Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2014, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 10/23/2014 00:00:00 60 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.

A DAM paradox: everyone talks about metrics, but few have them #DAM #trends Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:59:00 +0000 19th century British scientist Lord Kelvin famously said, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” Cut to today. Forget about big data analytics -- the question of simple measurement often baffles many Digital Asset Management practitioners.

RSG’s 2014 DAM survey remains ongoing, but some interim results suggest how many organizations are grappling with this issue. Only about a third of the respondents are using some sort of metrics to measure the success of their DAM projects. More than half of the respondents say that they don’t measure the success of their DAM projects at all.

Lord Kelvin also said, “to measure is to know.” The knowledge about your current state is going to prove vital in your efforts to enhance your organization’s success rate with DAM projects. That’s a topic that we will cover extensively in our upcoming “Measuring DAM Effectiveness” webinar.

If you have not already taken the DAM 2014 survey, you can still do so. More than a hundred organizations have already participated, and those who complete the survey receive a summary of the results -- findings that will help you understand how your own organization compares to  best-in-class organizations and peers. Here's the 15-minute survey.

Know any DAM practitioner peers whose organizations could also benefit from participating in the survey?  Please invite them.  Many thanks.

Customer Survey Findings - Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software #KMers #DigitalWorkplace Mon, 06 Oct 2014 12:56:00 +0000 RSG conducted an online survey during July-August 2014 to obtain practitioner perspective on key enterprise collaboration and social software themes, including common use cases, satisfaction with tools and vendors, implementation patterns, and challenges. The survey included a set of SharePoint-specific questions for organizations using that platform.

The final survey results included a cross-section of organizations drawn from a variety of geographies and industries.

Here's a sneak peek into some of the key take-aways:

  • Enterprise satisfaction with social collaboration technology remains middling overall
  • Traditional collaboration use cases display higher levels of maturity than newer social networking-oriented business scenarios
  • On-premise installations remain the dominant deployment model today, but cloud-based architectures predominate future plans, albeit with somewhat less interest in migrating to Office 365 among SharePoint customers

Survey results indicate less progress and sophistication in enterprise social collaboration initiatives than industry case-studies might suggest; in these still-early days, savvy customers should perform careful technology due diligence and plan comprehensive strategies for success.

RSG Collaboration & Social technology stream subscribers should download the full report with detailed narrative analysis and numerous charts.

If you are a survey respondent and opted to obtain the summary results, you should have already received a link to obtain it (if we missed you, ping us at

What is your spoon? #DAM #digitalmarketing Fri, 03 Oct 2014 08:32:00 +0000 I spend a lot of time in kitchens, restaurants, and following the Digital Asset Management (DAM) market. Here those three things come together.

So ask yourself: what is your spoon?

Open Source Java CMS: Hippo, Magnolia, and OpenCms #wcm #opensource Thu, 02 Oct 2014 09:01:00 +0000 Our latest release of the Web Content & Experience Management Report emphasizes the open source Java world. In particular, we've done major updates to our evaluations of Hippo, Magnolia, and OpenCms.

The three platforms seem quite similar on the surface. They are all headquartered in continental Europe, follow a commercial open source model, and can boast longstanding (and comparatively loyal) customer and developer bases.

From there, though, the three projects diverge substantially, including in such areas a repository architecture, component model, user experience paradigm, admin capabilities, and ultimately even business and support models.

In the end, you shouldn't pick a Web CMS solely based on its underlying language. But the good news is that if Java support is important to your team, you have recourse to a broad range of choices, both open source and commercial.

If you're an RSG subscriber, you can download individual chapter updates or the full report immediately.

If you're not a subscriber, you can get your hands on a sample evaluation.

Web CMS Tasting Notes #wcm #pmot Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:55:00 +0000 We're always looking to find new ways to summarize the quite detailed findings in our research. Our Web Content & Experience Management vendor evaluations can run to 20 or 25 pages each. We do include summaries and comparison charts, some of which you can now query online.

But in the interest of summarizing still further, what if we could do simple "tasting notes" for certain WCM vendors, like wine critics do? What would we say?

Quite tongue-in-cheek, here's a sampling.


A veritable orchard on the nose: anjou pears, braeburn apple, sour cherries, and satsuma plum....Extraordinarily complex tannins but structurally somewhat imbalanced....Unusually long finish with alternating notes of wood shavings, drywall dust, and fresh paint....


Inky and opaque in the glass, showy and rather fantastic on the nose, with a boozy core....Herbs, rough gravel, PHP, and shoe leather lead to an uncomfortable mixture of content and presentation in the mouth....Varies dramatically by year.


A little sweet, even cloying, best served as a dessert offering....Higher than usual cork taint....Tends toward youthful; decant immediately....

Hippo CMS

Deep aromas of ironfruit, XML, and tulips....Forcefully structured, more of a linear march of flavors across the tongue than an integrated bouquet...Strong tobacco finish.

HP TeamSite

Initially bright, with emphatic lavender and rose....Transitions uneasily from nose to mouth, becoming shallow and gamey on the palette.....Traditional Robert Parker favorite does not age well...

Magnolia CMS

Darkly-oaked intensity laden with heavy overtones of dried fruit and JAR files....Reliably low acidity will appeal to conservative tastes....Deeply connected to traditional Swiss terroir.

OpenText WEM

Very large vintner offers different consumer-tested blends each year....Distinct identity goes missing behind boutique-looking labels....Once exclusive and upscale, now available at your corner bodega....


Long message queues of aromas: peach, C#, and black licorice....Unique blend of white and red varieties to pair with that occasional experiment in grilled lima beans or deep-fried mutton....Do not open early....

SharePoint Web Publishing

Vintner describes it as woody, complex, and round, but we experienced short, light, and faulty....2010 vintage more reliable than 2013....


Honeyed minerality and bronzed musculature soon give way to undertones of warm lime jello....Highly quaffable, best uncorked with a light lunch than a serious dinner party.


Hints of limestone, clover, and mid-February dorm room....Short but accessible finish....Will appeal to lovers of older, more reticent, and well-matured spirits....


Classic chardonnay nose (caramel and JavaScript), light-medium bodied....Must be precisely chilled or degrades quickly....Tannins can feel slippery, almost yoghurty....But finishes more spicy than creamy, with strong notes of clove, comment spam, and turmeric....

Well, Actually...

Evaluating software is quite different than sampling wine. But if there's one similarity, it's this: wherever possible, try before you buy -- especially since most enterprise technology gets sold by the case.

And as my colleague Theresa frequently explains, don't assume that one type of wine will suit all occasions.

Meanwhile, to get a more serious view into what we think about these twelve and twenty-four other WCM packages, consult our Web CMS evaluation research, or sample it here.

Yammer versus Sitrion-Newsgator #socbiz #microsoft Thu, 25 Sep 2014 19:32:00 +0000 Let's say your enterprise licenses SharePoint. You know that it's social networking (and some collaboration) capabilities are limited. What do you do?

It turns out you have many choices. For larger enterprises, however, a debate often emerges about Yammer versus Sitrion (neé Newsgator). In fact, that's a common advisory discussion with our research subscribers.

The comparison is particularly timely, because SharePoint promoters increasingly wax about future Yammer-SharePoint integration, even if that journey has to date remained slow and halting. (Though the fact that Microsoft is killing off some SharePoint Online features perhaps suggests a greater seriousness around Yammer.)

Contrasting the Two Vendors

Yammer and Sitrion are actually quite different, even if functionally they overlap a bit. Consider:

  • Yammer is available for free or fairly low cost; Sitrion can become pricey
  • Sitrion provides finished applications; Yammer is just a set of features (mostly a microblogging service), much the same way SharePoint is
  • Yammer is only available in the cloud (though not the Office 365 cloud); Sitrion can be installed on-premise as well as in the cloud (with some exceptions)
  • Sitrion runs pretty much inside SharePoint; Yammer runs pretty much next to SharePoint
  • Yammer has a huge, steady, corporate parent; Sitrion does not
  • Sitrion has historically emphasized SharePoint integration; Yammer has historically emphasized being cool

Well, the list goes on. For a full comparison of these two offerings, consult our detailed evaluation research. In any case, don't default to any SharePoint add-on tool without careful testing against practical, business-oriented use cases.

Red Hat acquires FeedHenry - are the mobile and traditional middleware twain starting to meet? #EntArch #EnSW Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:42:00 +0000 Red Hat, the vendor that popularized the “open source as a service” model -- most notably for the Linux operating system and later on, for the JBoss middleware software -- has announced that it will acquire FeedHenry.

Red Hat says FeedHenry will add mobile capabilities to JBoss and will be leveraged in OpenShift, their platform-as-a-service offering for traditional development (as opposed to “mobile development").

From an overall industry perspective, one of the trends we called out in the latest edition of our mobile research was, “Mobile Middleware – still separate from traditional middleware.” For any enterprise mobile use case that is even mildly complex, you need middleware services – user management, data management, integration with enterprise systems, security and many other services.

Nevertheless, in the long term as mobile app development matures, we can expect the boundaries between traditional middleware and mobile middleware to blur.

Another driver of this trend is that software (infrastructure) vendors like IBM, Oracle, and SAP have strong “traditional” middleware capabilities that they want to leverage for mobile apps too.

The Red Hat-Feed Henry acquisition should therefore be seen an example of a long-standing middleware vendor trying to add mobile capabilities.

Guidance for Enterprise Buyers

As our Enterprise Mobile Technology subscribers know, FeedHenry is one of the vendors we evaluate in that research report. FeedHenry's name stems from its early focus on RSS software, and after a popular hurler Henry from their native Ireland, where they are mostly based. In fact, it’s my research on FeedHenry for the first edition of our Enterprise Mobile Technology report that made me aware of the sport of Hurling – somewhat like field hockey but faster – 3,000 years old, and still wildly popular in Ireland.

FeedHenry soon pivoted to enterprise mobility software and currently sells what it calls the Mobile Application Platform, combining hybrid app development with a cloud-based middleware. This category of software is sometimes referred to as "MBaaS" or mobile back-end as a service. We prefer mobile middleware.

Some of you may remember that FeedHenry created a small kerfuffle recently when they questioned Gartner’s wisdom about the mobile app dev platforms Gartner evaluated -- a feisty response to their exclusion in the the analyst firm's 2 x 2 grid.

What puzzled me more was FeedHenry’s recent foray into developing pre-packaged applications (e.g., field workforce management application) - it made me wonder if they were shifting away from their core platform strategy. In hindsight now, their approach may have been with an eye on Red Hat’s services-oriented business model.

Red Hat releases software as open source and makes money from services and support. So, we can expect them to open source FeedHenry (which under the hood already uses many open source components like Node.js, the server-side JavaScript engine). As we note in our review, FeedHenry struggled to expand beyond its European home and did not have a lot of success in cracking the North American market.

Under new owners Red Hat -- who are much bigger and have greater mindshare in the developer community -- that could potentially change. But as with all M&A, benefits to customers will take a while to materialize.

Meanwhile, you should continue to evaluate FeedHenry and it’s fit for different use cases, relative strengths and weaknesses against other mobile middleware vendors. Consult our research for all this and more.

Enterprise Mobile Technology - A Changing Marketplace #mobile #EntArch Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:43:00 +0000 Last week, RSG released a major update to our Enterprise Mobile Technology platform evaluations.  The changes reflect a fast-evolving marketplace. Here are some key themes.

Evolving Tiers

As the mobile experience management marketplace has expanded, it's beginning to resemble most other advanced enterprise technology marketplaces in its 3-tier structure:

  • Infrastructure Vendors: Large IT vendors that have mobile offerings. We review IBM, SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and Adobe in this category.

  • Mobility Specialists: These are vendors who focus on provide mobility solutions. We evaluate Antenna, Kony, Appcelerator, appMobi, FeedHenry, RhoMobile, Xamarin, and Verivo here.
  • Niche Offerings: These are highly specialized application environments or supplementary layers. We evaluate Corona Labs, July Systems, Kinvey, Service2Media, and Spring Mobile in this caregory

Customers who have already made broad investments in infrastructure from larger vendors always face the dilemma of whether to use mobile capabilities from those incumbent platforms, or to go with specialized mobility vendors. Our research helps clarify your choices.

Evolving Capabilities

The lines are increasingly blurring among Mobile Experience Management platforms, Mobile Application Management (MAM), and Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools. These still remain somewhat separate problem domains. But some vendors are beginning to promote (nominally) integrated offerings -- in particular incorporating MAM into other business services.

In our evaluation research, we've added a new parameter called "Application and Device Management," where we specifically call out these services on a vendor-by-vendor basis.

Emerging Players

In any newish marketplace, vendors rise and fall quickly. Three key players have arisen in the past few quarters: Salesforce, Xamarin, and Kinvey. We now cover each of them.

You can download a sample here or subscribe here.

Should you use built-in application services from your enterprise portal platform? #EntArch #portals Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:26:00 +0000 Enterprise portal vendors routinely market their toolsets by pointing to pre-built functionality.  In a previous post, I looked at the issue of out-of-the-box portlets available from vendors' portlet catalogs.

Now let's look at a related issue of bundled application services, nominally full-blown subsystems for which you would otherwise license a separate platform.

Bundled Application Services Bring Advantages

These application services can include things like built-in Document Management, Identity Management, Reporting, Web Publishing, Search, Workflow & Business Process Management, Mobile delivery, and so forth. In fact, many would argue these services are what differentiate a portal platform from an application server.

A key decision point here is whether to use these built-in services or license specialized tools instead. As with most other decisions of this nature, there is no universal answer.

To be sure, built-in services have obvious advantages. Integration (usually) becomes simpler.  And you don't need to worry about licensing other distinct packages, which in turn have their own hardware, software, and customization requirements.

What About the Trade-offs?

With specialized tools you almost always obtain a more sophisticated feature-set than what comes with built-in services.

Let's take the example of search, a common feature in most enterprise portal tools. A portal's built-in search service works out-of-the-box and is usually sufficient to search content stored within the portal platform itself. However, if you want to index information stored beyond your portal system (e.g., from your CRM or Digital Marketing platforms), the search functionality built into your portal may not be able to index those external systems.  In that case, you will have to consider external or specialized search engines.

In short...

You will almost always have to decide between using built-in but lightweight portal services versus licensing more sophisticated, external tools for key applications.  Microsoft SharePoint has seen substantial success specifically because it offers relatively simpler tools for departments or organizations who cannot deal with the complexity implementing heavier-weight document management and collaboration tools from another vendor.

However, portal tools have their limitations and so the decision to work with an out-of-the-box solution or choose a third-party tool becomes a balance between function, requirements, and cost.

We evaluate these application services in greater detail on a vendor-by-vendor basis in our Portals and Content Integration evaluations.

Mobile Technology Updates to IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, Antenna, Kony, Verivo, and others #mobile #EntArch Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:42:00 +0000 This week, RSG released a major update to our Enterprise Mobile Technology vendor evaluations. It's version 2.0 of this report.

I'll highlight some thematic trends some subsequent posts, but to give you an idea of what's in the new version, you'll find:

  • Updates to almost all the vendor evaluations in this fast-moving space
  • Several new platform evaluations (e.g., Salesforce) as players emerge, and some decline...
  • Changes to how we categorize vendors as the marketplace evolves
  • Additional evaluation criteria, as mobile technologies expand their scope

As always, you can review the vendor list and other research details.

Subscribers should go straight to your dashboard to download a copy.

If you're not yet a subscriber, you can check out a complimentary excerpt.

What are the top digital marketers doing in 2014? #digitalmarketing #trends Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:29:00 +0000 Marketing and media magazine Advertising Age has compiled a list of the top digital marketers in the US. As is to be expected, there are more B2C brands (like Samsung, Coca-Cola, British Airways, Durex, Dove) in this list but a few B2B marketers (like GE, IBM, SAP) are also included.

What does the digital marketing portfolio look like for these pioneers?

Their marketing mix is quite varied and diverse:

  • Shift away from TV to digital video and social media
  • Online fan communities
  • Real-time social media newsrooms for popular live events
  • Social-media driven reality TV series
  • Mobile Apps for content, commerce and loyalty
  • Product personalization (e.g. your name on a coke bottle) driven by social media and analytics  
  • Predictive Analytics for content / offer targeting
  • Viral Content (Of course, the holy grail; remember the Oscar Selfies?) and partnerships for exclusive content
  • Not just sticking to Facebook and Twitter but experimenting (and tasting success) with other social channels like Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr ,and even SnapChat and WeChat
  • Integrating online and offline campaigns (with online / social feeding into TV campaigns for instance)
  • Interactive Panels and Displays (linked to online content)

What's driving success?

While these seem very disparate methods, there are a few common threads – like the effective use of social media. It also seems content is still king. Of course, you still need the right underlying technology platforms and tools to effectively run and scale these sorts of marketing efforts. You’ll find that the tools are constantly evolving, and so are best practices for exploiting them.

To stay on top of these platforms, consult our Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluation research.

Number of Portlets in WebSphere, Liferay, and Oracle -- Does Size Matter? #EnSW Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:55:00 +0000 Most enterprise portal vendors -- including IBM, Liferay, and Oracle -- brag about the number of pre-built portlets and applications that come bundled with their platforms. Then a question arises for you the customer: How much of a differentiator are these portlet catalogs when evaluating portal technologies?

The Case for Portlet Catalogs

One of the putative advantages of using enterprise portal technology is faster time to market by reusing existing components -- usually portlets, but also full-blown applications -- out of the box. Most portal packages come with many pre-built portlets. The portlets range from simple functionality like an RSS feed reader, to functionality that is more complex — such as productized connectors to back-end systems.

There are multiple ways to adopt these portals. Some get packaged as part of the core portal bundle. For example, Liferay ships with portlets for blogs, calendars, navigation, breadcrumbs, a document library, an image gallery, email, message boards, polls, RSS feeds, wikis, and so-on.

Vendors also host online catalogs where you can download many utility applications, usually driven by their communities and partners. As an example, IBM's Portal Catalog has many such applications (both free and commercial), offered by third-party suppliers.

That all sounds great.

The Industry Secret About Portlets

But let me share a dirty little secret within the portal industry. The vast majority of these portlets will not match your business requirements.

Here's a short list why:

  • Quality will vary from portlet to portlet
  • Design patterns (data access, logical, experience) will vary
  • They may not be performant
  • They may not prove extensible
  • They may have hazy provenance, which means support and security concerns
  • You may have to customize them so heavily that you'd have been better off building from scratch (and many integrators do)
  • The vendor likely won't support 3rd-party portlets
  • Community portlets may not prove upgradeable
  • You may face separate or additional licensing and fee considerations for each one

So make sure you test them well, especially if you download them from a community-contributed catalog.

To be sure, if your team builds portlets themselves, you may run into similar issues, but let's not pretend that an expansive portlet catalog is a great time-saver, especially if you are a larger enterprise with more sophisticated needs.  

What You Should Do

So to answer the question I asked earlier, when evaluating portal tools for your requirements, don't give too much importance to the number of portlets available.

Instead carefully evaluate vendors' claims and test how many portlets and pre-packaged portal applications can get reused in your scenario.

In RSG's portal platform evaluations, we include a separate section for each vendor offering called "Utility Applications" to assess this specific aspect.

You can download a sample here and see for yourself. 


SharePoint for your public website, again? #microsoft #cms Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:45:00 +0000 Ever since Microsoft added web content and experience management (WCM) capabilities to SharePoint in 2007, we've been answering inquiries about its suitability for public-facing web publishing and digital marketing scenarios.

In lieu of pat answers, over the years we've always evaluated SharePoint by the same criteria that we assess its best-of-breed competitors. (You can download a sample of that methodology here.) And in most dimensions it has come up short.

An Open Secret

SharePoint's WCM deficiencies have been well-known among industry insiders. Systems integration firms in particular have tended to stay away from SharePoint for public websites, even as they racked up huge revenues developing SharePoint-based intranet and collaboration applications for clients. Even some Microsoft employees (especially outside the USA) will secretly recommend other .NET-based WCM tools to their favored customers.

In the past few years, the chorus has gotten louder, even as Microsoft rolled out a major upgrade. We did a thorough scrub of web content and experience management services in SharePoint 2013 and found little to change directionally about our previous advice.

And Yet...

And yet, at RSG we continue to get inquiries, by phone, by email, in person, and on our webinars. "Should we use SharePoint for our public website?" Or the classic existential question: "Why don't we use what we've already licensed?"

When I share this with WCM industry veterans, they often respond in disbelief. They say things like, "You mean people are still considering SharePoint for WCM?"

Well yes they are. You can understand why. Many enterprises have made significant investments in SharePoint. It's lying around, and Redmond says it can do web experience management, so why not explore? Also, a truncated version now comes bundled with most SharePoint Online subscriptions.

Making Good Decisions

In the end, we recognize that you can't just blurt out to your colleagues that SharePoint is not the right fit. You want to make good decisions, and your peers expect thoughtful rationales.

Moreover, there are always nuances: if your "public websites" are primarily collaborative extranets, SharePoint might offer a good fit (though you should still test it head-to-head against collaboration technology competitors).

Our WCM product evaluation research compares SharePoint to 35 other vendors across 12 scenarios. And I can tell you that seven years after the advent of "MOSS 2007 Publishing Sites," SharePoint still comes up short for public-facing scenarios. But there's never any harm in in asking...

iPhone 6 and Your Mobile Strategy #digitalmarketing #mobile Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:09:00 +0000 I'm jealous of my son's Samsung phone. Not because it runs Android (I prefer iOS), but because it has a humongous screen.

iPhone 6 changes the equation. No doubt digital workplace and marketing technology leaders are considering the possibilities of new HD video capabilities and of course the Apple Watch. I think bigger screens may prove even more significant in the near term.

Let's review the details. The basic iPhone 6 has a 1334 x 750 screen resolution (horizontal, which to be sure is an issue for some app-embedded browsers, like Facebook's), slightly better than an iPad Mini at 1024-by-768. An iPhone 6 Plus comes in at a very generous 1920 x 1080, or close to the iPad's 2048-by-1536, better than a standard Macbook Pro, and approaching Macbook retina resolution.

In short, iPhone 6 is a phablet.

To be sure, adoption of new generations of devices takes time. In the mid-term, the new phones may have a bigger impact in business-to-employee (B2E) mobile development, as the iPhone 6 finds its way more rapidly into enterprise setting than consumer environments. The possibilities for a second screen in horizontal mode are particularly intriguing in an enterprise environment where apps and web experiences tend to be very one-dimensional, requiring a lot of screen-switching while on the go.

Image source: Apple

On the business-to-customer (B2C) side globally, the mobile world has been dominated by the divide between smart phones and feature phones. As my colleague Apoorv noted, feature phones are likely to get supplanted by very low cost, Firefox-enabled quasi-smart phones. So the new bifurcation will become phablets versus smart (or "smartish") phones.

This means the floor is getting raised for richer mobile web experiences. Are you ready?

We can help: our mobile experience management research evaluates the key players and architectures for future-leaning enterprises.

P.S., you can sample that research here.