Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Month: April 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

Now Live: The Gilbane Group’s Web-based “Blueprint” Survey for Book Publishing Professionals

The Gilbane Group’s new web-based survey for book publishing professionals has just gone live. This “Blueprint” survey is one of the research mechanisms for our upcoming study A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-Invent Publishing. The study will be published in June 2010, and all participants in this survey will have full access to the full-length study posted on The Gilbane Group website and through the websites of the sponsors of the report.

Please note: This survey is for high- and mid-level book publishing professionals. If this does not describe you, please do not take this survey.


This 10-minute survey seeks to gain detailed information about what is really happening among the full spectrum of book publishers related to ebook and digital publishing efforts, and will identify the "pain points" and barriers encountered by book publishers when it comes to their developing or expanding digital publishing programs.  Issues such as royalties, digital format choices, and distribution difficulties are addressed.

For more information about A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-Invent Publishing, or other activities of The Gilbane Group Content Technologies and Strategies practice, please email Bill Trippe.

The Gilbane Group Survey for Book Publishing Professionals: Take it Today!

The Gilbane Group Web-based survey of book publishing professionals is now active!. This survey is one of the research mechanisms for our upcoming study A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-Invent Publishing. The study will be published in June 2010, and all participants in this survey will have full access to the full-length study posted on The Gilbane Group website.

This survey, which will take most participants between 10-to-15 minutes to complete, seeks to gain a clearer picture of ebook and related digital publishing efforts underway among the full spectrum of book publishers. Furthermore, the analyst team at The Gilbane Group seeks to identify a number of “pain points” or barriers encountered by book publishers when it comes to developing or expanding digital publishing programs, including areas such as royalties, digital format choices, and distribution problems.

Broadly speaking, A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Systems to Re-Invent Publishing is a professional education effort, and its utility will rely, in large part, on the active and open participation of the book professionals on the front lines of the digital transformation of books.

Please note: This survey is for high- and mid-level book publishing professionals. If this does not describe you, please do not take this survey.


Thank you for your participation!

Should you fly without a pilot?

Last week Andrew McAfee wrote a blog post entitled Drop the Pilot wherein he discusses the challenges associated with piloting Enterprise 2.0 tools, and then arrives at the conclusion that we should abandon pilots altogether for such implementations and go as broad as possible right away.  As much as I hate to, I respectfully disagree.

Call me a cynic, but when I hear suggestions which go against my gut and break some very fundamental principles, such as the need to proactively manage change as well as risk, I tend to stand back and watch others jump off the bridge to see what happens before i even think about stepping to the edge. As technologists, we are innovating at a rapid pace and paradigms are constantly shifting around us, but we need to be cautious about

I do agree that E2.0 projects pose unique challenges, one of which is that their effectiveness is often [but not always] tied proportionally to the number of users in the ‘system’ (e.g. with microblogs…try launching one with only 100 diverse people in your test group and see well it takes off. Hint: it won’t). I also agree that it’s been universally accepted that “pilot” = “small”, and that this characterization, by definition, hinders the chances of success for an E2.0 pilot. But the ‘aha’ here should not be that we should start throwing caution to the wind and launching new tools across our organizations.

Engage with a Persuasive Web Experience

Hi, I’m Ian Truscott and as you may have seen I’ve recently joined our WCM practice (you can get a bit of introduction to me here) – I am pleased to say this is my first blog post (hopefully of many) for Gilbane.

It’s an exciting time for this segment of the CMS industry and to be joining Gilbane and I am looking forward to sharing my passion for web engagement – hence the unashamedly buzz word laden title.

Depending on the commentator; we are either in a social media age, or we are post the social media revolution – in either case the Internet is no longer an extension of the traditional passive consumption media channels, it is a place where information and brand consumers get involved.

In fact, folks are now arguing that it’s no longer ‘social’ it’s just ‘media’ – the way we create, consume and socialize content has changed forever and for everyone. And of course, there is so much of it – how do you make your message stick?

This has mean’t a shift in focus for our industry, we’ve seen the age of the IT developers platform, been through the focus on ‘easy to use’ for content contributors to now – where being audience centric has become mainstream thinking (and a business imperative).

This has spawned a number of descriptions for this extension of WCM and the tools and practices we need to apply to become audience centric, including Persuasive Content, Web Experience Management, Customer Engagement or Web Engagement.

All of these have something in common; a cycle of listening to the audience, understanding their needs and behaviour, using that to create and optimize content and some form of relevance based delivery.

At it’s simplest, from a tools perspective – it’s the intersection of WCM, web analytics and personalized delivery. But it gets more complex,  with the inclusion of social media, CRM, marketing automation, e-mail, mobile delivery, auto-categorization, search – this list can go on.

Yes, you can throw the kitchen sink at this one – but software and industry best practices are being aligned, for sound business reasons and they are aligning behind the audience, the citizen, the consumer.. you in fact.

I’m going to finish on a couple of quotes from Frank Gilbane – from the foreword to ‘Web Engagement’ by Bill Zoellick (a book I’ve enjoyed for a while):

The most unique characteristic of the web is in the way that it changes the relationship between your business and it’s customers.

You will not be able to take advantage … and know your customers without engaging them in a way that encourages them to share information with you. 

Engaging your customers requires understanding the new tools and data that are available and applying them in a way that nurtures a new level of trust. 

Not just saying that to be nice to the boss (although it can’t do any harm!), or to point out that the book was authored by a Gilbane alumnus – I think the most relevant part of the quote is the date that Frank wrote that foreword – it was February 2000.

Hence my excitement in joining Gilbane, a firm that has a great, long standing pedigree as an authority on web engagement, which is, as I say, my passion and I look forward to the privilegeof contributing to that.

Interested in reading more on Web Engagement? – I suggest reading this White Paper by Mary Laplante or check out our guide for marketers at Gilbane San Francisco – where our speakers will be discussing a lot of the subjects I touch on here.  

Prove It! – The POC & Other Types of Evaluation for Enterprise Search

When a product is described as “the only”, “the best”, the “most complete”, “the fastest,” “the leading,” etc., does anyone actually read and believe these qualifiers in marketing copy, software or otherwise? Do we believe it when an analyst firm writes reviews, or when product hype appears in industry publications?

Most technology buyers have a level of cynicism about such claims and commentary because we know that in each case there is a bias, with good reasons, for the praise. However, also for good reasons, language containing positive sentiment can have an effect – otherwise, it would not be so widespread. At the very least, sentiment analysis tools that are integrated with search engines will pick up on pervasive tones of praise, and from that create new content streams that compound the positive spin.

Being aware of marketing methods and influences on our psyche should arm us with caution but not to a point of being risk averse or frozen to indecisiveness. Instead, we need to find a way to prove the hype and claims through thoughtful, artful and strategic analytical processes. We need methods for testing claims that are appropriate for the solution sought.

First, we need to establish what is appropriate for our business need. Cost is often the primary qualifying factor when narrowing products that will be considered, but this may be short sighted. Business impact and benefits from applying the right solution need to be directly in our line of sight. If the solution you acquire can be evaluated to demonstrate a significant business benefit, the cost of a higher priced product may also be high-value to your business. Add to business impact the scope for the use of an enterprise search engine (how widely deployed and leveraged) and whether it can scale to include multiple searchable repositories across the organization; these attributes may enhance business impact.

Judging business impact, scope and scaling enterprise search products is a tricky proposition. You absolutely cannot do it by totaling the number of positive checks a vendor ticks off on a spreadsheet of requirements. While such a device can be useful for narrowing down a field of products to those you might select, it is only a beginning. All too often, this is where the selection process ends.

What needs to be done next? I recommend these evaluation steps that can be done concurrently:

  • Find customers by using social tools; reading and researching. With so many Web-based social and search tools it should be easy to identify individuals and enterprises that are actually users of products you are considering. Reach out, schedule talk time and have a pointed list of questions ready to investigate their experiences – listen carefully and follow up on any comments that sound a note of caution.
  • Run a proof-of-concept initiative that includes serious testing by key users with content that is relevant to the testers. Develop test cases and define explicitly for the testers what they are searching, and what you want to learn.
  • Keep careful notes throughout your interactions with vendors, as you seek information, test their products and request answers to technical questions. The same goes for the conversations with their customers, the ones you find on your own, not just the ones vendors steer you to. Your inquiry needs to include information about business relationship issues, responsiveness, ease of use, and how well a vendor can understand and respond to your business needs in these early relationship stages.
  • If things are not going smoothly, observe how a vendor reacts and responds; what is their follow-up and follow-through in the pre-purchase stage? Never succumb to the excuse that because they are “going through growing pains,” have “so much business demand” they are stretched thin, or that something else is more important to them than your product evaluation. If any of these creep in before you purchase, you have a major symptom conveying clearly that your business is not as important to the vendor or not as valuable as another company’s.

Longevity of use of an enterprise search application must be foremost in your mind throughout all of these steps. While many enterprises try to plan for upgrading or replacing legacy software applications to remain competitive and current using newer technologies, actual experiences are rarely ideal. You could be “stuck” with your choice for a decade or longer. Being in a dependent relationship with a vendor or product you are not happy with, will be a miserable experience and no benefit to your enterprise, no matter how popular the product is in the industry press.

The steps for selection will take a little longer than just sending out RFPs and reading responses, but it is really worth it over the long haul relationship you are about to engage.

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