Archive for CMS

Insiders’ Guide to Selecting the Right WCM

Join us at the Gilbane Conference in Boston December 1-3 and learn how your peers are building superior digital experiences for customers and employees. If you have a website refresh project coming up, make sure you are prepared with the latest info on the web content management technology landscape by attending this in-depth workshop.

Workshop C. Insiders’ Guide to Selecting the Right WCM

If you are a website or intranet manager or architect, this year may well find you looking to implement new tools or refresh dated platforms. However, you face a wide and growing array of vendors willing to address your problems. Which ones offer the best fit for your particular circumstances?

This fast-paced workshop led by Real Story Group founder Tony Byrne will help you understand the broad but converging marketplaces for Web CMS technologies. Tony will sort out the key players and business models, and offer you a roadmap for deciding which types of technologies and vendors provide the best long-term fit for your needs. The workshop will answer several key questions:

  • How can you quickly distinguish among the 120 major toolsets across these marketplaces?
  • How are changes in the open source landscape impacting your options today and going forward?
  • Where does Web Publishing intersect with emergent technologies?
  • What should you expect to pay for these tools?
  • What are the critical, can’t-ignore architectural distinctions you need to make?
  • How mature are the vendors? – What are the strengths and weaknesses of some key players, including Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle
  • How can you insure that your selection process meets your original business objectives?
  • Which should you pick first: Agency, Integrator, Vendor, or…?
  • What are some major pitfalls others have made that you can readily avoid?
  • How are these marketplaces likely to evolve in the coming years, and how can you best align your firm to take advantage of future innovation?

Instructor: Tony Byrne, Founder, Real Story Group
Tuesday, December, 1: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. • Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston

This workshop is included in the ConferencePlus package. Save $200 on the ConferencePlus and Conference Only options.

To get your Bluebill discount use priority code 200BB when registering online.

I would like my $200 registration discount – code 200BB

How to Select a WCM Service Provider

Join us at the Gilbane Conference in Boston December 1-3 and learn how your peers are building superior digital experiences for customers and employees. If you have a project coming up make sure you have the right service provider partners by attending this in-depth workshop.

Workshop D. How to Strategically Select a Service Provider Partner

Evaluating and selecting technology and service partners is intimidating. And without proper guidance, it’s easy to take the wrong path. This workshop focuses on selection readiness. It is designed to point your organization in the right direction before you even start the journey to either a roadmap and/or new solutions for web content and experience management. You will learn how to create a plan of action for getting your organization ready for a successful selection program – one that results in real business benefits as the direct result of partnering with the right service provider to help you set your customer experience path, and implement the right solutions. We explore the fundamentals of selection preparation, covering four key areas of readiness:

  • Articulating the business case
  • Identifying the stakeholder landscape
  • Managing requirements gatherings
  • Developing realistic budgets

We provide a step-by-step overview of an efficient, results-driven selection program, and we show you how to build a messaging and communications plan that will help you shape internal conversations about it. With this approach, you can set expectations, educate reluctant stakeholders, and get your company thinking about change management, which is often an afterthought but shouldn’t be. The selection process is all about aligning business goals with the “best-fit” partner for your organization’s needs. And finding that fit is about way more than just ticking the boxes of a procurement process checklist. Armed with the outcomes of this workshop, you will be ready to move forward with confidence and find the right service provide to partner with on your customer experience journey.

Instructor: Cathy McKnight, Partner and Principal Analyst, Digital Clarity Group
Tuesday, December, 1: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. • Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston

This workshop is included in the ConferencePlus package. Save $200 on the ConferencePlus and Conference Only options.

To get your Bluebill discount use priority code 200BB when registering online.

I would like my $200 registration discount – code 200BB

 

Frank Gilbane interview on Big Data

Big data is something we cover at our conference and this puzzles some given our audience of content managers, digital marketers, and IT, so I posted Why Big Data is important to Gilbane Conference attendees on gilbane.com to explain why. In the post I also included a list of the presentations at Gilbane Boston that address big data. We don’t have a dedicated track for big data at the conference but there are six presentations including a keynote.

I was also interviewed on the CMS-Connected internet news program about big data the same week, which gave me an opportunity to answer some additional questions about big data and its relevance to the same kind of  audience. There is still a lot more to say about this, but the post and the interview combined cover the basics.

The CMS-Connected show was an hour long and also included Scott and Tyler interviewing Rob Rose on big data and other topics. You can see the entire show here, or just the 12 twelve minute interview with me below.

First group of Gilbane sponsors posted for Boston conference

Conference planning is starting to ramp up. See our first group of Gilbane sponsors, and don’t forget the call for papers!

Why marketing is the next big money sector in technology

Ajay Agarwal from Bain Capital Ventures predicts that because of the confluence of big data and marketing Marketing is the next big money sector in technology and will lead to several new multi-billion dollar companies. His post is succinct and convincing, but there are additional reasons to believe he is correct.

Marketing spending more on IT than IT

Ajay opens his post with a quote from Gartner Group: “By 2017, a CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO”. It is difficult to judge this prediction without evaluating the supporting research, but it doesn’t sound unreasonable and the trend is unmistakable. Our own experience as conference organizers and consultants offers strong support for the trend. We cover the use of web, mobile, and content technologies for enterprise applications, and our audience has historically been 50% IT and 50% line of business or departmental. Since at least 2008 there has been a pronounced and steady increase in the percentage of marketers in our audience, so that 40% or more of attendees are now either in marketing, or in IT but assigned to marketing projects – this is about double what it was in earlier years. While web content management vendors have moved aggressively to incorporate marketing-focused capabilities and are now broadly positioned as hubs for customer engagement, the real driver is the success of the web. Corporate web sites have become the organizations’ new front door; companies have recognized this; and marketers are demanding tools to manage the visitor experience. Even during the peak of the recession spending on web content management, especially for marketing applications, was strong.

“Cloud” computing and workforce demographics have also beefed up marketers’ mojo. The increased ability to experiment and deploy applications without the administrative overhead and cost of IT or of software licenses has encouraged marketers to learn more about the technology tools they need to perform and helped instill the confidence necessary to take more control over technology purchases. A younger more tech-savvy workforce adds additional assertiveness to marketing (and all) departments. Now if only marketers had more data scientists and statisticians to work with…

Big data and big analytics

Big data has not caused, or contributed very much, to the increase in marketing spending to-date. Certainly there are very large companies spending lots of money on analyzing vast amounts of customer data from multiple sources, but most companies still don’t have enough data to warrant the effort of implementing big data technologies and most technology vendors don’t yet support big data technologies at all, or sufficiently. I agree with Ajay though that the “several multi-billion dollar” marketing technology companies that may emerge will have to have core big data processing and analytic strengths.

And not just because of the volume. One of the main reasons for the enterprise software bias for back office applications was that front office applications beyond simple process automation and contact data collection were just too difficult because they required processing unstructured, or semi-structured, data. Big data technologies don’t address all the challenges of processing unstructured data, but they take us a long way as tools to manage it.

The level of investment in this space is much greater than most realize. Ajay is right to invest in it, but he is not alone.

Gilbane Boston conference now accepting speaking proposals

The call for papers for this year’s conference is now open. See information on the topics and instructions.

Researching Enterprise Search System Integrators

When looking at job postings on the Enterprise Search Engine Professionals Group on LinkedIn shows positions calling for developers with specific programming skills or knowledge of specific products. It may be a faulty assumption, but it appears that enterprises on the path to a new or upgraded search application implementation are paying less attention to the other professional skills needed on a successful team.

Knowing how to implement, tune, administer and enhance search outcomes has more to do with understanding business needs and content management than writing code. You need the expertise of content management professionals who understand the importance of (and how to leverage) metadata. You definitely need people who know how to build and maintain the controlled vocabularies that make metadata valid and valuable within the context of your organization. These professionals are not traditionally found in IT groups; they are more likely to come from a business function, or information science background, preferably with a deep knowledge of the enterprise and how it works.

Integrating content management systems (CMS), digital asset management (DAM), taxonomy, thesaurus or ontology management with enterprise search applications means understanding much more than coding. However, having a tight relationship with IT is imperative for good integration of components. In small and medium organizations it is rare to find experts across all areas and that is where a new breed of system integrators are bringing the most value as noted in the post in December, 2011.

As promised, here are some tips for finding and qualifying the right integrator for your organization. The first step is to identify service providers to consider. Use three principle discovery techniques:

  • Simple searches for “system integration providers”, “search integration”, “software” or “software integration” are all explicit phrases to use in web search engines
  • Vendor listings and directories such as those published by Information Today, and AIIM or “buyers’ guides” associated with specific product groups.
  • Conference exhibitors and conference attendees (consultants and vendors) who may attend or present but not exhibit at conference where the focus is a content management topic.

Next, qualify those you have discovered:

  • Scour their web sites by digging into links to Case Studies, Customers, Partners, and Press Releases. Each of these may lead to information about who the vendor has done business with and for, and the nature of their engagements.
  • Test-drive any public sites they have implemented and take a look at how their own web site has been implemented – How easy is it to find information on their own site?
  • Talk to people at professional meetings or in academic institutions who might have knowledge of system integrators and learn about their relationships, success and failures they have experienced. Talk to those vendors you trust and value that are suppliers of non-software products and find out companies they may have observed or encountered at their other clients. They can be a great source of “intelligence.”
  • Talk to people at their named client sites (non-referred if possible)

Five keys to purposeful and successful selection are carefully evaluating:

  • Fit for your industry and organization: cost, vertical experience, gap completion (providing competencies you lack).
  • Fit with your permanent staff: common communication behaviors, collaborative aptitude, willingness to teach, and share.
  • People who have done something as close to what you need for another organization, and will let you talk to their client before the project begins.
  • A service provider that understands the project, staging, and need for a clear exit goal (being able to clearly define what success will look like at the end of the project before they leave the scene).
  • What we commented on in the first paragraph on jobs for search engine professionals; scout potential service providers’ professional skill set to be sure they have people on their staffs who know more than just writing code.

Armed with these few guidelines as a checklist, you are ready to begin your search for a system integrator and solutions provider that suits your organization.

Gilbane Conference 2012

Details on Gilbane Boston 2012 will be posted shortly!

Making Search Play Well with Content Solutions

In keynote sessions at the recent Gilbane Boston Conference, three speakers in a row made points about content management solutions that are also significant to selection and implementation of enterprise search. Here is a list of paraphrased comments.

  • From Forrester analyst, Stephen Powers were these observations: 1. The promise has been there for years for an E (enterprise)CM suite to do everything but the reality is that no one vendor, even when they have all the pieces, integrates them well. 2. Be cautious about promises from vendors who claim to do it all; instead, focus on those who know how to do integration.
  • Tony Byrne of the Real Story Group observed about Google in the enterprise that they frequently fail because Google doesn’t really understand “how work gets done in the enterprise.”
  • Finally, Scott Liewehr of the Gilbane Group stated that a services firm selection is more important than the content management system application selection.

Taken together these statements may not substantiate the current state of the content management industry but they do point to a trend. Evidence is accruing that products and product suppliers must focus on playing nice together and work for the enterprise. Most tend not to do well, out-of-the-box, without the help of expertise and experts.

Nominally, vendors themselves have a service division to perform this function but the burden falls on the buyer to make the “big” decisions about integration and deployment.
The real solution is waiting in the wings and I am increasingly talking to these experts, system integrators. They come in all sizes and configurations; perhaps they don’t even self-identify as system integrators, but what they offer is deep expertise in a number of content software applications, including search.

Generally, the larger the operation the more substantial the number and types of products with which they have experience. They may have expertise in a number of web content management products or e-commerce offerings. A couple of large operations that I have encountered in Gilbane engagements are Avalon Consulting, and Search Technologies, which have divisions each specializing in a facet of content management including search. You need to explore whether their strengths and expertise are a good fit with your needs.

The smaller companies specialize, such as working with several search engines plus tools to improve metadata and vocabulary management so content is more findable. Specialists in enterprise search must still have an understanding of content management systems (CMS) because those are usually the source of metadata that feed high quality search. I’ve recently spoken with several small service providers whose commentaries and case work illustrate a solid and practical approach. Those you might want to look into are: Applied Relevance, Contegra Systems, Findwise, KAPS Group, Lucid Imagination, New Idea Engineering, and TNR Global.

Each of these companies has a specialty and niche, and I am not making explicit recommendations. The simple reason is that what you need and what you are already working on is unique to your enterprise. Without knowledge of your resources, special needs and goals my recommendations would be guesses. What I am sharing is the idea that you need experts who can give value when they are the right experts for your requirements.

The guidance here is to choose a search services firm that will move you efficiently and effectively along the path of systems integration. Expertise is available and you do not need to struggle alone knitting together best-of-breed components. Do your research and understand the differentiators among the companies. High touch, high integrity and commitment for the long haul should be high on your list of requirements – and of course, look for experience and expertise in deploying the technology solutions you want to use and integrate.

Next month I’ll share some tips on evaluating possible service organizations starting with techniques for doing research on the Web.

Thanks to all for contributing to a great event!

Thanks to all who joined us at Gilbane Boston!  See you in Boston next year – stay tuned for details.

If you weren’t able to join us you can see what you can see what what happened last week at:

Conference at-a-glance

Conference Session details

Pre-conference workshops

Speakers

Sponsors & exhibitors