalmarketing #mobile Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:30:00 +0000 Teradata, one of the vendors we evaluate in the Marketing Automation and Social Technology stream, announced last week that it has acquired Israeli mobile start-up Appoxee. What does this mean for customers and the industry at large?

To recap: Teradata -- a vendor more known for its data warehousing software -- has been trying hard to morph from just being a data infrastructure software vendor. For the past 3 years Teradata has been on a quest to add marketing software tools to it's portfolio, including email marketing vendor eCircle, and now aggressively pitches its "Integrated Marketing Management" tools.

The latest to join the tools on Teradata's shelf is Appoxee, a SaaS tool for mobile messages (both in-app and push). You can consider it part of a niche marketing category called "mobile marketing automation." As with traditional marketing automation, Appoxee automates marketing messages based on rules and templates, analyzing recipient behaviors and customizing follow-on messages.

The benefits for Teradata customers still lie some quarters off, because integration is not instantaneous.

However, the acquisition points to marketing vendors responding to the rise of smart phones and "mobile-enabling" their software portfolios. Consider:

  • In late 2013, IBM acquired Xtify, a mobile messaging vendor similar to Appoxee.
  • In Q4, 2014, Salesforce has released a tool called JourneyBuilder for the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, which enables in-app mobile marketing campaigns.
  • Adobe has added in-app messaging functionality for iBeacons apps in it's Marketing Cloud.

Other larger marketing automation vendors also offer mobile messaging capabilities of varying maturity.

Of course, needless to say mobile marketing is fraught with some obvious challenges (such as privacy concerns, small screen size, and so on), but the bigger hurdle to adoption stems from relevance. When mobile is not integrated with the rest of the marketing efforts but a treated as a separate silo, the relevance factor for the customer gets rapidly reduced. But when mobile gets integrated with the rest of the marketing activity-chain, arguably there is greater value in it for the customers.

For an in-depth look of the marketing technology vendors and the scenarios they are best suited for, check out our Marketing Automation and Social Technology Evaluations.

Web Content and Experience Management Marketplace Circa 2015 #cms #trends Wed, 21 Jan 2015 11:56:00 +0000 This week we released our annual briefing on the state of the Web Content and Experience Management (WCM) marketplace. Subscribers can download the full analysis here.

The 8-page briefing provides an overview of marketplace trends and where vendors lie on RSG's "Reality Check" risk-reward spectrum. (For individual vendor evaluations by category, consult our WCM Report).

There are many ways to slice and dice the WCM market: by region, by technology, by license model, by cost, and so on. We continue to posit that system complexity remains the single most important calculus, and to that extent, the WCM market is really two sub-marketplaces: products versus platforms.

Platforms are more extensible but more complicated to maintain and enhance. Products are more immediately deployable and less developer-intensive, but bring less functional richness. Neither is better than the other, just different.

Likewise, there is no magic to any single square below. What matters most is that you identify the best-fit solution for your unique needs.

Fig 1. Reality Check for WCM Products (click to enlarge)

The WCM product landscape has remained relatively stable (generally a good thing for customers), with the exception of some institutional uncertainty in the .NET mid-market.

Now let's take a look at WCM platforms.

Fig 2. Reality Check for WCM Platforms (click to enlarge)

The WCM platform landscape is (as you might expect) a bit more active, particularly due to M&A activity as vendors try to broaden their digital marketing "suites." The major "legacy" vendors (HP, IBM, Microsoft, OpenText, and Oracle) continue to underinvest in the Web CMS segment.

The comparative stability of the WCM marketplace overall conceals some important technical changes and innovations happening under the covers, along with some evolution of business models, particularly with respect to key channel relationships.

We detail these trends and more in the full report.

Introducing Realtime Shortlist Generator and Vendor Comparison Tools #pmot #tech Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:52:00 +0000 When it comes to selecting new technology for your enterprise, we routinely get two types of questions from our subscribers:

1. How do I get the right shortlist of vendors to consider?

2. How does vendor X compare to vendor Y?

In an effort to help you better answer these questions, I'm thrilled to announce the launch of two new applications designed to get you real-time answers:

  • Realtime: Shortlist GeneratorTM: This is version 2 of our shortlist building application. We've received great feedback from subscribers since we launched version 1 of this application a few years ago. Recently, we've made some usability and stability improvements that make it a much more effective shortlist building experience.
  • Realtime Vendor Comparison ToolTM: with this new application, you can choose any two (or more) vendors within one of our research areas to see how they stack up head-to-head. For example, you can quickly see how your incumbent vendor stacks up versus its competitors in the market.

With both of these tools, you can generate your own custom research report based on the results of your searches.

Subscribers, you can build your own shortlists and head-to-head vendor comparisons now. If you are thinking about subscribing, you can try either tool here to get a sense of how they work.

We are actively working on more enhancements to both applications so stay tuned for even more ways to interact with the most unfiltered analysis on the market...

ECM Marketplace - What to expect in 2015 #Cloud #ecm Mon, 19 Jan 2015 07:11:00 +0000 Going into 2015, the ECM and cloud file sharing marketplace comprises of two broad categories of tools/services, though they increasingly overlap:

  1. Traditional ECM vendors, which provide a whole range of services around document and enterprise content management. This category has two sub-categories:
    • Major ECM Platforms
    • Simpler Document Management (DM) Products
  2. Cloud-based File Sharing and Sync (CFSS) services, which excel in lightweight document management, collaboration, sharing, and sync services

These two categories might seem to be two distinct marketplaces, but you will find considerable overlap between CFSS vendors and ECM vendors. CFSS vendors have started to build traditional Document Management (DM) capabilities -- such as version control -- while ECM and DM vendors have built or acquired cloud-based file sharing, sync, and lightweight collaboration services.

Nevertheless, these two categories of tools tend to address different types of use cases. In particular, ECM/DM vendors are more suitable for advanced and complex scenarios; standalone CFSS tools make sense for many simpler scenarios. In fact, CFSS tools score better than full-fledged DM tools in terms of ease of use and the fact that you can get an implementation running with little system integration work.

In our newest marketplace briefing, 2015 ECM & Cloud File Sharing Market Analysis, we offer a snapshot of trends in the current marketplace. In particular, we explain the evolution of CFSS, the growing relevance hybrid ECM models, and how mobile, collaboration, and social will impact this marketplace.

Finally, we provide an overview of the key players as well as a comparative analysis of the relative risks and opportunities associated with each ECM vendor via RSG's "Reality Check" chart (above). Contrary to many observers, you can see in the chart above that we find product evolution proceeding fairly rapidly in this space; the full paper explains more.

ECM stream subscribers can download the full briefing here.

RSG hiring - Boston, Washington, Philadelphia #digitalmarketing #DigitalWorkplace Sat, 17 Jan 2015 17:15:00 +0000 We're hiring:

  • Technology Researcher - entry level (Greater Washington DC or Philadelphia)
  • Technology Analyst - junior or mid-career (DC or Philly)
  • New Business Manager - junior or mid-career (Greater Boston)

See our Careers page for more details.


Portals Marketplace - What to expect in 2015 #pmot #EntArch Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:40:00 +0000 Portal technology continues to play an important role in many enterprise architectures. They are a better fit than other types of tools for enterprises that require:

  • Heavy aggregation and integration with external or internal applications
  • A dashboard-based user experience
  • Complex user management and segmentation/personalization at an application level

However, these benefits come at the expense of comparatively high complexity and greater infrastructure demands. As a result, we advise that you should consider portal solutions as platforms that should be extended to meet your needs, rather than as products that provide functionality out of the box.

Here's our Reality Check™ for portal technology, circa 2015.

In our briefing for RSG Portal Stream subscribers, the 2015 Portals Market Analysis, we offer a snapshot of trends in the current marketplace.

In particular, we look at impact of WCM and other "Portal-lite" tools on Portal tools, as well as how Portal tools are evolving with respect to Cloud and Mobile delivery capabilities.

Finally, we provide an overview of the key players as well as a comparative analysis of the relative risks associated with each portal vendor via RSG's "Reality Check" chart, that you see above.

2015 Digital & Media Asset Management Market Analysis #DAM #digitalmarketing Wed, 14 Jan 2015 09:45:00 +0000 We've just released our 2015 Digital & Media Asset Management market analysis. 2014 wasn't as dynamic as it perhaps could have been: it was another year of moderate progress for the vendors in this space, and our customer research made it clear that satisfaction levels among end-users remains low.

Although most vendors gradually added functionality and partnerships to address the broadening scope of enterprise asset management needs, there have been few major product launches or acquisitions since 2012. We continue to see more DAM-specific vendors enter the market, especially in the area of cloud and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) offerings.

In the 2015 market analysis, we explore the current state of the digital & media asset management market in-depth, including:

 -- DAM as an element in the broader digital marketing toolkit

 -- How refinements and partnerships - not innovation - currently drive product development

 -- The proliferation of cloud-oriented DAM offerings

 -- Vendor operational & service struggles

 -- How the 50+ vendors we cover currently fare in terms of risk and pace of change

Subscribers can access their briefing here.

If you're new to DAM, looking to update your enterprise approach to digital & media asset management, or wondering how DAM should fit into your larger marketing technology toolkit, be sure to let us know.

Growth and Turmoil in the WCM Mid-Market #cms #trends Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:55:00 +0000 The middle of the Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) marketplace has seen substantial expansion over the past several years. In particular, the large and vibrant .NET technology segment has experienced rapid change.

As a buyer, what to make of this? We'll share some broader marketplace trends with our subscribers shortly, but in the meantime, I'm pleased to announce a significant update to our WCM vendor evaluations, with a particular emphasis on the major, .NET-oriented players.

At a high-level there are two contradictory trends going on here:

  1. Several vendors are closing on Sitecore from a feature standpoint, calling into question Sitecore's ample price premium going forward
  2. Several of those same vendors are facing institutional turbulence

A closer look at key .NET players

Ektron has simplified its strategy and beefed up its executive ranks, but important questions linger about the base technology.

EPiServer continues to deepen and broaden its platform, becoming a legitimate contender to Sitecore, but its institutional future now looks a bit cloudy.

With this report release, we begin coverage of open source Umbraco, which continues to attract a loyal following. However, Umbraco's "thin core" strategy risks getting out of sync with the broader marketplace in the absence of strong community governance.

Sitecore continues to work on scaling and back-filling some features it brought to market prematurely, which certainly bodes well for existing licensees, but prospective customers should remain skeptical of Sitecore's ambitious roadmap.

Sitefinity is a value-oriented player with a broad (if not deep) feature set, but its future looks murky under new ownership

Getting your hands on the latest vendor evaluations

Subscribers can log in above to see the latest report edition. Or pit vendors head-to-head using our online comparison tool.

(Wondering if your firm already subscribes? Many global organizations already have access to RSG research. Check with your research department or contact us to find out whether your organization already subscribes.)

If you don't subscribe, you can download a sample excerpt; for WCM, it's a complete evaluation of HP-Autonomy's TeamSite platform.

Updated Marketing Technology Evaluations - Adobe, Marketo, Crimson Hexagon, and more #digitalmarketing #socialmediamonitoring Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:02:00 +0000 Pythons and Boa constrictors are quick to pounce on their prey but after that, digesting them takes a very long time. Similarly, marketing vendors are quick to announce acquisitions but actual integration typically takes years, not months.

Source: The Daily Mail

That's just one of the findings from the latest version of RSG's Marketing Automation and Social Technology report, which contains updated evaluations for: 

  • Adobe Marketing Cloud
  • Marketo Engagement Marketing Platform
  • Attensity
  • SDL SM2
  • Visible Technologies

Consult the report for the detailed evaluations, but here is a sneak peek of what you will find:

Adobe can provide a wide range of capabilities that span both online and offline marketing. But the data-driven marketing approach advocated by Adobe requires more investment and resources across the entire organization than just those found in a typical marketing department.

Marketo is in the throes of an aggressive re-positioning exercise of turning its marketing suite into a marketing platform. The customer event is branded grandly "Marketing Nation," its partnership program is "LaunchPoint," and has settled on "Engagement Marketing Platform" for the product, after trying a few other labels. If you ignore the hype, Marketo provides a decent toolset for some specific marketing requirements.

SDL acquired social monitoring tool SM2 and instead of continuing to sell it as a standalone tool, is trying re-architect and package it for a broader customer intelligence solution.

Attensity, Crimson Hexagon, and Visible Technologies come at social media analytics and monitoring from different vantage points and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Look for separate posts on these in the next few days.

Subscribers can download the latest full report or individual chapters right away.

Others can obtain a complimentary sample chapter here.

Ektron Plus EPiServer - Less Than the Sum of Their Parts? #wcm #trends Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:33:00 +0000 Private equity firm Accel-KKR has purchased web content and experience management (WCM) vendor EPiServer while taking what looks like a controlling interest in a competing player, Ektron. What should we make of this? And more importantly, what's the impact for you the customer?

[Note: we have updated analysis based on January, 2015 developments.]

Three Options

It's not clear what Accel-KKR will do with these two stepchildren. They may not have made up their minds yet.

However, I think they have three broad options, each with different impacts for customers.

  1. Merge the two firms and technologies
  2. Operate a single "portfolio" company with multiple tools
  3. Don't make any changes at all

Option 1: A Merger (a.k.a., EPiServer take-over)

This sort of "roll-up" strategy, combining the companies and the technologies, often seems attractive on the surface. Owners usually tout "synergies" in these sorts of mergers, like a kind of marriage between Mr. Ektron and Ms. EPiServer. His brand recognition plus her great technology! His North American office plus her European presence! His direct sales operation plus her great integrator channel network!

Well, opposites attract, but they don't always make good long-term marriages. I can't think of single instance where two WCM firms or technologies merged successfully into a single entity.

Ektron and EPiServer compete in the mid-market, but their toolsets are very different. The most meaningful difference: they live on different sides of the product vs. platform divide. As subscribers to RSG's WCM Evaluation stream know, EPiServer is a more extensible but complicated platform; Ektron is more of a website-in-a-box product.

So in this case, realistically it would be Ektron technology getting supplanted by the more modern EPiServer toolset, essentially an acquisition by the Swedish firm.

If you're an Ektron customer, you'd want to think twice before defaulting to a wholesale replacement of your system, particularly for a more complex offering that typically requires an outside partner to implement. Such a distraction would suck up months if not years of your digital plans -- and budgets. You would be just as well served to investigate other tools.

Option 2: Together But Separate

The idea here is that investors build a single "portfolio" entity where sales and marketing people can offer both products as alternate solutions based on customer needs. Want simpler and US-based? Go with Ektron. Want more customizable with European footprint? Pick EPiServer.

Sounds appealing, but here again, there's no precedent for this working out in the WCM marketplace. Mediasurface tried it, at one time offering three different WCM systems. They all died.

Then there's the grand-daddy of content management portfolio companies: OpenText. By my count, OpenText built or acquired no less than six WCM tools. The result? Four are dead, the fifth (RedDot) is on life support, and the sixth one (Vignette/WEM) lives in a nursing home.

Note that originally, OpenText had ambitions to combine the best of RedDot with pieces of Vignette and vice-versa. It proved technically impractical, and in any case, customers don't like frankensteined technology.

Option 3: Leave Well Enough Alone

Perhaps ironically, the best option for customers is the least "disruptive."

Both Ektron and EPiServer have been on a journey to catch up to their higher-end competitor Sitecore. Both vendors need more scale and technical acumen, among other improvements, to get there. Both are taking a different tack on the journey, which is not a bad thing. We're about to publish some research suggesting they are closer to Sitecore than you might think. Not a great time for a disruption.

It may be awkward for Accel-KKR to oversee two competing firms that operate independently, but for customers, I think it's the best option.

And North Plains?

It's worth noting that Accel-KKR also has an apparent controlling interest in North Plains, a Digital Asset Management vendor evaluated in RSG's DAM research.

So you could imagine a mega-roll-up across technology sectors here, though I don't see it. The underlying technologies presents a mis-match, as North Plains Telescope runs in Java. Also, WCM vendors in the mid-market typically need to partner with multiple DAM vendors and vice-versa.

Final Advice

There will be a lot of pressure on industry analysts who market their services to vendors and analysts to declare that these transactions are a good deal. The question you'll want answered is, good deal for whom? Right now, the answer may be nobody.

But we'll keep watching.

Analyzing the Analysts - Assessing RSG's 2014 Predictions #cio #EnSW Fri, 12 Dec 2014 08:40:00 +0000 Every year, we make technology predictions about the various digital workplace and digital marketing technology marketplaces that we cover.  Earlier this week, my colleague Jarrod published our 2015 predictions.

In the interest of keeping it real, each year we review our predictions at the end of the year and see how we fared. Here are our assessments of our 2013, 2012 and 2011 predictions respectively.

And here's how we fared with our 2014 predictions:

  1. Ascent of the "Sanctioned Second-Fiddle" CMS
    Yes, this is happening big-time. Many organizations that we talk to have standardized on a second, relatively simpler Web CMS for those scenarios that require more agility (think microsites) in addition to their incumbent “enterprise” WCM platform for more complex scenarios.
  2. Delayed SharePoint 2013 Adoption
    Yes. But frankly, this was obvious based on past (SharePoint) history and given that best practices as well as a broader ecosystem for SharePoint 2013 are still evolving.
  3. Microsoft Backtracks on SharePoint in the Cloud
    No way.  Redmond has doubled down on the cloud for SharePoint.  However, they appear to be commiting to upgrading SharePoint on-premise at least through 2019.
  4. Enterprises Start to Own Mobile Experiences
    Another Yes. As enterprises mature and mobile becomes even more important, organizations are indeed focusing more on a broader "Mobile Experience Management" as opposed to just managing devices and apps. Our savvier subscribers are setting up mobile CoEs and beginning to treat mobile development on par with enterprise software development.
  5. Cross-Platform Mobile Compatibility Gets Worse
    Big Yes here. Cross-platform is not just about Android and iOS any more. It's also about other devices -- Google Glass, watches, other wearables, as well as other Internet-connected devices. Even within Android and iOS ecosystems, you have to deal with all kinds of differences based on screen size and capabilities. E.g., Apple upped the game by releasing much larger iPhone 6s to co-exist with iPhone 4x, 5x, iPods and multiple versions of iPads.
  6. Standalone Enterprise Portals Marketplace Becomes a Two-Horse Race
    Yes again. Nearly all serious enterprise portal shortlists that we've seen contain Liferay and IBM. eXo no longer wants to be a portal tool and other platforms are increasingly focusing on specialized use cases.  SharePoint, of course, remains the key stalking-horse here, but remains more focused on collaboration than integration.
  7. "ECM" Will Finally Die
    No. Perhaps this was an overstatement. Even main-frames aren't dead yet.  However, we do see a continuing trend towards applications rather than behemoth document management infrastructures.
  8. Digital Marketing Suite Backlash
    Halfway Yes. Adobe, IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce would have you believe they offer an integrated digital marketing stack but that's not the real story. Many of these suites still remain a collection of best-of-breed tools.  But we have not yet seen a customer backlash. Maybe this is one of those aspirational predictions: you should be concerned about the patchwork nature of these suites.  We do think a backlash is still coming, though, perhaps as soon as 2015...
  9. PaaS CMS Displaces SaaS CMS
    Yes. SaaS CMS players have mostly faded. Clearly Amazon is making the most money in web content and experience management these days -- simply by hosting traditional WCM tools.  Nevertheless, WCM customers continue to explore a range of hosting options, including good ol' on-premise.
  10. DAM and MAM Vendors Add Social and Marketing Features
    Yes, this has definitely happened.  You might not use your digital or media asset management system as your core social platform, but like nearly everyone else, DAM and MAM vendors have bolted on a variety of marketing and social features over the past year.

Okay, so that’s 7.5 out of 10 (Yes — 7 times, No — 2 Times, Partial Yes/No — 1). We give .5 for predictions that were partially correct. That’s not bad at all, in fact a bit better than last year.

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.