Author: Frank Gilbane (page 2 of 3)

Responsive Design and the Future of Digital Experiences

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

Digital experience designers are familiar with the approach of responsive design even if they haven’t used it. If they have used it they know it is not quite as easy as it first sounds, and the popularity of responsive design courses suggests there is a still a lot of learning going on. But even if you don’t need to understand the code, if you are a marketing manager you need to know what you can expect responsive design to accomplish and what level of effort it entails.

C2. Responsive Design and the Future of Digital Experiences

Tuesday, December, 3: 2:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Responsive design has been around since the early days of the browser wars, but as mobile channels grew it became both more important and more complex. Gone are the days when new digital channels, form factors, and other device characteristics can be anticipated and digital strategies need to reflect this new reality. This session will provide multiple perspectives on what responsive design can do, what its limitations are, and what its future challenges are.

Moderator:
Tom Anderson, President, Anderson Digital

Speakers:
Scott Noonan, Chief Technology Officer, Boston Interactive
In Koo Kim, Senior Manager, MOBEX, NorthPoint Digital
Scrap the Big Launch, Fly a Kite: How to Create and Maintain Control of Smarter Mobile Apps with Real-Time UI Updates, A/B Testing, and Personalization
Christopher S Carter, General Manager, aLanguageBank
Are You Prepared to Create Content for the Internet of Things?

 

Multi-channel Publishing and Content Reuse

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

We’re big believers in the potential for learning from colleagues in other industries. There are many shared challenges crossing vertical boundaries not always obvious because of different vocabularies, and often a gem can be found in the variety of solutions, or an idea can be sparked by a slightly different lens on the problem. The publishing industry’s influence on computing and digital experiences goes way back and is especially applicable horizontally – markup languages, style sheets, electronic type – and of course multi-channel publishing. This is why we have usually included a publishing track in our conferences. This session looks at how a couple of publishers have dealt with some thorny multichannel publishing issues.

P2. Multi-channel Publishing and Content Reuse

Tuesday, December, 3: 2:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

In this session two publishing organizations report on projects that involve moving publications and existing content from print to multi-channel digital. Business Insurance, part of Crain Communications, implemented a digital publishing strategy that supports interactive digital content and content reuse across print, Web, iOS, and Android, all based on HTML5. Wolters Kluwer Health now creates textbooks with versions for print, multiple eBook formats, and integration with Learning Management Systems and other advanced learning tools. As part of their multi year initiative they report on a recent project where they implemented round tripping between XML and author-editable Word documents, and discusses the technical and organizational problems they solved.

Moderator:
Tom Brown, VP, Multichannel Solutions, HP

Speakers:
Dave White, Chief Technology Officer, Quark Software Inc.
Case Study: Transforming Print Content into Mobile and Web Apps
Ken Golkin, Technical Project Manager, Wolters Kluwer Health
and
Niels Nielsen, Managing Director, Avalon Consulting, LLC
Long Cycle Reuse in Textbook Publishing: Cracking the XML–>Word–>XML Round Trip Nut

 

How Should Your CMS Fit into Your Mobile Strategy?

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

There are many answers to this question, but the right answer for you will depend on what other components make up your digital experience management system, how they integrate with other enterprise systems, the types of content and apps and mobile platforms you need, existing developer expertise and tools, and so on. CMS and DXM vendors have to work through the possibilities with their customers and partners so are a valuable resource for helping you think through some of the options.

T5. How Should Your CMS Fit into Your Mobile Strategy?

Wednesday, December, 4: 9:40 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.

As analysts will tell you, web content management systems are now, or should be one of the core components of a larger digital experience management strategy. There are lots of questions about what this means in practice, but this session focuses specifically on how your content management system(s) can or should support your mobile presence. Should your CMS manage all mobile content? Should that include apps as well? Is mobile content delivery by the CMS active or passive? Where does the delivery layer reside? Is data incorporated by the mobile app or by the CMS? Should you create a separate system just for managing mobile content? Should your WCM mind its business and stick to the Web? Should your other CMSs stay with whatever enterprise applications they support?

Moderator:
Marc Strohlein, Principal, Agile Business Logic

Speakers:
Ian Truscott, VP Product Marketing, Content Management Technologies Division, SDL
Loni Stark, Director of Product, Industry Marketing, Adobe

 

Building Next Generation Web Content Management & Delivery Digital Experiences – Gilbane Conference Spotlight

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

While not everybody agrees that web content management should be the hub of digital experience management implementations, there should be no doubt it is an essential core component. Certainly the WebCM / CustomerXM / DigitalXM, etc. vendors that started in web content management have an opinion, though there are many nuances in their positioning which are important to understand. Even more interesting is what they have all learned in the past few years while incorporating or integrating other technologies to help their customers build modern digital experiences for customers and employees. Vendor visions and expertise are at least as important as those of analysts, consultants, integrators, agencies, and even your peers.

C7. Building Next Generation Web Content Management & Delivery Digital Experiences – A Panel Discussion

Wednesday, December, 4: 2:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

You probably need to attend every session in the conference to even learn all the questions to ask before embarking on a next generation digital experience strategy and design. In this session a panel of competing vendors will discuss what they see as the critical components and challenges based on their customer’s experiences and feedback, and on their own vision of what is possible. Vendors have lots of valuable experience and information and this is your chance to hear from knowledgeable representatives minus the PowerPoint pitch.

Moderator:
Melissa Webster, Program VP, Content & Digital Media Technologies, IDC
Panelists:
Arjé Cahn, CTO, Hippo
Robert Bredlau, COO, e-Spirit
Ron Person, Sr. Consultant, Business Optimization Services, Sitecore
Russ Danner, Vice President, Products, Crafter Software
Loni Stark, Director of Product, Solution & Industry Marketing, Adobe

 

Content and User Experience Design for the Internet of Smart Things – Gilbane Conference Spotlight

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

There are many reasons to be excited about the Internet of Things, a content channel is not usually considered one of them. In fact, the mere suggestion of a need to support one more digital channel is enough to cause many execs to consider a career change, never mind n additional channels, and n is the future.

Many internet things don’t and won’t need to prepare content for direct human consumption, but many will – cars and watches and glasses are just the beginning. The variety of form factors, display technologies, and application requirements will present challenges in user experience design, content strategies, content management and data integration. The session we are spotlighting today will focus on the user experience design challenges, of which there are many.

T7. Have You Talked To Your Refrigerator Today? Content and User Experience Design for the Internet of Smart Things

Wednesday, December, 4: 2:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. – The Westin Boston Waterfront

The web is dead. Or is it evolving into the Internet of things? If so, how can we harness the emergence of smart and app-enabled devices, appliances, homes, cars and offices into the digital gene pool? Four senior executives in experience planning and strategy, technology, creative and user experience will provide a point of view on the Internet of smart things and answer key questions, including the following, using real world examples:

  • How can your smart washing machine, refrigerator and dishwasher be mated with intelligent apps, CRM, and dynamic content management systems to create real-time marketing and ecommerce experiences?
  • What happens to content strategy and management as app-enabled “playthings” become essential to your work and family life?
  • What do we do as video baby monitors become digital caretaking, developmental tracking, medical monitoring, and product ordering parent-bots?
  • What is the optimal customer experience for using voice to simultaneously integrate and operate your car, your mechanic, your GPS, your iPod, your radio, your tablet and your smartphone?
  • What best practices are needed for creative designers, content strategists, marketers, and user experience designers to create engaging Internet of smart things experiences?
Moderator:
Doug Bolin, Associate Director, User Experience Design, Digitas
Panelists:
Michael Vessella, Vice President, Director, Experience Design, Digitas
Michael Daitch, Vice President, Group Creative Director, Digitas
Adam Buhler, Vice President, Creative Technology / Labs / Mobile, Digitas

 

What big companies are doing with big data today

The Economist has been running a conference largely focused on Big Data for three years. I wasn’t able to make it this year, but the program looks like it is still an excellent event for executives to get their hands around the strategic value, and the reality, of existing big data initiatives from a trusted source. Last month’s conference, The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Information Forum 2013, included an 11 minute introduction to a panel on what large companies are currently doing and on how boardrooms are looking at big data today that is almost perfect for circulating to c-suites. The presenter is Paul Barth, managing partner at NewVantage Partners.

Thanks to Gil Press for pointing to the video on his What’s The Big Data? blog.

Mobile development strategy – platform decision update

Last April I suggested that evolving mobile platform market changes meant organizations needed to re-visit their mobile development strategy and said

“What has changed? To over simplify: Apple’s dominance continues to increase and is unassailable in tablets; RIM is not a contender; Microsoft is looking like an up-and-comer; and most surprising to many, Android is looking iffy and is a flop in tablets with the exception of the very Amazon-ized version in the Kindle Fire.”

Not surprisingly, things have changed again. Two major changes are that Samsung is now a major player, and Google has finally made progress in tablets with the Nexus 7 and the much improved Android “Jelly Bean” release. Amazon’s second Fire is also more robust. There are now real choices in tablets – personally I have an iPad, a Fire HD, and a Nexus 7, and I use all three of them, and for many purposes I just grab the closest. But businesses making a significant investment in a platform for development need to carefully evaluate its stability and staying power.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the debate among analysts over what the iOS and Android market share numbers mean – specifically, whether the larger and accelerating Android market share numbers threaten Apple’s dominance. At first glance it is natural to think that dominant market share signifies a safer bet, and indeed many analysts make this point. But it’s not so simple. Last year there was evidence that even though Android devices had a market share advantage, Apple devices accounted for much more total online activity – were used more – and it is probably safe to say that use is a requirement of product success.

More importantly, if you look at profit share, Apple continues to dominate. So the opposing view is that Apple may be the safer bet since for most values of company/product health, profit trumps revenue.

In “The Mobile Train Has Left The Windows 8 Platform Behind“, John Kirk, who doesn’t mince words, has no patience for the view that Android’s market share means it will squash Apple:

“According to Canaccord Genuity, Apple took in 69% of the handset (all mobile phones, not just smartphones) profits in 2012. Samsung took in 34%, HTC accounted for 1%…

No one not named Apple or Samsung is making any meaningful profits from the handset sector…

Many industry observers have the handset market all wrong. They opine that Andoid is destroying iOS. What is actually happening is:

  1. With 69% of the profits, iOS is doing just fine. More than fine, actually.
  2. Android destroyed every phone manufacturer not named Apple (BlackBerry, Nokia, Palm, etc.).
  3. Samsung destroyed every Android phone manufacturer not named Samsung (HTC, Motorola, Sony Erricson, etc.).

Pundits like to predict the imminent demise of iOS, but those profit numbers say just the opposite. And even as Android’s market share has increased, iOS’s profit share has increased too. Market share is no guarantor of profits. This should be self-evident. But apparently, it’s not.”

Kirk follows up with more entertaining disdain for the “church of market share” at “Does the Rise of Android’s Market Share Mean the End of Apple’s Profits?“.

In terms of tablet market share,

“According to Canalys, Apple – despite being supply constrained – sold 22.9 million tablets for 49% share, Samsung shipped 7.6 million tablets, Amazon shipped 4.6 million tablets for 18% share, and Google’s Nexus 7 and 10, combined, shipped 2.6 million tablets.”

In conclusion,

“Only Samsung and Apple are competing in phones. Only Amazon, Google, Samsung and Apple are effectively competing in tablets. The mobile “train” has left the station and companies like HP, Lenovo, Dell and Microsoft are standing on the Windows 8 platform, watching it pull away.”

For more on Microsoft see Kirk’s full post.

Mobile platforms are still evolving and the coming proliferation of new device types guarantee that there will be continuous and substantial change made to those that survive. No one responsible for a mobile development strategy should wait almost a year to evaluate their current plan. Fortunately there is no shortage of useful platform data. It just needs to be interpreted critically.

Big data and decision making: data vs intuition

There is certainly hype around ‘big data’, as there always has been and always will be about many important technologies or ideas – remember the hype around the Web? Just as annoying is the backlash anti big data hype, typically built around straw men – does anyone actually claim that big data is useful without analysis?

One unfair characterization both sides indulge in involves the role of intuition, which is viewed either as the last lifeline for data-challenged and threatened managers, or as the way real men and women make the smart difficult decisions in the face of too many conflicting statistics.

Robert Carraway, a professor who teaches Quantitative Analysis at UVA’s Darden School of Business, has good news for both sides. In a post on big data and decision making in Forbes, “Meeting the Big Data challenge: Don’t be objective” he argues “that the existence of Big Data and more rational, analytical tools and frameworks places more—not less—weight on the role of intuition.”

Carraway first mentions Corporate Executive Board’s findings that of over 5000 managers 19% were “Visceral decision makers” relying “almost exclusively on intuition.” The rest were more or less evenly split between “Unquestioning empiricists” who rely entirely on analysis and “Informed skeptics … who find some way to balance intuition and analysis.” The assumption of the test and of Carraway was that Informed skeptics had the right approach.

A different study, “Frames, Biases, and Rational Decision-Making in the Human Brain“, at the Institute of Neurology at University College London tested for correlations between the influence of ‘framing bias’ (what it sounds like – making different decisions for the same problem depending on how the problem was framed) and degree of rationality. The study measured which areas of the brain were active using an fMRI and found the activity of the the most rational (least influenced by framing) took place in the prefrontal cortex, where reasoning takes place; the least rational (most influenced by framing / intuition) had activity in the amygdala (home of emotions); and the activity of those in between (“somewhat susceptible to framing, but at times able to overcome it”) in the cingulate cortex, where conflicts are addressed.

It is this last correlation that is suggestive to Carraway, and what he maps to being an informed skeptic. In real life, we have to make decisions without all or enough data, and a predilection for relying on either data or intuition can easily lead us astray. Our decision making benefits by our brain seeing a conflict that calls for skeptical analysis between what the data says and what our intuition is telling us. In other words, intuition is a partner in the dance, and the implication is that it is always in the dance — always has a role.

Big data and all the associated analytical tools provide more ways to find bogus patterns that fit what we are looking for. This makes it easier to find false support for a preconception. So just looking at the facts – just being “objective” – just being “rational” – is less likely to be sufficient.

The way to improve the odds is to introduce conflict – call in the cingulate cortex cavalry. If you have a pre-concieved belief, acknowledge it and and try and refute, rather than support it, with the data.

“the choice of how to analyze Big Data should almost never start with “pick a tool, and use it”. It should invariably start with: pick a belief, and then challenge it. The choice of appropriate analytical tool (and data) should be driven by: what could change my mind?…”

Of course conflict isn’t only possible between intuition and data. It can also be created between different data patterns. Carraway has an earlier related post, “Big Data, Small Bets“, that looks at creating multiple small experiments for big data sets designed to minimize identifying patterns that are either random or not significant.

Thanks to Professor Carraway for elevating the discussion. Read his full post.

How long does it take to develop a mobile app?

We have covered and written about the issues enterprises need to consider when planning to develop a mobile app, especially on choosing between native apps, mobile web apps (HTML5, etc.), or a hybrid approach that includes elements of each. And have discussed some of the choices / factors that would have an effect on the time required to bring an app to market, but made no attempt to advise or speculate on how long it should take to “develop a mobile app”. This is not a question with a straightforward answer as any software development manager with tell you.

There are many reasons estimating app development time is difficult, but there are also items outside of actual coding that need to be accounted for. For example, a key factor often not considered in measuring app development is the time involved to train or hire for skills. Since most organizations already have experience with standards such as HTML and CSS developing mobile web apps should be, ceteris paribus, less costly and quicker than developing a native app. This is especially true when the app needs to run on multiple devices with different APIs using different programing languages on multiple mobile (and possibly forked) operating systems. But there are often appealing device features that require native code expertise, and even using a mobile development framework which deals with most of this complexity requires learning something new.

App development schedules can also be at the mercy of app store approvals and not-always-predictable operating system updates.

As unlikely as it is to come up with a meaningful answer to the catchy (and borrowed) title of this post, executives need good estimates of the time and effort in developing specific mobile apps. But experience in developing mobile apps is still slim in many organizations and more non-technical managers are now involved in approving and paying for app development. So even limited information on length of effort can provide useful data points.

I found the survey that informed the Visual.ly infographic below via ReadWrite at How Long Does It Take To Build A Native Mobile App? [InfoGraphic]). It involved 100 iOS, Android and HTML5 app developers and was done by market research service AYTM for Kinvey, provider of a cloud backend platform for app developers.

Their finding? Developing an iOS or Android app takes 18 weeks. I didn’t see the survey questions so don’t know whether whether 18 weeks was an average of actual developments, opinions on what it should take, or something else.

Of course there are simple apps that can be created in a few days and some that will take much longer, but in either case the level of effort is almost always underestimated. Even with all the unanswered questions about resources etc., the infographic raises, the 18 week finding may helpfully temper somebody’s overly optimistic expectations.

 
 

Tablets in the Enterprise and BYOD strategies

A couple of observations about tablets in the enterprise:

  • Tablets of all dimensions have a role in enterprise use, as do all types of personal computing devices.
  • BYOD is certainly a challenge for some organizations, but is a reminder of how we should have been managing data all along.

Tablets and other personal computing devices in the enterprise
One reaction to Apple’s iPad mini last week was that it would change the dynamic of Apple’s market for tablets since a 7″ inch tablet is more appropriate for consumers so enterprises would stick to the 10″ versions. The only thing correct about this view is that the tablet market will change. But we don’t know how – use-cases are evolving and there are way too many variables beyond physical size. It seems just as likely that the iPad mini form-factor could grow faster in enterprises than the full size iPad. In any case there are certainly enterprise use cases for a smaller, cheaper iPad, especially since those seem to be the only significant differences, and there is no apparent app development cost or learning curve further easing enterprise adoption.

But the bigger point is that enterprises need to be able to support not only multiple tablet and smartphone form factors but a large subset of an unpredictably large set of personal device types.

This is not a new challenge, it is simply one that is accelerating because of the decreasing costs and increasing ease of device development. “Personal” devices in enterprises are not new – employees have often used their own personal computers especially as they shrunk in cost and to BYOD notebook size. Tablets and phones are the next step, but enterprises will soon be dealing with watches, wearable computing, and implants which is why…

BYOD strategies need to focus on the data not the devices
The BYOD continuum is also largely additive – employees aren’t just replacing devices but often using multiple devices to access and process much of the same data – keeping up with the variety and volume and versions of personal devices is hopeless. A BYOD management strategy that focuses on device management will at best have a negative impact on productivity, will certainly increase costs, and most likely fail. There are environments and applications where data security is critical enough to warrant the overhead of a device management strategy that approaches being fail-proof, but even in these cases the focus should be on the data itself with device control as a backup where it makes sense.

It may not be much easier to manage the data independently but that’s the ball to keep your eye on.

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