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.
"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.
This Q&A is part of an interview series for the upcoming MarTech Conference, May 9-11 in San Francisco, covering the agenda topics to be discussed at the event. Read on for an exclusive sneak-peek from the presenters
1. How have you seen marketers evolve in their understanding of martech in these last five years? What are the gaps (maybe in exploiting technology, attitudes, approaches, strategies etc) that events like these address for newbies as well as veteran marketers?
There are at least two major gaps for customers to fill: Capacity and Hyperbole.
Events like this give marketers and technologists the ability to have candid conversations with peers and experts about how marketing technology really works - as opposed to how we might wish it to work – and help close those gaps.
It’s a fact of business life that technology vendors sometimes go out of business or sunset their products. This happens less than most customers fear, but when it does, the results can range from damaging to catastrophic. Therefore, a prudent enterprise will monitor key technologies and suppliers for potential problems.
At Real Story Group, a lot of our research goes into reviewing “vendor intangibles” to help guide customer decision making early on. Over the years, we've found a failing vendor or open-source project will exhibit telltale signs. By identifying these signs, you the customer can conduct your own risk mitigation accordingly.
10 warning signs a vendor is failing:
1. Significant fall-off in new customers
2. Declining—or no—community events
3. Disrupted product support
4. Serial acquisitions
5. Rapid vendor staff turnover
6. Escape to open source
7. Slower product updates
8. Evasive salespeople and account reps
9. Meandering roadmaps
10. Distracted founders
Marketers should focus less on creating pages and more on delivering shareable micro experiences — rendered components that can be distributed across a wide range of environments, including email, transactional applications, mobile web apps and kiosks.
That’s one of the findings released this week in Real Story Group’s 2017 Web Content & Experience Management Marketplace Analysis, a yearly report for RSG subscribers that analyzes 36 WCM vendors. The report emphasized intelligent web content management (WCM) architectures that include components built in WCM environments but delivered through separate applications.
Unlike the financial analyst community, technology analyst firms make scant distinction between buy- and sell-side analysis, a conflict of interest that leaves customers worse off.
Recently passing my 15th anniversary as a technology industry analyst caused me to reflect on the evolution of our business, and I'm disappointed to share that amid some positive developments, one significant ethical shortcoming still persists.
If you had asked me 15 years ago—when the world was reeling from an equities collapse aggravated in part by conflict-of-interest shenanigans on Wall Street—I would have predicted that the tech analyst community would split neatly between sell-side research and buy-side research.
But that has not happened, and you the customer are the worse off for it. ... Read More.
A book about DAM (Digital and Marketing Asset Management: The Real Story About DAM Technology and Practice) would not be complete without putting DAM in the bigger picture, and by that I mean the bigger picture of Marketing Technology. A DAM by itself has limited usefulness: those assets have to be pushed out and used by different technologies in a wealth of ways for all this effort to benefit your organization.
Though DAM historically was implemented in a silo, used and maintained by only a few marketers or archivists, that’s changed. DAM is now fully embraced by the C-suite as a key enterprise application. Just as much effort is being put into DAM systems connecting to other systems as deploying simply the DAM, itself.
So how does DAM fit into the bigger picture of consumer-centric digital marketing? It’s not always obvious. Choosing the right tools for holistic and effective digital marketing is not unlike crafting a complex cocktail: you have to find the right mix of ingredients, and the right balance, that works for you.
For the 20 years I've been following web content management (WCM) and experience management technology, the only constant has been change.
This certainly holds true for 2017, when you can expect some new approaches and in some cases some industry re-alignment. Let's look at seven key trends.
"Box was relatively more enterprise-focused as opposed to Dropbox, which was more consumer-focused, and this focus is what differentiates the two," said Apoorv Durga, research director at Real Story Group. "Box has more advanced enterprise-ey features — such as better admin and security controls — whereas Dropbox appeals more to consumers because it’s easier and simpler to use." Read the complete article here.
Facing highly fragmented technology marketplaces with many competing vendors, enterprise customers naturally seek out "horse race-type" analysis — who's winning and who's losing — to help narrow their choices.
Major analyst firms have traditionally responded with 2x2 quadrants to show which vendors are ahead and behind in any given marketplace.
Quadrants remain quite popular visualizations because they serve several useful purposes. They are easy to understand, offer a simple window into deeper research, and can provide a quick summary of a marketplace.
No wonder they are ubiquitous. In fact, an emerging software category getting designated its own quadrant obtains a powerful signal that it has "arrived." Read More.
Digital experience management (DXM) refers to providing highly satisfying digital services to customers through an effective blend of strategy, process, and technology. DXM fundamentals remain more or less the same across industries, but the modus operandi may vary based on your objectives. Education is a rather vast field, and this article focuses on DXM for higher education (higher ed) organizations such as colleges and universities.
Waves of digital transformation are sweeping across industries, and higher ed is not immune to these changes. In fact, higher ed may even be at the cusp of a transformation enabled by the creative ferments of digital technologies. Things such as classroom learning, teaching curricula and methods, and student assessments and evaluations-?essentially, almost all the traditional approaches and conventional practices-are being re-examined to see if they can be improved on or delivered better using digital technologies. Read More.
The Documentum acquisition is just the latest step in the narrowing of scope of traditional, heavy-duty ECM. There always was and still is a place for massive systems like Documentum and IBM FileNet for complex document processing, especially in heavily regulated environments. Ten years ago, ECM tools were pitched as much more widely relevant, but they turned out to be too expensive and complicated for workaday use cases.
Or to put it another (more positive) light, the last decade has seen the democratization of document management, first with SharePoint — which made Office files more sharable within departments — then with cloud-based file-sharing services like Box, which made files more accessible across devices and within the cloud. We’ve also seen the rise of more specialized players for things like contracts management and forms processing: they solve specific problems without the IT overhead of a complex system.
There will continue to be a role for heavy-duty document processing, especially in larger enterprises. BPM will remain relevant in some of those cases. So ECM isn’t going away. Read the full article here.