But first, a semantics debate. The term digital experience elatform, you see, has some associated hype and untruths, according to Tony Byrne, CEO and founder of Real Story Group, who blogged about the matter in January. “It doesn’t exist,” Byrne told CMSWire of DXPs in an interview this month. “It’s a made-up term foisted on gullible analyst firms by enterprise portal vendors seeking continuing relevancy and WCM vendors looking to escape the increasingly narrow functional confines of that marketplace." Byrne went on to say that digital leaders don't license a "digital experience platform." "People who actually work on these systems on a daily basis know that there is a difference between digital experience as a mindset and collection of evolving methodologies," Byrne added, "versus the various sets of tools required to satisfy diverse customer needs in the digital world.” Read the complete article here.
Jarrod Gingras, analyst and managing director at Real Story Group stressed the importance of documenting your company’s unique user scenarios and stories during a session titled “How to Select the Right DAM.” Gingras recommended using those as a guiding map during vendor selection process, instead of relying on request for proposal (RFP) checklists. RFP checklists definitely serve a purpose, but user stories provide the context for how features can solve specific use-cases. This lesson applies beyond DAM as well and serves as practical advice for any software procurement endeavor. Read the complete article here.
When asked to describe the most significant advances in the digital workplace arena, Byrne highlighted two areas. The first is the rise in “lightweight team communication services like Slack.” The second is "a growing awareness everywhere-not-named-Redmond that employee digital communities, properly facilitated, can deliver serious business value."
For Byrne, the biggest disappointment related to digital workplace tools centers on knowledge management (KM). “There’s a general lack among the major vendors to evolve real business applications for KM, communities, peer-answers and other similar use-cases,” he said. “They are still just throwing features at us, and features in themselves don’t make the digital workplace more human-centric.”
Byrne will be speaking at CMSWire and Digital Workplace Group’s Digital Workplace Experience taking place June 18 to 20 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. He will give a workshop on June 18 titled, “The Right Way to Select Digital Workplace Technology.”
We spoke with Byrne about his thoughts on the impact emerging technologies are having on the digital workplace, employee engagement and the future of work. Read more.
Any strong enterprise technology selection will have a vendor demonstration somewhere in the process. Technology selection experts told CMSWire your technology selection team needs to be in control of the process, ensuring the vendor demonstrates the value of the tool for your specific business use case. And you must always be on alert, as Tony Byrne of Real Story Group suggests, “Avoid vendor sleight of hand where they show you something off-script to distract your attention from a shortcoming,” he wrote in a blog about vendor demonstrations.
We caught up with some practitioners who have been on selection teams and have helped others with their technology selections. They offer tips on making the most of your vendor demonstrations. Read More.
Will Jive and Lithium Mesh?
But can two former fierce competitors play well together, technology wise?
Technology companies that acquire competitors naturally run the risk of product duplication and therefore wasted resources.
Lithium and Jive have “substantial functional overlap,” according to Tony Byrne, co-founder and CEO of Olney, Md.-based Real Story Group.
He added in a blog post yesterday the partnership has “limited potential for combining modules and achieving ever-beloved 'technical synergies.'"
In the long-term, Byrne added, "vendors selling multiple products that do mostly the same thing is a story that rarely turns out well. One product becomes Cain and the other Abel."
Tony Byrne, founder and principal analyst at Real Story Group, who is usually skeptical about developing tech trends, is actually bullish about using AI in content management — but not without some caveats. He cautions that the usefulness of your Artificial Iintelligence effort is going to be related to the condition of your data.
“Those sorts of automation and cognitive services typically depend on a fairly organized repository of tagged (and ideally structured) content, which is often what you’re working towards in an ECM project in any case. The challenge comes for customers who have very messy repositories: AI/ML isn’t going to clean it up for them, and [these companies] will struggle to draw meaningful conclusions — garbage in — garbage out,” Byrne explained.
Byrne also warned that it’s early days and it’s going to take some time to get this right. “Customers just need to understand that software vendors themselves are still thinking in terms of potential and have not yet fully activated AI/ML services as specific applications. That means that [customers] today will need to do a lot of the experimentation and testing themselves. But I think it’s worth exploring, especially for sizable enterprises with more complex needs around large-scale document processing, knowledge management, records management and search tuning,” he said.
That is good advice for any developing technology, but especially worth keeping in mind with the unique needs of content management. That means finding areas where it would work best such as Box’s choice of image recognition. Over time, as AI improves and gets more deeply incorporated into CMS technolgy, we will begin to see more complex use cases.
As a long-time advisor to enterprise technology customers, Tony Byrne is keenly aware of how often the wrong choice of software dooms a digital experience project before it’s even begun.
For over 16 years, Byrne has led Real Story Group, an independent analyst firm which provides enterprises with research, tools and consulting advice on digital workplace and marketing technologies. Prior to founding RSG (formerly known as CMS Watch), Byrne worked in the software industry, where his roles included vice president in charge of engineering and production teams at IDEV, a systems integrator and digital design agency.
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