Archive for Content Management

Appearances Matter – Simple Solutions for Creating Engaging Web Content

When not busy working with The Gilbane Conference I spend my time working as a CMS editor. As a CMS Site editor I often times feel torn between my responsibility to preserve the integrity of my employers website by focusing on the content (I.e text) and my desire to enhance the more superficial elements such as the background, graphics, and fonts. 10/10 times I choose to tweak the text as our current software has been fixed to only offer 3 color options and only one font…

While ultimately the content on a site is more important than its overall appearance, I believe that in an age where analytics show that the majority of website viewers spend an average of only 10 seconds on a site they are visiting for the first time, that appearance cannot be ignored. Those statistics are not only discouraging to the average CMS editor, but further proof that in order to make an eye catching site to get viewers to explore and spend time on your site you’re going to need a bigger arsenal then a three choice color palette.

Although many are in the same position that I am in, working on company websites that have pre-programed fonts and colors, and in some cases graphics, there are several simple ways in which to make a big statement without straying to far from what is deemed acceptable and professional by your employer.

  • Add an Infographic

 

(http://www.manmadediy.com)

Adding infographics to your website is not just an easy way to display relevant company data in an engaging manner, they are also great in adding a much needed pop of color and excitement sure to make even the most casual of browsers stop and take a look.

While several companies will make custom infographics for you company at a price there are several websites that will generate them for free. Some notable options are Visual.ly and Piktochart. If you’re feeling especially creative and have time on your hands try creating your own using PowerPoint.

 

  • Avoid large StockPhoto sites whenever possible

 

How many times have you seen a photo on a companies website that looks exactly like this. While we can appreciate the fact that somewhere out there, there may be an office full of people that are always camera ready and enjoy each others company so much that they can’t get rid of their ever present  grins, this is simply not the case for most workplaces. If possible get real photos of real people in your office, and include pictures of your headquarters as well. These are the types of photos that will engage viewers and create a certain level of trust and comfort that stock photos cannot.

  • Make your Headlines and Titles Bold.


As Simple as it may sound by making the text of your article titles and headlines bold you are  creating a natural focal point for site browsers to focus on when scrolling through your website. When there is text to focus on within a sea of words people will be able to identify the content they are looking for easier, making them more likely to read what comes after the title.

 

  • Add a Social Element


It has become the norm for companies to be connected on at least one Social Network, so there is virtually no excuse why this fact should not be advertised on your website. Add a “social bar”, a twitter feed and of course share buttons to all of your blog and article entries. People are apt to feel more comfortable sharing and reading your information when they have visual proof that other have done the same before them. The upside to this is that when people share your content on social sites, it will inevitably lead more viewers back to your web page.

Utilizing even just one of these tools is a sure to expand not just your website viewership, but also the amount of time they are browsing as well. These which will all eventually lead to increase in clients and customers!

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Insight from the Real World: Buying a WCM Solution for Multilingual Web Presence

Our readers are familiar with language afterthought syndrome, a term we coined in our report on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices Into Global Content Value Chains.

Language afterhought syndrome refers to that pattern of treating language requirements as secondary considerations within content strategies and solutions. Global companes leak money and opportunity by failing to address language issues as integral to end-to-end solutions rather than ancillary post-processes. Examples abound. Source and translated content that should be reusable, but isn’t. Retrofitting content to meet regulatory requirments in different regions. Lost revenue because product and marketing content isn’t ready at launch time. Desktop publishing costs that are incurred soley due to reformatting in multiple languages. The list goes on and on.

One of the most effective defenses against language afterthought syndrome is baking language requirements into the technology acquisition process, thereby embedding support into the infrastructure as it’s designed, developed, and built out. OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) recognized this opportunity when it embarked on an ambitious transformation of its web content globalization practices. Debra Lewis, web content manager at OCLC, and our friend Andrew Lawless, principal at Dig-IT Consulting, shared their experiences in a terrific session at Gilbane Boson 2010 entitled "Next Thing You Know — You’re Global!" 

The presentation delivered by Deb and Andrew is available on the Gilbane conference website (follow the link and click on slides for session E3) . Highlights include Deb’s characterization of the signs of stress. On the production side:

  • Spend more time finding “creative solutions” than creating new content or managing site strategy
  • Use features of your CMS in ways not originally intended
  • Can’t upgrade to new releases without corrupting your pages

On the business side:

  • Localization addressed at the point of publication
  • Turnaround for day-to-day edits increases—affects relationships with internal clients
  • Distributed authors “give up” and relinquish editing rights
  • Team stress increases

These stress points led OCLC to commit resources to evolving its global web content strategy.  Deb and Andrew then walked our audience through OCLC’s three-phased transformation:

  1. Get a translation service provider
  2. Get a new CMS that would scale
  3. Get a translation management system

The portion of the presentation on selecting a web CMS with well-defined multilingual requirements will be especially valuable to any organization wanting to eliminate the negative impacts of language afterthought syndrome. Deb and Andrew described OCLC’s selection process and timeline, CMS selection criteria, prioritized globalization features, key standards that would need to be supported, text and language requirements, and requirements for integration with translation workflows.

Many global companies are now rearchitecting their web strategies for global presence and audience engagement. We see this as a major technology and investment trend for 2011. The insight offered by OCLC couldn’t be more timely.The organization’s experience offers a treasure trove of guidance for companies who are evaluating new web content management systems with language requirements among their priorities.

Thanks to Deb and Andrew for a great contribution to Gilbane Boston.

  

Selling Content Globalization Investments to Executives

value-framework-0310.pngWhen working with enterprise clients, we are inevitably involved in helping our operational champions sell investments in content globalization practices and infrastructures. Sometimes business case support is a formal part of the engagement, and sometimes it just evolves as part of what we do to help companies create competitive advantage with content in multiple languages.

In a recent joint Gilbane/SDL webinar, we made the point that the last pitch to top executives — the one required to seal the deal for funding — is fundamentally different from the others made along the way. If you’ve made it to the executive suite, you’ve done a good job so far. But too often, we’ve seen clients fail to secure investment because they use the same approach to selling that’s enabled them to pass through the previous gates. Some common points of failure when selling globalization technology to executives include:

  • Investment focus that is too tactical.
  • Poorly expressed pain points.
  • Lack of strategic value proposition tied to the top line.
  • Vague ROI.
  • No vision that ensures sponsorship and ongoing support beyond the initial project.

These points of failure can be addressed by recognizing that the funding conversation with executives is truly different, and by restructuring the approach to presenting the value propositions related to the investment you’re seeking. For the webinar, we developed a value-oriented framework for selling globalization technology within the highest levels of the organization. Its four components, as illustrated above, can guide you through the process of creating and delivering an executive sales pitch biased for success. We used the framework to examine six ways to recast an executive sales pitch. We backed up brief analyses of weak and strong answers with data from Gilbane research and real-world customer experiences.

The recorded webinar is now available on the SDL website.

Unifying the Global Content Value Chain: An Interview with Lasselle Ramsay

Second in a series of interviews with sponsors of Gilbane’s 2009 study on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices into Global Content Value Chains.

We spoke with Joan Lasselle, President of Lasselle Ramsay. Lasselle Ramsay is a service provider that designs solutions for content and learning that align how users work with the information needed to achieve business results. We talked with Joan about her company, why they supported the research, and what surprised her about the results.

Gilbane: How does your company support the value chain for global product content? (i.e., what does your company do?) 

Lasselle: Lasselle Ramsay is a professional service provider, not a reseller or technology integrator. We focus on helping companies develop new product content. Our work spans the value chain, ranging from engineering (at the point of origin), to technical marketing and technical documentation, to learning organizations and support teams. We also look at the extended value chain, which includes partners, suppliers (like translation service providers), and customers.

We encourage our clients to operate in both the strategic and tactical domains, providing them with a strategic vision, and helping implement an infrastructure that can deliver structured and unstructured multilingual content.

Gilbane: Why did you choose to sponsor the Gilbane research?

Lasselle: One of our goals as a service provider is to add value at each stage across the chain. This research study enables us to discover and share the experience and perspective of industry leaders with Lasselle Ramsay clients. We chose this particular study because of the in-depth research, as well as Gilbane’s domain expertise and independence.

Gilbane: What, in your opinion, is the most relevant/compelling/interesting result reported in the study?

Lasselle: Gilbane’s report sheds light on two key issues that our clients face: the need to address content within the context of larger business trends [referred to as megatrends in the study], and the importance of process improvements. First, companies today are challenged repeatedly to address adverse economic pressures at the same time they respond to the megatrends, such as the evolving basis of competitive advantage. The report makes clear that companies must take measures to address these megatrends in their content practices, or risk being left behind. Even in the face of negative economics and an endless and escalating flood of new data, they cannot sit back and wait. Second, the report illustrates how organizations can benefit from improving cross-functional processes. In many companies, for example, engineering and tech pubs each have their own authoring, content management, translation, and publishing, and neither group shares any processes or tools. What a lost opportunity! Just think of how much they could lower costs and speed time to market if they coordinated processes and collaborated on process improvements.

For insights into the megatrends that are shaping content globalization practices, see “Market Context” on page 9 of the report. You can also read about how Lasselle Ramsay contributed to global content value chain development at Hewlett-Packard. Download the study for free.

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

New Content Globalization Case Study: FICO

Positioning content practices as strategic, making business cases that get funding, and selling up within the organization are among the most common challenges presented to Gilbane Group analysts in conversations with users, adopters, and buyers of content technologies. Our advice to clients always includes aligning the target investment with the strategic goals and objectives of the business. By placing content practices and infrastructures directly in the path of promises to customers and shareholders, managers improve their chances of securing financial and sponsorship support. In some cases, they can effect innovative change that not only advances their domain’s capabilities but also results in new value creation for the enterprise.

Gilbane believes that true innovation delivers new value to organizations that are willing to take the risks associated with fundamental, qualitative change. The innovations resulting from FICO’s alignment of product and content development practices with business strategies are object lessons for any organization that needs to compete effectively in global markets.

Download the FICO story here: Innovation3: The FICO Formula for Agile Global Expansion

Listen to the webinar archive here: Innovating for Agility: Global Content Practices at FICO

On Multilingual Communications and Open Source: An Interview with Jahia’s Emmanuel Garcin

Recently, we had an opportunity to catch up with Emmanuel Garcin, Vice President at Jahia, a Swiss-based vendor of open source solutions for web content and portal management. Jahia is a sponsor of Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative,” a report released by Gilbane’s Globalization practice in July.
KK: What have been the biggest roadblocks to companies in demonstrating value for multilingual communications initiatives?
EG: We’ve found that web content management systems often need to be customized – in a big way – before they can be integrated with authoring tools, translation management systems, and other enterprise applications. This can result in big-ticket licensing and implementation costs as well as IT departments that become concerned with “overloading computing platforms. Open source technologies can help with these obstacles, but companies are often challenged to adopt and rollout new business models that go hand in hand with the open source context.
KK: What is the “tipping point” that compels companies to move forward with your solution as part of the infrastructure for multilingual communications
EG: The key business driver is a burning need to broadcast both local and global messages for brand management. We also have customers that must address language-based government regulations. Since there are three official languages in Switzerland, Jahia’s Swiss origins naturally focused us on the implementation of adequate business logic to provide flexible language management tools to accommodate this need. Other customers have a need to mix languages when they publish a particular country or regional site. One example is a large international institution that publishes in over a hundred languages who found that Jahia provided the vitamins (enterprise & portal capabilities) and the painkiller (globalization capabilities) needed to implement its content globalization strategy.
KK: What do you do to educate, prepare, and enable customers to be successful? EG: There’s a lot of back and forth. Companies often want to shape new solutions around existing business rules, but they also need to plan intelligently about how they’re going to communicate globally, and determine which processes should continue to evolve. We educate and train organizations on how to get the best results and can help with planning, installation, and configuration. At the end of the day, it’s all about technical details. Companies want to manage content in any language, decide for themselves which languages are mandatory and which are optional, and even publish web sites that mix languages on the same screen. In addition, they want to give their customers the ability to select a new language through a simple, easy-to-use interface.
We spend a lot of time communicating a vision of successful web communication. We talk about how content repositories are the new databases, that all content should be dynamic, and how successful enterprise applications need to be function and feature-rich. We make sure companies are fully aware of industry trends that affect global communication practices and common standards, such as JSR-170/283.
KK: What have been your customers’ best practices in building a global content value chain?
EG: You can’t overlook the significance of having a globalization strategy in the first place! Examples of success that I’m familiar with include a large international agency, a GPS vendor, and a global glass manufacturer. The most successful companies are equally concerned about which solutions for multilingual communications they choose, and how they roll them out; about a single source of content, along with information that is customized or added to meet regional needs. They have a globalization strategy that strikes the right balance between centralized and regional content management.
What is most important, however, is to define how that strategy relates to business needs. A good example of this is a pan-European government agency that we work with. A particular document may be mandatory for certain countries and languages but irrelevant for others. To address this challenge, they prepare source content in a single language, deliver translations up to 25 languages, and publish local language sites with different, additional or custom content for a variety of regions and countries.

CMS Wire on Gilbane’s Globalization Study

Marisa Peacock gives our Multilingual Communications report a nice thumbs-up review over on CMS Wire. Marisa writes: “Gilbane has released a report that any organization catering to the global community needs to have a look at.”

You can download the study from our site, or visit our sponsors: Jahia, Jonckers, RedDot, Sajan, Sitecore, SDL Tridion, and Systran.