Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: March 2009 (Page 2 of 5)

Happy Birthday to the Wiki!

The first wiki, WikiWikiWeb, was created 14 years ago today, by Ward Cunningham. Since then, the wiki has become one of the most widely deployed collaboration tools available. One might even call the wiki the catalyst of the Social Software movement.

Why is the wiki so popular? There are several reasons, including ease of use, structured navigation, and the ability to track changes to wiki pages and roll back to previous versions. The democratic nature of the format, in which anyone who has access can edit the wiki, is undoubtedly a major contributor to its success as well.

The primary reason for the wiki’s success is its flexibility. Wikis have been used for everything from collaboratively authoring a document, to managing a project, to establishing a corporate knowledge base. We are seeing the same phenomenon today in Twitter, which is being used in ways that its creators never imagined.

So, at age 14, what has the wiki taught us? That collaboration tools should be designed for flexible, yet intuitive, use. Complexity is kryptonite to collaboration. Let’s remember that before we build and deploy enterprise collaboration software.

Tweeting XBRL

Over the last few months, I have become acquainted with the wonders of the 140 character “tweet”. For those of you who are not “tweets”, I am referring to the combination of instant message and social networking that has converged at In essence, twitter asks “peeps” a simple question, What are you doing right now? In 140 spaces, you can communicate what you are thinking or what you have just read on the web.  Long URL’s are easily truncated leaving enough space to communicate simple messages.  If you find people that are doing or reading about interesting things, you can follow their “tweets”.

In efforts to keep up on XBRL, I use Yahoo and Google key word alerts as well as selected RSS feeds from the SEC and others. I have found, however, that this system falls short of the daily updates the people using are providing for me. Its amazing how effective a 140 character message can be in sending you directly to fresh web content relevant to your interests. To improve my “hit” rate, I’ve added a few Tweet favorite tools such as tweetdeck (, TwitScoop, WeFollow, and MrTweet. Join up and send me a note. I’d love to follow you!

In The End, it’s Mostly About Content.

As the world of technology makes literally breathtaking strides, the world of automation finds itself increasingly focused on the technology. Indeed, in many areas of popular culture, the technology becomes an end in itself, conferring the patina of success on projects that are techno-heavy, never mind that they may not meet their objectives particularly well. This despite the pronoucements of virtually every management authority since the 60’s that technology and automation are different and the latter is the most important to success of the organization.

Nowhere is the tendency to focus on technology itself, to the detriment of meeting functional goals, more pronounced than in the general area referred to as “conent management” or CM, and in no part of CM has this tendency more clouded the picture than in the relationship of its semantic components; “Content” and “Management.” In today’s CM world, the focus on Management means that software and technology takes center stage with an implicit assumption that if one just adheres to the proper technological dictums and acquires the most powerful CM software, the effort will be successful. When efforts so constructed fail to meet their objectives, the further implicit assumption is that the technology… or the technology selection… or the technology governance… or the technology infrastructure has failed. In many cases while some of these may be true, they are not the reason for the failure.

Often, the cause of failure (or marginal performance) is the other side of the CM terminology; the content being created, managed and delivered.  Look closely at many automation environments and you will see a high-performance management and delivery environment being fed by virtually uncontrolled content raw material. If “you are what you eat”, so too is a content management and information delivery environment. In fact, failure at the delivery end is more often than not a failure to develop usable content instead of a failure of management and delivery technology. So why, with all the tools at our command, do we not address the content creation portions of our information life cycles?

I don’t claim to know all the answers, but have formed some impressions over the years:

FIRST: Content creation and its unwashed masses of authors,  providers and editors has traditionally been viewed as outside the confines of automation planning and development; indeed often as a detriment to automation rather than an integral part of the overall process. With that mentality, the system developers often stay completely away from content creation.

SECOND:  The world of software products and vendors, especially those in the management and delivery space, would rather spend more money on their systems in an attempt to make them resistant to the vagaries of uncontrolled content, of course at higher fees for their products. The world of content creation, if it can be called that, is still controlled by the folks in Renton, to their own corporate and marketing ends.

THIRD:  In most automation projects involving content, the primary resource is the IT group that, while highly capable in many cases, does not understand the world of content over which it does not itself have control. The result is usually a focus on the IT itself while the content creation groups in the organization find themselves outside with their noses pressed against the glass… until they are called in to be told what will be expected of them. The resulting fight often virtually dooms the project as it had originally need conceived.

So what should we do differently?

While every project is unique, here are some thoughts that might help:

FIRST: Understand that technology cannot fully make up for the absence of content designed and structured to meet the functional needs on the table.  Indeed, if it came to a choice between good content and high-performance management resources, content can be delivered with a surprisingly low level of technology while no amount of technology can make up for AWOL content.

SECOND: Accept the premise that well-designed content, fully capable of supporting the functional objectives of the project, should be the first order of business in any major project. With this, acknowledge that the content creators, while they may be less controlled and sometimes not easy to work with, are a critical component in the success of any project based on their output. In many content creation environments, negotiation between what would work best and what can be provided will result in a set of compromises that gets the best possible content within the constraints in place. That done, technology can be applied to optimize the life cycle flow of the content. Note that in this construction, the technology is a secondary factor, supporting but not defining the strategic direction of the project.

THIRD: Despite what you may hear from the software industry and its sales force, understand that in the term “content management”, content is the most important component and just buying more technology will not make up for its lack. From this understanding, you will be able to create a balance that accords both content and technology their rightfully important places in the overall effort.

Regards, Barry

Welcome Neal Hannon

In case you missed yesterday’s announcement, I am happy to announce that Neal Hannon has joined us as Senior Consultant, XBRL Strategies. XBRL has been coming for a while, but with mandatory XBRL reporting requirements now kicking in, companies really need to get serious both with reporting requirements and internal use of XBRL. XBRL requires more than XML expertise, and Neal’s financial background and involvement in XBRL provide deep domain expertise, and are a great complement to our existing XML strengths. Neal will be working with Bill as part of the XML Practice. Neal’s bio is posted at:

Neal’s email is: and his phone extension is 155.

Welcome Neal!

Webinar: Build a WCM Business Case that Rocks

April 14, 2:00 pm ET

Need a new WCMS, but have to make the business case first? This is the webinar for you.

Technology investments are undergoing intense scrutiny in today’s uncertain economic times – even when the proposed solution supports mission critical strategies for online presence, prospect engagement, customer satisfaction, and service delivery. How do you build an effective business case for web content management that stands out from the others, gets executive approval, and secures funding?

Tony White, Gilbane’s Lead Analyst for WCM, has the answers. With over 15 years of experience, Tony has developed and presented dozens of WCM business cases across multiple industry verticals – most of which have lead to the successful acquisition and implementation of web content management systems. Using real world examples, Tony will share the details of four “secrets” that win WCM approval and funding:

  1. Leveraging WCM to increase revenue
  2. How WCM decreases operational costs
  3. Best practices for generating ROI metrics
  4. Beyond ROI: the silver bullet that always works

This web event provides valuable insight for any organization that is seeking to implement a new WCMS, but must first make a rock-solid business case. Register today. Sponsored by SDL Tridion.

Updated April 9: Download the new Gilbane white paper.

Gilbane Group Twitter Policy

About a month ago, Frank Gilbane posted on Gilbane Group’s use of Twitter. His post lists the Twitter accounts Gilbane Group has established and how we intend to use them. The blog entry also lists some of the Gilbane Group analysts that are active on Twitter and includes their usernames.

We would like to expand on the earlier post by communicating a policy point relevant to the social networking sites on which Gilbane Group currently maintains a profile (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) and any other social networking site that we may join in the future. First, a brief related aside.

Every organization should establish a social collaboration policy and communicate it — many times over several channels — to all who use enterprise social software provided by the organization. The policy statement should describe expected and unacceptable behaviors related to enterprise social software use. It should include any potential rewards that individual users may accrue by using the software and all consequences of potential misuse. Ideally, the policy statement will also describe the governance structure put in place to monitor and guide usage of the tools. Excellent examples of corporate social collaboration policy statements include those of IBM and Intel.

Right! Back to Gilbane Group’s social software policy specifically. We want you to benefit from our active participation in social networks like Twitter just as much as we want to learn from you. Therefore, you should be aware that:

Gilbane Group will follow all individuals and organizations that have chosen to follow us on Twitter. Additionally, we will encourage our analysts to keep the same practice with their individual Twitter accounts.

Simply put, you follow us on Twitter and we’ll return the courtesy (unless your account is clearly a spambot or inappropriate.) Social networking is all about conversations, and all conversations include two or more active participants, by definition. We can learn as much or more from you as you will from us. So Gilbane Group and its analysts will engage with whomever enters into a social relationship with us.

Below is a list of current Gilbane Group Twitter accounts, including those of individual Gilbane analysts. Please follow any of these that you would like to and expect us to return the favor. Thank you!


Twitter Name Description
@gilbane Gilbane Group’s corporate account
@NewsShark Information and content technology industry news reported by Gilbane Group
@gilbanesf Information and dialog related to our Gilbane Conference San Francisco (next event is June 2-4, 2009)
@fgilbane Frank Gilbane, President & CEO
@marylaplante Mary Laplante, VP Client Services & Senior Analyst
@billtrippe Bill Trippe, Lead Analyst, XML Technologies and Content Strategies
@lwmtech Lynda Moulton, Lead Analyst, Enterprise Search
@spaxhia Steve Paxhia, Lead Analyst, Publishing Strategy and Technology
@lehawes Larry Hawes, Lead Analyst, Collaboration and Enterprise Social Software
@Lciarlone Leonor Ciarlone, Senior Analyst, Globalization
@dwaldt Dale Waldt, Senior Consultant, XML, Publishing, Content Management
@nealhannon Neal Hannon, Senior Consultant, XBRL Strategies


Content Management Vendors on Twitter

So I have spent enough time on Twitter to conclude that it is useful, indeed very useful, for keeping up with news and trends in technology. Just like the blogosphere, Twitter has its “A list” folks like Guy Kawasaki and many hundreds of interesting people with smaller followings. But I have also found it to be the most useful means I have for following news feeds—from Scientific American (@sciam in Twitter) to Paid Content (@paidcontent) to New England Sports Network (@NESNcom).

Not surprisingly, content management vendors are getting involved as well, and I welcome this. I put out a call ages ago for vendors to alert me to RSS feeds of their press releases, finding them much more useful than emailed press releases in long form. (Few did.) But now I want these things via Twitter. I love Twitter search, and I have begun using TweetDeck to filter and group things. I feel like I can keep much better track of things, read what I want to in long form, and share what I think is especially interesting.

What I would like to see next is an easy way to share groups of Twitter feeds, and even collaborate on them. I have been collecting a list of CMS vendors on Twitter, and offer the start of that list here. Anyone have thoughts about how we could create a useful master list? To start with, I would love to add categories to this—some are WCM vendors, others more niche, some are open source, and so on.


Twitter User Name Twitter URL Company  
acquia Acquia  
AlfrescoCMS Alfresco CMS  
attivio Attivio  
boxdotnet Box  
brightcove Brightcove  
coremedia_news Core Media  
CrownPeakCMS CrownPeak  
daysoftware Day Software  
Dirxion Dirxion  
DotNetNuke DotNetNuke  
Drupal Drupal Org  
elcomtechnology elcom Technology  
ektrondave   Ektron  
emccorp EMC Corp.  
EMCsoftware EMC Software  
episerver EpiServer  
escenic escenic  
EE ExpressionEngine  
gentics Gentics  
google Google  
hpnews HP News  
HP_IPG HP’s Imaging and Printers Group  
HylandSoftware Hyland Software  
ibmevents IBM Events  
Intelledox Intelledox  
Interwoven_Inc Interwoven/Autonomy  
ipublishcentral IPublishCentral  
IronMountainInc Iron Mountain  
Jadu Jadu  
Jahia Jahia  
joomla Joomla Org  
Lionbridge Lionbridge  
Lotusphere Lotusphere  
magnolia_cms Magnolia CMS  
SharePoint Microsoft Sharepoint  
msoffice_us MS Office US  
MSDN_Office MSDN Office News  
NsteinTech Nstein  
Omtool Omtool  
openedit OpenEdit DAM  
OpenText OpenText  
Oracle Oracle  
papayaCMS papaya CMS  
plone Plone Org  
radiantcmsntcms Radiant CMS  
ScriptoriumTech   Scriptorium  
sdltridion SDL Tridion  
squizuk Squiz.NET  
streamserve StreamServe  
tizra Tizra  
Typo 3  
vignettecorp Vignette  
webworks_com WebWorks  
wordpress WordPress  
XeroxCorp Xerox  
XMPie XMPie  


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