Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: October 2007 (Page 1 of 3)

Tools of Youthful Rebellion . . .

I’m not a regular commuter anymore and rarely catch “All Things Considered” during drive time. Yet yesterday afternoon I had the good fortune to listen to Andrei Codrescu (always a favorite commentator) expound on “From Poetry to Web: Tools of Youthful Rebellion.” Listen & enjoy!
With all the hype around Facebook apps, Web 2.0, and social media, it helps to keep a poetic perspective. Yes the times they are a changin’ — the torch is being passed to a new generation . . . but whether we are digital natives or immigrants, we still need to extract the business purposes from all the interactivity and information available at our fiingertips. What hasn’t changed is the limit of the 24 hour day — how we can work productively and play passionately within it.

Now That’s Customer Experience!

Records management provider Iron Mountain is a company that has intrigued me for some time, as I’ve watched it morph from a regional to a global player in outsourcing services as well as one of the top best-of-breed RM players amidst the ECM suite and platform providers.

The company appears to have always placed great value on user education and sharing best practices as demonstrated via a continuously expanding Knowledge Center, complete with an “Ask the Expert” section. User interfaces and content breadth/depth within this area is impressive, as is the series of quarterly, role-based newsletters on various topics. Incorporating multimedia into this strategy via the Tour Center has clearly been a major investment.

So, when I ran across the latest campaign featuring one of my all time favorites, John Cleese, I figured I would check out the Friendly Advice Machine. I did not however, count on an inability to tear myself away from it.

Frankly, it is one of the best examples of customer experience techniques I have ever seen. (Adweek agrees.) Targeting mid- to senior-level IT and legal professionals, it is creative, usable, informative, and hilariously funny. It uniquely incorporates “next step” offers and calls to action that quite literally spurs your hand towards the mouse to find out “what’s behind that icon?” It bolsters the brand management strategy rather than dilutes it.

Update: Yesterday’s Stratify acquisition should help in the “bolstering” department as well….
Check it out — especially the Dreaded Whitepaper offer — and stay tuned. I’ll be interviewing the company next week about the objectives and techniques that make this campaign stand out. In terms of global customer experience, I’ll find out if Cleese has attempted to deliver it in Chinese.

Gearing up for Gilbane Boston 2007

I am in a mode of indecision about prioritizing a lot of news in the enterprise search space; it all seems important because we have an agenda focused on search at the upcoming conference on November 27 – 29 in Boston. The following, in no particular order, is not an exhaustive list but representative of happenings in the past month that will surely be the subject of much commentary and discussion by our speakers and panelists:

  • Don Dodge of Microsoft, one of our panelists in the search keynote session, is taking on Google’s customer support positioning as an enterprise solutions provider in his blog.
  • MondoSoft went from being shut down by its investors to being acquired by possibly two companies (one acquiring MondoSearch and the other acquiring Ontolica) and now both are being acquired by one company. Meanwhile, IntelliSearch is making an offer to MondoSearch clients to “switch and save.”
  • Steve Arnold is continuing his drumbeat on Google search patents and their significance.
  • Oracle is getting very serious about search as you will hear in this Webinar download and is positioning itself for a holistic approach to managing content in the enterprise.
  • Fast and Autonomy are making acquisitions, too, and have begun to act like they are not the only search options for the enterprise by re-focusing their marketing.
  • Companies like Connotate, ISYS, Exalead, Recommind, SchemaLogic and Coveo are acquiring good clients and showing their strengths in important niche markets with new enhancements
  • Vivisimo’s social search is getting a lot of positive press, inviting a lot of blogging and has set the bar high for competitors to match their offerings.
  • Endeca continues to expand its staff, client-base and well-engineered product line; they are also building important alliances with technology and business partners when it makes good sense to do so
  • IBM is talking up the potential of semantic search in the enterprise.


Most of the above mentioned will be making an appearance or two at GilbaneBoston, as speakers or exhibitors, or both. I am trying to figure out how to make sure the seven sessions on search and semantic Web technologies touch most of the bases but with so much afoot in the search arena, we will be working overtime.

If you are going to be an attendee in any capacity, I hope you’ll blog or make comments when I do. We want to hear what you think and learn about from the experts and users alike. There are sure to be surprises. Your take on the programs will be of interest to many. If you do make the conference, be sure to find me and introduce yourself so we can have a chat.

Blogs help Fire Victims in San Diego

During this year’s Spring Gilbane Conference, we were honored to have Chris Jennewein, Vice President, Internet Operations, Union-Tribune Publishing Co as one of our panelists on the topic of the role of Social Computing in adding value to traditional print publications. Little did we know that just a few months later, San Diego would be thrust into a major crisis and that The Union-Tribune’s Sign On San Diego would play a large part helping fire victims find help and support, as well as, locate friends and loved ones. In a recent e-mail these were his comments:
“We’re using blogs, forums, comments and a
“people finder” application to help cover this disaster. Our theory is
that different entry points will appeal to different readers. Here are

The San Diego community appears to be very appreciative of both the
round-the-clock coverage and the opportunity to interact.”
This new service goes far beyond what could have been achieved using the company’s website or the traditional newspaper. (They use Mindtouch as their platform) We congratulate Chris and the Union-Tribune for their innovative efforts and are pleased to learn how much Social Computing can help people during times of crisis. Check out the links that Chris provided. My colleague, Geoffrey Bock, and I think that you’ll be impressed!!

Gilbane Boston – Blogging and Research Reports

It seems hard to believe that we’ve been too busy to blog about our annual upcoming conference in Boston. Fortunately it has a life of its own and doesn’t depend on our blogging activity. This year’s event is our largest yet, and we’ll be blogging more regularly about it to help make sure you don’t miss some of the nuggets.
Today, I just want to note that (one of the reasons we’ve been so busy is) because have a number of research projects and studies underway, and the results of some of these will be discussed at the conference, as well as on some of our track-specific blogs. For example, Geoff blogged yesterday about the research we are doing on collaboration, social computing, and “Web 2.0” technology use in the enterprise. Geoff will be leading a panel on this and other research at the conference. Stay tuned both here and on our topic area blogs for more info on this and other research.

Webinar: SharePoint and Platform Strategies for Document Management

Solutions for document-intensive business processes have traditionally been among the workhorse applications for enterprise content management–complex workflow requirements, high-volume throughput, lots of documents processed on a daily basis. Buyers with light-duty but high-value applications have been underserved by the suppliers of document management technology. Enter SharePoint. Has Microsoft stepped up with a solution that will do the job for a new class of buyers and an expanded range of applications?
Bill Trippe discusses SharePoint and platform strategies for enterprise document management with Bob Bueltmann, co-founder of KnowledgeLake. How does SharePoint change the solutions landscape? How does it stack up in terms of core capabilities like security and metadata support? How do you recognize a good fit for SharePoint?
Thursday, Nov 8, 11:00 am ET. Registration is open. Sponsored by KnowledgeLake.

PaperThin Introduces CommonSpot 5.0

PaperThin, Inc. announced the release of CommonSpot Version 5.0. This latest release introduces a new authoring interface; RSS feeds, Blogs, and Wikis; and XML publishing and rendering capabilities. Business users can now get their message out by delivering content to any news reader, Web browser, or email program as an RSS, Atom, or Podcast feed without writing any code. Users can also create live bookmarks on a page so visitors can subscribe to feeds of interest through CommonSpot’s Feed Index Element. The listing is automatically generated, displayed, and updated based on filtered metadata criteria. With this release PaperThin has made available four open source applications: a Blog, Wiki, RSS Reader and multi-view Events Calendar, each built using the Custom Application Development Framework. The browser-based rich text editor includes enhanced editing features, wide browser and platform compatibility, improved standards-based support, and Microsoft Word-like toolbars. New image editing functionality allows users to easily edit and manage digital assets, such as: images, photos, and other graphics directly within the system.

Wither Web 2.0? Come to Boston

Perhaps it’s cyclical — like the long Indian summer we’ve been having here in the Northeast. The Web/Enterprise/stuff “2.0” buzz has died down (for now) and we seem to be into the hard business of real application development. Perhaps this is a good thing — running on hype does little to transform businesses or pay the bills.

Certainly there’s been a lot of excitement around Facebook as a collaborative platform for digital natives (and fellow travelers). Yet the long-lasting innovation, I think, is around the APIs and the notion of “open platforms.” Of course Google was first to open the komono with its wildly popular Web services API into Google Maps. Now we’re trying to make mashups of social networks.

I’m curious but not convinced. Facebook is building out its community — Google is not far behind, pursuing the notion of social graphing. So far we can do all kinds of useful things in the consumer space. My favorite this week is friend finding — which also leverages GPS technology. But business applications? I haven’t heard of anything really compelling, yet. I’m still looking.

Which brings me to a preview of coming attractions. My colleagues Steve Paxhia, Nora Barnes, and I expect to cut through the Web 2.0 hype next month and shed some light on industry trends. We’ll be reporting the results of our industry survey at our Boston conference. We’ll have a statistically significant profille of what collaboration and social computing tools are being using in American businesses — beginning with email and Web sites and assessing many popular forms of social media. We’ll snapshot how effective companies rate these tools and also report on what each tool is best suited for. And I expect that before we’re done, we’ll have a few indicators of next generation collaborative business applications.

So join us, November 27th – November 29th in Boston.

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