Tag: LinkedIn

Documents are dead – or not

Last night I somehow stumbled on a link to the March 19, 1998 issue of David Weinberger’s JOHO (Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization), where David posits The Death of Documents and the End of Doneness – because of the Web of course – and I disagree that documents are dead. David and I are old friends and I am sure we each had more to say to each other on this topic, but I can’t remember if he ever accepted my corrections to his obviously misguided position, whether he just decided to spare me the embarrassment of pointing out gaping inconsistencies in my argument and gloat privately, or whether we figured out a weaselly way to agree. I have a vague memory of the latter – perhaps in an AIIM publication?

In any case, I was gratified to find that I still agree with my 1998-self, and will check with David to see whether he is the same self he was. You can reach your own conclusions and also have a fun read (if you don’t know him, David is very funny) at http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-march19-98.html.

Update:
See David’s response at http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/2012/05/22/documents-dead-or-grizzled-survivors/

David:
Aha! We now agree and in a non-squirrely way. You didn’t have to say you were wrong, now I am going to have to admit the same when it’s my turn. :( …Besides, you were only a little wrong…

W3C Launches Linked Data Platform Working Group

W3C launched the new Linked Data Platform (LDP) Working Group to promote the use of linked data on the Web. Per its charter, the group will explain how to use a core set of services and technologies to build powerful applications capable of integrating public data, secured enterprise data, and personal data. The platform will be based on proven Web technologies including HTTP for transport, and RDF and other Semantic Web standards for data integration and reuse. The group will produce supporting materials, such as a description of uses cases, a list of requirements, and a test suite and/or validation tools to help ensure interoperability and correct implementation.

A rarity these days – an announcement that used ‘data’ instead of ‘big data’! And the co-chairs are even from IBM and EMC.

Time to re-check your mobile development strategy

The mobile platform landscape has changed dramatically in the last few months. So much so that organizations who even recently reached decisions on a mobile development strategy should re-visit their decisions. I’m not talking about HTML5 vs app development issues – though those decisions are just as important and directly related because of continued innovation in device and operating system capabilities combined with the need to protect content development and management investments – but about which platforms will be viable, or meet your level of risk tolerance.

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. These are pretty general statements, but if you are in charge of your company’s mobile development strategy considering their impact is a good place to start a check-up for a possible course correction.

Another place to start is to read the excellent post by Tim Bajarin Why Google Will Use Motorola To Become Vertically Integrated. I won’t summarize because the entire post and the comments are really a must-read.

Making big data analytics accessible to marketers

The recent announcement of SAS Visual Analytics highlights four important characteristics of big data that are key to the ability of marketing organizations to use big analytic data effectively:

  • Visualization is a challenge for big data analysis and we’ll continue to see new approaches to presenting and interacting with it. Better visualization tools are necessary not just because those who aren’t data scientists need to understand and work with the data, but because the increased efficiency and time-to-reaction to the data is critical in many cases – especially for marketers who need to react with lightening speed to current user experiences.
  • In case it isn’t obvious, visualization tools need to work where marketers can access them on web and mobile platforms.
  • In-memory data processing is necessary to support the required speed of analysis. This is still rare.
  • Big data is not only about unstructured data. Relational data and database tools are still important for incorporating structured data.

SAS is far from the only company driving new big data analytic technology, but they are the biggest and seem determined to stay on the front edge.

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.

W3C launches Multilingual Web Language Technology Working Group

W3C announced new work to make it easier for people to create Web content in the world’s languages. The lack of standards for exchanging information about translations is estimated to cost the industry as much as 20% more in translation costs, amounting to billions of dollars. In addition, barriers to distributing content in more than one language mean lost business. Multinational companies often need to translate Web content into dozens of languages simultaneously, and public bodies from Europe and India typically must communicate with citizens in many languages. As the Web becomes more diverse linguistically, translation demands will continue to grow.

The MultilingualWeb–LT (Language Technology) Working Group will develop standard ways to support the (automatic and manual) translation and adaptation of Web content to local needs, from its creation to its delivery to end users. The MultilingualWeb-LT Working Group receives funding from the European Commission (project name LT-Web) through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Recent reports by Frank on mobile development and big data

While I was still at Outsell Inc, I started writing some reports on information technologies for our publishing and information provider CEO clients. I will most likely be writing a few more similar reports for Outsell this year. While special attention is paid to the interests of publishing and information industry CEOs, the topics are all (so far) about technologies that are important to all industries. These reports are available from Outsell:

Five Technologies to Watch 2012-2013, January 25, 2012

Mobile Development Strategies: What Information Industry Executives Need to Know, November 29, 2011

Big-Data: Big Deal or Just Big Buzz?, August 2, 2011.

When User Communities Take Control Everyone Wins

One of the LinkedIn groups I belong to has a great discussion started by Tom Burgmans , Enterprise Search Specialist at Wolters Kluwer, a publisher. The group is Enterprise Search Engine Professionals and has over 1,600 members. Tom began a discussion with this question: FAST Technical Users Group? As I read his call to action by the FAST user community, and the subsequent cheers in response from group members, I was delighted to see the swell of support. Here’s why.

This is a perfect example of where social tools meet a need. A suggestion I also made as a panelist at FastForward 2009 has emerged spontaneously as a direct result of market forces. My observation had been that the FAST user conference was largely attended by IT folks, and the overwhelming number of keynotes and session topics focused on social tools, not especially tied directly to search either. A recommended call to action directed to Microsoft was that they host a platform of social tools to facilitate genuine user community sharing around the FAST product. The people who most need this are search administrators and content managers who presumably have some governance responsibilities for searchable content.

In Tom’s suggestion we see the effective use of a social tool to generate interest among members, a large and focused audience who serve as a great test of the viability of his idea.

That is neat!

Almost 30 years ago when I ran a software company, we (the company) organized and ran annual user group meetings in tandem with a large professional conference that most of our customers attended. These meetings were very successful, well attended by 40 – 50% of our customers. Over almost 20 years the group spawned a lot of professional and collegial relationships that gave our small user community a sense of collective investment in furthering the improvement and support of the product around which they met. Efforts to turn over total control of the user group to the community were not successful because, in those days, the infrastructure needed for planning, organizing and running meetings across the North American geography did not exist. My company provided that support mechanism out of necessity.

However, three regional user groups began their own programs to share knowledge, and the entire user community collectively published a “cookbook” of source code for reports that many of the users had built for use with the database application and wanted to share with others.

Today the opportunities for building these communities of practice have a vast number of “free” social tools to employ, so that barrier has gone away. More important, the benefits to the user community are limitless. It gets to drive discussion about the product, share hints, workarounds, and tips for successful implementations. The user community gets to decide what is important, what is needed in the knowledge-base of operational information. It can call for product changes, improvements and use social platforms for galvanizing the community around specific issues.

One of the best outcomes we saw with our own user community was around a visitation day at our offices for customers to meet together to “test-drive” an alpha version of a major new release. We purposely stayed out of the meeting for an extended period. Later we learned that when each had developed a “wish list” of changes and tweaks to the release, some rather marginal choices had died a natural death as a result of the “wisdom of the crowd.” This was an ideal scenario for us as a development company because we did not have to disappoint any individual users with a unilateral decision to reject their ideas.

Trust me when I recommend to the enterprise search user community, you will empower yourselves in ways you can’t imagine when you join forces with other customers to drive the improvements and success of any product you use and value.

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