Gilbane Group Releases New Study on Multilingual Product Content

For Immediate Release

Pioneering Research Describes Transformation of Technical Communications Practices to Align More Closely With Global Business Objectives

Cambridge, MA, July 28 — Gilbane Group, Inc., the analyst and consulting firm focused on content technologies and their application to high-value business solutions, today announced the publication of its latest research, Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices Into Global Content Value Chains.

 The report is backed by in-depth qualitative research on how global businesses are creating, managing, and publishing multilingual product content. The study extends Gilbane’s 2008 research on multilingual business communications with a close look at the strategies, practices, and infrastructures specific to product content.

 The research clearly shows a pervasive enterprise requirement for product content initiatives to tangibly improve global customer experience. Respondents from a mix of technical documentation, customer support, localization/translation, and training departments indicate that "global-ready technology architectures" are the second most often cited ROI factor to meet the directive. All respondents view single-sourcing strategies and self-help customer support applications as the two most important initiatives to align product content with global business objectives.

 "Successful business cases for product content globalization address top-line issues relevant to corporate business goals while tackling bottom-line process improvements that will deliver cost savings," commented Leonor Ciarlone, Senior Analyst, Gilbane Group, and program lead for Multilingual Product Content. "Our research shows that while multilingual content technologies are clearly ROI enablers, other factors influence sustainable results. Cross-departmental collaboration and overarching business processes, cited as essential improvements by 70% and 82% of respondents respectively, are critical to transforming traditional practices."

 Multilingual Product Content is the first substantive report on the state of end-to-end product content globalization practices from multiple perspectives. "Gilbane’s latest research continues to show both language and content professionals how the well-managed intersection of their domains is becoming best practice," said Donna Parrish, Editor, MultiLingual magazine. "With practical insights and real experiences in the profiles, this study will serve as a valuable guide for organizations delivering technical documentation, training, and customer support in international markets."

 The report covers business and operational issues, including the evolving role of service providers as strategic partners; trends in authoring for quality at the source, content management and translation management integration, machine translation, and terminology management; and progress towards developing metrics for measuring the business impact of multilingual content. Profiles of leading practioners in high tech, manufacturing, automotive, and public sector/education are featured in the study.

 Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices Into Global Content Value Chains is available as a free download from the Gilbane Group website at http://gilbane.com. The report is also available from study sponsors Acrolinx, Jonckers, Lasselle-Ramsay, LinguaLinx, STAR Group, Systran, and Vasont Systems.

About Gilbane Group

Gilbane Group, Inc., is an analyst and consulting firm that has been writing and consulting about the strategic use of information technologies since 1987. We have helped organizations of all sizes from a wide variety of industries and governments. We work with the entire community of stakeholders including investors, enterprise buyers of IT, technology suppliers, and other analyst firms. We have organized over 70 educational conferences in North America and Europe. Our next event  if Gilbane Boston, 1-3 December 2009, http://gilbaneboston.com. Information about our newsletter, reports, white papers, case studies, and blogs is available at http://gilbane.com. Follow Gilbane Group on Twitter at http://twitter.com/gilbane.

Contact:
Gilbane Group, Inc.
Ralph Marto, +1.617.497.0443 xt 117
ralph@gilbane.com

 

SharePoint: Without the Headaches – A Discussion of What is Available in the Cloud

There are few people who have not heard of SharePoint, but understanding what SharePoint has to offer is another story.  The best way to understand SharePoint is to use it.  This series of posts will provide an overview of the product, and explains how a non techie can get started.

SharePoint is currently in its third incarnation (SharePoint 2007) and within 9 months Microsoft will be deploying the fourth version, "SharePoint 2010."  There are three distinct SKUs:

  1. WSS (Windows SharePoint Server)
    - Comes with the Windows Server and is free.
  2. MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server) Standard Edition
    - An extension of WSS, and is licensed per server as well as per user. 
  3. MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server) Enterprise Edition
    - An extension of the Standard Edition, and is licensed per server as well as per user. 

It is also possible to buy a "Public Connector" for MOSS, which is a license  that allows SharePoint to be used as a publicly facing site with no limit on the number of users .

Although Microsoft is trying to showcase SharePoint as an excellent platform to build publicly facing sites, there is general agreement that SharePoint is best used in a closed community where users must login.  Microsoft touts SharePoint as a product that supports six pillars: (These pillars are about to be rebranded in SharePoint 2010, see SharePoint 2010 has new pillars.)  The six pillars are:

  1. Collaboration
    - Allowing members of a closed community to share documents, tasks, calendars, contacts, etc
  2. Portal
    - Providing a single web site that is the gateway to an organization’s web based functions.
  3. Enterprise Search
    - Competing with Google for the enterprise, 
  4. Web & Enterprise Content Management
    - A publishing platform that allows for simple workflows among authors and editors.
  5. Forms Driven Business Process
    - Allows for easy development of electronic forms and associated automated workflows.
  6. Business Intelligence
    - Allows organization to build dashboards summarizing data that reside in disparate electronic repositories.

The original intent behind SharePoint was to empower business users to control their own destiny without being dependent on IT and Development staff.  In the author’s experience, SharePoint often requires much more planning and maintenance than business users can provide.  Thus one often finds that specially trained SharePoint IT and developer personnel are required to stand-up and support in-house SharePoint deployments. 

Although still quite limited, it is now possible to lease robust versions of SharePoint that reside in the cloud and truly are managed without any hidden costs.  This series of articles will summarize three services that were tried by the author:

  1. SharePoint Online – Part of the Microsoft Business Online Productivity Suite.
  2. Apps4rent – A robust SharePoint and Exchange online implementation.
  3. WebHost4Life – Similar to  Apps4Rent’s SharePoint implementation with a non-Exchange email system.

The discussion will focus only on SharePoint.  In all cases, the environments are WSS (Not MOSS) and are hosted in a joint tenancy model, meaning that you are sharing computing resources with other SharePoint sites. Although people will tell you there could be a number of reasons why this may be problematic, the author never experienced any issues due to joint tenancy.  Microsoft does offer an expensive service in a dedicated environment.  This service requires that a minimum of 5,000 user licenses are being leased.

Both Apps4rent and WebHost4Life have a simple model that is easy for an end user to understand. In contrast, the Microsoft environment is quite confusing with poor documentation.  Both Apps4Rent and WebHost4Life offer immediate support with chat sessions, and the customer service staff was knowledgeable and helpful.  Again, in contrast to this, Microsoft’s support was poor.  Microsoft communicated via a secure email channel, responses took 4 to 6 hours, and the support personnel did not understand the product well…

Read More →

New Content Globalization Case Study: Philips

All businesses are facing serious disruptions from shifting global economies, technical advancements, and the need for strong, consistently branded online multinational presence. Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands has found a way to respond to these challenges without jeopardizing its ongoing business.

A world leader in the consumer lifestyle, healthcare, and lighting industries, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “sense and simplicity.” With 50,000 products, 1,800 logos, a website present in 57 countries and translated in 35+ target languages, and 500 consumer marketing managers in the Consumer Lifestyle sector, Philips’ global brand management strategy requires an adaptive system of people, process, and technology to provide a unifying influence.

This case study tells the story of how Philips has met and is keeping pace with changing and often disruptive business environments by evolving operations and communications touchpoints in a just-in-time approach that maximizes global opportunity based on consumer need.

Download the Philips story here:

Borderless Brand Management: The Philips Strategy for Global Expansion

Give Financial Statements an MRI with XBRL

Recent news item:  CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore is feeling better and will have an MRI on his strained left elbow on Monday.

It has become very commonplace for doctors to order an MRI for patients experiencing pain. According to Radiology Info.com, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.  The website goes on to say, “MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or copied to CD.” (see http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=bodymr)

In a similar fashion, XBRL puts a company’s financial statements under a transformation that exposes detailed pictures of the underlying accounting backing every line item.  This information can then be analyzed and compared by computer software to help determine a company’s financial health.

For example, let’s look at a sample line item from the Marathon Oil SEC filing covering the quarter ending September 30, 2008.  The form 10-Q has a line on financial statement that reads:

Loss on early extinguishment of debt 120 (nine months ending September 30, 2007, in millions)

When you give that line item the XBRL MRI treatment, computers can extract the XBRL label:

us-gaap:GainsLossesOnExtinguishmentOfDebt

the definition of the item:

Amount represents the difference between the fair value of the payments made and the carrying amount of the debt at the time of its extinguishment.
And the authoritative literature that backs up the accounting decisions:

the reference:

Presentation Reference 

Name                  Accounting Principles Board Opinion (APB)
Number               26
Paragraph          20, 21
Publisher           AICPA

Inquiring minds will take a close look at APB 26 for more detail.  This examination should yield a much clearer understanding of the basis for reporting the number and therefore yield a better understanding of the financial statement.

Note:  Mr. Sizemore returned to full duty with the Cleveland Indians shortly after his MRI.

When is a Book Not a Book?

I recently wrote a short Gilbane Spotlight article for the EMC XML community site about the state of Iowa going paperless (article can be found here) in regards to its Administrative Code publication. It got me to thinking, "When is a book no longer a book?"

Originally the admin code was produced as a 10,000 page loose-leaf publication service containing all the regulations of the state. For the last 10 years it has also appeared on the Web as PDFs of pages, and more recently, independent data chunks in HTML. And now they have discontinued the commercial printing of the loose-leaf version and only rely on the electronic versions to inform the public. They still produce PDF pages that resemble the printed volumes that are intended for local printing of select sections by public users of the information. But the electronic HTML version is being enhanced to improve reusability of the content, present it in alternative forms and integrated with related materials, etc. Think mashups and improved search capabilities. The content is managed in an XML-based Single Source Publishing system that produces all output forms.

I have migrated many, many printed publications to XML SSP platforms. Most follow the same evolutionary path regarding how the information is delivered to consumers. First they are printed. Then a second electronic copy is produced simultaneously with the print using separate production processes. Then the data is organized in a single database and reformatted to allow editing that can produce both print and electronic. Eventually the data gets enhanced and possibly broken into chunks to better enable reusing the content, but the print is still a viable output format. Later, the print is discontinued as the subscription list falls and the print product is no longer feasible. Or the electronic version is so much better, that people stop buying the print version.
So back to the original question, is it no longer a book? Is it when you stop printing pages? Or when you stop producing the content in page-oriented PDFs? Or does it have to do with how you manage and store the information?

Other changes take place in how the information is edited, formatted, and stored that might influence the answer to the question. For instance, if the content is still managed as a series of flat files, like chapters, and assembled for print, it seems to me that it is still a book, especially if it still contains content that is very book oriented, like tables of contents and other front matter, indexes, and even page numbers. Eventually, the content may be reorganized as logical chunks stored in a database, extracted for one or more output formats and organized appropriately for each delivery version, as in SSP systems. Print artifacts like TOCs may be completely generated and not stored as persistent objects, or they can be created and managed as build lists or maps (like with DITA). As long as one version is still book-like, IMHO it is still a book.

I would posit that once the printed versions are discontinued, and all electronic versions no longer contain print-specific artifacts, then maybe this is no longer a book, but simply content.

Random House: Creating a 21st Century Publishing Framework

As part of our new report, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond "eBook," we researched and wrote a number of case studies about how major publishing companies are moving to digital publishing. The following is case study of Random House and its use of Digital Asset Management (DAM) technology from OpenText to create a much more dynamic and agile publishing process.

Background

Random House, Inc. is the world’s largest English-language general trade book publisher. It is a division of Bertelsmann AG, one of the foremost media companies in the world.

Random House, Inc. assumed its current form with its acquisition by Bertelsmann in 1998, which brought together the imprints of the former Random House, Inc. with those of the former Bantam Doubleday Dell. Random House, Inc.’s publishing groups include the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, the Crown Publishing Group, the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, the Knopf Publishing Group, the Random House Audio Publishing Group, the Random House Publishing Group, and Random House Ventures.

Together, these groups and their imprints publish fiction and nonfiction, both original and reprints, by some of the foremost and most popular writers of our time. They appear in a full range of formats—including hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, audio, electronic, and digital, for the widest possible readership from adults to young adults and children.

The reach of Random House, Inc. is global, with subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Through Random House International, the books published by the imprints of Random House, Inc. are sold in virtually every country in the world.

Random House has long been committed to publishing the best literature by writers both in the United States and abroad. In addition to the company’s commercial success, books published by Random House, Inc. have won more major awards than those published by any other company—including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer founded the company in 1925, after purchasing The Modern Library—reprints of classic works of literature—from publisher Horace Liveright. Two years later, in 1927, they decided to broaden the company’s publishing activities, and the Random House colophon made its debut.

Random House first made international news by successfully defending in court the U.S. publication of James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, setting a major legal precedent for freedom of speech. Beginning in the 1930s, the company moved into publishing for children, and over the years has become a leader in the field. Random House entered reference publishing in 1947 with the highly successful American College Dictionary, which was followed in 1966 by the equally successful unabridged Random House Dictionary of the English Language. It continues to publish numerous reference works, including the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

In 1960, Random House acquired the distinguished American publishing house of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and, a year later, Pantheon Books, which had been established in New York by European editors to publish works from abroad. Both were assured complete editorial independence—a policy which continues in all parts of the company to this day.

The Open Text Digital Media Group, formerly Artesia, is a leader in enterprise and hosted digital asset management (DAM) solutions, bringing a depth of experience around rich media workflows and capabilities. Open Text media management is the choice of leading companies such as Time, General Motors, Discovery Communications, Paramount, HBO and many more.

When clients work with the Open Text Digital Media Group, they tap into a wealth of experience and the immeasurable value of:

  • A decade of designing, delivering, and implementing award-winning rich media solutions
  • A global client base of marquee customer installations
  • An experienced professional services staff with hundreds of successful implementations
  • A proven DAM implementation methodology
  • Endorsements by leading technology and implementation partners
  • Domain expertise and knowledge across a variety of industries and sectors
  • The global presence and financial strength of Open Text, a leading provider of Enterprise Content Management solutions with a track record of financial growth and stability

Read More →

Digital Publishing Visionary Profile: Lulu’s Bob Young

As part of our new report, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond "eBook," we interviewed a number of industry visionaries. The following is a summary of a discussion between Lulu’s Bob Young and Gilbane’s Steve Paxhia.

Bob Young: Lulu—Next Steps
 
Bob Young is the founder and CEO of Lulu.com, a premier international marketplace for new digital content on the Internet, with more than 1.1 million recently published titles and more than 15,000 new creators from 80 different countries joining each week. Founded in 2002, Lulu.com is Young’s most recent endeavor. The success of this company has earned Young notable recognition; he was named one of the “Top 50 Agenda-Setters in the Technology Industry in 2006” and was ranked as the fourth “Top Entrepreneur for 2006,” both by Silicon.com. In 1993, Young co-founded Red Hat, the open source software company that gives hardware and software vendors a standard platform on which to certify their technology. Red Hat has evolved into a Fortune 500 company and chief rival to Microsoft and Sun. His success at Red Hat won him industry accolades, including nomination as one of Business Week’s “Top Entrepreneurs” in 1999. Before founding Red Hat, Young spent 20 years at the helm of two computer leasing companies that he founded. His experiences as a high-tech entrepreneur combined with his innate marketing savvy led to Red Hat’s success. His book, “Under the Radar,” chronicles how Red Hat’s open-source strategy successfully won industry wide acceptance in a market previously dominated by proprietary binary-only systems. Young has also imparted the lessons learned from his entrepreneurial experiences through his contributions to the books “You’ve GOT to Read This Book!” and “Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul.

For many years, authors who were unsuccessful in getting their books published by a commercial publishing company could underwrite the costs of publishing their books and sell them through “vanity presses.” It was rare that books published in this manner ever recouped the author’s investment and earned a profit.

Bob Young admits that when he was in college that he never fully appreciated the writings of philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. However, one of Sartre’s teachings—“We see the world the way that we expect to see it”—stuck with him. This passage helps explain how established practices and entities become so entrenched. Yet in 2002, Bob Young had an idea that would attack the established policies and practices of the book publishing industry. The industry had consolidated tremendously in the previous decade, and the distribution and retail networks changed dramatically. These changes have had a profound impact on potential authors. The reduction in the number of publishing entities has resulted in it becoming more difficult for authors to get their works published. The publishing company may already have a similar title or be unwilling to take a chance on an unpublished author. Sometimes, a book is written by a prominent author but the market niche is too small for traditional publishers to serve. These phenomena leave a significant number of high quality books without a publisher.

Read More →

Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond “eBook”

We are very happy to announce that we’ve published our new report, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond "eBook." The 142 page report is available at no charge for download here.

From the Introduction:

Much has changed since we decided to write a comprehensive study on the digital book publishing industry. The landscape has changed rapidly during the past months and we have tried to reflect as many of these changes as possible in the final version of our report. For example:

  • Sales of eBooks finally reached their inflection point in late 2008.
  • Customer acceptance of digital reading platforms such including dedicated reading devices like the Kindle and the Sony Reader and mobile devices like the iPhone and the BlackBerry have helped accelerate the market for digital products.
  • The Google settlement, once finally approved by the courts, will substantially increase the supply of titles available in digital formats.
  • New publishing technologies and planning processes are enabling publishers and authors to create digital products that have their own set of features that take full advantage of the digital media and platforms. Embedded context-sensitive search and the incorporation of rich media are two important examples.
  • Readers are self-organizing into reading communities and sharing their critiques and suggestions about which books their fellow readers should consider. This is creating a major new channel for authors and publishers to exploit.
  • Print-on-demand and short-run printing continue to make significant advances in quality and their costs per unit are dropping. These developments are changing the economics of publishing and are enabling publishers to publish books that would have been too risky in the previous economic model.
  • Lower publishing and channel costs are making it possible for publishers to offer their digital titles at lower prices. This represents greater value for readers and fair compensation for all stakeholders in the publishing enterprise.

We are privileged to report such a fine collection of best practices. And we are thankful that so many smart people were willing to share their perspectives and vision with us and our readers. We thank our sponsors for their ardent and patient support and hope that the final product will prove worth the many hours that went into its preparation.

We encourage readers of this report to contact us with their feedback and questions. We will be pleased to respond and try to help you find solutions to your own digital publishing challenges!