Frank, Mary, Tony, and I attended the Adobe analyst meetings in New York this week. To say that Adobe had a lot to share would be an understatement, but this was my first time attending this kind of event, so I have nothing to compare it to. Having said that, I have to say that I was impressed with the progress Adobe has made in several key areas–bringing Macromedia and its products into the fold; building out a much more compelling offering and clearer message with LiveCycle; and further solidifying its commanding presence in the creative tools space.
Along with the major focus on Creative Suite 3 (which was announced on Monday) and LiveCycle, Adobe executives also spent a fair bit of time on Software as a Service, discussing offerings like Adobe Document Center, which I have been playing around with since yesterday morning, and Acrobat Connect, nee Breeze, their web conferencing software. (And without having evaluated Acrobat Connect in detail, I have to say as someone who is on Webinars all the time that Connect is by far the easiest product I have ever used. It also seems to load like any other URL, but perhaps that is because I already have Acrobat professional on my system–not sure.)
A few other things that caught my eye:
- Kuler is, well, cool. It is a collaborative online application that allows users to discover and upload color themes that can be used with Creative Suite tools. Ryan Stewart has a nice writeup over at ZDNet.
- Apollo is impressive. We saw a number of demos, including the eBay one that has been written about (see here, and you can see a video of a demo here. The coolest Apollo demo, by far, is the one you can’t currently see, the Buzzword word processor from Virtual Ubiquity; their Website will tell you they have gone back underground after the alpha release. Again, Ryan Stewart has a nice overview and screen shots over at ZDNet. And there seems to be uptake for Apollo in the broad developer community. According to CTO Kevin Lynch, as of Wednesday the 28th, 30,000 people had downloaded the client since it was posted on March 19.
- There’s a new Beta of Acrobat 3D available for download. I have looked at the manufacturing space a fair bit over the last couple of years, and few areas seem to have more areas of meaningful technical interchange than do manufacturers, their suppliers, and their customers. PDF files are everywhere in these applications, so a more functional 3D Acrobat makes all the sense in the world.
- Adobe’s efforts to be more active in the standards world with PDF are clearly paying off. While we were there, they announced a win with the mortgage industry’s MISMO standards.
Lots to digest, but I came away impressed.
In response to a semi-rhetorical question I posed in my post on Enterprise 2.0 research last week, Niall Cook comments:
You ask: “…what will be lost or gained in the process of force-fitting the “engage and collaborate” functions and culture into the “command and control” of top-down IT directives?”
Simple. The users.
Well, yes, but it is more complex than that. Just as there are good and not-so-good uses of, e.g., wikis (or any technology of course) in enterprises, there are also good and not-so-good uses of policies, procedures, and organizational structures in enterprises. While I agree that there is usually way too much command and control, there are situations where it is just what you want (nuclear plant safety procedures, etc.). We are in the early days yet of figuring out where and how all these 2.0 technologies can be usefully applied, and what corporate culture changes will result.
Part of the debate is continuing with a bit of back and forth between Andrew McAfee and Tom Davenport.
Join us on April 11, 8:30 am at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco for Gilbane San Francisco 2007
We have expanded our opening keynote to include a special debate between Microsoft and Google on Enterprise Search and Information Access, in addition to our discussion on all content technologies with IBM, Oracle & Adobe.
You still have time to join us for this important and lively debate at the Palace Hotel, April 11. The keynote is open to all attendees, even those only planning to visit the technology showcase. The full keynote runs from 8:30am to 10:15am followed by a coffee break and the opening of the technology showcase, and now includes:
Keynote Panel: Content Technology Industry Update PART 2
Google and Microsoft are competing in many areas on many levels. One area which both are ramping-up quickly is enterprise search. In this part of the opening keynote, we bring the senior product managers face to face to answer our questions about their plans and what this means for enterprise information access and content management strategies.
Moderator: Frank Gilbane, Conference Chair, CEO, Gilbane Group, Inc.
Jared Spataro, Group Product Manager, Enterprise Search, Microsoft
Nitin Mangtani, Lead Product Manager, Google Search Appliance, Google
See the complete keynote description.
Gilbane San Francisco 2007
Content management, enterprise search, localization, collaboration, wikis, publishing …
Complete conference information is at http://gilbanesf.com/07/conference_grid.html
Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) announced the Adobe Creative Suite 3 product line. Adobe’s new Creative Suite 3 line-up unites Adobe and Macromedia products to provide designers and developers with options for all facets of print, web, mobile, interactive, film, and video production. There are six all-new configurations of Adobe Creative Suite 3. These include, Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Design Standard editions; Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Web Standard editions; and Creative Suite 3 Production Premium; and, Creative Suite Master Collection which combines 12 of Adobe’s new design and development applications in a single box. The majority of Adobe Creative Suite 3 editions will be available as Universal applications for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs and support Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista. Customers will experience increased levels of performance and speed running Creative Suite 3 natively on Intel-based Macintosh systems and the latest Windows hardware. Customers can choose from six all-new suites or full version upgrades of 13 stand-alone applications, including Photoshop CS3, Photoshop CS3 Extended, InDesign CS3, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, and After Effects CS3. Each edition of Adobe Creative Suite 3 integrates different configurations of Adobe’s creative products: Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium delivers an essential toolkit for print, web, interactive and mobile design while Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Standard focuses on professional print design and production. Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium combines the web design and development tools and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Standard serves the professional web developer. Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium is a post-production solution for video professionals. Lastly, Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection combines 12 new creative applications in one box, enabling customers to design across all media – print, web, interactive, mobile, video and film. Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Standard, and Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Standard will begin shipping in April 2007. Creative Suite 3 Production Premium and Creative Suite 3 Master Collection for Mac OS X on Intel-based systems and for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista platforms will begin shipping worldwide in the third quarter of 2007. Estimated street price for the Creative Suite 3 Design Premium is US$1799, US$1599 for Creative Suite 3 Web Premium, US$1699 for Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, and US$2499 for Creative Suite 3 Master Collection. There are upgrade paths available for customers. http://www.adobe.com
Last week I began this entry, re-considered how to make the point and tucked it away. Today I unearthed an article I had not gotten around to putting into my database of interesting and useful citations. Lisa Nadile in The ABCs of Search Engine Marketing, in CIO Magazine, hits the nail on the head with this statement, “Each search engine has its own top-secret algorithm to analyze this data…” This is tongue in cheek so you need to read the whole article to get the humor. Ms. Nadile’s article is geared to Internet marketing but the comments about search engines are just a relevant for enterprise search.
I may be an enterprise search analyst but there are a lot of things I don’t know about the guts of current commercial search tools. Some things I could know if I am willing to spend months studying patents and expensive reports, while other things are protected as trade secrets. I will never know what is under the hood of most products. Thirty years ago I knew a lot about relatively simple concepts like b-tree indexes and hierarchical, relational, networked and associative data structures for products I used and developed.
My focus has shifted to results and usability. My client has to be able to find all the content in their content repository or crawled site. If not, it had better be easy to discover why, and simple to take corrective actions with the search engine’s administration tools, if that is where the problem lies. If the scope of the corpus of content to be searched is likely to grow to hundreds of thousands of documents, I also care about hardware resource requirements and performance (speed) and scalability. And, if you have read previous entries, you already know that I care a lot about service and business relationships with the vendor because that is crucial to long term success. No amount of “whiz bang” technology will overcome a lousy client/vendor relationship.
Finding out what is going on under the hood with some imponderable algorithms isn’t really going to do me or my client any good when evaluating search products. Either the search tool finds stuff the way my client wants to find it, or it doesn’t. “Black art,” trade secret or “patent protected” few of us would really understand the secret sauce anyway.