Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2014 RealStoryGroup.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.realstorygroup.com/ www.realstorygroup.com : Blogs en-us 07/21/2014 00:00:00 60 What's the mobile strategy for your enterprise social network? #DigitalWorkplace #mobile Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:21:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2728-Whats-the-mobile-strategy-for-your-enterprise-social-network? Circa 2014, as we catalog in our enterprise collaboration and social software vendor evaluation research , the use cases for social-collaboration software inside the enterprise are more or less well understood.

The short story is that some new use cases (e.g., Social Q&A) are possible and some older use cases (e.g., Expertise Location) can be turbo-charged. However, what’s still not as well understood -- and hence not leveraged effectively -- is the intersection of mobile devices and enterprise social networks.

Mobile Today

To be sure, almost all the social-collaboration vendors we evaluate offer some sort of mobile capabilities (not to do so circa 2014 makes you an ostrich) – be it a mobile-friendly version of the web application, native apps for popular mobile platforms, or a cross-platform hybrid app.

But in almost all cases, the underlying assumption is that the mobile version plays the supporting role for the web application. In many contexts, that’s a reasonable assumption to make, since many enterprises only seek to mobile-enable a subset of the overall functionality.

Even though this offers an improvement over the status quo, there is a perhaps a better way to think about the mobile strategy for your enterprise social network.

Mobile First?

In the scenario described above, you are catering to your employees who are primarily desk-bound, mobile-enabling them for those occasions when they are away from their desks.

But what about those employees who jobs do not require them to be tethered to a desk – think field force agents, airline crews, retail industry workers – they all work for large organizations but they may only access their laptops very infrequently. Since their face-to-face interactions with their colleagues elsewhere can be rather limited, it is all the more imperative that you leverage a mobile social network to increase organizational cohesiveness and reinforce the culture. In such cases, you want to consider a mobile-first social network. You’ll likely emphasize a different set of use cases, and will want to re-think "engagement" in this context.

Being strategic about mobile-enabling your workforce involves categorizing your employees based on their primary interaction device – desktop/laptop or tablet/phone. You can then establish the appropriate objectives and relevant use-cases for each of these segments separately. Such an exercise may reveal that the key objective for the desk segment is productivity while for the mobile segment it is both productivity and engagement.

So, you may prioritize “file sharing” and syncing-across devices for the desk-segment while for the mobile-segment you may implement group messaging services and video-streaming to get them clued-in to the remote mothership.

To summarize: I am not (yet) advocating a drastic mobile-first for the entire enterprise, but do consider seizing the opportunities for a mobile-first social network.

We can help you think through your strategy and help you select the best-fit social and mobile software tools to realize the strategy.

PS: If you have not already done so, please spare a few minutes and participate in our survey on social-collaboration software.

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What to make of the Apple-IBM partnership #mobile #EnSW Fri, 18 Jul 2014 09:18:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2726-What-to-make-of-the-Apple-IBM-partnership? Since the days of this 1984 commercial when Apple supposedly attacked IBM, the two firms have come a long way.

As you know, they announced a new partnership around four core areas. Quoting from their PR statement:

  • A new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  • Unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • New AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and
  • New packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

What They Get Out of It

Apple wants to get a huge push for its enterprise ambitions riding on IBM's relationships. Sure, Apple's devices (iPad and iPhone) are popular within enterprises, but Apple has never really been an enterprise-focused company. Focusing on enterprises requires not just a new mindset (e.g., how do you deal with enterprise relationships) but also a host of new capabilities around enterprise concerns such as administration and security. IBM offers these.

IBM, on the other hand could win additional services business by way of managing AppleCare administration and related support opportunities. IBM also has many products in its "MobileFirst" offering, including those for app development, application and device management, testing and so forth. This partnership could be helpful in selling more of those as well.

But this is all really vendorspeak. 

What About You the Customer?

Let's look at this from your perspective.  What do you really get here?  Perhaps not so much.

If you are hugely invested in both IBM and Apple, and have standardized on Apple's devices  within your organization, this partnership could offer better integration and management capabilities. Fine.

But businesspeople also care about capabilities that will make them more effective at work, and here you should remain skeptical about the value of "a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions."  Enterprise apps are not as commoditized as consumer apps. Enterprise apps have vastly different requirements in terms of integration with varied back-end systems, security issues, administration, and so forth. So even if you find a suitable app, you will probably have to customize it for your specific requirements.

Moreover, when an increasing number of organizations are encouraging employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, fewer will want to restrict their employees to Apple devices. You don't want to ignore the large amount of Android devices out there -- especially for firms outside North America. The lesson of Blackberry's demise is that today, enterprise applications will not typically drive employee device adoption.

When it comes to tablets, Apple's iPads may still have an edge within the enterprises but that foothold may become tenuous, again particularly if you look at it in a global context.

If IBM were truly customer focused, it would come up with parallel offerings for Android and others. 

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Call for Participation - RSG Survey on Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software #DigitalWorkplace #e20 Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:41:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2727-Call-for-Participation-RSG-Survey-on-Enterprise-Collaboration-and-Social-Software? At RSG, we have been tracking the enterprise collaboration and social software market for close to a decade now. Through all these years, we have been leaning heavily on the experience of practitioners like you to provide candid insights into technology effectiveness.

So, if you are involved in your organization's internal social or collaboration efforts please take fifteen minutes to participate in RSG’s survey. This survey assesses different issues like common use cases, tools, vendors, and challenges faced by organizations like yours.

Needless to say we take privacy and discretion very seriously. All responses will be kept strictly confidential, and RSG will never publicly identify either you or your organization. In return for your participation, you’ll receive a top-line summary of report findings when published, to contrast your experience with that of your peers.

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

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The Biggest Enterprise Roadmap Regret #EntArch #pmot Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:44:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2725-The-Biggest-Enterprise-Roadmap-Regret? Lately, we've been advising many of our subscribers on their longer-term roadmaps for digital workplace and marketing technology.

This is a good sign. It means that enterprises are transitioning from reacting to emerging technologies to pro-actively planning a strategy to exploit digital opportunities.

We always try to share lessons of those who have gone before you, and in that spirit, I'd like to offer the most common "what-would-I-have-done-differently" advice we encounter. What do enterprise technology and business leaders say three years into implementing a strategic roadmap?

First, a Runner Up

One of the most common regrets is not a new one, but an increasingly important requirement in an era where customers and employees alike demand a more humane digital experience.

    "I wish we had more closely followed user-centered design principles"

Here I mean design in the broadest sense, from experience design at the screen (where you should always start) back to data and system design.

If your roadmap centers on enterprise-centered design and then tries to derive effective experiences for your employees and customers, you're inviting Business-IT conflict amid unmet expectations.

User-centered design is a discipline in the sense of a collection of coherent methodologies, but UCD is also a discipline in the sense that its greatest value comes from consistent application across all the projects in your roadmap.

The Number One Enterprise Regret

But there's an even deeper and more prevalent regret:

    "I wish we had sorted out our Identity & Access Management foundation sooner."

Every technology (and their biggest analyst and vendor boosters) wants to be foundational in your enterprise stack. Well, IAM truly is foundational. If you don't put the right tools, processes, data, and people in place to create a definitive repository of identities, roles, groups, and attendant entitlements, your ability to execute strategically can become sorely crippled.

I frequently hear feedback like, "We had great plans to bust internal silos, but then hit a roadblock when we couldn't turn to a consistent IAM store." Fragmented identity and access services almost always lead to fragmented user experiences.

Note that there's much more to this than "security." Security is important, but the long-term value of a comprehensive IAM foundation is really less about mitigating risk and more about exploiting opportunities -- opportunities to offer single sign-on, profile-based user experiences, better integrated data and services, and smoother collaboration and networking.

When to Fund?

IT leaders often complain that business stakeholders don't like to fund these sorts of infrastructure programs, which usually aren't tied directly to a specific project. That's a valid complaint. The time to deal with IAM is when you are creating a long-term roadmap that anticipates how different pieces of your digital ecosystem need to work together.

If your organization is a Real Story Group subscriber and you'd like us to sense-check your strategic plans, log in to schedule an advisory session with one of our experts.

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How to Select the Right Collaboration and Social Technology - Webinar #socbiz #e20 Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:06:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2724-How-to-Select-the-Right-Collaboration-and-Social-Technology-Webinar? Please join me for a complimentary webinar next Wednesday:

"The Right Way to Select Collaboration and Social Software"

This fast-paced session will start with a tour of the current collaboration and social technology landscape, including how vendors are (and aren't) addressing key emerging trends. Then we'll turn to a proven methodology for selecting the right solution for your enterprise.

Date: Wednesday July 16 2014
Time:12:00-12:30 PM EDT (17:00-18:00 BST) (16:00-17:00 UTC/GMT)

Register here.

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Social Media Monitoring and Analysis - Caveat Emptor #socialmediamonitoring #socialmediaintelligence Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:05:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2723-Social-Media-Monitoring-and-Analysis-Caveat-Emptor? Social Media Monitoring or "listening" to what's getting said on popular social media channels about your company or products has become an important use case in recent years.

Even the United States Secret Service released a work order last month to procure a social media analytics tool. They are looking to automate and streamline their social media (mainly Twitter) monitoring process. The solicitation lists standard functional requirements like search, trend analysis, visual reports, influencer identification, audience segmentation, and so forth.

Sarcasm Detector?

Interestingly, the Secret Service also added a requirement for the "ability to detect sarcasm and false positives." It's is easy to see the rationale for this requirement in a medium known for both the volume of chatter and the prevalence of sarcasm.  Given the current state of maturity of the software, however, I'd categorize that requirement as more as a "wish list" item.

Our Marketing Automation & Social Technology Report, in a section titled “A Caution on Sentiment Analysis,” explains how this functionality is fraught with many perils, with the accuracy of sentiment analysis usually coming in far lower than vendor claims.

Here's Why

Tone, meaning, and intent are complicated.  You can perhaps tell when a friend or a colleague is being sarcastic given your history of interaction and the presence of physical and visual clues. But can you be so certain when dealing with a stranger? If it's difficult in face-to-face interactions, mining text to predict sentiment is further limited in the absence of body language and tonal clues. Algorithms can perhaps infer tone from lengthy pieces of text but tweets with their 140 character limit pose additional challenges – there simply may not be enough context. Not to mention multiple sentiments being expressed in a single post. Or that a single tweet can have phrases in multiple languages. And don't get me started on slang.

When tool vendors claim a very high rate of success with sentiment prediction, they typically refer to plain vanilla scenarios. No doubt the algorithms for sentiment analysis are getting better as we gain more experience in this field, but these are still early days. If your enterprise is looking for social media monitoring technology, make sure your testing is comprehensive enough to yeild a realistic picture of what the tool can do and what it cannot do.

To know more about the intricacies of social media analysis, which of the services are mature and which are immature, the caveats and how different vendors stack up against social media monitoring and analysis use cases, consult our Marketing Automation & Social Technology Report.

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Public vs Private Cloud for File Sharing and Sync #Cloud #ecm Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:58:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2722-Public-vs-Private-Cloud-for-File-Sharing-and-Sync? Our ECM and Cloud File Sharing (CFS) evaluations cover a number of cloud-based file sharing and sync tools. While you'll find many functional differences among these offerings, you'll face a particularly important technical decision related to security and storage choices.

At some level, all the tools cater to “secure file sharing.” All of them encrypt files, have strict policies for data center security, and implement password-controlled access. While this will suffice for many organizations, other customers will require more stringent security services. In some cases, this becomes matter of perception, but other times, you may need tighter control on documents due to confidentiality, or legal requirements to maintain certain documents in a particular locale. You may also seek better control over reporting and compliance-related issues.

To cater to such scenarios, some tools offer alternative deployment models that allow organizations to plug in their own storage systems lying within the organization’s own data center (and therefore IT control). Whether an on-premise location truly improves security is debatable, but the fact remains that some tools provide you with the flexibility to mix and match options in such a way that you can store some types of files (the ones that are highly confidential, for example) within your own storage environment, and keep other, less critical files in the public cloud.

So if you were considering tools and vendors such as Dropbox, Box, Accellion, Citrix, EMC, Oxygen, or Workshare, remember to evaluate their offerings for private cloud deployment if security and sophisticated enterprise controls lie at the top of your list. We evaluate storage, security, and other aspects in our recently updated ECM & Cloud File Sharing evaluations. You can download a sample here.

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Updated enterprise social-collaboration evaluations - Jive and VMWare Socialcast #DigitalWorkplace #e20 Tue, 24 Jun 2014 19:05:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2721-Updated-enterprise-social-collaboration-evaluations-Jive-and-VMWare-Socialcast? The most recent release of our Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Report contains updated evaluations of Jive Software and VMWare Socialcast. You'll have to consult the respective chapters for the detailed evaluations, but here are some general reflections. 

No doubt, Jive represents a success story in the enterprise social software space: transitioning from its early days as a forum software vendor to a purveyor today of a rather comprehensive social-collaboration package, and the largest pure-play vendor in this segment.

Impressive this may be, but some dark clouds hover over Jive. The euphoria of a successful IPO is behind it and the company is straining a bit under the weight of accumulated losses. There is insider talk of Jive trying to find a suitor in vain. That's just speculation; as a potential customer, you should be more concerned with Jive's appetite to sustain R&D investments and product updates as Wall Street grows restless with red ink.

To be fair, though, I'll note that product updates have not suffered so far. If anything Jive customers complain about keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the components that make up the platform. In the longer term, Jive's ability to outrun deep-pocketed rivals like IBM, Microsoft, and TIBCO will be severely tested.

For Socialcast the suspicions we aired previously about possible stagnation are now playing out. As watchers of this space recall, about three years ago VMWare acquired Socialcast, one of the pioneers in bringing social networking and activity streams into the enterprise. VMWare too is a pioneer, albeit in IT-infrastructure related virtualization technology. Socialcast is a part of their End User Computing (EUC) business, and the potential synergies were not always very clear.  Today, VMWare is focusing EUC primarily on mobile services, as evidenced by its acquisition of Mobile Device Management vendor Airwatch earlier this year.

Expect to see more vendor re-focusing in the enterprise social software segment as the space matures. At RSG, we'll keep an eye on your behalf.

The updated report is available for immediate download for our subscribers. Others can obtain a complimentary sample, which incidentally is our review of Jive...

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Pros and Cons of SharePoint Search 2013 #search #microsoft Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:26:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2720-Pros-and-Cons-of-SharePoint-Search-2013? Over the years, Microsoft has taken a variety of different approaches to search. In the SharePoint 2010 era, customers had to make an often confusing and fraught choice among various flavors of SharePoint Search versus the much different FAST offering.

With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft simplified its offerings in a single -- mostly new -- platform, albeit throttled depending on your license.

The new search service is not quite the SharePoint Search of old, and not quite FAST, either. We decided to closely investigate the impact of this major change, in a new advisory paper, "SharePoint Search 2013: How It Differs and what that Means for You."

Written largely by contributing analyst Shawn Shell, the paper looks at key product and licensing differences, then delves more deeply into technical and functional changes, including:

  • User Experience
  • Index Enrichment
  • Customization & Tuning
  • Enterprise-Wide Search
  • Scalability
  • Cloud
  • Administration

A concluding section offers practical advice for current or future SharePoint licensees.

The advisory paper is available for immediate download to our SharePoint and ECM stream subscribers. Others may purchase the paper separately.

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Oracle and Salesforce - More similar than different? #socbiz #socialmediaintelligence Thu, 12 Jun 2014 13:28:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2716-Oracle-and-Salesforce-More-similar-than-different? In our recently updated Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluations, we review a number of Digital Marketing Platform Vendors including Oracle and Salesforce.

Oracle and Salesforce represent two very different vendors that share a vision of integrated digital marketing, but come to this space from very seperate directions. Salesforce is trading on the strength of its CRM facilities, while Oracle has cobbled together a surprisingly wide array of social functionality.

What's common though between these vendors is that both of them have created their suites mostly via acquisitions.

In 2012 Oracle acquired four companies – Eloqua, Vitrue, Involver, and Collective Intellect. Of these, the last three form the basis of Oracle’s rebranded "Social Relationship Management" (SRM) Suite. Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud is a separate offering for marketing automation.

Salesforce's story is similar too. It acquired ExactTarget, Pardot, Buddy Media, Radian6, Social.com and a few others to create its own "integrated offering" called "Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud."

However, beyond this similarity, the individual products that make up Oracle's and Salesforce's respective suites are quite different when it comes to specific functionality, with markedly divergent weaknesses and strengths. We review these similarities as well as differences in detail in the updated reviews.

You can download a sample here.

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Welcome, Sarah Brown! Wed, 11 Jun 2014 12:08:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2719-Welcome-Sarah-Brown!? I'm thrilled to share the news that Sarah Brown is joining the Real Story Group as a Researcher. Starting Monday, she'll be debriefing technology customers and integrators on their experiences with many of the Digital Workplace and Marketing technologies that we evaluate.

Sarah is not only our newest analyst, she is also a former RSG client! We are delighted to have her wealth of experience as a technology buyer and user on the team.

If you are a technology customer or integrator with a story you'd like to share, feel free to reach out to Sarah to schedule a time to chat.

Welcome, Sarah!

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Should You Use CRM Platforms to Manage Documents? #ecm #mobile Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:32:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2718-Should-You-Use-CRM-Platforms-to-Manage-Documents? In a webinar last week on options for enabling salespeople to access documents, one alternative I discussed was to use your incumbent salesforce automation / customer relationship management (SFA/CRM) platform for document management. Many CRM platforms now provide interesting capabilities like basic document lifecycle management and file sharing as part of their core services.

Advantages

This option has several advantages. If your salespeople already spend considerable time in one of those environments, then they can carry out basic file sharing and document management in context of their everyday business flow. So for example, if salespeople use your CRM for managing leads and prospects, then documents such as brochures can be managed as part of lead management process.

Similarly, customer related documents such as bid responses, contracts and other similar documents can be managed in a CRM system in tandem with your standard bid and sales processes. Essentially, your salespeople can access documents “in the flow” of their daily work without having to go to another, disconnected application.

The second key advantage is that when you use an existing platform, you save on licensing costs as well as potential integration costs with an external document management system.

Disadvantages

But there are trade-offs in using this approach. If you are using multiple different systems, you will have documents spread all over and there won't be single "source of truth".  Also, this approach is like a walled-garden, meaning you may not be able to see and use those documents outside of that CRM platform.

Finally, mobile access presents yet another challenge. Mobile interfaces into CRM-type tools could prove overly complex for simple file sharing. In fact, salespeople will frequently need a different mobile app for file-related functionality when separated from that platform’s core functionality. Also, you will likely not get advanced features beyond really basic ones -- such as sync across multiple devices and so forth.

Salesforce.com is probably the most well-known example here, although several other platforms offer similar document and file management services. In fact, Salesforce offers multiple options, most notably Salesforce Files (earlier called Chatterbox). However, that offering is undergoing significant changes in the wake of Salesforce’s acquisition of connector vendor EntropySoft. Salesforce has had multiple changes to its document management strategy and that should give enterprises some pause.

Fortunately, you have many more options to enable your salespeople to access your company documents, including using a document management platform or licensing one of the cloud-based file sharing and sync tools.

We evaluate all the major players in our recently-updated ECM and Cloud File Sharing evaluations. As always, you can obtain a sample here.

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IBM, Oracle and Salesforce -- How integrated are their Digital Marketing Suites? #socialmedia #digitalmarketing Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:31:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2717-IBM-Oracle-and-Salesforce-How-integrated-are-their-Digital-Marketing-Suites? IBM, Oracle and Salesforce -- three "Digital Marketing Platform" vendors we recently updated in our o Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluations -- have created their suites by acquiring numerous companies, many of who in turn had previously made their own acquisitions.

So if you want to do "end-to-end digital marketing", should you go with one of these suites or opt for point solutions?

In theory, there are obvious benefits of going with a single mega-vendor: it's easier to manage relationships, licensing, contracts, and so forth. The vendor might also give you a single point of accountability, should something go wrong.

However, as things currently stand, the suites are not nearly as integrated as the vendors would like you to believe.

IBM EMM is a loose collection of about fifty distinct products of diverse origins and architectures. Some of the pieces of EMM are integrated but many are not. Salesforce.com only recently took some first steps by introducing ”Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio". Oracle's story is slightly better -- you can now access all of the services that Oracle acquired from a single interface that connects everything via single sign-on (SSO).

Also, it seems likely that these suite players will make further acquisitions in this space, because there are still gaps in their offerings. So while these vendors have a vision of providing "end-to-end digital marketing", it will take time for them to truly integrate their offerings, if at all.

Nevertheless, many of products that these companies have acquired were well regarded on their own. So for now, you should evaluate their features based on their individual merit and not based on the fact that those services are part of a larger suite.

In fact, in Digital Marketing, whether you actually need very tighter integration between these modules itself is a debatable aspect. So instead evaluate individual offerings within the suite and spend some time understanding how easy is it to integrate with external products such as your Web Content Management or Portal platforms.

We have more details about these platforms as well as many other vendors in our forthcoming update to Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluations. You can download a sample here.

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London Calling Part 3: Henry Stewart DAM Europe #DAM #digitalmarketing Fri, 06 Jun 2014 08:26:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2710-London-Calling-Part-3:-Henry-Stewart-DAM-Europe? To cap off the month of June in London, we'll be engaged in three days of Digital & Media Asset Management teaching and learning at the region's premier Digital & Media Asset Management Event - Henry Stewart DAM. If you're a DAM practitioner based in EMEA, this is the event you should be sure to attend.

On the 25th, there will be two Real Story Group tutorials, one on the Fundamentals of Digital & Media Asset Management Technology and a second, an Insider's Guide to Email Automation and Social Media Marketing technology.

Following the tutorial day, you can attend two full days of conference, including end-user case studies, panels, and expert sessions, talking about the latest successes and challenges in the industry. You can use the code SPEAKER100 for a discount when you register.

Hope to see you there!

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Updated Digital Marketing Technology Evaluations - IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, Teradata and more #digitalmarketing #ibm Thu, 05 Jun 2014 16:01:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2712-Updated-Digital-Marketing-Technology-Evaluations-IBM-Oracle-Salesforce-Teradata-and-more? We just released a major update to our Marketing Automation and Social Software Evaluation Report. This edition includes updated evaluations of:

  • Oracle (Eloqua and Social Relationship Management)
  • Salesforce (ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and ExactTarget Email)
  • IBM (Enterprise Marketing Management & Silverpop)
  • Sysomos

You will also find two vendors added to the evaluation line-up:

  • Teradata
  • HubSpot

These vendors fall into different categories like digital marketing platforms, marketing automation suites, and social media analytics services. We'll save vendor-specific commentary for later blog posts, but let me call out some overall themes here.

  • The name of the game for digital marketing vendors has been acquisitions and more acquisitions – as you can perhaps gauge from the multiple product names across the list above. More often than not, this results in significant functionality overlaps and the vendors themselves will need a lot of time figure out how to deal with the attendant confusion.

  • Further, different products have been acquired in different time periods, and enterprise buyers need to be aware of which products have been actually integrated and which products are integrated only in marketing brochures.

  • My last conclusion: the importance of critically evaluating vendor claims against actual customer experiences on the ground.  This holds regardless of acquisitions; even the rare digital marketing vendor pursuing an organic strategy can overstate what their offering really does...

We critically evaluate marketing technology vendors along these lines (and several other parameters). The updated report is available for immediate download to subscribers.

Non-subscribers: note that you can download a sample evaluation chapter.

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When should you consider Documentum for your ECM project? #EMC #ecm Thu, 05 Jun 2014 10:34:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2713-When-should-you-consider-Documentum-for-your-ECM-project? Once upon a time considered the royalty of the document management world, the story of EMC-Documentum over the past decade has been one of leisurely aristocratic decline. What does that mean for customers like you in the market today for an enterprise content management (ECM) solution?

Repository Unter Alles

Documentum -- like its off-shoot, Alfresco -- was founded on the belief that a massively scalable, object-oriented repository represented the primary value-add for large enterprises with growing stores of documents. As for the actual business applications that need to get built on top of that repository....well, that pretty much fell to your developers or a coterie of expensive integrators. Whoever built those applications, though, had to be versed like medieval conjurers in the dark arts of the Documentum API.

For certain industry sectors like pharmaceuticals, behemoth Documentum installations were considered a necessary cost of doing business in a heavily-regulated world. For everyone else, Documentum frequently proved resource-intensive and user unfriendly, especially for everyday document management. Customers began to down-shift their ambitions and focus on supporting widespread document collaboration. Whatever SharePoint's demerits -- and there are many -- Microsoft conveniently filled some important needs there.

A Market Goes from Strategic Platforms to Practical Problem-Solving

But then Documentum got a second wind behind their sails, in the form of a series of  recommendations popularized in the mid-2000s that I'll just simplify now as the "Strategic ECM" concept. As touted by major analyst firms and consultants, the thesis behind Strategic ECM was that all your enterprise content was related, it was all important, and should all be managed in the same system -- and ideally the same über-repository -- sold only by the biggest vendors on the planet not named Microsoft. Vendors like EMC-Documentum.

Strategic ECM seemed rational in theory. In practice, this approach tended to beget impossibly large consolidation projects that had a bad habit of collapsing under their own weight. I know of some enterprises that refer to their "lost years" of ECM, from which they are only now recovering.

This recovery process has entailed business managers demanding specific applications to solve particular document management problems, sometimes going outside the enterprise to find better-fitting solutions in the cloud. Consider for example workaday contracts management -- something you could build in Documentum, but purchase much more readily in a panoply of other, simpler tools. (Check out our ECM & Cloud File Sharing Report for detailed evaluations of 15 solutions, including Documentum.)

Where Does Documentum Fit Today?

Some document and records management projects are large and complex enough to merit a complicated platform like Documentum. But for some time now, this has constituted just one use-case among the seven major document management scenarios that serve as evaluation criteria in our research.

To be sure, Documentum isn't dying. EMC has slowly but regularly upgraded the core Documentum platform, most recently at the end of 2012. Whatever the platform has lacked in innovation, EMC can at least point to long-term continuity.  EMC has also made some small but nifty acquisitions on the side.

But how much is Documentum really living? In recent years some EMC integration partners have jumped ship. You can understand why. Knowing Documentum Query Language (DQL) is kind of like knowing COBOL: you can make a good living....keeping legacy implementations alive.

As a customer, you should consider EMC-Documentum if your document and records management needs will require a highly customized solution. For example, if your document store numbers into the millions of files, or you need to develop highly specific, bespoke user interfaces. Even then, a savvy buyer will perform extra diligence to ensure that a simpler and more open platform won't suffice.

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2014 Enterprise Portals Logo Landscape #portals #EntArch Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:08:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2715-2014-Enterprise-Portals-Logo-Landscape? Just last week, version 6.2 of the Enterprise Portals Report was released with fresh evaluations of Microsoft SharePoint and Liferay.

Today, we are releasing the corresponding 2014 Enterprise Portals Technology Logo Landscape. This chart shows how the thirteen portal technology offerings we evaluate in the Enterprise Portals Report fall into two broad groupings:

  • Infrastructure Portal Vendors
  • Specialist Portal Vendors

 

You can download a higher-res copy here.

If you missed our earlier 2014 Logo Landscape releases, you can find them here:

- 2014 Enterprise Mobile Technology Logo Landscape

- 2014 Web Content & Experience Management Logo Landscape

- 2014 Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Logo Landscape

- 2014 Digital & Media Asset Management Logo Landscape

- 2014 Cloud and File Sharing Logo Landscape

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London Calling Part 2: Congility #mobile #publishing Tue, 03 Jun 2014 17:02:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2711-London-Calling-Part-2:-Congility? June is a busy month for technology events in London. After we finish up London Technology Week, we'll be attending Congility 2014 down in Gatwick on June 19th & 20th. 

This event focuses on content strategy and more specifically, the challenges of managing structured and componentized content. If you're looking to learn more about XML, DITA, structured content authoring, and localized content, this is one of the few global events that hones in on these topics. Prior to the event, we'll also be jointly hosting a webinar about marketing technology selection.

I'll be a part of the event's closing panel, talking about content strategy and technical communication. Please let me know if you'll be attending, as well.

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Webinar Tomorrow: Mobile Enabling Your Salespeople #mobile #ecm Tue, 03 Jun 2014 11:44:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2714-Webinar-Tomorrow:-Mobile-Enabling-Your-Salespeople? Your enterprise salespeople are increasingly mobile. More than ever, they need access to collateral — brochures, presentations, contracts, pricing charts, and so forth — while on the move. How can you provide effective access to the latest documents for salespeople who aren’t tethered to your internal enterprise network?

In this webinar, we’ll try to address this issue. We will look at the key requirements of salespeople in detail. We will then evaluate four strategic options for your enterprise to address the needs of salespeople (as well as other employees who need these services). We’ll also look at key tools for each of these options.

It’ll be a short (30 min) but a fast-paced webinar. You can register here.

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London Calling Part 1: Technology Week #mobile #socbiz Mon, 02 Jun 2014 15:10:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2709-London-Calling-Part-1:-Technology-Week? We've long partnered with the Internet World UK Conference and the Interop events in the US and India, where we've led sessions and taught seminars. This year in London, Internet World and Interop are coming together as part of the upcoming London Technology Week, and once again we're excited to be a part of this multi-faceted educational event.

I'll be presenting a few sessions as a part of both Internet World and Interop, highlighting some of the latest findings in our digital workplace, mobile, and social / collaboration research. I'll also be leading a more general session on how to evaluate emerging technologies for the enterprise.

If you're on the "right" side of the Atlantic, I hope you're planning to be in London for this exciting week of technology learning. Please come along to my sessions, and ask challenging questions!

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Portals Research Updates to Liferay and Microsoft SharePoint #Cloud #mobile Wed, 28 May 2014 07:20:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2708-Portals-Research-Updates-to-Liferay-and-Microsoft-SharePoint? Earlier this month, we released updates to our Portals and Content Integration evaluations. The new version focuses on significant upgrades of Microsoft SharePoint and Liferay Portal.

Our Liferay review has been updated for release 6.2. The key changes are related to new mobile delivery capabilities (along with a new mobile SDK) and a re-designed admin interface. We also take a critical eye to Liferay's new Marketplace, its new collaboration architecture, as well as its personalization capabilities.

As you know, Microsoft SharePoint 2013 represents a major upgrade to SharePoint 2010. However, we argue that for enterprise portal services, it’s more an upgrade in degree than kind, even if the much vaunted (though little used) “app store” gave it some short-term street cred. What's new is Microsoft’s emphasis on the cloud-based version of SharePoint, now an integral part of Office 365. We evaluate portal services in the cloud, and much more.

You can of course download detailed evaluation of each of these vendors as well as the complete report here.

Besides this report, there are a number of advisory papers as well as webinars related to Portals that subscribers can access as well.

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Social-Enabling your enterprise circa 2014 #socbiz #sharepoint Fri, 16 May 2014 12:13:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2707-Social-Enabling-your-enterprise-circa-2014? We've been following the social-as-a-layer trend for several years now, mostly waiting for vendors to catch up with customer aspirations here.

The core concept is simple: rather than social networking functionality represented as a "place to go," enterprises want to inject social capabilities into workaday business processes, creating more efficiencies, improving usability, and generally creating a more humane digital workplace.

Not quite there yet

Social-as-a-layer has proven difficult in practice, for a number of reasons we detail in our Enterprise Collaboration & Social research stream.

Many vendors have -- quite prudently, I think -- focused on building social components on top of SharePoint, which famously lacks quality social capabilities itself. But this still raises the question of how to social-enable business processes that fall outside SharePoint.

Interestingly, even the more agnostic social-layer solutions like Tibco's Tibbr offering still tend to get implemented more as places than layers, and vendors have taken to emphasizing their facebook-like walls and employee profiles more than their sometimes complicated integrations.

To me, this suggests a couple of things:

  1. The near-term key to unlocking value still lies in specific applications (like Social Q&A), and most customers are still working on this challenge
  2. Comprehensive social-enablement of legacy systems often requires customers to invest in heavy integration work that's essential to providing context to social capabilities, and many of you are not quite ready to do that

A layer and a destination?

So this puts social-layer vendors betwixt two worlds: they need to find simpler ways to provide meaningful social capabilities on top of multiple underlying systems, as well as develop specific applications themselves.

Nowhere is this dilemma so vividly demonstrated as with SharePoint and Yammer -- still two very separate systems almost two years after Microsoft closed the acquisition.

Fortunately, the market seems to be adapting. In particular, vendors who traditionally focused on amping up SharePoint are now slowly spreading their coverage areas to other systems. (Ironically not so much with Yammer, though.)

As a customer, this bodes well for you in the long run. In the near term, you'll want to meter your investments here very carefully, and measure incremental effort directly against additional business value.

In our own vendor evaluation research, we recently decided to group SharePoint add-ons and more general-purpose social layers into a single new category: "Social Enterprise Layers and SharePoint Supplements." I suspect that in the future you'll see more of a convergence here.

If you're wondering if our research and advisory services can help smooth your journey, just drop us a line.

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ECM file sync - dedicated folder vs arbitrary folders #Cloud #DigitalWorkplace Wed, 14 May 2014 12:20:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2706-ECM-file-sync-dedicated-folder-vs-arbitrary-folders? One new feature that many ECM platforms (and all Cloud-based file sharing tools) provide is the ability to sync files across your multiple devices: desktop, laptop, mobile phones, and tablets. The idea is that you should be able to access your files -- and optionally complete tasks -- irrespective of your location or device type.

To do this, you typically install a client application provided by your vendor. It monitors your folders on the server as well as local environment, and syncs any changes between the server, computer, and other devices via device-specific apps. There are a number of variations here but you want to pay attention to how folders are synched.

Some tools such as dropbox and Box expect you to create a dedicated folder -- or create one automatically on installation. Then when you put in files in that folder, the service syncs those files with the server and other devices. What this means is that you will keep track of which files to sync and them copy (or move) those files to that specific folder resulting in duplication of files and other associated issues. The benefit of course is that this approach is simpler and straight forward.

Other tools, such as EMC Syncplicity, allow you to add any arbitrary folders to your sync list. The main benefit is that you don't have to worry about moving or copying files but instead you can keep working with files in their usual locations. Of course, when the number of sync folders increases, you might get into manageability issues.

We explore this and other aspects in much greater detail on a vendor-by-vendor basis in our recently released ECM and Cloud File Sharing evaluations. You can subscribe or download a sample here.

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Updated Evaluations - SharePoint, Yammer, Sitrion, harmon.ie, and Neudesic #DigitalWorkplace #sharepoint Tue, 13 May 2014 10:40:00 +0000 http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2704-Updated-Evaluations-SharePoint-Yammer-Sitrion-harmon.ie-and-Neudesic? We've just released version 5.0 of our Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Report. This latest release offers some practical answers to a nearly ubiquitous question:

"How do I add useful social capabilities to SharePoint?"

Specifically, we've updated the evaluations of SharePoint, Yammer, and Sitrion (formerly NewsGator), and added harmon.ie and Neudesic Pulse to the line-up. Here's a sneak peek, calling out a single aspect of each of these vendors.

Where SharePoint Comes up Short

A variation of Murphy's Law goes like this - "Inside every large problem is many other small problems trying to get out." That about sums up the whole SharePoint 2013 / Office 365 situation right now. Enterprises need to grapple with vexing issues like on-premise vs cloud, and how to deliver effective social networking applications. The SharePoint review chapter summarizes what you can expect to see in the SharePoint platform.

Of course, you need to read this together with the chapter on Yammer. Redmond has positioned Yammer as the enterprise social networking solution within the Office 365 family, to receive priority for future enhancements and integrations. We address what this means for your on-premise SharePoint estate.

SharePoint Add-ons

Sitrion, formerly known as NewsGator, continues to offer polished applications for SharePoint, and is also trying to expand its portfolio to include social applications around SAP.

harmon.ie is an add-on to SharePoint / Office 365. While it only addresses a subset of the functionality of the larger SharePoint platform, it takes a novel approach to usability for your current SharePoint applications. 

Neudesic Pulse is both standalone social networking software as well as a tool that can add social capabilities to SharePoint and other collaboration applications. One of the pre-packaged applications here is LinkedIn-style über profiles for use inside the enterprise. 

The full report is available for immediate download to RSG subscribers. Others can get a complimentary sample chapter

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