Archives for November2010

GX Software Introduces New Engagement Solution at Gilbane Boston and GXConnect 2010

GX Software, a provider of web content, web traffic and visitor conversion management, announced that they introduced BlueConic, an enterprise class, customer-driven, online engagement solution simultaneously at the Gilbane Boston Conference and GXConnect 2010 Amsterdam. BlueConic is a customer-driven online engagement solution for cross–channel, customer communications in real-time. BlueConic enables online marketers to have continuous, relevant and effective personal conversations across multiple channels with their customers. Customer intelligence professionals can get real-time insight and customer data-as-a-service in order to extend Customer Intelligence throughout their enterprise. In its first release, BlueConic will feature cross-channel progressive profiling, dynamic segmentation, relevant and personal online dialogues and real-time, online communication tracking capabilities. Enterprises can deploy BlueConic and connect all their existing websites and customer self service portals as well as integrate with social media and emerging channels like iPad/iPhone applications across multiple brands and labels. By automatically building enterprise-wide institutional memory of individual customers, customer wishes, interests and responses to individual interactions in real time, BlueConic drives new personal dialogues, information and leads to a dialogue between businesses and their customers. Cross-channel coordination and orchestration capabilities deliver a seamless step-by-step customer online engagement.

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Ektron Partners with Seesmic

Ektron, a web content management, social and marketing optimization software and solutions provider, announced an eIntranet plug-in built with Seesmic Desktop 2 (SD2).  Ektron’s eIntranet SD2 plug-in allows users to access enterprise activity streams on the desktop alongside Facebook, Google Apps, Twitter and other social network streams. The combination of Ektron’s eIntranet with SD2 is intended to break down the silos between departments and geographic locations and promote more effective knowledge sharing and collaboration in the enterprise.  Instead of having to search for information, the information finds users via real-time, filterable activity stream of information.

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Adeptol Unveils Version 2.0 of CloudConnect

Adeptol, a provider of document viewing technology, announced a comprehensive update to its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) document viewing platform, CloudConnect 2.0. With this new version, Adeptol delivers a new experience for end users along with features for developers including AES encryption, extended API set and control over loading documents into viewer. Adeptol On Demand CloudConnect technology is being used by several SaaS application providers/publishers and enables providers to link the documents from their servers to the viewer on Adeptol server. Providers remain in control of the documents on their servers and never upload them to Adeptol servers. Adeptol CloudConnect provides a way to get documents from servers anywhere in world to appear in the viewer. The new features of Adeptol CloudConnect 2.0 include:  Now uses the latest 4.5 version of Adeptol AJAX Document Viewing Enterprise platform and offers the features of elastic viewing; Now comes with Adeptol Mobile Viewer license as well for users viewing documents from publisher/provider applications on iPhone/iPad or other mobile phones like Android etc; Publishers can now turn on Encryption on their accounts to allow documents to be transmitted in highly encrypted mode; An advanced Caching capability is now available to CloudConnect developers to allow faster document viewing for documents which do not change much and which are not sensitive or mission critical; CloudConnect now opens up a variety of new controls for developers to control their document viewing experience through additional APIs.

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What is Your Ebook Format?

Bill Trippe and I were speaking with someone at a mid-sized education publisher the other day, and we heard a well-informed and articulated series of complaints about the Kindle format. The frustration behind these comments was palpable: Kindle is where so much of the early and encouraging growth of the ebook market has happened, but the E-ink display and .AWZ format is really not good for any content beyond straight-forward text constrained within narrative paragraph structure.  While such constraint works fine for many titles, any publisher producing educational, professional, STM, or any other even moderately complex content has to compromise way too much.

Book publishers still not committing to the ebook market certainly like the news of the potential—Forrester’s James McQuivey, with the projection of the ebook market hitting $3 billion in sales sometime soon, is the latest word, perhaps—but these same book publishers, who after all, are the ones having to do the work, find themselves wondering if they can get there from here. Hannah Johnson, at PublishingPerspectives, posted a blog titled “Forrester’s James McQuivey Says Digital Publishing is About Economics, Not Format” The post is on the post by James McQuivey of Forrester Research about the projected growth of ebook sales and the emphasis on economics, not formats, when assessing ebooks’ future.

McQuivey’s point is right, of course, although it isn’t a startling conclusion, but one more on par with pointing out that, for print books, it matters very little whether the title comes out in hard cover or paperback, or in one trim size over another.  Still, in today’s ebook hysteria, it remains valuable to point out the sensible perspective.

In book publishing, the main consideration is producing a book that is of strong interest to readers, while also making sure that these readers can get their hands on the title in ways that produce sufficient monetary gain for the publisher. The only reasons why ebook formats are such a concern at the moment is that the question of ebook formats is a new one that book publishers are struggling to figure out how to implement, even while the marketplace for any and all such ebook formats remains nascent.

The Gilbane Group has been in the business of helping companies with all kinds of content—including publishers of many stripes—more effectively manage their content and get it to those who need it, at the right time, in the right form. Our recent 277-page study, A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Systems to Re-Invent Publishing (which is free, for download, by the way), discusses the issue of ebook formats and makes the point that book publishers need to move toward digital workflow—and, preferably, XML-based—as early in the editorial and production process as possible, so that all desirable formats the publisher may want to produce now and in the years ahead can be realized much more efficiently and much less expensively. One section in our industry forecast chapter is titled, “Ebook Reader Devices in Flux, But so What?”

But good strategic planning in book publishing doesn’t necessarily resolve each and every particular requirement for market success, and given the confused state of ebook format s and their varying production demands, we’re developing our next study that drills down on this very issue.  Working title: Ebooks, Apps, and Formats: The Practical Issues.

Stay tuned.  Drop a line.


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Incapsula Launches Cloud-based Web Application Firewall Service

Incapsula today announced the debut of its cloud-based Web Application Firewall service. Incapsula was spun out of Imperva to leverage Imperva’s award-winning WAF technology to meet the needs of small businesses worldwide. Incapsula is a cloud-based, Web site security and performance service enabling businesses to: Safeguard and speedup their website, Avoid attacks and blacklisting, Improve website performance, Achieve PCI compliance. Incapsula offers businesses an easy and affordable way to manage website security and performance in-house. For hosting and other service providers, Incapsula enables website security to be extended to an entire customer base and can serve as a platform to offer additional IT services. Incapsula is currently in Beta and already protecting dozens of website that are using the service. Anyone can join the Beta by applying, the service is expected to be commercially available at the beginning of 2011.

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Internet Society Reconfirms Support for World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) with $1Million Donation

The Internet Society announced a 1M USD donation to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This donation, the second installment of the Internet Society’s 2009 pledge of 2.5M USD over three years, will support the evolution of W3C as an organization that creates open Web standards. Both organizations have closely aligned views and strongly support the ongoing evolution of the open Internet as an invaluable platform for innovation. As active participants in the development of the open standards that ensure that the various parts of the system interoperate, both the Internet Society and W3C work to forge the strong partnerships among the various organizations that form this Internet Ecosystem.

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Informative Graphics Corporation Releases Brava 7 for Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC), a provider of viewing, collaboration and redaction technology announced the release of its Brava! Enterprise 7 software for Microsoft SharePoint® 2010. Brava for SharePoint allows users to interact with documents anywhere, anytime using their web browser. Brava adds document-centric workflow actions including the ability to add stamps, create threaded discussions and other markups, publish documents to PDF or TIFF, and redact sensitive content and privacy information. With Brava, SharePoint 2010 customers can: View many file formats, even CAD drawings, within SharePoint; Enhance SharePoint document searches with thumbnails, full document previews, in-document context-based and term-hit navigation; Enhance transactional, document-centric workflows to provide greater usability, efficiency, content security and the accuracy of change communication; Provide users more insight into the document by embedding a thumbnail, full document view or document metadata display on any SharePoint page through standard web parts; Support compliance requirements by adding metadata-driven stamps or watermarks, recording discussions and their resolutions and by performing pattern-based redaction.

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Rivet Software Announces Crossfire Compliance for Mutual Funds

Rivet Software, a provider of standards-based business reporting and analytics, announced the availability of Crossfire Compliance for Mutual Funds, a software application designed specifically to support the reporting and analysis needs of mutual fund companies. Based on eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), Crossfire Compliance for Mutual Funds simplifies the development and submission of risk/return summaries in XBRL format, as well as the creation of comparison and benchmark reports. According to the mandate issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), all open-end mutual fund companies must submit their risk/return summary information in XBRL-format beginning in January 2011. Crossfire Compliance for Mutual Funds simplifies what could be a complex and overwhelming process by providing a variety of solution options for companies of all sizes. Crossfire Compliance for Mutual Funds provides tools and reports that allow mutual fund companies to meet the mandate, and then use the data to make smarter business decisions. Each step in the tagging and analysis process is supported by Rivet’s professional services team comprised of mutual fund experts, XBRL technologists and other finance professionals. Functionality features of Crossfire Compliance for Mutual Funds include: Easy Information Access Users do not have to be technology experts to tag and analyze data with Crossfire Compliance for Mutual Funds; Data can be easily exported to Microsoft Excel or Word and shared with the entire management team; Integrated Online Reviewer’s Guide allows preparers and reviewers to closely collaborate from inception to completion through the filing process; Review Risk/Return Summary Information makes it easy to view, compare and analyze data from any SEC Mutual Fund and compare your data with that of other SEC filers; and the ability to create Online Reports Posting company filings to make the information more easily consumable by a variety of stakeholders. Crossfire Compliance for Mutual Funds is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution based on the Crossfire Financial Reporting Platform. The platform leverages Microsoft® Excel, SharePoint and SQL Server technologies and runs in a web browser.

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Publishers are the Masters of Publishing

As absurd as the title of this entry sounds, there is a point to it, especially when you consider all the theories being bandied about the consequences of book publishing’s encounter with ebooks specifically, and digital publishing generally. The sheer range in such theories is impressive, from the “print is dead” silliness (unless, perhaps, you are casting well into the future) to much more reasonable suppositions that book publishers as they are today may be in danger of disintermediation tomorrow (or, rather, 5, 10, or more years down the road), as digital technologies may engender significant shifts in the supply and value chains presently in place. There’s plenty of compelling evidence that real alternatives will exist, and are found in our newest study on book publishing and ebooks, A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-invent Publishing, now available for free download. One such statistic is from Bowker’s own analysis of the book industry, where it reports the number of new fiction titles being traditionally published dropped significantly from 2008 to 2009, while the overall number of book titles published, including fiction, exploded due to non-traditional publishing efforts such as “self-publishing” and ebooks. 

Don’t write off book publishers yet, however.  We see that book publishing across all segments—from trade, to educational, STM, and professional—have been making good progress, especially in approaching digital workflow as a necessary process improvement, and, even with the use of XML for content creation and management within such workflows. While the industry as a whole still can’t be thought of as all that fast moving (after all, many book publishers still take a year or two to get a signed book into the hands of readers), speculation that these “dinosaurs” are doomed is simply unsupportable.

Blueprint provides an in-depth look at publisher responses to digital mandates, identifies winning strategies for ebook technologies, processes, and systems. One of the sponsors of this multi-sponsor study is the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), and in a letter to its members about the recently published Blueprint, BISG’s Executive Director, Scott Lubeck writes:

We all hear a great deal about change in our industry, but very little on how to accomplish this in a constructive way. The key to managing change is not mastering technology—however important that may seem to be—but rather in mastering process.  If you don’t understand the processes that underlie and drive your businesses you can’t change them let alone improve them, you can only watch them collide, and in the worst cases implode, as new opportunities emerge or new competencies are required.

It is the very fact that book publishing entails many processes which places the industry in the captain’s chair, even as self-publishing has its role to play as more and more services are available to self-publishers that reflect the wide range of processes (e.g., think promotion and marketing, for one) involved in book publishing. Book publishers know their business processes, and there is little that is simple about most publishing processes. Lubeck writes of one element of publishing that key to improving many publishing processes:

Good process and process awareness produce enormous value in the book industry value chain. The most salient example to my mind is metadata. Metadata is not one thing: there are bibliographic metadata, production metadata, marketing metadata, product metadata, just for starters; and all metadata maps to the core publishing process that produce it. If you want to improve metadata—and you better had in order to succeed in the digital world—you have to understand and improve these processes. The technologies follow.

Now, I’m not going to suggest that book publishing as a whole—and more so in some segments than others—has no significant challenges. Book publishing carries, in many of the companies, high debt loads, and the overall margins can be modest. And long-established industries—think music recording—can all too easily be their own worst enemies, refusing to respond to changing market realities, and there’s no guarantee that book publishing won’t be equally stupid.

But it looks good so far, perhaps because publishing has long been struggling with debt and margins and has been desperate for reducing costs and increasing revenue. Digital technologies, when applied in service to publishing processes that are sound, serve these ends quite effectively. 

Let us know what you think. Leave a comment. Drop a line.

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The Jouve Group offers direct online eBook conversion for Apple’s iBookstore

As the global leader in digital eBook conversion, Jouve has developed an online client platform for Apple’s iBookstore, making its industrial conversion solutions available to publishers of various sizes. A digital conversion process that’s personalized and compliant with Apple specifications. Jouve now offers publishers a way to directly convert their catalog to standard or enhanced eBooks for the iBookstore. The iBookstore is included with the free iBooks app available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. This solution fits the digital needs of many types of publishers, with production costs starting from just $19.99 per book. Whatever the format (image or print PDF, epub, XML) or the complexity of the job, Jouve offers quality production from its site in France. With a multilingual project team, personal service is offered every step of the way. The production cost for each title is quoted upfront, and publishers can pay online to start the conversion process quickly.

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