Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2015, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 03/27/2015 00:00:00 60 New and Updated Evaluations - Jive, SharePoint, Liferay, Drupal, and Zimbra #DigitalWorkplace #sharepoint Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:32:00 +0000 We've just released the latest version of our Enterprise Collaboration and Social Networking vendor evaluation report, with updates to Microsoft, Drupal, Jive, and Zimbra, along with a new entrant, Liferay Social Office.  Here's a sneak peek at some findings.


All these years we've advised that you adopt from among "complement, supplement or extend" strategies for your SharePoint platform. Now, we add a fourth: "postpone."

That's because of the convoluted and confused steps emanating from Redmond on multiple fronts -- migration to Office 365, integration with Yammer, and hybrid cloud deployments. Even though the SharePoint ecosystem is gearing up for SharePoint 2016, the majority of customers have been taking a rather sensible wait-and-watch attitude towards SP 2013. Consult our research for more details.


While Acquia remains a good shepherd of the Commons distribution, we note that momentum is building around the OpenAtrium distro, an emerging solution for social-intranet scenarios. 


Some things in life just don't change. Just like you can always count on Jive to rename their products with each release. But this time Jive is changing more than just nomenclature; the vendor has begun a journey of unbundling the platform (which is at risk of becoming unwieldy because of all the feature additions) into narrowly focused but more usable apps.


Zimbra (neé Telligent) is trying hard to catch-up with larger rivals in the space who have stolen a march despite Telligent's early momentum. The real question though is whether Zimbra's social platform can expand beyond its traditional use cases around communities and whether the company has the wherewithal to pull it off.

Liferay Social Office

Last but not least, we also added a new vendor to our evaluations line-up. Think of Social Office as a Liferay Portal "distro" of sorts where you get an enterprise portal plus social-collaboration platform in one package. There is a yin and yang thing going on here, with both pros and cons. 

This latest report is available for immediate download to RSG subscribers.

If you're not a subscriber, you can download a sample evaluation here.

Immersive Environments Still Not Ready for Enterprise #DigitalWorkplace #immersive Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:28:00 +0000 In 2011, Real Story Group published an advisory, “Is Immersive Collaboration Software Ready for Prime Time?,” which concluded that the value of virtual worlds and other immersive environments remains questionable and risky for enterprise customers.

As an enormous enthusiast and independent researcher of these platforms, I consider this analysis still applicable today. Continuing interface complexity, coupled with difficulties in scaling due to fundamental limitations in bandwidth, means that best-case uses of immersive environments remain rooted in non-enterprise sectors.

For example:

  • Progressive education
  • Design and prototyping in a collaborative but limited context (for example, design of a theatrical stage set)
  • Some site- and scenario-specific training (such as machine control rooms or cultural training for personnel operating in foreign environments)
  • Arts and entertainment

Utilizing virtual worlds today continues to require a user base that is amenable to exploration and novelty and where “creative play” is valued above efficient productivity. End-users must still invest substantial time and effort to master the steep learning curves needed to function fluidly in a virtual environment; it takes significant skill-sets to traverse and utilize these platforms.

More common technologies such as video conferencing and desktop sharing of industry-standard applications--augmented by communication channels (for example, CAD on shared desktops using Skype)--remain more accessible, effective, and efficient solutions for enterprise.

However, technical and design innovation in the immersive space continues, and increasing VC interest is promising. Paul Allen-led Vulcan Capital recently invested in High Fidelity, a next iteration of complex virtual world by the creators of Second Life. High Fidelity has built into the user interface support for gesture and facial mapping onto avatars via camera and sensor inputs, as well as viewing via Oculus Rift. Once mature, these technologies could greatly reduce the complexity of use and navigation. The acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook is another monetary vote of confidence that may augur well for next-generation immersive platforms.

But, nearly three years after our initial assessment, there has yet to be a breakthrough application that radically changes the analysis regarding enterprise use.

Additionally, I predict that the vendor-provided model of virtual platforms will not be the final path to enterprise and mass adoption. Rather, the next iteration of the web—one that will be 3D and immersive in its entirety—rests in the ability of HTML5 and frameworks such as WebGL to deliver standardized 3D in the browser without the need for additional plug-ins, media players, and disparate user-controls.  Critically, advances in camera and sensor technologies integrated into laptop and mobile devices, are necessary to alleviate the enormous, current burden on the user, who is asked to manually pilot avatars in a complex environment while not losing sight of where he is on the spreadsheet.

While some evangelists claim that virtual worlds make online engagement “more human and life-like,” they succeed in this only to the extent that everyone is rendered more vulnerable to chagrin as unintended events and simple user error become publicly observable. In good-natured and flat organizations where everyone is able to be equally fallible, this may be acceptable. In those where some modicum of professional authority and hierarchy is desired, virtual worlds continue to risk rendering everyone equal along a spectrum of the absurd.

[Webinar] DAM Customer Survey Findings #DAM #MediaAssetManagement Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:44:00 +0000[Webinar]-DAM-Customer-Survey-Findings? RSG conducted an online survey in late 2014 to obtain practitioner perspective on key digital & media asset management software themes such as common use cases, tools, vendors, implementation issues, and overall challenges. The final survey results included a cross-section of organizations drawn from a variety of geographies and industries.

Join me in this webinar next Thursday, where I'll discuss key survey findings, including:

• Satisfaction with the technology
• The extent of current and future transitions to the cloud
• Departments that are leading digital asset management projects
• Key organizational challenges
• The extent of DAM integrations with other enterprise systems

Webinar Details

Registration: DAM Customer Survey Findings

Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015

Time: 12:00-12:30 PM EST (16:00-16:30 UTC/GMT)

I look forward to seeing you there…


(P.S. If you are an RSG research subscriber, you will also receive an invitation for a detailed briefing.)

Is there a Swiss Army Knife for Enterprise Collaboration? #socbiz #DigitalWorkplace Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:19:00 +0000 RSG's Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software survey (get summary here) revealed that SharePoint is not a swiss army knife for enterprise collaboration -- i.e., a single tool that can serve multiple use cases. To be sure, it probably never was.

Still, I find it interesting that many vendors (even those lacking the breadth of functionality typically found in a larger platform like SharePoint) will aggressively promote their solutions as do-it-all-systems that match all the diverse use cases that many organizations have.

The rubber-meets-the-road reality is quite different.

Horses for Courses

Using the data from our industry survey, we crunched the numbers for organizations having more than 1000 employees and found that they are employing multiple social-collaboration software products -- on average, 2.6 in an organization. (For the statistically inclined, the 95% confidence interval is 2.3 to 3.)

This leads to the obvious question: why are organizations deploying three collaboration software products? Firstly, vendors simply can't do it all. The diversity and complexity of collaboration use cases (which has only increased with cloud and mobile technologies) is such that vendors can only support adequately a sub-set of the use cases. 

Figure 1:  You're in for a surprise if you think a social-collaboration software product is like a swiss army knife that holds all the tools you need.  Image: Swistik Knife, installation art by Biju Joze at Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Secondly, despite vendor claims / case studies of enterprise-wide deployments, many implementations remain at the departmental level and different departments could have procured different tools.

What's the Implication for Technology Buyers ?

Technical functionality and features are only parts of the puzzle. You are most likely going to rely on multiple products for meeting your enterprise collaboration requirements. So, don't ignore the integration capabilities of the products you are evaluating. Carefully look under the hood to understand how well they can play with the other systems in your technology stack.

Our in-depth product evaluations can be very handy here.

Webinar: Is Your ECM/DAM System Cloud Ready? #Cloud #trends Tue, 17 Mar 2015 21:29:00 +0000 No ECM or DAM conversation is complete without a heated discussion about cloud services.

By “Cloud Services,” we mean to what extent can a particular solution get deployed in a cloud, by you, the vendor, or a third party. It's actually not always a simple proposition, but as enterprises seek to decrease infrastructure spending and free up IT resources, the cloud has risen to the forefront on many agendas.

Join me in this webinar (in partnership with DOCUMENT Strategy Media) for a review of key aspects that you need to consider while evaluating ECM or DAM in the cloud.

We will also examine various cloud deployment models, analyze variations of what vendors call a "hybrid cloud” and also look at a few more considerations that are relevant while considering Cloud-based models for ECM and DAM technologies.

Webinar Details

Registration: Webinar: Is your ECM / DAM Cloud-Ready

Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time: 12:00-12:30 PM EST (16:00-16:30 UTC/GMT)

Hope to see you there...

March Madness 2015: Digital Workplace and Marketing Technology Edition #digitalmarketing #DigitalWorkplace Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:23:00 +0000 As technology advisors, every day can feel like Selection Sunday when working with our subscribers.  For most enterprises, selecting technology can be like picking a winner of the NCAA Basketball Tournament:

  • Lots of guessing
  • Favoritism to the teams/vendors you know
  • Limited research
  • A mix of predictability and surprises
  • Untold amounts of money changing hands
  • Madness...

At the Real Story Group, we have helped thousands of enterprises across the world make this process a lot less maddening. Our vendor evaluation reports and interactive online tools help you get to an appropriate short-list – an Elite Eight or Final Four, if you will. We specialize in winnowing down your choices from an entire marketplace to the vendors and products that could best fit for your needs.

Fill in Your Bracket

Thus, we are once again providing you with a Digital Marketing Technology Bracket and a Digital Workplace Technology Bracket to help you get started in your quest to "cut down the nets" with a successful technology solution.


You can download your own full-size Digital Workplace Technology Bracket here.


You can download your own full-size Digital Marketing Technology Bracket here.

Some Disclaimers

There's no such thing as a "best" software vendor. Thus, these depictions of the Digital Workplace and Digital Marketing technology landscapes are not indicative of any seedings; rather it is a simple grouping of some of the more significant content technology vendors that we cover. The vendors chosen were done so randomly since we actually cover more than 250 products from 172 vendors (you can see the full list here.) 

Good luck! And if you need help finding the right Digital Marketing or Digital Workplace technology for your enterprise, contact us and we'll help you pick a winner.

Esko acquires MediaBeacon #DAM #branding Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:54:00 +0000 News broke yesterday that artwork and packaging management company, Esko, will acquire DAM vendor MediaBeacon. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

An Intriguing Acquisition

This is the most intriguing acquisition in the DAM industry in several years, which has been otherwise sleepy since Shutterstock’s acquisition of WebDAM (merely a blip) and NorthPlains’ acquisition Xinet and Vyre several years ago.

Unlike the North Plains acquisitions, however, Esko’s acquiring MediaBeacon represents little to no technological functional overlap: the core technologies of artwork and packaging management software are very different from that of DAM software. In this case, a true case of two specialized product lines coming together, the whole has the potential to be greater than the sum of its parts. But it will require some fancy calculus, not just simple arithmetic.

MediaBeacon Past and Future

Under company founder Jason Bright, MediaBeacon has been something of an industry darling for the last decade, pioneering many aspects of DAM software that are now commonplace, such as embedded metadata, XMP support, and widget-based, HTML5, role-driven interfaces. Where MediaBeacon has always faltered was in meeting the services demand of the rapid adoption of the product (consult our DAM evaluation report for more details).

MediaBeacon’s new Managing Director, Brett Robertson (coming from Esko’s parent company, Danaher), will now assume operations of MediaBeacon, so Bright can focus on his original role as CTO. Robertson will have his work cut out for him: MediaBeacon’s adoption has been broad over the past five years in particular, and with the inevitable cross-selling of the DAM into Esko’s global network of artwork and packaging customers, the demand will no doubt increase.

Interpreting the Acquisition

We'll have more to say about this in our DAM research stream, but for now, a few observations about the acquisition:

— As many of our large CPG research subscribers will confirm, there’s an increasing demand to integrate packaging and artwork management tools with DAM technology, for a clear, end-to-end workflow from brand management and digital marketing to the package on the shelf at the point of sale. Esko’s main competitor, Schawk!, has little to show as far as DAM partnerships, let alone tangible integration use cases, so this will affect the competition at the top end of that market, as well.

 — Jason Bright claims to already have a roadmap that fits MediaBeacon’s technology neatly into the Esko stack. Note that with every acquisition, real integration take time, though MediaBeacon has been known to be very aggressive here. There’s also good technological compatibility among the technologies: Java and JSP are the foundation of both.

— MediaBeacon will still be sold separately, not just as a component of the Esko suite.

— There’s a large potential ecosystem of channel partners here, along with existing firms like Cognizant and IBM, Esko’s integrators will also get trained up to deliver MediaBeacon services, with the goal of accelerating adoption of both products.  But you should be cautious here: an Esko partner doth not a MediaBeacon specialist make.

Who Really Benefits

As I see it, there’s a bigger potential upside here for Esko customers than MediaBeacon licensees. Companies that manage printing and packaging can reap huge benefits from the addition of a DAM. The opposite is not the case for many of MediaBeacon’s customers, many of whom do not create packaging of any kind. They may find that MediaBeacon’s future enhancements are very focused on CPG use cases, and a little less on industries like media, entertainment, and others.

We've conducted extensive research about how other acquisitions in DAM have changed both the acquired and the acquiring companies, and in particular, how they affect you, the buyer or implementer. It's all in the most current version of our research: for more details, look here.

Box Unboxing into Content and Collaboration #ecm #box Thu, 12 Mar 2015 06:33:00 +0000 Box has been a popular vendor in file sync and sharing marketplace; however it now wants to move beyond that, fueled in part by new funding from its early 2015 IPO.

Box sees itself as a broader provider of content and collaboration services.  The vendor wants to become a content layer that licensees can use to build their own applications that access Box’s underlying services. This is a major shift and will have architectural implications going forward.

We explore Box's prospects and provide more details in a just released update to our ECM & Cloud File Sharing vendor evaluations. The new release also includes updates to our evaluation of OpenText, based on several customer inputs.

You can download a sample here.

Using ECM platforms for Digital Asset Management #DAM #ecm Fri, 06 Mar 2015 13:21:00 +0000 Many of our customers -- especially those who have invested in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platforms from vendors such as EMC and Oracle -- ask us if they can use DAM offerings from these vendors for their Digital Asset Management initiatives. As always, the answer is: It depends.

In general, there are three types of DAM systems within an ECM suite:

  1. Where you use the general-purpose file management capabilities for your digital assets.  SharePoint and Alfresco work this way.
  2. Where the vendor has layered DAM services on top of their ECM repository.  EMC and Oracle do this.
  3. Where the ECM vendor has a completely separate DAM tool with its own distinct repository and workflow subsystem (essentially not using the underlying ECM platform).  OpenText and HP do this.

When should you use ECM-specific DAM services?

There are many advantages of using a general-purpose ECM platforms in categories one and two above. Some of these are good underlying services that an ECM repository provides, such as:

  • Metadata handling, taxonomy and related capabilities
  • Security infrastructure
  • Ability to create more complex business processes and workflows
  • Relatively more scalable in terms of handling large number of objects as well as in terms of deployment options

Besides these, an important advantage you get is the ability to use DAM in conjunction with other capabilities. This is handy, for example, when you want to manage digital assets along with documents or want to surface digital assets on same vendor’s Portal or WCM tool.

When should you look beyond ECM platforms?

In spite of what ECM vendors might say, managing audio and video assets is not same as managing documents. There are challenges related to file sizes, the nature of the files, and even use cases. So, If you are not already invested in an ECM tool, you will want to look at a broader marketplace, especially if you have some of the following requirements:

  • You want a stand-alone DAM offering
  • Your DAM solution need to integrate with a wider list of enterprise systems
  • You don’t want to just manage images but also want to manage audio and video assets
  • You need sophisticated DAM capabilities for these assets. These include capabilities for media processing, DAM and Media Asset Management-specific collaboration and workflows, and more advanced encoding and transcoding capabilities.

Need more details?

In a forthcoming advisory paper, we will explain these and other issues in more details. Plus in our  Digital and Media Asset Management report, we're expanding our reviews of ECM vendors’ DAM offerings.

Meanwhile, you can download a sample here or let us know if we can help.

2015 Vendor Map - The Big Picture #digitalmarketing #DigitalWorkplace Thu, 05 Mar 2015 10:59:00 +0000 Earlier this week, we released the latest version of our Digital Workplace & Marketing Technology Vendor Map.

H1 2015 RSG Subway Map (click to enlarge)

The Big Picture

Many themes persist in this latest version (and I'll get to those below), but in the meantime, I'll answer what an RSG subscriber asked me when she first saw this latest version: "What's the big picture?"

There is no single Digital Workplace or Digital Marketing platform.
You simply cannot purchase a single product -- or even a single suite -- that will give you everything you need. That means that a workplace or marketing leader has to be conversant in several technologies, and your enterprise needs a strategy around how the different pieces will fit together.

Some technologies -- like portals, mobile and WCM -- apply to both digital workplace and customer engagement architectures.
But the way you'd use them can differ dramatically on whether the key stakeholder is an employee or customer/partner. And that's why most enterprises employ different solutions for internal- vs. outward-facing use cases.

What Is Old Is Still New

Some older trends persist...

These are highly fragmented marketplaces.
Sure, some vendors get "hot" for a year or two, but in all these marketplace except perhaps enterprise portals, no vendor can claim more than 5% marketshare overall. You have a lot of choices -- many of them good choices -- but you want the best-fitting choice, and our evaluation research will help you sort that out.

Most innovation happens at the periphery than the center.
Microsoft has largely abandoned digital marketing use cases, while IBM, Oracle, and Adobe have tended to buy innovation, rather than grow it themselves.

Get a high-rez, printable version of the map.


Customer Survey Findings - Digital and Media Asset Management Software #trends #DAM Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:45:00 +0000 RSG conducted an online survey in late 2014 to gain practitioner perspective on key digital & media asset management software themes such as common use cases, tools, vendors, implementation issues, and overall challenges. 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 digital and media asset management technology remains low-to-middling overall
  • Implementations of traditional DAM use cases remain more mature than rich-media, multi-channel, or multilingual use cases
  • On-premise deployment models presently dominate, but cloud-based architectures predominate future plans

Survey results indicate that enterprises are hampered by an overall lack of execution capacity for their DAM initiatives and are also unable to fully leverage purchased DAM technology. Savvy customers should perform careful technology due diligence and plan comprehensive strategies for success.

RSG Digital and Media Asset Management 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

Sneak Peek into Web Content Management Customer Survey #wcxm #trends Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:57:00 +0000 RSG is currently conducting a customer survey on Web Content & Experience Management Technology usage. You can still participate, but only if you complete it this week (closes March 1st).

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

WCM is a multi-disciplinary endeavor

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

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

Developer Availability and Systems Integration are the top technical challenges

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

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

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

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

Figure 3: WCM Non-Technical Challenges. (Click image to enlarge)

How to get the final results yourself

This is just a small sliver of the findings you can expect from the study, and doubtless the data will change when all the entries get tallied. We're really looking forward to digging into the details so you can benchmark your implementation against your peers.

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

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

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

Essentially, customers are divided into three categories:

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

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

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

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

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

This 10-page briefing provides

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

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

The key trends we discuss in this briefing include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below I'll review a couple common approaches.

Inside and Out

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

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

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

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

Variable Storage

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

And More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Real Story Group

The Vendor B.S. Gap

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

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

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

The Customer Capacity Gap

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

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

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

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

How does your enterprise stack up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Reality Check

Finally, we provide an overview of the key players as well as a comparative analysis of the relative risks and opportunities associated with each vendor via RSG's "Reality Check" chart (above).

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

Enterprise Mobile stream subscribers can download the full briefing here.

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

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

Apples and Oranges

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

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

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

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

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

Customer Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's a preview of what we found:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's a link to the survey.

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

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

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