Real Story Group Recent Real Story Group Blog Entries Copyright (c) 2014, Inc. All Rights Reserved. : Blogs en-us 04/18/2014 00:00:00 60 What digital marketers really mean when they say they want WordPress #cms #wcm Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:37:00 +0000 "Why can't it be as easy to use as WordPress?" or more pointedly, "Why can't we just use WordPress?"

This is the lament of many a digital marketer frustrated with their Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) system. They've either used WordPress for a personal site or blog, or an external agency has built a microsite for them on WordPress. In either case, publishing's a snap compared to their enterprisey WCM system.

As readers of our Web CMS Report know, WordPress is not for everyone. It lies very much on the product end of the product-vs.-platform spectrum, and -- like most technologies -- WordPress has at least as many weaknesses as strengths. So for most enterprises, especially larger enterprises, WordPress would not offer a good fit for general purpose WCM services, even if it's an exceptionally good blogging platform.

What they really mean

But you can't criticize your colleagues for wanting to go the WordPress route. In most cases, it's really a way of telling you something else...probably something very important:

- "Our repository is too big to navigate easily"
- "We have meaningless workflow or approval processes"
- "Our rich text editor is buggy"
- "I can't create microsites without IT"
- "I can't easily add or move widgets"
- "The site's structure is too locked down"
- And so on...

Maybe WordPress isn't the answer...

These symptoms often reflect less a deficiency in the WCM tool itself, and more a failure to implement the solution in a way that empowers marketers. If so, then the lesson for you is not necessarily to license WordPress, but to embrace simplicity and configuration-over-customization in your systems and processes.

Yet, this also means that business users need to embrace abstraction. For example, rather than creating fifty different widget types, better to have five or ten different widgets available, with the ability to easily set configurations for each instance.

A final word

WordPress has its place in the enterprise. But most readers of this blog will need something more powerful for their main enterprise WCM platform. With power comes complexity, but the savvy enterprise will make a priority of implementing a platform in such a way that it empowers marketers and editors.

SharePoint as a DAM: Suitability, Limitations, and Alternatives #DAM #sharepoint Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:32:00 +0000 Known primarily for workgroup management of MS Office files, Microsoft SharePoint is also an omnibus information management platform with potentially many other uses. So customers can reasonably ask if it will suffice for Digital Asset Management (DAM) scenarios as well.

Today we publish an advisory paper offering a detailed analysis of SharePoint's DAM capabilities – its possibilities, limitations, and alternatives, along with an explanation of the circumstances when it will suffice.

We then offer an assessment of three main alternatives when seeking a more targeted DAM solution, running either within, behind, or next to SharePoint.

As always, let us know if you have questions.

2014 Digital & Media Asset Management Logo Landscape #DAM #EntArch Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:18:00 +0000 This week's release in our Logo Landscape Series is the 2014 Digital & Media Asset Management Logo Landscape. It shows how the 36 Digital & Media Asset Management options we evaluate in the Digital & Media Asset Management Report fall into 5 groupings:

- Enterprise Brand & Digital Asset Management

- Broadcast Media Management

- SMB / Workgroup DAM & MAM: Platforms

- SMB / Workgroup DAM & MAM: Products

- Regional & Niche DAM & MAM Players

You can download a copy here.

Of course, these categories are merely a starting point for buyers looking to build a shortlist. This is a flast grouping that gathers key competitors together, but you will likely want to cross categories as you seek the best fit.  As always, a savvy customer will look at other factors like geography, licensing, ease of use, and architectural considerations, among other.

In fact, I recommend focusing first on business objectives -- like you'll find in our Custom Short-List Builder -- as a good starting point for further research and diligence.

If we can help you here, please let us know.

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

- 2014 Web Content & Experience Management Logo Landscape

- 2014 Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Logo Landscape

IBM to acquire Silverpop #digitalmarketing #ibm Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:32:00 +0000 Last week, IBM announced a definitive agreement to acquire marketing automation vendor Silverpop. Silverpop is an Atlanta, GA-based, 500-employee company. Its marketing platform "Engage" offers email-based campaign management and lead management, along with rudimentary landing page management.

In our last update to RSG's Marketing Automation and Social evaluations, we had mentioned that the company is a prime acquisition target as one of the few remaining major independent marketing automation vendors. All the big ones -- Oracle (Eloqua and Responsys), (ExactTarget and Pardot) and Adobe (Neolane) have already been active in M&A in this marketplace and so in that sense, this wasn't a big surprise.

Recall that IBM’s digital marketing offerings for the most part lie within its broader Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) umbrella. EMM is a loose collection
of approximately about fifty distinct products of diverse origins and architectures. For marketing automation capabilities, the key pieces are IBM Campaign (formerly Unica Campaign), IBM Marketing Center, and a few other email marketing modules. In fact, marketing automation and social marketing functionality has been split across disparate products at a time when many competitors can offer a straightforward, point solution to these challenges.

Silverpop will likely change that. It is comparatively simpler alternative to their existing, rather complex offerings. Silverpop is also B2B focussed as opposed to IBM's existing capabilities that are predominantly B2C. Still, this will be IBM's fourth or fifth different email campaign management solution, depending on how you count.

A lot depends on how IBM executes the merger and integrates the offerings. IBM already promotes a catalog of about 100 SaaS-based offerings, which Silverpop will join. However, it is entirely possible that Silverpop will get lost in this vast sea of multiple and overlapping offerings. We'll keep watching and informing you about what we learn. Meanwhile, you can check out the existing reviews of IBM EMM and Silverpop, or download a free sample.

Updated ECM reviews including Documentum, IBM, Alfresco, Oracle, Microsoft, OpenText, and others #Cloud #ecm Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:23:00 +0000 This week, we release a new Version 10 of our ECM research. It's a major release and you'll find a lot that's new. Below, I highlight the key changes:

New category of vendors

We now define two categories in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM). These are:

  1. ECM/DM vendors who provide a wide range of services around document and enterprise content management
  2. Cloud-based File Sharing & Sync (CFS) vendors that offer cloud-based services for  lightweight document management, collaboration, sharing, and sync services

The latter is a new category. Popularized by consumer-oriented services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and so forth, vendors such as and Syncplicity (now part of EMC) can provide broad services for cloud-based file sharing, sync, offline work, and lightweight collaboration for enterprises. 

At first blush, it would appear they are two separate marketplaces. However, we’ve found out from our research that there is considerable overlap of services between these Cloud-based File Sharing (CFS) vendors and ECM vendors.

And so, we've renamed our set of evaluations to "ECM and Cloud FileSharing Report."

New Evaluation Scenarios

We revisited our crucial vendor evaluation scenarios and simplified them, to make it easier to compare vendor "fit" across business cases. In particular, we dropped a few scenarios and clarified several others.

New Functional and Technical Evaluation Criteria

Just like scenarios, we also refreshed our evaluation criteria. Specifically for functional criteria, we have added sections on Mobile Access as well as File Sync & Sharing services. For technical criteria, we have added a new section on Cloud Services.

And then you'll all new evaluations of individual vendors. For now, we have updated all the ECM vendors and incorporated existing research CFS vendors.

You can download a sample here.

Have CMS systems struggled to keep abreast of Media publishing requirements? #wcxm #DigitalWorkplace Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:42:00 +0000 Ezra Klein, a star columnist with the Washington Post, has left his job to join a new publishing outlet What prompted him to leave the venerable WaPo? No, Klein is not leaving because of the paper’s new owner, Jeff Bezos. He says he's leaving because their traditional Web Content Management System constrains the publishing possibilities he imagines.

At RSG, we know Web CMS platforms quite intimately – after all we’ve kept close tabs on this technology from its nascent years in the early dot-com phase to the present Cloud-Mobile-Social period. A couple of themes that we’ve consistently called out are the sub-optimal CMS experience for content authors and how your CMS architecture could constrict content publishing.

To elaborate: Implicitly or explicitly, the architecture of many CMSes assumes that the content publishing process follows a set routine – an author publishes an article and it is reviewed or edited by someone else before publication. Yes, content can be routed differently through a workflow but the basic idea remains the same. In this world-view, the readers play a passive content-consumption role, context is provided through links to related content, and usually the author moves on very quickly to the next article.

But as we’ve seen time and again, this model fails in many business scenarios -- particularly in the Media & Entertainment industry. Breaking stories, or more generally, where a content item needs to be updated frequently, is one instance. To be sure, “write once, publish many” is the CMS mantra but it means publish the same content to different channels, not update the same content multiple times. Similarly, editors increasingly want more control over lists of things that your CMS would normally consign to an automated query.

Many Web CMSes struggle with user generated content as well. If you want to highlight a few user comments in your copy, or promote them alongside the copy, you’ll very quickly hit against traditional CMS limitations. Ditto if you want to “curate” content from different sources, such as an Instagram photo, Twitter updates, and use a mash-up of some related items alongside an article. 

In short, the notions of what constitutes “content” have changed significantly. Creating compelling online content experiences today requires a lot more flexibility and newer capabilities from the underlying content publishing systems, and most traditional CMS platforms have not fully kept pace with the changes.  This is particularly the case for Media firms, where many custom solutions -- like the system has built -- continue to arise despite a broad marketplace of packaged software alternatives.

If you work for a media and entertainment (or any other kind of) company, we'd be happy to review your options with you.

2014 Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Logo Landscape #DigitalWorkplace #EntArch Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:27:00 +0000 Next up in our Logo Landscape Series is the 2014 Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Logo Landscape. It shows how the 25 Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software options we evaluate in the Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software Report fall into 5 groupings:

- Platform Vendors

- Major Suites

- Smaller Suites

- Specialist Players

- Social Enterprise Layers

You can download a copy here.

Of course, these categories are merely a starting point for buyers looking to build a shortlist. This is a two-dimensional grouping that lumps key competitors together, but it's not unusual for enterprises to cross categories when building selection short-lists or filling out an overall architecture of participation.  As always, you will want to weigh other considerations like region, license and delivery model, application usability, technology platform, and architectural fit.

In fact, I recommend considering a variety of criteria -- like we specify in our Custom Short-List Builder -- to get you to to a good starting point to conduct further diligence and testing before you ultimately make a buying decision.

If we can help you here, please let us know.

Webinar: Is Your ECM/DM Cloud-Ready? #Cloud Tue, 08 Apr 2014 20:16:00 +0000 The Enterprise Content Management marketplace has been roiled by upstart — but increasingly successful — cloud-based file-sharing (CFS) vendors. Traditional ECM software vendors have responded in diverse ways, including acquiring cloud services, building-out cloud-enabled services, or creating completely separate, cloud-based products.

From a customer perspective, this means you have more choices than ever, though most options will bring integration challenges. Join me tomorrow, Thursday at 12:00 pm ET / 16:00 UTC or 09:00 pm ET / 01:00 UTC for a review key things to consider when evaluating Document Management/ECM in the Cloud. We'll also provide a brief overview of the marketplace for these services — based on our soon to be released ECM vendor evaluation research.

When your Open Source WCM system gets enterprisey #opensource #cms Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:43:00 +0000 We've been following the open source segment of the web content & experience management (WCM) marketplace for more than 15 years. The diversity of approaches you can find there has been good for both customers and the marketplace at large.

In particular, you can see the same spectrum of platform versus product architectures that you see among commercial vendors. But also like their commercial brethren, you can see a kind of restless desire among the major open source WCM projects to go "up-market," by making their systems more enterprise-friendly -- and by extension more complicated. Part of this transition doubtless stems from upward pressure by WordPress, an almost ridiculously easy system to launch and configure -- if not always extend, scale, and secure.

Perhaps the best example of going up-market is Drupal. In what promises to be a major overhaul led by Acquia in the forthcoming version 8, Drupal will try to become more object-oriented and locked-down. Even Joomla, a platform we long lauded for its pure simplicity, is steadily becoming much richer and more platform-like.

Among our research subscribers from larger enterprises, this is good news. And indeed, these projects are following their commercial brethren in catering more to power users and developers, as customers increasingly professionalize their web operations.

However, any move up-market jeopardizes the large base of small integrators who make a living out of converting developer-oriented systems like Drupal into low-cost offerings for smaller customers. This tension appears to be bubbling up in several communities, and even overflowed into a planned fork of Drupal by some smaller development and hosting shops. Joomla will continue to support two different (and not yet compatible) main branches until at least the end of this year.

Our Web CMS Report charts these developments on a tool-by-tool basis, and we've been sharing some broader advice with our subscribers. A couple of conclusions seem worth highlighting:

  1. If you seek simpler, more productized WCM solutions, you may find low-end commercial offerings a better (and cheaper) fit
  2. Monitor potential turbulence in open source systems you adopt, and if you plan to exploit the latest and most enterprisey features, carefully identify integrators with adequate experience in those areas; i.e., seek depth in these communities over the traditional benefits of breadth.

If you're an RSG subscriber and want to discuss these trends in more detail, simply contact us to schedule a chat or presentation to your team.

Don't stop at Mobile Application Management - make Mobile Experience Management your target #mobile #cio Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:34:00 +0000 When it comes to enterprise mobility, most organizations have initially focused on:

  • Mobile-enabling a few key existing enterprise systems in a secure manner
  • Implementing an employee Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program.

Many early initiatives revolved around Mobile Device Management (MDM). MDM is primarily about security and controls, such as trying to prevent unauthorized access to systems and data, enforcing policies, tracking and monitoring devices, wiping data from lost devices, and so forth. 

Beyond MDM to Mobile Application Management

No doubt, your enterprise needs to concern itself with security, but that's far from sufficient in realizing the potential of mobile technology.

The next stage of enterprise mobile evolution is typically Mobile Application Management. Note that some in the industry think of Mobile Application Management as a refined version of MDM, applying security and policies at more granular level (i.e., at individual app level vs. the entire device level).

You'll want to take a more expansive view of Mobile Application Management – one that encompasses a lifecycle view of enterprise app development. This goes beyond security to include the management of several steps of the app lifecycle like app development, app testing, app distribution and more.

Now, this perhaps sounds similar to regular web application development. At a high-level yes, but there are many differences. We discuss this at length in the Devices and Development part of our Enterprise Mobile Technology Report, but one particular difference that stands out is how much more often mobile apps are updated (and related to it, how often apps are released with a small set of features but then functionality gets added iteratively). Now, the vast majority of those developing enterprise apps are re-trained/re-deployed web developers and this requires a mindset change on how to approach enterprise mobile apps.

That brings me to my next point. While fewer enterprises today believe they’ve got “mobility covered” because they bought an MDM package, many strategists continue to think that Mobile Application Management will suffice to ensure success. Sure, if you’ve got a sound Mobile Application Management strategy, you’re off to a good start (and would likely rank among the top-quartile of enterprises in terms of mobile technology maturity).

Beyond Mobile Application Management to Mobile Experience Management

Nevertheless, Application Management may be necessary, but it's not sufficient. The frontier is really Mobile Experience Management. Mobile Experience Management essentially turns the tables and looks at the challenge of mobility from the employee's or customer's perspective. At a technology level, crafting superior mobile experiences requires being able to tailor the app for a wide variety of device types, operating systems, telecom network conditions, user types, and use cases. Scalability considerations like app uptime and app responsiveness also enter the picture. 

You already know that many enterprise apps, be they external consumer oriented (B2C) or internal employee oriented (B2E) leverage other enterprise systems and even external services in the cloud. So the user experience depends not just on the app’s uptime but the responsiveness of the underlying systems (some of which are not under your control) feeding your app. We detail such considerations in the Deployment and Delivery section of our Enterprise Mobile Technology Report. Apart from mobile middleware architectures, you’ll need to understand app analytics to understand how and where your app is being used and then accordingly tailor the mobile experience. 

As you look to take your Enterprise Mobility strategy to the next level, shoot for Mobile Experience Management, not just Mobile Application Management.

OpenText Suing Box and Dropbox Buying Readmill - What Does It Mean? #Cloud #EntArch Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:19:00 +0000 The past few weeks have been abuzz with news in the cloud-based file sharing and sync marketplace. Box filed for an IPO in March, then Dropbox acquired Readmill (h/t David Hobbs), and now OpenText is seeking damages from Box for patent infringement.

This activity strengthens my belief that cloud-file sharing as a simple, stand-alone category of tools is not going to persist for long.

OpenText (who sell multiple content management offerings and has its own cloud-based file sharing service called OpenText Tempo Box) says Box infringed 12 patents in areas such as "System and method for the synchronization of a file in a cache", "Method and system for facilitating marketing dialogues," and "Web-based groupware system." It seems hard to believe these pertain just to cloud-based file sharing and sync capabilities, but OpenText has certainly picked a propitious time to put Box's feet to the fire.

Similarly, Dropbox's acquisition of Readmill shows an industry stretching beyond simple file sharing services. Readmill is a social reading app that allows you to comment, annotate, and participate in discussions while reading a book online on your mobile devices. This gives Dropbox the ability to offer collaborative authoring capabilities such as those provided by Workshare, as well as online document viewing capabilities provided by Box's recently launched "Box View" (which came to Box via its acquisition of Crocodoc).

Cloud file sharing and sync tools have proved immensely popular on the consumer web and are now increasingly targeting enterprise customers. This category of tools got popular due to the simplicity and ease of use of consumer facing services -- such as Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive -- but that may not prove differentiating in the future.

These platforms will increasingly become complex as they transition into areas beyond simple file sharing.  As a result, many tools from adjacent marketplaces will start offering these capabilities as part of their overall functionality. We're already see this happening in case of Document Management vendors, most of who have started offering similar services. Similarly, collaboration vendors and even enterprise software vendors (think provide similar offerings.

For you the customer, the key thing then is to think long term and evaluate if a stand-alone cloud-based file sharing and sync tool is the way to go.  You have several options here.  We discuss some of these in our recently released advisory paper "Giving Your Salespeople Mobile Access to Key Documents: Strategic Options."

Interoperability and Standards in DAM and MAM #DAM #standards Tue, 01 Apr 2014 11:27:00 +0000 I recently wrote an advisory paper on interoperability and standards in Digital and Media Asset Management -- inspired by the complexities of the world of enterprise marketing technology, where the ability to interoperate among systems becomes critical for many organizations.

This applies not only to open source technologies, but also to commercial solutions across the many segments of digital workplace and marketing technology — including digital asset management and media asset management platforms.

The paper offers insights into what kinds of 
standards, specifications, and protocols exist in the DAM/MAM landscape, what they actually do (and don't do), and how/where they're applicable. 

Among the findings in this briefing is that DAM vendors lag in supporting open standards and interoperability. Nevertheless, I conclude with some tips for customers about how to better navigate standards and interoperability in DAM  and MAM. 

The paper is available to our DAM and MAM subscribers for download here.

2014 Web Content and Experience Management Logo Landscape #wcxm Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:08:00 +0000 As industry analysts, we are constantly trying to categorize technology offerings from vendors in meaningful ways. At Real Story Group, we categorize more than 250 products from 198 vendors at a variety of levels.

At the highest level, we evaluate Digital Marketing technologies and Digital Workplace technologies. 

Within these 2 big buckets, we break down 8 distinct marketplaces: Web Content & Experience Management, Digital & Media Asset Management, Enterprise Collaboration & Social Software, Marketing Automation & Social, Enterprise Mobile Technology, Portals & Content Integration, Document Management (ECM), and Cloud File Sharing & Collaboration.

In our research of each of these marketplaces, we group the vendor offerings in broad categories according to various criteria. Over the next few weeks, we'll be releasing our 2014 Logo Landscape graphics that show our groupings within each of our 8 coverage areas. 

Today, we'll start with the 2014 Web Content & Experience Management Logo Landscape that shows how the 36 Web Content and Experience Management vendors we evaluate in the Web Content & Experience Management Report fall into the following 5 groupings:

- Upper Range Platforms

- Legacy Platforms

- Mid-Range Platforms

- Mid-Range Products

- Simpler Products

You can download a copy here.

Of course, these categories are merely a starting point for buyers looking to build a shortlist. Indeed, any two-dimensional graphic like this has limitations.  In this case we focus on complexity/richness/cost as the key factor on the X axis, but other considerations like geography, license model, delivery model, situational usability, technology base, and architectural approach should also factor into your decision making.

So we recommend that you identify a variety of criteria -- like we specify in our Custom Short-List Builder -- to get you to to a good starting point to conduct further diligence and testing before you ultimately make a buying decision.

If we can help you here, please let us know.

Mobilizing your Salesforce: EMC|Documentum, IBM FileNet, SharePoint, Box, or...? #mobile #Cloud Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:06:00 +0000|Documentum-IBM-FileNet-SharePoint-Box-or...? 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?

It sounds like a simple question, yet from a functional standpoint, numerous key requirements emerge. And likewise you can chose from a panoply of technology options, ranging from traditional document management tools, to cloud-based file sharing and sync tools, to CRM and collaboration platforms.

Our just-released advisory paper, "Giving Your Salespeople Mobile Access to Key Documents: Strategic Options", evaluates four major strategic options for your enterprise to address the needs of salespeople (as well as other mobile employees.)

The paper also mention key tools for each of the options that we discuss. Our forthcoming update to the document management evaluations provides an in-depth review of all these vendors.

Oracle's acquisition of BlueKai puts spotlight on Marketing Data Management Platforms #digitalmarketing #Oracle Thu, 27 Mar 2014 11:27:00 +0000 As our subscribers know, the digital marketing technology marketplace is rapidly changing and acquisitions are the order of the day.

Continuing its shopping spree of marketing technology vendors, last month Oracle announced the acquisition of BlueKai. BlueKai originally started off as a seller of aggregated consumer data but in recent years has also focused on developing the tools for centrally managing multiple marketing data sets. This toolset is popularly referred to as a Data Management Platform (DMP).

What DMPs Do

So, what exactly is a DMP and what does it do? The context is that disparate (online and offline) sources generate lots and lots of data about consumers. As an enterprise marketer you increasingly want to combine your in-house marketing data with external data sets, for consumer segmentation, targeting, and even measurement.

In many scenarios you’d like to increase the relevance and precision of your content targeting efforts by leveraging different types of data sets:

  • First party data: in-house consumer, prospect, interaction, and transaction data
  • Third party data: external data sets like lists and  profiles that you license
  • Second party data: e.g., data from a partner

A Data Management Platform lets you aggregate, integrate and manage these different data sets through a central interface. It theoretically helps identify different audience segments to optimize advertising, marketing, and ecommerce activities. From a functionality perspective, it lets you specify a taxonomy to organize data, normalize data (e.g. eliminate duplicates), tag data, apply business rules, manage rights, integrate with other tools and ensure privacy rules are not violated.

Marketers have always grappled with the challenge of cross-channel consumer interactions (e.g. web and in-store) but the ubiquity of mobile devices increases the complexity and urgency of cracking that puzzle more than ever. A consumer may start researching about a potential purchase on a home desktop and continue their research on a mobile device while finishing the transaction on yet another computer at work – all at different points of time. Ideally, a marketer would like to target the consumer across all these interactions but it’s not always easy to identify that it is the same user in all three scenarios.

That’s where a DMP tool like BlueKai (along with their audience data marketplace or a large consolidated list of millions of user profiles with detailed behavioral and demographic data) comes into picture – helping you comb through the user profiles and serve appropriate content, and doing this at scale.

Of course, the DMP marketplace is still maturing and in reality the experience does not always work “as advertised.” Enterprises increasingly need a central hub that orchestrates your online marketing and targeting efforts, but it remains unclear whether that hub should constitute a single physical system or platform.

In any case, marketing technologists should ask themselves if their enterprise architectures and systems allow them to work with large internal and external data sets, combining them as needed on a campaign-by-campaign basis.

Oracle and Its Competitors

Coming back to Oracle-BlueKai, Oracle plans to integrate BlueKai with the two previously acquired Responsys (B2C) and Eloqua (B2B) solutions, now part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud. With any acquisition, integration and customer benefits are generally come much further down the road -- especially when dealing with disparate SaaS-based systems. For now, think of Oracle as a large tent where different marketing solutions are available.

At RSG, we talked about the clash of the marketing clouds from Adobe, IBM, Oracle and Among these only Adobe has made a DMP play, acquiring a vendor called Demdex, now branded as Adobe Audience Manager. Like Oracle, Adobe too is really just a "tent" here, but the larger point is that major players in the digital marketing space don't want to be left out. Expect to see more DMP-related acquisitions and if you’re considering a DMP, factor that possibility in your evaluations.

To get more insight into the whole spectrum of marketing automation and social marketing solutions, subsribe to our research or get a flavor by downloading a sample.

NetXposure vs. Widen - a battle for SaaS DAM supremacy? #DAM #digitalmarketing Mon, 24 Mar 2014 11:08:00 +0000 Because Digital & Media Asset Management involves giant, typically high-resolution files, SaaS-based DAM has not historically offered a compelling proposition. The idea of waiting for a 2 GB gigabyte video file to download from a faraway server was enough to put us all to sleep. Your video producers or creative designers would prefer to have that big file on the hunky desktop machine under their drafting table - or at least on a powerful server in the same building.

Vendors Work on Speed

Still, more of you have been asking us about SaaS DAM, despite your (quite reasonable) skepticism. Vendors have worked to improve performance as well, by turning to Amazon Web Services or re-selling high-speed file transfer applications like IBM's Aspera to try to get you that file more quickly, or at least, store it or push it somwehere a bit closer to you. Note however that Aspera locks you into a proprietary file transfer protocol called "fasp" -- perhaps not necessarily the best approach for simply getting your files from point A to point B.

Still, SaaS has become more viable, so let's have a look at two key players.

Widen vs. NetXposure

Two SaaS vendors that tend to come up most in discussions with our subscribers are Widen and NetXposure. We recently added NetX to our DAM research, so now you can use our use case scenario and technical feature ratings to compare these two head-to-head.

What are some of the differences between these two vendors and their tools?

-- Widen is a larger company, with perhaps a bit more "polish"

-- NetX has more geek cred, and is a more open system -- thus more customizable and extensible. Widen has come later to the notion of offering an API and broad integration capabilities

-- Widen stopped doing their own hosting in Wisconsin, USA several years ago, and turned to AWS to get that file to you faster; NetX still primarily does their own hosting (though they'll set you up with AWS, if you prefer)

-- Both vendors tend to have pretty happy customers, who feel they get responsive and knowledgeable customer service -- in contrast to the still-overwhelmed DAM service teams of MediaBeacon, OpenText, and HP

-- NetX integrates with Akamai rather than Aspera for integrated file transfer, and unlike Widen, also offers an on-premise option

Looking to compare other vendors to Widen and NetX? You can fill your criteria into our Custom Shortlist Builder, or subscribe to our DAM research.

March Madness: Digital Workplace and Marketing Technology Edition #DigitalWorkplace #digitalmarketing Thu, 20 Mar 2014 12:08:00 +0000 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 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. 

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 198 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.

Why would Lithium want to acquire Klout? #socialmediamonitoring #socialmedia Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:06:00 +0000 You know what’s interesting? While the interwebs have been buzzing for about a month now about an alleged acquisition of Klout by Lithium, the potential new parent company still hasn’t as much as peeped about this transaction. Legal terms and obligations notwithstanding, I hope Lithium changed its mind. If they really want to go IPO some day, they might need to make more careful buying decisions.

Lithium, a social CXM vendor headed up by ex-Adobean Rob Tarkoff, didn’t disclose the amount for this potential deal, even though there were reports that papers have been signed. It appears to be mainly for stock options and some cash. Why would they want Klout? Lithium’s agenda is, at best, vague here, given their current technological landscape. But it won’t be the first time they’re having troubles with their strategy and product map.

Personally, I used to like Klout. And what was not to like: usable UI, cool features, the notion of tracking your own personal worth through the (albeit debatable and not entirely scientific) Klout score (ah, vanity fair!). And then they added Klout Perks, where influencers like myself could get access to cool coupons, events, product samples. I stopped loving Klout when they offered a $5-off coupon for McDonalds as their latest perk. But this doesn’t mean others cannot still love Klout and see business value in such a service. After all, they also offer an enterprise version of their software that can supplement your CRM tracking with social attributes.

Klout, as any company who’s been raising money, was ready to sell. Another important point to consider here is that the social-importance ranking engine had started seeing some scepticism in the marketplace. This, of course, is a normal sign of growth, which any “kool kids,” Foursquare/Instagram types have and will go through. But the “break it” or “make it” (i.e., sell now before it’s too late) point is where Klout seemed to have been wavering lately.

The struggle is not simply around your typical startup growing pains and the controversy that surrounds its scoring algorithms -- not to mention the overall idea of calculating your personal worth and importance in the world of social media. Many are skeptical about the value proposition here. Even more people are in disagreement with how Klout defines and measures such a complex notion as “influence.”

In the end, all of this may be pure speculation, as neither Lithium nor Klout have uttered a single breath in denying or confirming the acquisition. Such acquisitions as part of a growth strategy might seem exciting, but as a customer, remember that more pieces does not always mean a larger whole.

We chose responsive mobile design, but maybe you shouldn't #mobile #cms Tue, 11 Mar 2014 19:19:00 +0000 "The cobbler's kids have no shoes. "

Having worked as an advisor in the web world for the last 15 years or so, I've heard this constant refrain among consultants when asked about their own website and web strategy. Here at Real Story Group, we've certainly guilty of this too.

But, with the release of our newest research report on mobility last year, and and after advising dozens of enterprises on their mobile technology strategies, we realized that we were long overdue for a trip to the shoe store...

Delivering a better mobile experience was the main driver behind last week's launch of a redesigned In addition to a better overall user experience, we hope that the growing numbers of you accessing via your mobile devices will see considerable improvement. As always, please send along any feedback as to how we can continue to improve your RSG experience.

In the end, we chose to go with a responsive design strategy, at least for now.  As an information and advisory service, that made sense.

But for many of you, solving the mobile problem will take much more than responsive web  design. Your mobile strategy may likely include some combination of following: core web standards, mobile-specific templates, bespoke native applications, and responsive designs.

For internal digital workplace mobile experiences, you'll likely want to investigate an increasingly fertile mobile middleware marketplace. If you are currently trying to tackle this challenge, this Enterprise Mobile Technology research should help.

censhare - New addition to our Digital and Media Asset Management Evaluations #DAM #digitalmarketing Mon, 10 Mar 2014 11:10:00 +0000 We just released a major update to our Digital and Media Asset Management research, which  contains in-depth evaluations of major brand, image, and media management software products. One of the additions to our omnibus report is European vendor "censhare."

censhare’s platform (officially, Information and Communication System but commonly referred to as censhare) has traditionally seen many deployments in Europe, particularly in the publishing, media, retail, manufacturing industries. censhare now aims for a larger presence outside Europe.

As we detail in our research, Digital Asset Management has been traditionally focused on print and online channels but now social media and mobile experiences have also become important.  censhare is trying to enhance the product for these new-ish use cases with mixed results. 

Under the hood, censhare differs from many other DAM vendors – its architecture is XML-heavy with some proprietary components to improve performance and manage scale. This approach has both its pluses and minuses.

To know more about censhare’s particular strengths and weaknesses and suitability for different use scenarios, consult our Digital & Media Asset Management Research.

Shutterstock: new DAM vendor via WebDAM acquisition? #DAM #finance Fri, 07 Mar 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Commercial stock photo provider Shutterstock decided to acquire WebDAM – a DAM vendor we cover extensively in our Digital & Media Asset Management research. For customers, the outcome of this acquisition could go in one of two directions.

First, Shutterstock may decide to cross-sell WebDAM along with their stock photos, becoming a full-fledged DAM provider - similar to their chief competitor, Getty. Alternatively, it could be that Shutterstock was simply unhappy with its current photo management tool, and decided to change out its backend technology to better serve a growing number of customers. With many of those customers being larger companies, agencies and media organizations, it might make more sense to buy ready-to-serve tech than bake something from scratch in house.

It is fair to say that Shutterstock is one of the major players in the stock photo market, with iStockphoto, Corbis and Getty playing in the same field. Improved customer satisfaction and experience management is what may allow Shutterstock to differentiate itself from the pack, and this is where a DAM product like WebDAM can play a crucial role. Many large ad agencies, like Hogarth, take a similar approach - offering product and service in one package.

WebDAM is a small-ish California-based company of 25 employees. While it is very difficult to differentiate the product in the current crowded DAM market, WebDAM is pushing its cloud/SaaS, web-based DAM agenda. However, there’s little uniqueness in this proposition, as many DAM vendors provide some type of web interface, as well as cloud options of various flavors. For Shutterstock, in the meantime, the appeal is newer technology that is WebDAM, and the ability to put the Shutterstock “face” on top of this DAM system. They can also use it as a portal for licensing, downloading, storing and sharing of digital assets. For stock photo houses and creative agencies alike, it makes sense to own business-critical technology like DAM in this case.

WebDAM founders Jody Vandergriff and Steve Rabkin (who will stay on, by the way, according to the company’s announcement), have never took outside investment, so it’s a natural development to sell when the time and the money is right.

While both companies assure us that WebDAM will maintain its brand identity, we would advise you to look at WebDAM more cautiously in the light of this acquisition. Although WebDAM boasts high customer retention rates, the company’s culture is hectic -- and virtually nothing brings more chaos than an acquisition. This transition into the new parent company will likely make things more unstable, at least in the near term, for both current customers and prospects.

Feel free to contact us to schedule a consultation on this matter, or any other DAM question you may have.

Insert SharePoint Joke Here... #Cloud #microsoft Thu, 06 Mar 2014 19:02:00 +0000 So I open the morning paper today and even in a groggy, pre-caffeinated state, this full-page Microsoft advertisement jolted me good.

The general gist of the ad: Office 365 is so handy that emergency responders will want to use it for things like rescuing sailors from fast-sinking ships on stormy seas. 

If ever there was a campaign in need of some humorous responses, this is it.  I invite you in the comments below to insert your own joke or two. 


FYI, if you're interested to get the real scoop on Office 365 for collaboration and social computing, check out our vendor evaluation research.

Sneak Peek of MAM vendor updates - Avid, Dalet, Netia, Harris and Vizrt #MediaAssetManagement #broadcasting Mon, 03 Mar 2014 13:52:00 +0000 RSG has just released a major update to our Digital and Media Asset Management research, which now contains in-depth evaluations of major brand, image and media management software products.

The line-up of evaluations includes seven key broadcast and media industry focused MAM vendors – namely Avid, Cinegy, Dalet, Globecast Netia, Harris Broadcast, TMD and Vizrt.

In the report, we include these vendors in a category called “Broadcast Media Management”. Many of these vendors are going through organizational changes and of course, the products themselves are also seeing many changes. The report has all the details but here’s a sneak peek of key happenings.

Avid Interplay MAM is known to be a complex platform and more often than not, involves a long implementation cycle. In an effort to reduce complexity, Avid is offering a pre-packaged MAM edition. Otherwise product updates have been rather slow in coming.

Dalet’s simplification efforts have been in the areas of user experience, updating Galaxy MAM's user interface and improving the customer support model.

Globecast Netia is making many incremental product updates, including mobile friendly  HTML 5 user interfaces for the MAM product.

Harris Broadcast, under new private equity owners, has seen large scale organizational revamps in 2013. The Invenio product family is now re-branded as Nexio. Like Avid, product updates have been slow.

Vizrt has had to change the name of Viz Media Engine to Viz One due to legal challenges to the brand name. The acquired web CMS Escenic has been sold off.

That’s just a high-level snapshot. Subscribe to our Digital and Media Asset Management research and get the compete picture.

Major update to our Digital and Media Asset Management Research - Adobe, WAVE, Chuckwalla, and others #DAM #MediaAssetManagement Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:25:00 +0000 Today we release a major update to our Digital & Media Asset Management research, which now contains 36 in-depth reviews of major brand, image, and media management software products, as well as insights into the rights management, content delivery, and online video platform markets.

I'm pleased to say that at over 500 pages, it's by far the most comprehensive, hard-hitting research on digital & media asset management available today.

For this update, we've expanded our coverage of mid-market, SMB and workgroup DAM providers -- an area where many of our customers have taken more interest in the past year. With enterprise DAM & MAM system deals now averaging well over $500,000 in year one, there's increased interest in the less expensive, though often less scalable or feature-rich, options. Many of these are SaaS vendors with long histories in particular industry verticals, whose first-year deals average in the $90,000 - $175,000 range, implementation services included. If you don't have half a million to drop for an initial investment in DAM, or are looking at second-generation, simpler solutions, you'll want to explore our evaluations here.

We continue our scrutiny of the DAM industry's biggest players, which now includes Adobe's DAM in the same breath as the longtime "regulars:" North Plains, Open Text, MediaBeacon, and ADAM. These big players typically offer more than just core DAM services for managing completed assets, also including (for better or worse) a myriad of additional components for work-in-progress DAM, video management, campaign management, or even product information management. We look at all the pieces, so that you can assess if they're worth your investment.

We also make a distinction between the DAM players and the broadcast MAM market, looking in-depth at Harris Broadcast, Vizrt, Cinegy, Dalet, TMD, and others.  

If you're wondering which cocktail of technology is right for you, you can subscribe here - or just give us a call.