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In the News

Jarrod Gingras on What it Takes to Build a Digital Roadmap

01-Aug-2019 | CMSWire | "When Creating Your Digital Roadmap, Consider These Lessons Learned"

Enterprises are transitioning from reacting to emerging technologies to proactively planning strategies to exploit digital opportunities, leveraging longer-term roadmaps for digital workplace and marketing technology.
Inevitably, some common mistakes will be made along the way, but one way to avoid repeating them is to focus on the lessons learned by those who have gone before. Here is the most common "what I would have done differently" advice I’ve encountered. Read More


Tony Byrne identifies the 4 platforms that underpin omnichannel architectures in this clip from his presentation at Digital Experience 2019

01-Jul-2019 | EContent | "VIDEO: Four Key Platforms that Power Omnichannel"

Many of you have looked into customer data platforms. Many organizations kind of built these on their own. Some organizations are still choosing to build these on their own, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not.

This omnichannel content platform is really interesting. This is a space that's kind of calved off from parts of the WCM world and parts of the DAM world. In this idea that I can have a core set of shareable assets that can be used across all different channels. That marketplace is very young and still kind of in formation. Journey orchestration and decisionining, very interesting as well.

A long history of this technology going back to direct mail in advertising days now kinda getting retooled for the digital era. And then of course a variety of operations hubs. So, these are areas where if we're serious about omnichannel we need to think about investing here, whether it's bringing in new technology or not. Read More


Tony Byrne on Creating a 'Netflix-like' Experience

27-Jun-2019 | Target Marketing | "Using MarTech to Create a 'Netflix-like' Omnichannel Stack"

Each year in advisory conversations that Real Story Group holds with enterprise MarTech and Customer Experience (CX) leaders, common themes emerge. This year, it seems like the most frequent aspiration is, "We want to create a Netflix-like experience." That certainly sounds good, but what does "Netflix-like" actually mean, and what does it take to get there?

RSG evaluates martech and CX technologies to assist enterprise tech stack owners. To maintain its strict independence, RSG only works with enterprise technology buyers and never advises vendors. Read More


Tony Byrne on What You Need to Know About 'JOE'

03-Jun-2019 | CMSWire | "What You Need to Know About Customer Journey Orchestration Software"

Customer journey orchestration engine software is designed to help organizations analyze customer interactions across multiple touchpoints, execute the best communications and predict future customer interaction.

Sounds like the promises marketers have been hearing all along in the digital transformation era, no? Yet, they still have their struggles. Can these journey orchestration engines, or journey visioning platforms as Forrester calls them, deliver on these promises? Can they sit underneath your engagement systems such as marketing automation, email marketing and personalization engines and successfully orchestrate a customer’s journey? Read More


Tony Byrne on Key Technology Buying Considerations for an Omnichannel Stack.

30-May-2019 | MarTech Today | "From MarTech Silos to an Omnichannel Stack"

For the past decade, most enterprises have focused on scaling and modernizing their martech and digital experience (DX) stacks, pushing ever-richer content and experiences through web content management (WCM) systems, marketing automation/ESP platforms, and CRM environments, among others. This made sense for improving digital customer engagement in those platforms, but also led to serious challenges that now need attention. Read More


Jarrod Gingras on DAM as an Anchor in your Martech Stack

29-Apr-2019 | CMSWire | "Why Digital Asset Management Is Now Officially Martech"

For years, digital asset management (DAM) was either not included or was marginalized in the martech conversation. People viewed DAM as the tool of creatives, brand managers, and even (wait for it) librarians. 

But it’s well beyond time we recognize that not only should DAM be in the martech conversation, but that DAM has become an anchor service in enterprise martech stacks... Read More


Tony Byrne on What it Takes to Make a CDP Work

11-Apr-2019 | CMSWire | "7 Tips to Successfully Implement a CDP"

After you have done your research, found out about the benefits of CDPs, how they differ from other customer data management platforms, and found the right CDP for your use-cases, it's time to get prepared to actually bring one in house and get it set up, running and supported.

If you want a successful implementation showing value and ROI back to the business, we have some advice from key luminaries in the field on things you need to think about when implementing a CDP system. Read More.


Tony Byrne on What Really is a CDP?

01-Apr-2019 | CMSWire | "Is That New CDP Truly a Customer Data Platform?"

Customer data platform (CDP) technology is rising in popularity for good reason: CDPs try to address chronic difficulties marketers have endured around obtaining reliable access to a centralized store of information about their customers and prospects.

The CDP technology marketplace has expanded substantially. At Real Story Group, we evaluate 25 players, with more each quarter. Read More.


Tony Byrne Unveils The New Omnichannel Stack Reference Model

29-Mar-2019 | | "The New Omnichannel Stack Reference Model from Real Story Group"

From a technology perspective, many of us focus intently on martech stacks, but the reality is that most large enterprises have evolved multiple — often overlapping — stacks across the customer experience spectrum: for marketing, sales, service & support, advertising, and web/DX.

Of course, your customers don’t care about your stacks. They expect to be able to engage coherently and consistently with you regardless of channel, and continue doing so when new channels like voice emerge. Read More.

Tony Byrne on the Difference Between CDPs and DMPs

28-Mar-2019 | CMSWire | "CDP vs. DMP: Which is Right for Your Business?"

As modern customers interact with your brand across dozens of different channels, they expect a unified and seamless experience across all touchpoints. In order for organizations to deliver on this expectation of a unified customer experience, they need the appropriate technology platforms in place to allow customer-centric marketing strategies to be implemented.

According to Tony Byrne, martech analyst and Founder of Real Story Group, DMPs are all about collecting anonymous data, while CDPs are focused on 1st party data, or personally identifiable information (PII). Read More.

Tony Byrne on Why DXPs Don't Exist

21-Feb-2019 | CMSWire | "What You Need to Know About Digital Experience Platforms"

Organizations in the market for a digital experience platform (DXP) over the next two years can expect to spend more effort and money after they select a vendor. The selection process is only the beginning.

Tony Byrne of Real Story Group contends DXPs don’t exist. “There is no marketplace here, because no enterprise digital leader in her right mind would actually purchase ‘digital experience’ as a platform,” ... Read More.

A Competitive Review, Run by The Real Story Group

20-Feb-2019 | Campaign Live | "Fig to Elevate 'Thoughtfulness' of Children's Hospital Colorado"

Fig has been hired as the brand, creative and media AOR for Children’s Hospital Colorado, with the goal of elevating the medical network’s reputation. 

The new brand campaign will focus on the hospital’s skills and expertise, as well as its pediatricians and pediatric specialists - rather than pulling at the heart strings or using scare tactics.. Read More.

Jarrod Gingras on Choosing the Right Digital Technology and Vendor

12-Feb-2019 | CMSWire | "10 Steps to Making Better Technology Choices"

Industry surveys repeatedly show that more than half of technology projects fail to meet their objectives — or just fail outright.

There are many reasons for this, but in my experience, most technology problems originate in the critical early stages of an initiative. Once the boat gets headed in a particular direction, it can be hard to steer it back on course.... Read More.


Ton Byrne on IBM's Sell-off to HCL

19-Dec-2018 | CMS Wire | "Why Did IBM Sell Lotus and Other Software Products to HCL? "

Earlier this month, IBM and HCL announced a deal worth $1.8 billion, in which HCL will buy a bunch of IBM software products. The transaction, expected to close by mid-2019, addresses a potential market of more than $50 billion.

Tony Byrne, analyst and founder of Real Story Group, has been watching and writing about many of these tools for the past 15 years. In his company blog, he outlined four take-aways from the deal:


  1. Declining toolsets
  2. Money in legacy
  3. Licenses
  4. Lines continue to blur.

    Read the full article.

Tony Byrne on What to Watch out for with Mass Aquisitions

12-Nov-2018 | Tech Crunch | "Enterprise Shopping Season Starts Early with Almost $50B in Recent Deals"

Mass Acquisitions

Black Friday may still be 10 days away, but shopping season started early in the enterprise this year. We have seen acquisitions totaling almost $50 billion in the last couple of months alone, topped by the mega $34 billion IBM-Red Hat deal two weeks ago. What exactly is going on here?
While not every deal has been for that kind of money, we are seeing an unusually large number of mega deals this year, something that some folks were predicting would happen when the big tech companies were allowed to repatriate their money as part of last year’s tax deal... Read More.


Tony Byrne describes the Best Way to Buy Marketing Technology

12-Nov-2018 | MarTech Today | "Building your MarTech stack: Try Design Thinking to Identify the Right Solutions"

Buying Marketing TechnologyTony 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.

Tony Byrne explains Digital Transformation

24-Oct-2018 | CMS Wire | "What Should Your Digital Experience Stack Look Like? It Depends"

digital transformationAmid 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?

It Depends

Any DX stack should necessarily depend on the contours of your enterprise. For example ... Read More.

Tony Byrne on Selecting Content Technology

16-Aug-2018 | Content Marketing Insitute | "3 Ways You Sabotage Your Content Tech Search"

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:

  • Horse race – You choose technology based on static analyst-firm pronouncements about which tech vendors offer the most/best/newest capabilities without regard for what you’re trying to do.
  • Love at first sight – You’re enamored by the first tool you see and don’t consider other options that might fit better.
  • My Cousin Vinny – You choose a solution because you know another company in your market segment uses it; however, that company may not have the same content needs or use cases.
  • Happiness is a stack of warm binders – You spend a ton of time on developing tech and business requirements, loading them into spreadsheets, and weighting each factor mathematically; the problem, though, is that what looks like the solution on a spreadsheet may not work for people.

Tony Byrne explains Digital Experience (DXP)

16-Jul-2018 | CMS Wire | "Investigating the Cost, Integration and Other Realities of Digital Experience Platforms"

What (And Who) is a DXP Anyway?

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 on HS DAM Takeaways

14-May-2018 | CMS Wire | "9 Big Takeaways from Henry Stewart DAM NYC 2018"

Looking for a DAM Tool? Start With User Stories, Not RFP Checklists

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.