Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: November 2008 (Page 3 of 4)

In the Field: The Enterprise Search Market Offers CHOICES

Heading into the Gilbane Boston conference next month we have case studies that feature quite an array of enterprise search applications. So many of the search solutions now being deployed are implemented with a small or part-time staff that it is difficult to find the one or two people who can attend a conference to tell their stories. We have surveyed blogs, articles and case studies published elsewhere to identify organizations and people who have hands-on-experience in the trenches deploying search engines in their enterprises. Our speakers are those who were pleased to be invited and they will be sharing their experiences on December 3rd and 4th.

From search appliances Thunderstone and Google Search Appliance, to platform search solutions based on Oracle Secure Enterprise Search, and standalone search products Coveo, Exalead, and ISYS, we will hear from those who have been involved in selecting, implementing and deploying these solutions for enterprise use. From a Forrester industry analyst and Attivio developer we’ll hear about open source options and how they are influencing enterprise search development. The search sessions will be rounded out as we explore the influences and mergers of text mining, text analytics with Monash Research and semantic technologies (Lexalytics and InfoExtract) as they relate to other enterprise search options. There will be something for everyone in the sessions and in the exhibit hall.

Personally, I am hoping to see many in the audience who also have search stories within their own enterprises. Those who know me will attest to my strong belief in communities of practice and sharing. It strengthens the marketplace place when people from different types of organizations share their experiences trying to solve similar problems with different products. Revealing competitive differentiators among the numerous search products is something that pushes technology envelopes and makes for a more robust marketplace. Encouraging dialogue about products and in-the-field experiences is a priority for all sessions at the Gilbane Conference and I’ll be there to prompt discussion for all five search sessions. I hope you’ll join me in Boston.

Social Networking in the Workplace Increases Efficiency in Europe

There sure are lots of surveys on social media and networking tools these days. I just noticed one Dynamic Markets did for AT&T. Here are some of the highlights from their website.

A pan-European survey of more than 2,500 people in five countries shows that the use of social networking tools as part of everyday working life has led to an increase in efficiency. The study shows that 65% of employees surveyed in Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands say their company has adopted social networking as part of their working culture. The research also reveals that the rate of adoption is most popular in Germany, leading the way at 72% while Great Britain lags behind with 59%. The study also reveals:

  • 65% of employees surveyed say that social networking sites have made them and/or their colleagues more efficient
  • 63% say they have enabled them and their colleagues to achieve things that would not otherwise have been possible
  • 46% say they have sparked ideas and creativity for them personally

The Top 5 social networking tools being used as part of everyday working life are:

  1. Companies’ own collaboration sites on intranets (39%)
  2. Internal forums within the company (20%)
  3. Company-produced video material shared on intranets (16%)
  4. Online social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook (15%)
  5. External collaboration sites on the web and internal blogging sites (both 11%)

Creating XML-Tagged Content? We Want to Hear from You!

As part of the Gilbane Group’s continuous market research efforts, we are conducting a survey to learn which tools are being used most predominantly for structured authoring. The survey should only take 5 minutes of your time, and will help us to continue provide you with insight on how content technology is being used.
To participate in the study, please follow this link:

In exchange for your completed survey, you will be entered into a drawing for a free conference pass to a Gilbane conference.
We look forward to seeing you at the Gilbane Boston 2008 conference, December 2 – 4! As always, the program includes results from research studies from Gilbane as well as other analysts.

Web Globalization Management: Got Certification?

We were recently introduced to the Executive Certification in Web Globalization Management by our friends Nitish Singh and Ulrich Henes during October’s Localization World conference. We’re thrilled to have both Singh and Henes as participants in the Globalization track at Gilbane Boston 2008, December 2-4.

A new venture within the executive education arm of John Cook School of Business at St. Louis University, it is quite an impressive program! And beyond compliments such as well-designed and timely, the program’s message of “why invest now?” — or more pointedly as the program describes, “why supercharge?” — is a mini-lesson in and of itself.

Consider the megatrends that answer these questions: (full text available here)

  • Megatrend-1: Web will be critical to achieving global expansion.
  • Megatrend-2: Innovation in the new economy will be driven by blurring of disciplinary boundaries.
  • Megatrend-3: Hyperconnectivity will redefine how people and organizations communicate.
  • Megatrend-4: Value systems will compete globally.
  • Megatrend-5: Smart organizations will harness the power of “Collective Intelligence.”
  • Megatrend-6: Economies of China, India and Brazil will be future engines of growth.

Powerful food for thought and incentive to check it out — and register for Spring 2009. No travel required!

What kind of LinkedIn user are you?

I don’t remember when I joined LinkedIn, but I still have items in my inbox from 2004 so it has been awhile. Up until last year sometime I never actually used it except to accept invitations from people I knew (and a handful I didn’t because it was easier than thinking about it). At some point last year I thought to use LinkedIn to find a colleague’s updated contact information, and for the first time thought of LinkedIn as really useful. Recently I’ve reached a new level of appreciation for its use when I saw that the LinkedIn CM Pros group had over 7000 members, and that application support was added, for example Blog Link.

While there is no doubt that social networking technologies will be widely deployed specifically for enterprise use. It is too early to know what the tool landscape will look like. The basic technology is clever but not rocket science, and is available from many sources. It is also too early to know how, or if, internally and externally-focused tools will be integrated into a cohesive user experience. In any case, LinkedIn is not to be ignored.

But I digress. The real reason for this post was to point to some interesting market research by Anderson Analytics (who I had not heard of before), where they use text mining of LinkedIn to come up with four user profiles. This is interesting as market research, for market research, and in its use of text mining. From their announcement:

  • “Savvy Networkers” (9 million) are likely to have started using social networking earlier than others, are more tech savvy, and more likely to be active on other SNS sites like Facebook. Savvy Networkers have the most connections (61 on average) and are more likely to use LinkedIn for almost every purpose other than job searching. Savvy Networkers have the second highest personal income ($93,500) and usually have “Consultant” in their job description.
  • “Senior Executives” (8.4 million) are somewhat less tech savvy and are using LinkedIn to connect to their existing corporate networks. They have power jobs which they are quite content with, and are likely to have been invited by a colleague, then realized how many key contacts were on the site and started building connections (32 on average). Senior Executives have the highest average personal income ($104,000) and have titles such as Owner, Partner, Executive or Associate.
  • “Late Adopters” (6.6 million) are likely to have received numerous requests from friends and co-workers before deciding to join. They are somewhat less tech savvy and are careful in how they use LinkedIn, tending to connect only to close friends and colleagues and have the fewest number of connections (23 on average). Late Adopters have the lowest average personal income ($88,000) and have titles such as Teacher, Medical Professional, Lawyer, or the word “Account” or “Assistant” in their job description.
  • “Exploring Options” (6.1 million) may be working, but are open and looking for other job options often on, perhaps in part because they have the lowest personal income ($87,500). They are fairly tech savvy, and use SNS for both corporate and personal interests.

… To find out which type you are most like, you may use the predictive tool available at Anderson Analytics:

I have to say the tool didn’t get my profile right!

Apples and Orangutans: Enterprise Search and Knowledge Management

This title by Mike Altendorf, in CIO Magazine, October 31, 2008, mystifies me, Search Will Outshine KM. I did a little poking around to discover who he is and found a similar statement by him back in September, Search is being implemented in enterprises as the new knowledge management and what’s coming down the line is the ability to mine the huge amount of untapped structured and unstructured data in the organisation.

Because I follow enterprise search for the Gilbane Group while maintaining a separate consulting practice in knowledge management, I am struggling with his conflation of the two terms or even the migration of one to the other. The search we talk about is a set of software technologies that retrieve content. I’m tired of the debate about the terminology “enterprise search” vs. “behind the firewall search.” I tell vendors and buyers that my focus is on software products supporting search executed within (or from outside looking in) the enterprise on content that originates from within the enterprise or that is collected by the enterprise. I don’t judge whether the product is for an exclusive domain, content type or audience, or whether it is deployed with the “intent” of finding and retrieving every last scrap of content lying around the enterprise. It never does nor will do the latter but if that is what an enterprise aspires to, theirs is a judgment call I might help them re-evaluate in consultation.

It is pretty clear that Mr. Altendorf is impressed with the potential for Fast and Microsoft so he knows they are firmly entrenched in the software business. But knowledge management (KM) is not now, nor has it ever been, a software product or even a suite of products. I will acknowledge that KM is a messy thing to talk about and the label means many things even to those of us who focus on it as a practice area. It clearly got derailed as a useful “discipline” of focus in the 90s when tool vendors decided to place their products into a new category called “knowledge management.”

It sounded so promising and useful, this idea of KM software that could just suck the brains out of experts and the business know-how of enterprises out of hidden and lurking content. We know better, we who try to refine the art of leveraging knowledge by assisting our clients with blending people and technology to establish workable business practices around knowledge assets. We bring together IT, business managers, librarians, content managers, taxonomists, archivists, and records managers to facilitate good communication among many types of stakeholders. We work to define how to apply behavioral business practices and tools to business problems. Understanding how a software product is helpful in processes, its potential applications, or to encourage usability standards are part of the knowledge manager’s toolkit. It is quite an art, the KM process of bringing tools together with knowledge assets (people and content) into a productive balance.

Search is one of the tools that can facilitate leveraging knowledge assets and help us find the experts who might share some “how-to” knowledge, but it is not, nor will it ever be a substitute for KM. You can check out these links to see how others line up on the definitions of KM: CIO introduction to KM and Wikipedia. Let’s not have the “KM is dead” discussion again!

Is CCM the Bang for Your XML Buck?

Component content management (CCM) has been a focal point for events, presentations, and user engagements in which Gilbane has been involved this fall. Can an enterprise maxmize its investment in XML without implementing component content management? What’s the “over and above” effort required to adopt XML and implement CCM at the same time? Where does CCM make sense — for which applications does CCM deliver the most value to your organization?
We’ll be addressing these questions in a new white paper to be published within the next couple of weeks. You can get sneak peak in a webinar that we’re doing today with XyEnterprise and Research In Motion.
Component content management has become a permanent part of the broader enterprise content management landscape in a relatively short period of time. The need for CCM has naturally emerged after almost two decades of work with structured content. From SGML to HTML now XML, companies have realized that their investments in structured content could reach higher levels of benefit and payback if there were specialized systems designed to support content applications where XML shines – for reuse across content products, for repurposing across media types, for enabling high-quality multilingual communications. Hence a new category of content management systems has made its way to market over the past few years.
At the same time, a number of external market forces have combined to create unprecedented demand for agile content – for content that can be used outside a single context – a single document, a single format, a single language. These forces include a need to capture more revenues across geographic regions, shorter lifecycles of manufactured products, demand for more product customization, and a stronger emphasis on delivering sustainable positive customer experience.
As a result, CCM can deliver value not only for canonical applications such as technical documentation, but also across other applications for technical content, such as customer support and product engineering, and across other enterprise functions, such as contracts management and financial reporting.
The new Gilbane white paper looks at why and how CCM is helping companies extend their investments in XML and XML-based standards such as DITA and S1000D. It’s all just tagged content without ways to put it to work to solve real business problems. The companion webinar features a conversation with Kevin Duffy, president and CEO of XyEnterprise, and Karen Moser and Mark Tiegs from Research In Motion. It takes place Monday, November 3, 1:00 pm. Register here. Send us an email if you’d like a personal notification when the white paper is available.

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