Tony Byrne thinks that technology should not slow marketers down. But, he says, many marketers feel just that. “Getting the right technology isn’t sufficient for digital success, but it is necessary to get the right fit,” Byrne, the founder of analyst firm Real Story Group, said Monday during a workshop he led on how to buy marketing technology at our MarTech Conference in Boston.
By using a deliberate methodology to choose martech solutions, Bryne said that marketers can get the kind of technology they need to meet their objectives.. Read More.
Amid all the uncertainty around "digital transformation," one of the more clarifying developments of the past several years is understanding that delivering omnichannel digital experiences requires a stack of technologies. Yet reasonable people still disagree: What should that stack look like?
Any DX stack should necessarily depend on the contours of your enterprise. For example ... Read More.
Tony Byrne, founder of tech analyst firm Real Story Group, says marketers have been relying on the wrong things to filter their content tech choices. He feels so strongly there’s a better way that he co-wrote a book called The Right Way to Select Technology: Get the Real Story on Finding the Best Fit.
Traditionally, Tony says, tech selection is made based on one of four problematic approaches:
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.
When working on procurement projects I inevitably made use of the excellent reports from the Real Story Group, recently enhanced through very effective interactive applications to help build vendor short lists. RSG consultants have considerable experience in guiding clients through the selection process and now Tony Byrne and Jarrod Gingras have written The Right Way to Select Technology, which is a masterpiece of information, knowledge and wisdom wrapped up in 174 pages of exceptionally-readable prose. In the introduction to the book they list out seven groups of people who should read this book, and probably their most remarkable achievement is that the way the book is written each of the groups will feel it has been customised to their specific needs.
"I've been watching this process with OpenText for more than a decade, and I think, in 2009, I called them 'The Roadmap Company,'" said Tony Byrne, founder of Real Story Group, a research and advisory firm in Olney, Md. "Every time [OpenText] acquires a company, they always have this story around innovation and synergy and a roadmap. It's a very nice story for the customer and perhaps OpenText believes it, but it very rarely executes on it."
The search implementation community has been trying to inject some much-needed reality into the search business to counteract the promises and pixie dust spread by analysts and vendors.
The catalyst for this reality check was the release of both the Gartner Magic Quadrant and the Forrester Wave reports on enterprise search (and insight and cognitive search) vendors. Charlie Hull, managing director of Flax, started the discussion, which I quickly followed with a three part post and then Miles Kehoe weighed in.
"Real Story Group founder Tony Byrne has published a thoughtful analysis of the value of industry analyst reports"
Digital customer experience (CX) and digital workplace technologies have crossed paths because businesses want to consumerize their employee experiences.
That consumerization is on a slow trajectory, though.
That was one of the themes presented by the Real Story Group in a webinar this week, “2017 MarTech & EmpEx Vendor Map: What Does It Mean?”
Tony Byrne, CEO and founder of the Olney, Md.-based vendor research and analysis firm, discussed trends for enterprise technologies in the areas of digital CX (i.e. web content management, marketing automation, CRM) and digital workplace (i.e. enterprise collaboration, human capital management). Read More.
The prime benefit of a pilot is to “try before you buy.” The key is for all the stakeholders (editors, marketers, designers, developers) to get hands on with the finalist solutions. With our clients, we have found that, more often than not, the CMS vendor who came in second after the demo round ends up winning the Proof of Concept (PoC) round: evidence that the proof is in the doing, not talking.
The best approach to a PoC is to do your diligence first and make it very clear that you are down to two finalists — so the vendor is invested in a real opportunity and not a fishing exercise.
Our standard PoC template for WCM platforms calls for a week-long pilot, though we have led some that are shorter and occasionally longer: it really depends on the complexity of the environment and the level of customer investment in the ultimate solution. A media firm for example (for whom content is their product), will want to do deeper diligence than a manufacturing firm looking to power their public website. Read the complete article here.
"Bringing in a new CEO is part of the private equity playbook and actually I’m a bit surprised they waited this long," Tony Byrne, CEO and founder of Olney, Md.-based vendor analyst Real Story Group, told CMSWire. "I don’t think Seifert failed. It’s just that the new owners of the team want a new GM and possibly some new coaches too, so this is perfectly normal."
RSG produced an Employee Experience Technology graphic that includes 135 vendors and 200 solutions aimed at helping employees collaborate with colleagues, leverage employee-facing materials and, in general, get work done.
"We'll definitely see an expansion of players," said Tony Byrne, founder and CEO of Olney, Md.-based Real Story Group. "The major platforms are still going to be there. Microsoft Office and G Suite, and IBM has a lot to say there, too. Slack is not the end of the story. There are going to be more and more tools like Slack that will be mobile and cloud first to fill very specific needs."
Amid the emergence of enterprise social networking (ESN) platforms over the past decade, creating a "Facebook-in-the-enterprise" became a kind of short-hand exhortation by vendors and customer aspirants alike: Could we recreate the success of the world's largest social network within the internal confines of an organization?
Now that Workplace by Facebook (formerly Facebook At Work) has more than a year under its belt, we can begin to answer that question. Some customers have indeed found success with the platform, but Real Story Group's evaluation of Workplace finds that what Facebook brings to enterprise social-collaboration is mostly a recognized brand name (you can download the evaluation here). Familiarity can help with initial adoption, but improving employee effectiveness and engagement over the long run may require more than what Workplace—or any other ESN—can offer. Read More Here.
No one has written a definitive history of web content and experience management (WCM), but they should, as it would offer some interesting lessons still relevant today.
Ian Truscott's excellent "Happy 21st Birthday Web CMS" got me thinking about my own time in the field. This brief t0ur is far from definitive, but hopefully you'll find some useful nuggets.
The Late 1990s
In 1996 I was working for a hybrid integrator/agency — we called ourselves a "web development shop." Our clients wanted to update their own sites, which were increasingly dynamic in nature. We soon started casting about for packaged CMS tools, and over the next five years learned some early-adopter lessons.
Most of the systems we deployed ticked us off. In those early days, the tools seemed to be written by and for techies, which we didn't mind, but our clients did. Some WCM systems still feel unnecessarily technical today. Read Complete Article Here.