Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2014, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 11/21/2014 00:00:00 60 New open source DAM evaluation: ResourceSpace #DAM #opensource Fri, 21 Nov 2014 09:11:00 +0000 One of a growing number of open source DAM projects where commercial vendors offer hosted options, ResourceSpace is gaining a reputation as a free and easy-to-use DAM. On the other hand, it's limited to simpler DAM scenarios, unless your organization is rich with programming talent, or you wish to pay a 3rd party to extend it.

ResourceSpace operates on a relatively permissive license, which allows development on the product without being obliged to share code back with the community. This allows you to become "master of your own destiny," less encumbered by the rules and expectations set by the open source community. Unfortunately it also means that feature development depends on a small number of dedicated programmers, so innovation comes more slowly than comparable DAMs.

If you’re interested in open source platforms and want to know more about ResourceSpace and similar vendors, then have a look at our latest evaluation report. There you can compare ResourceSpace to other open source DAM projects like Duraspace, Nuxeo, and Razuna.

What the Azure Outage Means for SharePoint and Yammer Customers #microsoft #EntArch Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:50:00 +0000 "The cloud is down." Words you never want to utter to your CEO.

Every major cloud provider has experienced outages: Amazon, Google, and most recently, Azure.

It looks like Microsoft tried to roll out a single patch across its global infrastructure and everything failed at once. This understandably annoyed customers who paid extra for geographic redundancy. It also led to the usual concerns about the paucity of redress and compensation in the Azure SLA. At least Microsoft -- unlike Salesforce -- gives you an SLA in the first place.

The error was compounded by poor customer communications when the Azure availability dashboard displayed outdated information, since the dashboard itself was running in....Azure. Redmond turned to Twitter instead, which was clever, but also rather confusing to customers.

[This reminds me of an old joke among SharePoint insiders:

- "Where did the junior system administrator store his SharePoint disaster recovery documentation?"

- "I dunno, where?"

- "In the DR document library within IT's SharePoint site!"

Hah, hah, hah, hah...]

What This Means for SharePoint and Yammer Customers

If you're running SharePoint Online (part of Office 365) or SharePoint on-premise, ostensibly you were shielded from direct impact. O365 gets served to you from in its own, separate data centers that are not part of Azure. And Yammer runs within yet a separate set of infrastructure. Get more details on this from RSG's social-collaboration vendor evaluation research.

So all good, right?


With SharePoint 2013, Redmond has largely abandoned previous extension approaches in favor of the "app model," which encourages you to build atomic services above SharePoint, rather than within SharePoint. Then Microsoft encourages you to put those apps in Azure. So with an Azure outage, your SharePoint system may not go down, but parts of it could get broken.

Also, if you want to enjoy single sign-on across on-premise systems and Office 365, Microsoft will point you to Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS), and again encourage you to host those services in Azure. For some customers, this meant the Azure outage locked them out of O365.

Going Forward

Redmond sees Azure as the glue that puts its various off-premise pieces together. In fact, Azure is becoming especially important for SharePoint in the cloud. As subscribers to our SharePoint research know, Redmond has developed a co-existence model, but, astoundingly, never developed a hybrid model for linking on-prem and cloud-based SharePoint estates. This has implications well beyond AD FS.

For example, if you want to connect (let alone merge) search results, profiles, workflows, metadata models, and such across on-premise and cloud SharePoint, you typically build or rent middleware running in....Azure.

Advice for You

Hopefully, Microsoft learned all the right lessons from this outage. Let's also remember that your own infrastructure and networks can fail, too.

For you the customer, just recognize that across Yammer, SharePoint, and IaaS/PaaS services running in Azure, you're looking at three distinct environments, each with their own benefits and pitfalls. Weigh your decisions accordingly, and let us know if we can help with your assessments.

New in our DAM research: Bright Interactive's Asset Bank #branding #DAM Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:58:00 +0000 Asset Bank, the DAM product from UK-based Bright Interactive, is an on premise or an in-the-cloud, SaaS offering. Comparable to vendors such as Fotoware and Picturepark, Asset Bank comes at an appealingly low price.

With the goal of keeping things simple, Asset Bank is not particularly feature-rich, and Bright interactive is slow to innovate when we compare it to other SMB or Workgroup DAM vendors. Some customers like it simple, and by keeping it that way, Bright Interactive takes the time to cultivate their customer service practice. With seemingly low feature demand and functionality added only when necessary, the complaints of slow and cumbersome development seen elsewhere in the industry don't surface as much here.

We look more deeply into Asset Bank's capabilities in the latest Digital & Media Asset Management Report, so you can decide if it's the right fit for you.

Why the ship has sailed for Facebook as an enterprise social network #e20 #DigitalWorkplace Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:54:00 +0000 No doubt that the Enterprise Social Software segment -- now part of the broader Enterprise Collaboration software market -- largely came into existence because of the huge popularity of consumer social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Not surprisingly we often hear that Facebook itself will make a play for the enterprise market. Facebook itself has not officially commented but the media is abuzz about "Facebook @ Work."

This Ship Has Sailed

If Facebook makes an entry into the enterprise social network segment, it may well find that the ESN ship has sailed long back. Circa 2014, enterprise customers are not generally interested in horizontal ESNs but want practical use cases that leverage social networking features. While Facebook may get some traction among smaller businesses, larger customers want to socialize business processes and legacy systems – what we termed “social as a layer" approach.

In our 2014 market analysis of this space, we called out that many pure-play social networking vendors are specializing and narrowing their focus. For instance, Socialtext is focused on HR functions. Salesforce Chatter is largely for sales and marketing departments. Under Atos, blueKiwi wants to replace email. Sitrion wants socialize SAP. Cisco threw in the towel. Many of these vendors have built integrations and connectors to other enterprise systems. (And If I may digress: like a couple in an arranged marriage, Yammer and SharePoint are still learning about each other's strengths and weaknesses.)

The crux is that customers and now vendors have moved on from simple social networking services. It’s now about use cases, integration, and ultimately employee productivity and engagement. Facebook should not expect any easy sailing here.

What Differentiators?

Facebook might lend itself to interesting enterprise use cases like expertise location. But the highly hyped “Social Graph” search function continues to underwhelm even a couple of years after it’s launch.

Facebook could also be hoping to leverage it’s high user experience quotient. That may not be enough of a differentiator, though, since many ESN vendors can offer similar experiences.

In addition to product relevance, Facebook also has to contend with other factors. Very few software companies can target both consumer and enterprise customers. Arguably, Adobe and Microsoft have been able to taste success in both segments, but Google and Apple remain consumer software companies while IBM and Oracle are enterprise plays, and the twain does not meet. Sure, Google Apps is a billion dollar business (largely on the strength of its email offering), but the sentiment that Google “just does not get enterprise needs” remains widely prevalent.

So as a technology customer, don't let this latest news distract you from your long-term strategy.  Facebook will find the odds stacked against it in any enterprise foray.

Cloud File Sharing and Sync services in 2015 #Cloud #EntArch Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:27:00 +0000 Cloud-based File Sharing (CFS) services first become hugely popular in the consumer marketplace. Services like Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive provide a very simpler way to sync your pictures (and other files) and share them with your friends. This simplicity of functionality and ease of use were the key drivers behind rapid rise of these services.

Evolution of Enterprise CFS Services

Naturally, people started to use these services in their workplace, and so a new category of services — with similar functionality but relatively deeper enterprise focus — was born. Some of these services are Box, EMC Syncplicty, Accellion, Citrix ShareFile, Oxygen, and Workshare (We evaluate these in RSG's ECM & Cloud File Sharing Report).

But Consumer and Enterprise Worlds Are Very Different...

As these services started to get widely used in organizations, there was a demand for additional “enterprise-y” features: integration with internal systems, security and enterprise controls, compliance, and so on.

Now, once you start adding these capabilities, you increase the very complexity that these products successfully avoided. And if you have to deploy a complex product, why not use a another complex product that you already have?

So ECM vendors started to build or acquire these capabilities. EMC acquired Syncplicity, while Alfresco, OpenText, Nuxeo, SharePoint, HP, Oracle, and most other ECM and Document Management vendors provide some sort of cloud-based file sharing and sync service.

Box, a major stand-alone CFS service provider is trying hard to expand its offering and wants to do much more than sync and share (more about this soon in a separate advisory for our subscribers). IBM is the only major ECM vendor without a CFS offering (and no I'm not speculating they’ll buy Box).

What’s Next for These Services?

Going forward, I believe there are two possibilities in terms of how standalone, cloud-based file sharing and sync services will evolve.

1) They’ll become a part of cloud infrastructure
The way ECM tools have traditionally provided repository services for other enterprise applications, these services could provide file-sharing as a service to other (mostly cloud-based) services. In a cloud-connected enterprise, file-sharing platforms will become comparatively easier to integrate and potentially serve as a repository for a variety of other, SaaS-based tools. I wrote about this earlier here and here.

2) Cloud file sharing and sync will just become a feature instead of a service
This will happen either because stand-alone CFS services will start building additional capabilities (a' la Box) or customers will increasingly use their existing ECM/DM vendors for file-sharing and sync services as well.

We will of course keep watching. Meanwhile, subscribers look out for the next release of ECM & Cloud File Sharing Report, which will have updated reviews of several of these services.

New and updated DAM research: ResourceSpace, Brandworkz, Asset Bank, and Widen #DAM #digitalmarketing Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:47:00 +0000 We've just released a new version of RSG's Digital & Media Asset Management technology evaluation research, which includes three new DAM system evaluations as well as an update to our review of Widen's Media Collective.

Widen used to be one of the few leaders in SaaS-based DAM, but these days faces more formidable competition from the likes of Bynder, MerlinOne, NetXposure, Canto, and others. We weigh in on how the market for SaaS- and cloud-oriented DAM is evolving, and help you to compare how these tools measure up to each other.

ResourceSpace is an open source DAM (now one of four we evaluate), while Brandworkz and Bright Interactive's Asset Bank are two UK-based, brand-managment oriented vendors. For each, we rate their applicability to particular use cases, and lay out strengths and weaknesses in detail.

Subscribers can access their update here. If you'd like full access to our 50+ DAM vendor evaluations, contact us

Corporate Comms driving enterprise social-collaboration more than HR? #DigitalWorkplace #trends Wed, 12 Nov 2014 10:57:00 +0000 RSG's 2014 Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Survey reveals an evolving organizational dynamic for internal departments involved in collaboration and social initiatives. 

Funding and Sponsorship

Funding and sponsorship remains quite diverse across enterprises.  IT funds or sponsors 32% of collab-social initiatives and thus emerges as the #1 department. But perhaps more interesting is the converse: IT does not sponsor nearly 70% of the total projects.

Business units (as an umbrella for non-IT functions) are much more actively involved in driving these projects. Broadly, this mirrors the rise of the SaaS model in the industry, which makes it easier -- but not always ideal -- for non-technical stakeholders to procure software. 

Another important trend is the rise of Corporate Communications. It ranks ahead of the traditional departments like Knowledge Management and Human Resources. We term this  as "Communications 2.0"  -- internal communications team taking a greater interest in fostering  employee-to-employee communications. 

Defining Strategy

Corporate Communications and IT emerge as the top 2 departments, again underscoring the key role comms teams are playing. The relatively lesser involvement of HR departments is a tad surprising, perhaps reflecting HR's near-term focus on optimizing HR-specific systems as the broader role of HR in the organization itself is undergoing a change. 


Not surprisingly, IT leads the implementation of about a third of collab-social projects. But note that responsibilty for the other two-thirds of the proejcts rest with other departments. This suggests that most enteprises do not consider collaboration projects to be purely technology projects but "business" initiatives.

Clearly that's a positive development, but I'll add a note of caution. When IT gets left out of the picture completely, projects may not necessarily scale well beyond the departmental level: the challenges of enterprise-wide deployments often involve complexities that usually require IT to untangle. 

Introducing Executive Summary PowerPoint Decks Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:08:00 +0000 A key request from our subscribers recently has been to help them easily create presentations from the Real Story Group research in order present the findings to their colleagues.

So, today, we're announcing a new way for you to consume your RSG research.  In each of our eight research streams, we've created an Executive Summary PowerPoint deck, updated with each research update.

In each deck you'll find:

- Business case rationale

- Technology services, business scenarios, and intangible ratings in the form of comparison charts

- Vendor snapshots by marketplace tiers and categories

- Pitfalls to avoid

- Insight into an ideal technology selection process

We continue to tailor our vast library of research so that it can be consumed in the most useful way for you.  Stay tuned for more announcements in the next few months as we're working on a couple of new exciting ways to interact with the research like never before.

Subscribers, you can download your new Executive Summary PowerPoint decks here:

Enterprise Collaboration Executive Summary

Digital & Media Asset Management Executive Summary

ECM & Cloud File Sharing Executive Summary

Portals & Content Integration Executive Summary

Web Content & Experience Management Executive Summary

Marketing Automation & Social Technology Executive Summary

Enterprise Mobile Technology Executive Summary

Evaluating SharePoint Executive Summary

Digital Workplace and Marketing Technology Map - 2015 #digitalmarketing #DigitalWorkplace Mon, 10 Nov 2014 10:15:00 +0000 We've just released the latest version of our tube/subway map of digital workplace and marketing technology technologies.

What's Changed, What Hasn't

Some long-term trends persist. Most notably for you the customer: a plethora of point solutions await in "the periphery." The lesson here is, while center cities are fun and exciting, sometimes the suburbs represent a better fit.

This map also captures some deeper trends. The Microsoft station has gotten scaled back a bit -- mostly on the digital marketing side, by dint of Redmond eschewing most digital marketing needs, media management, and mobile middleware. The map also tracks the growing importance of players like Adobe and Salesforce.

As always, the number of "stations" for any given vendor is not at all indicative of their quality or weight in the marketplace. This is just a visual of what vendors purport to sell. For detailed evaluations of the pros and cons of each solution, consult our stream-by-stream reviews.

Finding Your Way

You can also download higher-rez versions of this map. People frequently tell us they keep it close at hand as a reference. Let us know if we can help you find your way across this landscape.

Microsoft partners with OneDrive competitor Dropbox #ecm #Cloud Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:16:00 +0000

What's the deal?

According to this announcement, you will now be able to edit Microsoft Office files from Dropbox's mobile apps, access Office files stored in Dropbox from Office mobile and web apps, and share files directly from Office apps.

But there's a caveat

You will need Office 365 licenses to be able to take advantage of this integration. Regular Office licenses won't do.

What's in it for Dropbox?

Dropbox has been immensely popular cloud-based file sharing and sync service, especially for consumer-centric scenarios. In fact, Dropbox has served as something of a bellwether in this marketplace, and continues to influence many other tools in terms of functionality.

However, Dropbox has presented difficulties within enterprise environments, especially those that require sophisticated controls and need to support complex business processes.

To be sure, the vendor's current offering for enterprises -- Dropbox for Business -- is now in its second incarnation (first one being Dropbox for Teams). But it still has functional limitations for use within enterprises, especially larger ones. for example, a subfolder inherits permissions from parent folder and you can't give a different set of permissions to a subfolder. This means it could become very difficult to create different sharing schemes when you have large number of people, teams and folders.

Perhaps this partnership with Microsoft will help give Dropbox an additional push within the enterprises. If you're a customer with large Office deployments, don't just ignore Dropbox's functional limitations because it now comes with a "Microsoft partnership" badge.

Another interesting aspect here is that Microsoft already promotes its own cloud-based file sharing and sync service known as OneDrive. In spite of that, they went ahead and partnered with Dropbox. This seems indicative of the continuing power and autonomy of the Office team as Redmond's key profit driver.

Finally do remember...

... that a lot of other cloud-based file sharing and sync providers also provide some level of integration with Microsoft Office applications, mostly via exposing their storage as a set of WebDav folders that you can directly access from client applications, including Office applications.

So if you are considering this combination, make sure you evaluate enterprise considerations such as Integration, Security, Administration, and so forth besides this linking of Office and Dropbox. Our ECM & Cloud File Sharing vendor evaluation research can help you here.

SharePoint - no longer a swiss army knife? #sharepoint #e20 Mon, 03 Nov 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Conventional wisdom has it that SharePoint's versatility and use case diversity makes it a "swiss army knife" for enterprise collaboration. The times are however changing.

While many newer use cases, particularly around enterprise social networking have emerged, RSG's 2014 Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software survey reveals that SharePoint is typically not getting deployed for these applications.

Consider the graph below.  Customers indicate employing SharePoint primarily for the traditional use cases for which it is known: internal web content management and enterprise portals, document and records management, project collaboration, and file sharing. More than 60% of customers report exclusive or mature usage of SharePoint here.

But SharePoint sees considerably lower usage for newer applications. Only 15 to 20% of customers report exclusive or mature usage when it comes to social networking (even considering Yammer), external website management, external collaboration and digital asset management.

Put another way, you need to supplement or complement SharePoint with other tools for these use cases. SharePoint is no swiss army knife and one platform does not fit all use cases.

Two Steps Towards a More Effective Digital Workplace #DigitalWorkplace #KMers Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:35:00 +0000 If your team is trying to build a more effective digital workplace, consider participating in a couple of activities, one virtual and the other real-life.

First, make sure to participate in Jane McConnell's longstanding and richly anticipated annual Digital Workplace Survey. Multiple employees from the same organization can contribute, so tell your colleagues, too. You receive a copy of the results for participating.

Second, if you find yourself attending KMWorld 2014 next week in Washington, DC, consider dropping by our workshop, Guide to Selecting the Right Digital Workplace Technologies.

Also, with a KMWorld pass, you can attend the SharePoint Symposium. This year finds SharePoint at a cross-roads; savvy enterprise leaders will plan carefully to maximize their investments in this huge (but often beguiling!) platform.

Webinar - Benchmark Your Collaboration and Social Technology Efforts #e20 #socbiz Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:36:00 +0000 Please join me this Thursday for a fast-paced webinar revealing key results from our recently-concluded customer survey on Collaboration and Social Technology in the Enterprise (download summary report here).

Webinar: Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software – Industry Survey 2014 Findings
Oct 30, 2014 12:00 pm ET / 16:00 UTC

Register for the webinar.

How Does the Telerik Acquisition Bode for Sitefinity Customers? #trends #wcm Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:35:00 +0000 Last week application development tool vendor Progress Software made a bit of a splash by announcing its intent to purchase Telerik AD. Founded in Bulgaria, Telerik is a .NET-focused development toolset provider also known for its Sitefinity Web CMS product that we evaluate in our Web Content & Experience Management evaluation research. The deal is slated to close this December.

It's a splash because Progress had previously been downsizing by selling off various business software pieces, and also because they paid a goodly amount (US $262m) for Telerik.

The WCM Angle

Let's look at the WCM angle. I always thought Sitefinity was a nifty if somewhat underbaked alternative to the heavier .NET-oriented WCM products in the marketplace. Telerik has continued to invest R&D in Sitefinity, even as the vendor's core developer tools business really took off.

My concern now is that the WCM product could get a bit lost at Progress, which has reshaped itself in recent years to focus on selling software to developers, not digital marketers and workplace leaders. The history of Web CMS tools within these kinds of "portfolio vendors" (read: holding companies) has not been promising.

It's telling -- and a bit disconcerting -- that the joint Progress/Telerik press release doesn't mention Sitefinity or web content management at all.

Advice for Customers

If you're an existing Sitefinity owner, there's no need to rush to any exits, but you should keep a close eye on atmospherics next year. If you're in the market for a new Web CMS and looking at Sitefinity, this latest development should give you some pause. We'll keep watching...

Updated ECM Evaluations include HP WorkSite, Alfresco, OpenText, Ever Team, and M-Files #EntArch #ecm Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:31:00 +0000 We have just released an update to our ECM & Cloud File Sharing vendor evaluations.

The new release includes evaluations of three new vendors, one in the "ECM Platforms" category and two in the "Document Management Products" category.

ECM Platforms

We now include HP in this category along with IBM, Alfresco, EMC, Microsoft, Oracle, and others. HP WorkSite has seen many ownership changes over time but still remains a credible (if flawed) offering for professional services and legal oriented scenarios.

We also updated our Alfresco and OpenText reviews based on customer feedback.

Document Management Products

In this category, we've added two new vendors:

  1. M-Files Corporation: Finnish M-Files provides a simple, Windows-based document management system
  2. Ever Team: France-based Ever Team is notable for offering both Microsoft- and Java-based environments for its EverSuite offering.

Besides adding new vendors, you'll find updates for several existing evaluations based on customer and expert feedback.

As always, if you are a subscriber, you can log in and download your copy. If you are not, you can download a complimentary sample.

Three Chances to Stump the Consultant! #digitalmarketing #SharePointSym Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:03:00 +0000!? As analysts in the Digital Workplace and Marketing Technology areas, we regularly see many of the same issues plaguing enterprises. Do you think your project challenges are unique?

Here's how you can find out. Over the next three months, we'll be running our semi-famous (infamous?) "Stump the Consultant" session at three fantastic conferences:

We'll challenge you to bring your most vexing SharePoint, Digital Asset Management, and Web Content Management questions and problems, and find out what these expert consultants have to say. The person with the problem or question that most stumps the consultants wins a special prize.

We've run this session at numerous conferences and participants find them fun and informative. This year we are again delighted to have some of the industry's best consultants agreeing to participate. As always, the consultants will not be able to hear the answers that their fellow panelists give. So you'll hear clever, insightful, likely controversial, and often entertaining answers to your questions.

Here's a list of the upcoming Stump the Consultant sessions, dates, and locations:

Stump the SharePoint Guru
SharePoint Symposium, Washington D.C.
November 7, 2014: 10:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Jarrod Gingras, Senior Analyst and Managing Director, Real Story Group
Jill Hannemann, Director of Advisory Services, Portal Solutions
Shawn Shell, Vice President, U.S. Microsoft Platform Practice, Hitachi Consulting

Stump the Digital Asset Management Consultant
Henry Stewart DAM LA, Los Angeles, CA
November 13-14, 2014: 4:20 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Consultants will be announced soon!

Stump the Web Content Management Consultant
Gilbane Conference 2014, Boston, MA
December 2, 2014: 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Jarrod Gingras, Senior Analyst and Managing Director, Real Story Group
Praveen Ramanathan, President and Founder, Ayantek
Anne Casson, Director Content Strategy, SapientNitro
Deane Barker, Partner, Blend Interactive

Hope to see you there, and remember to bring your toughest questions...

An Effective Digital Workplace for 2015 #DigitalWorkplace #kmworld Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:32:00 +0000 It is easy to think that everyone else has figured out the Digital Workplace - while your enterprise is struggling to find its way. In reality, the concept of a Digital Workplace is still a relatively new, and most enterprises are in a similar spot of cautious experimentation.

As to be expected in a period of experimentation, we are seeing a combination of clear successes along with some impressive failures.

In many cases, enterprises are struggling with the wrong technologies. Getting the right technology fit alone is not sufficient for building an effective digital workplace, but it is increasingly necessary.

In two weeks, we'll be conducting our yearly workshop at KM World on Selecting the Right Digital Workplace Technologies.

We hope you will join us in Washington D.C. on November 4 at 1:30 to benchmark your experiences against what we're seeing from our subscribers who are on the front lines of this Digital Workplace evolution.

A first look at Oracle's new cloud file sharing and sync #ecm #Cloud Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:16:00 +0000 Oracle finally announced its public cloud-based file sharing and sync service. Called Oracle Documents Cloud Service (ODCS), it fills an important gap in the mega-vendor's Enterprise Content Management (ECM) offerings.

The new platform has been long-awaited, as it competes with existing offerings from ECM and Document Management vendors such as EMC, HP, OpenText, Alfresco, and Microsoft, as well as upstart players like Box.

In a fresh advisory briefing for our ECM stream subscribers, we look at what the Oracle platform offers, how it differentiates itself from others and what are the pitfalls you should look out for.

Now that most ECM as well as many other enterprise software vendors have some sort of cloud-based file sharing and sync service, a few questions arise...

Does it signify a start of the end of stand-alone file-sharing and sync services? What do you think?

Tweet me to continue the conversation.

Enterprise Social-Collaboration: Is Our Will Still Greater Than Our Wallets? #socbiz #trends Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:50:00 +0000 Since social and collaboration technology has been all the rage since at least 2008, you would think that enterprises are spending a ton of money on it.  RSG's recent customer survey research counters this assumption. 

Amid concerns on behalf of executives and line employees alike (download summary report here), enterprise spend here is lighter than you might think. Perhaps it is still early days for this technology, but meanwhile, in the words of a former U.S. President, our will seems greater than our wallets.

How much are organizations spending on social-collaboration technology?

RSG’s 2014 survey suggests that the median annual budget on social software is US $875,000 for organizations that have more than 10,000 employees. The median budgets are $125,000 and $100,000 for the next levels (size) of organizations.

Fig.1: Median Social-Collaboration budgets by enterprise size.

Using the mean as the average value measure, the annual social software budget for large enterprises is $1.6 million. For the next level of organizations, it drops to $223,000 and $130,000 respectively.

Fig.2: Average Social-Collaboration budgets by enterprise size.

Note that this total budget includes software, hardware, consulting, tech support, and internal staff costs. The two biggest line items are software and internal staff costs, at about 30% each.

Compared to the other software categories (e.g., Enterprise Portals, CRM) budgets for social-collaboration initiatives clearly fall on the lower end. Moreover, it appears that spend in Europe could be substantially lower than in North America.

What Accounts for Smaller-Than-Expected Spend?

Some hints come from the survey's other findings:

  • Chronic low adoption, likely reducing enterprise footprint
  • Pervasive understaffing (i.e., companies are rolling out technology but not beefing up necessary support and facilitation staff commensurately)

Note, however, the sizable difference between large (1,000-10,000 employees) and very large (> 10,000) enterprises.  As with any other technology, doing social and collaboration at scale -- especially global scale -- becomes a qualitatively different challenge, a finding borne out by numerous advisory calls with our largest subscribers.

What This Means for You

The million dollar deals that vendors often tout tend to be more the exception rather than the norm. If as a customer you believe your organization is underinvesting here, well, at least you're not alone.

A silver lining is that perhaps there is a lot of room for growth. Our survey finds you telling us that your #1 challenge is lack of executive buy-in. Adoption and budgets will go up only when the employees using the software and the executives paying for it see greater use and business value.

PS: For more on budget split across different categories, geographical differences, and a lot of other survey findings, RSG subscribers can join us for an exclusive webinar with all the details on 16th October. Non-subscribers can receive a summary overview via a complimentary webinar on 23rd October.

Join us at Henry Stewart DAM Los Angeles #branding #DAM Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:10:00 +0000 If you're a DAM or digital marketing practitioner and have not yet attended one of the global events produced by Henry Stewart, next month's event in sunny Los Angeles is a fine place to start (or return).

The agenda is packed with great case studies from Real Story Group customers such as Macy's and Disney, and my colleague Jarrod and I will be teaching two half-day seminars as well as hosting and moderating several informational and fun sessions.

When you register, use the code RSG100 for a discount. If you're an RSG research subscriber and plan to attend, be sure to let your client manager know, and you'll receive an invitation to join us for an exclusive RSG customer dinner we'll be hosting near the event venue on Thursday evening.

Hope to see you there, for both the sessions, and the drinks by the pool afterwards.....

Enterprise Mobile - More Talk, Less Collaboration #DigitalWorkplace #mobile Wed, 08 Oct 2014 12:04:00 +0000 Enterprises increasingly aspire to mobile-enable the digital workplace. But how effectively can employees access social and collaboration applications from mobile devices today?

RSG’s 2014 survey reveals that there is still a long way to go.

Currently, communication-oriented applications have become the most mobile-enabled, and not surprisingly email tops that list. The subsequent top mobile applications are employee directory (presumably to look up contact details to call your colleagues) and instant messaging.

Only slightly more than a third of the organizations mobile-enable their social and collaboration applications, such as discussion forums and central document repositories. Beyond the challenges of smaller screen sizes lie security concerns that may limit access here. In any case, less than a tenth of the respondents report that they their enterprise social networks are effectively available via the mobile devices. (Note: micro-enterprises of less than 20 employees were excluded from the results.)

As I note in an earlier blog, enterprises may not be effectively exploiting the potential of mobile social networks.

Overall, it appears that mobile in the enterprise remains more about communication and less about collaboration. And it’s definitely early days for mobile social networks.

RSG Collaboration & Social Technology stream subscribers can download a detailed report with narrative analysis, recommendations, and numerous charts.

Non-subscribers can obtain the summary results here.

Pop over to AdTech at London Olympia #branding #DAM Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:40:00 +0000 On October 22 & 23, I'll be attending one of London's premier advertising and branding technology conferences, AdTech.

In addition to the large expo, there's also a wealth of free educational sessions, and you're invited to join me for my session on multi-channel brand and video management, on Wednesday the 22nd at 3:55 p.m. If your organization is challenged with this topic, please be sure to bring your questions.

Where DAM vendors still fail in enterprise readiness #DAM #digitalmarketing Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Every vendor likes to say they sell "enterprise-ready" technology, which -- when uttered by a vendor product marketing or salesperson -- is of course pretty much meaningless.

What about that Big Recognizable Corporate Logo up on the screen to demonstrate major enterprise experience, while buzzwords drip from the salesguy's mouth? Rest assured, almost every DAM vendor can post a Fortune 50 logo. Even though they only support one small department with a few thousand assets in a giant company, it gives them the apparent right to say they sell an "enterprise" system.

Don't Let Yourself Be Fooled

We've written before about scalability challenges in DAM implementations, and how factors such as concurrent users, number of assets, bulk tagging and editing, and the heavy lifting of simultaneous transformations and transcoding are big differentiators when it comes to DAM "fit" for large versus small enterprises.

Eighteen months later these are remain big factors in large enterprise readiness.

Scalability Getting Better

Vendors today are somewhat better equipped to handle these issues. Not because they've changed their tools, but because they've partnered with specialized providers of hosting, transcoding, and other particular services, rather than expect their customers to do so. In short, the industry has learned that enterprise readiness represents a much bigger picture than the inherent features of the DAM product, itself.

Cloud is finally making more of a mark on DAM: hybrid cloud-based systems are the new normal, and with large hosting providers like Amazon serving as the backbone to what may be an immature vendor tool with a slick user interface, the gap between traditional enterprise vendors and the mid-market is closing.

You might choose a less mature tool and a riskier company in order to put your trust in Amazon for hosting and embrace SaaS as a concept, rather than have to turn to your IT department and deploy a user interface that feels so 2004.

Interoperability Is the Next Frontier

Eighteen months after my initial comments on DAM scalability, I'll add another key factor in enterprise readiness that I've been discussing with several RSG subscribers in recent weeks: interoperability.

Interoperability has become a key issue in the mid-market, and an almost decisive factor in large enterprise DAM scenarios, as more systems need to talk and work well together. A marketing asset lifecycle can encompass three to five systems or more, with growing volumes of information getting employed and exchanged among those systems.

The challenge I hear about today from so many of our subscribers is that most DAM vendor APIs fall into one of three categories:

  1. Absent
  2. Brand New (literally only months old)
  3. Not New But Utterly Abysmal

You will hear every DAM vendor talk about their "robust" API. But then they obfuscate when you ask very specific questions about how you might be able to interact with it, or what kinds of calls you can make. Vendors tend to shy away from allowing you to test their API, or they have shoddy documentation that describes it. That's because in many cases, they're making it up as they go along, and collecting requirements as they try to sell you a half-million dollar license.

Interop and You

So I would caution you to test necessary integration points carefully before selecting any DAM supplier, and do not trust the broad promises of a salesperson.

Just last week I sat through a demo for a Digital Asset Management (DAM) where I counted one vendor representative say 11 times, "we can integrate with just about anything." This is a meaningless phrase when there's no understanding of what the other system actually is, or the profile of the data or content in that system, or the nature of the processes at work.

Ironically, some newer and mid-market DAM vendors have begun to focus API enrichment and documentation, while the larger, historically "enterprise" vendors still simply don't.

This is another factor in the blurring of the "enterprise" line in DAM. We rate the integration and interoperability capabilities of all the 40+ Digital & Media Asset Management vendors we evaluate at Real Story Group.

Subscribers can access the details here.

What the HP Split Means for Autonomy Customers #EntArch #trends Tue, 07 Oct 2014 09:37:00 +0000 This week finds venerable Hewlett-Packard splitting in two: consumer versus enterprise firms. That's probably good news for long-suffering customers of the former Autonomy products.

You know why? Because things couldn't get much worse for them.


Sure, theoretically things could go further downhill. You always got the sense that the "old" HP at least wanted to do the right thing; a new firm with a new culture could mean less integrity, and Autonomy customers have already experienced enough turbulence under the former owners, thank you very much.

Under a new regime, product managers and marketers might also play a little faster and looser, which means more gaps between promise and reality.


On the whole, though, I think customers of the former Autonomy tools stand to benefit. While it's probably too late for products like TeamSite (which needs a complete architectural overhaul), a more focused enterprise group could make the tough choices required to modernize -- or finally shed -- the other technologies.

Also, it means giving up the ghost about "synergies" between HP printers and Autonomy technology like search. HP's IDOL search engine has a long way to go to return to relevance, but at least no one will fantasize anymore about embedding it into $100 inkjet printers.

If you are not an HP software customer

Not an HP enterprise software customer? Wait and watch. Remain cautious about attempts from HP's (well-regarded) services arm to default to HP software -- the way IBM Global Services still sometimes shills for IBM software.

If you want more details on the pros and cons of individual HP-Autonomy products, consult our DAM, WCM, and/or ECM evaluation research.