What’s Happening at Gilbane San Francisco

We’ve been providing regular updates on Gilbane San Francisco over on our dedicated announcements and press release blog, as well as on Twitter, but since not everybody subscribes to either of those, here is a quick summary for both conference attendees and technology exhibit visitors, with links.

Open to all:

  • Opening Keynote session with: Jeremiah Owyang, Partner, Customer Strategy, Altimeter Group & Daniel W. Rasmus, Strategist, Author, Listening to the Future
  • Industry Analyst Debate: What’s Real, What’s Hype, and What’s Coming with: Forrester, Gilbane, IDC, The Real Story Group (CMS Watch)
  • Technology showcase with 34 content management technology vendors
  • Sponsor Reception, Wednesday May 19
  • Access to Product Labs on Wednesday and Thursday

Conference options:

Follow the conference Twitter stream. The main hashtag is #gilbanesf. You can join (dm @gilbanesf) or follow the list of twitterers at Gilbane San Francisco.

Hope to see you there.

Ask the Analysts about Content Technologies & Strategies

Or collaboration, enterprise social software, search, analytics, market trends, customer engagement strategies, intranet architectures, multi-channel publishing …, or a prediction one of us has previously made that was prescient or presumptuous.

To learn more about the analysts on the panel including links to their blogs and Twitter accounts click on their name below.

K2. Industry Analyst Keynote Debate: Industry Analyst Debate – What’s Real, What’s Hype, and What’s Coming – May 19th 4:00pm – 5pm, Westin Market St, San Francisco

We invite industry analysts from different firms to speak at all our events to make sure our conference attendees hear differing opinions from a wide variety of expert sources. A second, third, or fourth opinion will ensure you don’t make ill-informed decisions about critical content and information technologies or strategies. This session will be a lively, interactive debate guaranteed to be both informative and fun.


Rob Koplowitz, Principal Analyst, Forrester
Hadley Reynolds, Research Director, Search & Digital Marketplace Technologies, IDC
Tony Byrne, Founder, The Real Story Group & CMS Watch
Scott Liewehr, Senior Consultant, Web Content Management, Gilbane Group

How to submit questions:


Now Live: The Gilbane Group’s Web-based “Blueprint” Survey for Book Publishing Professionals

The Gilbane Group’s new web-based survey for book publishing professionals has just gone live. This “Blueprint” survey is one of the research mechanisms for our upcoming study A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-Invent Publishing. The study will be published in June 2010, and all participants in this survey will have full access to the full-length study posted on The Gilbane Group website and through the websites of the sponsors of the report.

Please note: This survey is for high- and mid-level book publishing professionals. If this does not describe you, please do not take this survey.


This 10-minute survey seeks to gain detailed information about what is really happening among the full spectrum of book publishers related to ebook and digital publishing efforts, and will identify the "pain points" and barriers encountered by book publishers when it comes to their developing or expanding digital publishing programs.  Issues such as royalties, digital format choices, and distribution difficulties are addressed.

For more information about A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-Invent Publishing, or other activities of The Gilbane Group Content Technologies and Strategies practice, please email Bill Trippe.

The Gilbane Group Survey for Book Publishing Professionals: Take it Today!

The Gilbane Group Web-based survey of book publishing professionals is now active!. This survey is one of the research mechanisms for our upcoming study A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-Invent Publishing. The study will be published in June 2010, and all participants in this survey will have full access to the full-length study posted on The Gilbane Group website.

This survey, which will take most participants between 10-to-15 minutes to complete, seeks to gain a clearer picture of ebook and related digital publishing efforts underway among the full spectrum of book publishers. Furthermore, the analyst team at The Gilbane Group seeks to identify a number of “pain points” or barriers encountered by book publishers when it comes to developing or expanding digital publishing programs, including areas such as royalties, digital format choices, and distribution problems.

Broadly speaking, A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Systems to Re-Invent Publishing is a professional education effort, and its utility will rely, in large part, on the active and open participation of the book professionals on the front lines of the digital transformation of books.

Please note: This survey is for high- and mid-level book publishing professionals. If this does not describe you, please do not take this survey.


Thank you for your participation!

Should you fly without a pilot?

Last week Andrew McAfee wrote a blog post entitled Drop the Pilot wherein he discusses the challenges associated with piloting Enterprise 2.0 tools, and then arrives at the conclusion that we should abandon pilots altogether for such implementations and go as broad as possible right away.  As much as I hate to, I respectfully disagree.

Call me a cynic, but when I hear suggestions which go against my gut and break some very fundamental principles, such as the need to proactively manage change as well as risk, I tend to stand back and watch others jump off the bridge to see what happens before i even think about stepping to the edge. As technologists, we are innovating at a rapid pace and paradigms are constantly shifting around us, but we need to be cautious about

I do agree that E2.0 projects pose unique challenges, one of which is that their effectiveness is often [but not always] tied proportionally to the number of users in the ‘system’ (e.g. with microblogs…try launching one with only 100 diverse people in your test group and see well it takes off. Hint: it won’t). I also agree that it’s been universally accepted that "pilot" = "small", and that this characterization, by definition, hinders the chances of success for an E2.0 pilot. But the ‘aha’ here should not be that we should start throwing caution to the wind and launching new tools across our organizations.

Engage with a Persuasive Web Experience

Hi, I’m Ian Truscott and as you may have seen I’ve recently joined our WCM practice (you can get a bit of introduction to me here) – I am pleased to say this is my first blog post (hopefully of many) for Gilbane.  

It’s an exciting time for this segment of the CMS industry and to be joining Gilbane and I am looking forward to sharing my passion for web engagement – hence the unashamedly buzz word laden title.  

Depending on the commentator; we are either in a social media age, or we are post the social media revolution – in either case the Internet is no longer an extension of the traditional passive consumption media channels, it is a place where information and brand consumers get involved. 

In fact, folks are now arguing that it’s no longer ‘social’ it’s just ‘media’ – the way we create, consume and socialize content has changed forever and for everyone. And of course, there is so much of it – how do you make your message stick?  

This has mean’t a shift in focus for our industry, we’ve seen the age of the IT developers platform, been through the focus on ‘easy to use’ for content contributors to now – where being audience centric has become mainstream thinking (and a business imperative).

This has spawned a number of descriptions for this extension of WCM and the tools and practices we need to apply to become audience centric, including Persuasive Content, Web Experience Management, Customer Engagement or Web Engagement.    

All of these have something in common; a cycle of listening to the audience, understanding their needs and behaviour, using that to create and optimize content and some form of relevance based delivery. 

At it’s simplest, from a tools perspective – it’s the intersection of WCM, web analytics and personalized delivery. But it gets more complex,  with the inclusion of social media, CRM, marketing automation, e-mail, mobile delivery, auto-categorization, search – this list can go on.  

Yes, you can throw the kitchen sink at this one – but software and industry best practices are being aligned, for sound business reasons and they are aligning behind the audience, the citizen, the consumer.. you in fact.  

I’m going to finish on a couple of quotes from Frank Gilbane – from the foreword to ‘Web Engagement’ by Bill Zoellick (a book I’ve enjoyed for a while): 

The most unique characteristic of the web is in the way that it changes the relationship between your business and it’s customers.

You will not be able to take advantage … and know your customers without engaging them in a way that encourages them to share information with you. 

Engaging your customers requires understanding the new tools and data that are available and applying them in a way that nurtures a new level of trust. 

Not just saying that to be nice to the boss (although it can’t do any harm!), or to point out that the book was authored by a Gilbane alumnus – I think the most relevant part of the quote is the date that Frank wrote that foreword – it was February 2000. 

Hence my excitement in joining Gilbane, a firm that has a great, long standing pedigree as an authority on web engagement, which is, as I say, my passion and I look forward to the privilegeof contributing to that.  

Interested in reading more on Web Engagement? – I suggest reading this White Paper by Mary Laplante or check out our guide for marketers at Gilbane San Francisco – where our speakers will be discussing a lot of the subjects I touch on here.  

Marketing, Web Content Management, and Social Software

At the industry analyst session at Gilbane Boston last December, one of the points of discussion was how well spending on web content management systems had held up during the depths of the recession compared to other parts of IT budgets. Everyone on the panel agreed, and Forrester and IDC both mentioned research showing a healthy market for WCM and expected growth (if someone remembers the numbers please comment). This was a surprise to much of the audience, but obviously not to the vendors (well, at least to those reaping the benefit).

Why has/is web content management growing? The one word answer is ‘marketing’ – not vendor marketing, although they are mostly in tune with, and encouraging, the more aggressive pro-activeness of enterprise marketers. And why are marketing executives now better at demanding, and getting,  budgets for WCM? There are a number of reasons, including the paradoxical “to save money” (system costs have come down, large system service contracts costs have not, and SaaS solutions and open source solutions are growing). Most importantly however, is that most organizations have finally figured out that ‘marketing’ means ‘multi-channel, digital, and interactive/social marketing’. This is fundamental. The companies who took advantage of the recession to invest in learning what this means, experimenting with tools, customer interactions, and system integrations, have gotten a bit of a head start, but nobody can ignore this – this is not a ‘nice to have’.

Why is the focus on ‘web content management’ and not something else? All product categories are fluid, and eventually there will be a category, buzzword/phrase TBD, for multi-channel content management that includes tools for social, mobile, tablet, channels etc. But for the foreseeable future, the corporate website(s) will be the hub, however it is accessed.

Well, all I really meant to do in this post was point to the special guide to marketing-focused sessions at Gilbane San Francisco in May, but now you know why. These sessions will also be useful for those in IT (along with our technology track) who support marketing initiatives.

The Integration Question: How Much of a Barrier to Digital Publishing is the Lack of Interoperability among Publishers’ Various Line of Business Systems?

At The Gilbane Group’s Content Technologies and Strategies service, we’re wrestling with what we think is one of the biggest challenges facing publishers moving to greater and greater involvement in the digital marketplace: How much impediment is found in publishers’ having insular line-of-business systems throughout their publishing processes?

Digital publishing’s revenues have been growing—a common marker is the statistics in ebook sales growth—and more publishers of all sorts are strengthening their digital publishing efforts. For many, the problem comes down to whether the publisher can make publishing in various ebook formats (or online aggregation, or other models) pay.  It all comes down to how easy (read: cheap) it is to determine conditions like the rights associated with a publication, or part thereof, and how easy (read: cheap) it is to get the actual content into the right form. 

Here’s a simplified example, assuming an existing print textbook.  The textbook’s publisher will have to ascertain the status of and details for all seven publishing processes, from planning through to fulfillment, as follows:

  • Market for and P&L of digital versions
  • Form(s) and features of the digital textbooks
  • State of rights and royalties for the textbooks, including, in all likelihood, various contributors and components, and quite possibly licensing or subsidiary rights constraints
  • Location, condition, and availability of print edition production and/or manufacturing files
  • Design, conversion, and format output requirements of digital versions
  • Promotion and sales of digital versions
  • Distribution and/or fulfillment of digital textbooks

There is need for planning and editorial to work together to figure out if the digital publications make sense; planning, royalties, and licensing to work together to provide planning with these costs and to work with sales and accounting to meet contractual obligations; editorial, production, and quite likely manufacturing to work together on the specific forms of and source material for the digital versions; production and manufacturing to work together with sales, distribution, and fulfillment, along with marketing and promotion, to get actual digital textbooks out to the end-user or aggregator.

The publishing processes most often have a lot of separate systems and platforms in play, of course. Which means when it comes to extracting money out of print titles by publishing digital editions, there are plenty of places for expenses to become significant. 

Our upcoming report, A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-Invent Publishing, looks at, among other things, how these systems can work together, and already we are seeing a number of different strategies that make a lot of sense (read: cents).

We’ll be launching a Web-based survey for mid- and high-level book publishing professionals in about two weeks to gain a more detailed picture of the current state of digital publishing in fact, not theory.  As more and more content technology is applied to book publishing, we think that it is important to ask how well or poorly the different publishing processes can interoperate, and for that answer we need to hear from those doing the real work of publishing.