Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Year: 2011 (Page 1 of 12)

Making Search Play Well with Content Solutions

In keynote sessions at the recent Gilbane Boston Conference, three speakers in a row made points about content management solutions that are also significant to selection and implementation of enterprise search. Here is a list of paraphrased comments.

  • From Forrester analyst, Stephen Powers were these observations: 1. The promise has been there for years for an E (enterprise)CM suite to do everything but the reality is that no one vendor, even when they have all the pieces, integrates them well. 2. Be cautious about promises from vendors who claim to do it all; instead, focus on those who know how to do integration.
  • Tony Byrne of the Real Story Group observed about Google in the enterprise that they frequently fail because Google doesn’t really understand “how work gets done in the enterprise.”
  • Finally, Scott Liewehr of the Gilbane Group stated that a services firm selection is more important than the content management system application selection.

Taken together these statements may not substantiate the current state of the content management industry but they do point to a trend. Evidence is accruing that products and product suppliers must focus on playing nice together and work for the enterprise. Most tend not to do well, out-of-the-box, without the help of expertise and experts.

Nominally, vendors themselves have a service division to perform this function but the burden falls on the buyer to make the “big” decisions about integration and deployment. The real solution is waiting in the wings and I am increasingly talking to these experts, system integrators. They come in all sizes and configurations; perhaps they don’t even self-identify as system integrators, but what they offer is deep expertise in a number of content software applications, including search.

Generally, the larger the operation the more substantial the number and types of products with which they have experience. They may have expertise in a number of web content management products or e-commerce offerings. A couple of large operations that I have encountered in Gilbane engagements are Avalon Consulting, and Search Technologies, which have divisions each specializing in a facet of content management including search. You need to explore whether their strengths and expertise are a good fit with your needs.

The smaller companies specialize, such as working with several search engines plus tools to improve metadata and vocabulary management so content is more findable. Specialists in enterprise search must still have an understanding of content management systems because those are usually the source of metadata that feed high quality search. I’ve recently spoken with several small service providers whose commentaries and case work illustrate a solid and practical approach. Those you might want to look into are: Applied Relevance, Contegra Systems, Findwise, KAPS Group, Lucid Imagination, New Idea Engineering, and TNR Global.

Each of these companies has a specialty and niche, and I am not making explicit recommendations. The simple reason is that what you need and what you are already working on is unique to your enterprise. Without knowledge of your resources, special needs and goals my recommendations would be guesses. What I am sharing is the idea that you need experts who can give value when they are the right experts for your requirements.

The guidance here is to choose a search services firm that will move you efficiently and effectively along the path of systems integration. Expertise is available and you do not need to struggle alone knitting together best-of-breed components. Do your research and understand the differentiators among the companies. High touch, high integrity and commitment for the long haul should be high on your list of requirements – and of course, look for experience and expertise in deploying the technology solutions you want to use and integrate.

Next month I’ll share some tips on evaluating possible service organizations starting with techniques for doing research on the Web.

Up-to-Speed Reading for Gilbane Boston: Recent Publications

Looking to make the most of your experience at Gilbane Boston 2011? Want to be current on the latest content trends and technologies? Download our recent papers, some of which you may have missed.

Smart Approaches to Managing Mobile Learning Content. Just published! Why a content strategy rather than a project mentality is the only way to take full advantage of the business performance benefits and productivity gains that are possible with mobile learning. Listen to the webinar.

Magazines at a Digital Crossroads: eCommerce and New Models for the Future. Makes the case for a growing need for contemporary eCommerce platforms to support publishers as they experiment, win, iterate, and drive their businesses into the future. Listen to the webinar.

Content, Audience, and Targeted Messaging: The Virtuous Circle of Customer Engagement. Presenting marketing messages and advertisements that are relevant at the right moment to create the tipping point from engagement to conversion.

A Fresh Look at Web Content Management: Mastering the Core Capabilities of Contemporary Platforms. The core aspects of today’s WCM systems for anyone evaluating, or reevaluating, the WCM needs of their organizations. Listen to the webinar.

Addressing Digital Product Development Risks: Best Practics for Creating Strategic Outsourcing Relationships. Digital products fail for all kinds of reasons. Poor development does not have to be one of them.

Understanding Best Practices for Profiling, Personalizing, and Targeting Next-Generation Engagment. Develop a new appreciation for the power and value of contemporary personalization, and gain an understanding of how to realize its benefits within your organization.

Global Digital Engagement: Leveragng Opportunities to Increase Impact and Reduce Complexity. How to remove the mystery and anxiety of delivering high-value interactions that lead to engagement by improving the dynamics of each.

Collaboration to Business Transformation: Expanding the role of Enterprise Social Networks

Of course we think all of our conference sessions are not to be missed, but for those specially interested in enterprise social networks, and process transformation we’ve paired up AIIM President John Mancini, to share some of the research his organization is completing on this topic, and Mike Gotta, Senior Technical Manager for Social Software at Cisco, and ex Gartner VP & Research Director. Be sure to check this one out the latest trends in this area

C4. From Collaboration to Business Transformation: Expanding the role of Enterprise Social Networks

Gilbane Boston, The Boston Westin Waterfront
Thursday, December 1, 8:30 – 9:30

Effective collaboration initiatives often focus on process, information and technology. However the advent of enterprise social networking has expanded the scope of what’s possible, and it goes far beyond mere collaboration. This session will examine architectural building blocks that enable social networking, common practices to help overcome adoption hurdles, and governance and change management approaches. It will also contain a presentation of the work of an AIIM task force that has been building use cases and best practices relative to social transformation for 3 key value chains in any organization:

  1. sales and marketing;
  2. product design and innovation; and
  3. knowledge worker creativity and productivity.

This session will demonstrate why the time has come to move discussions of social business from the abstract benefits of “collaboration” to a richer focus on process and value chain transformation.

Moderator: Marc Strohlein, Principal, Agile Business Logic
 
John ManciniPresident, AIIM
Social in the Flow – Moving Social from “Nice to Have” to Process Transformation
Mike GottaSenior Technology Manager, Cisco
Enterprise Social Networking: Identity, Graphs & Social Objects

Why is it so Hard to “Get” Semantics Inside the Enterprise?

Semantic Software Technologies: Landscape of High Value Applications for the Enterprise was published just over a year ago. Since then the marketplace has been increasingly active; new products emerge and discussion about what semantics might mean for the enterprise is constant. One thing that continues to strike me is the difficulty of explaining the meaning of, applications for, and context of semantic technologies.

Browsing through the topics in this excellent blog site, http://semanticweb.com , it struck me as the proverbial case of the blind men describing an elephant. A blog, any blog, is linear. While there are tools to give a blog dimension by clustering topics or presenting related information, it is difficult to understand the full relationships of any one blog post to another. Without a photographic memory, an individual does not easily connect ideas across a multi-year domain of blog entries. Semantic technologies can facilitate that process.

Those who embrace some concept of semantics are believers that search will benefit from “semantic technologies.” What is less clear is how evangelists, developers, searchers and the average technology user can coalesce around the applications that will semantically enable enterprise search.

On the Internet content that successfully drives interest, sales, opinion and individual promotion does so through a combination of expert crafting of metadata, search engine technology that “understands” the language of the inquirer and the content that can satisfy the inquiry. Good answers are reached when questions are understood first and then the right content is selected to meet expectations.

In the enterprise, the same care must be given to metadata, search engine “meaning” analysis tools and query interpretation for successful outcomes. Magic does not happen without people behind the scenes to meet these three criteria executing linguistic curation, content enhancement and computational linguistic programming.

Three recent meeting events illustrate various states of semantic development and adoption, even as the next conference, Semantic Tech & Business Conference – Washington, D.C. on November 29 – is upon us:

Event 1 – A relatively new group, the IKS-Community funded by the EU has been supporting open source software developers since 2009. In July they held a workshop in Paris just past the mid-point of their life cycle. Attendees were primarily entrepreneurs and independent open source developers seeking pathways for their semantically “tuned” content management solutions. I was asked to suggest where opportunities and needs exist in US markets. They were an enthusiastic audience and are poised to meet the tough market realities of packaging highly sophisticated software for audiences that will rarely understand how complex the stuff “under the hood” really is. My principal charge to them was to create tools that “make it really easy” to work with vocabulary management and content metadata capture, updates, and enhancements.

Event 2. – On this side of the pond, UK firm Linguamatics hosted its user group meeting in Boston in October. Having interviewed a number of their customers last year to better understand their I2E product line, I was happy to meet people I had spoken with and see the enthusiasm of a user community vested in such complex technology. Most impressive is the respectful tone and thoughtful sharing between Linguamatics principals and their customers. They share the knowledge of how hard it is to continually improve search technology that delivers answers to semantically complex questions using highly specialized language. Content contributors and inquirers are all highly educated specialists seeking answers to questions that have never been asked before. Think about it, search engines designed to deliver results for frequently asked questions or to find content on popular topics is hard enough, but finding the answer to a brand new question is a quantum leap of difficulty in comparison.

To make matters even more complicated, answers to semantic (natural language) questions may be found in internal content, in published licensed content or some combination of both. In the latter case, only the seeker may be able to put the two together to derive or infer an answer.

Publishers of content for licensing play a convoluted game of how they will license their content to enterprises for semantic indexing in combination with internal content. The Linguamatics user community is primarily in life sciences; this is one more hurdle for them to overcome to effectively leverage the vast published repositories of biological and medical literature. Rigorous pricing may be good business strategy, but research using semantic search could make more headway with more reasonable royalties that reflect the need for collaborative use across teams and partners.

Content wants to be found and knowledge requires outlets to enable innovation to flourish. In too many cases technology is impaired by lack of business resources by buyers or arcane pricing models of sellers that hold vital information captive for a well-funded few. Semantically excellent retrieval depends on an engine’s indexing access to all contextually relevant content.

Event 3. – Leslie Owens of Forrester Research, at the Fall 2011 Enterprise Search Summit conducted a very interesting interactive session that further affirms the elephant and blind men metaphor. Leslie is a champion of metadata best practices and writes about the competencies and expertise needed to make valuable content accessible. She engaged the audience with a series of questions about its wants, needs, beliefs and plans for semantic technologies. As described in an earlier paragraph about how well semantics serves us on the Web, most of the audience puts its faith in that model but is doubtful of how or when similar benefits will accrue to enterprise search. Leslie and a couple of others made the point that a lot more work has to be done on the back-end on content in the enterprise to get these high-value outcomes.

We’ll keep making the point until more adopters of semantic technologies get serious and pay attention to content, content enhancement, expert vocabulary management and metadata. If it is automatic understanding of your content that you are seeking, the vocabulary you need is one that you build out and enhance for your enterprise’s relevance. Semantic tools need to know the special language you use to give the answers you need.

Informatica Delivers Data Parser for Hadoop

Informatica Corporation, the provider of data integration software, announced the immediate availability of Informatica HParser, a data parsing transformation solution for Hadoop environments. Informatica HParser runs on distributions of Apache Hadoop, exploiting the parallelism of the MapReduce framework to efficiently turn unstructured complex data, such as web logs, social media data, call detail records and other data formats, into a structured or semi-structured format in Hadoop. Once transformed into a more structured format, the data can be used and validated to drive business insights and improve operations. Available in a free community edition and commercial editions, Informatica HParser provides organizations with the solution they require to extract the value of complex, unstructured data. http://www.informatica.com

Integrated Dynamic Schema.org Support in Webnodes CMS v3.7

Webnodes has announced CMS to have dynamic support for Schema.org. The new feature has an intuitive vocabulary mapping user interface as well as a code API and Asp.Net controls to streamline the work for site developers. The Webnodes CMS ontology management user interface provides a separation between data, data model and presentation layout. Schema.org which is all about making search engines understand the meaning of your content is a natural extension to the semantic core engine.  http://www.webnodes.com

Did you know there is a mobile track at Gilbane Boston?

We’ve been adding content about mobile app development and publishing for a couple of years. We will be adding a full track threaded through the entire conference to our next event, but this year’s Gilbane Boston has quite a few sessions covering aspects of mobile development and content management relevant to Web, marketing/business, IT strategists, and developers.

In fact, we have a sort of a stealth mobile track – stealth, because the sessions are spread out across other tracks. To make it easier to plan schedules for those of you specifically interested in doing more with smartphones and tablets, below are five sessions that are the most directly relevant to mobile. There are other sessions that also cover mobile topics, so be sure to check the overall conference at-a-glance schedule and session descriptions.

Stealth Mobile Track:

T1: Mobile Development: App, Mobile Web, or Hybrid?

Wednesday, November 30, 1:30 – 2:30

You know mobile is becoming the dominant channel, but of course it is actually multiple channels – multiple devices with multiple APIs, form factors, interfaces and capabilities. Do you optimize for each device? Do you try and build a mobile web application? Do you mix it up with a little bit of both? This session will help you understand the pros and cons of different approaches.

Moderator: Jon Marks, Co-founder, Kaldor Product Development Group

Jon Marks, Co-founder, Kaldor Product Development Group

Introduction

Ashley Streb, 
Vice President, Technology, Brightcove

Hybrid Position


Stefan Andreasen, 
CTO Kapow

Browser Position


Philip Ramsey
, Manager, Technical Design, BNA

App Position

P2. iPad Publishing and UI Design


Wednesday, November 30, 2:40 – 4:00

With smartphones and tablets exploding in usage, publishers are racing to deliver content to new types of users who are expecting rich, interactive experiences. Yet publishers are often dependent on third parties who can create these apps for them. This session delves into how some of the standard publishing apps work, and how developers create some of the more advanced features that users are demanding.

Moderator: Ned May, Vice President & Lead Analyst, Outsell

Jim Nasr
, CEO, Armedia


Best Practices for Developing Content Rich Applications for the iPad

Michael Mahoney, 
Senior User Experience Specialist, Microlink


Information as Design 

T3. Is HTML5 the Future – If so, When?

Wednesday, November 30, 4:00 – 5:00

HTML5 enjoys widespread partial support. That is, the major browsers support some HTML5 functionality, and Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, and Apple support it politically. HTML5 promises lots of important new capabilities, but it is an ongoing development is scheduled to become a W3C recommendation in 2014. Many organizations are already using HTML5 for app development, but should they? Is it too soon?

Moderator: Richard Rubin, Principal Consultant, Professional Services, Innodata Isogen

Lubor Ptacek
, VP, Strategic Marketing & GM, Microsoft Solutions Group, Open Text

Phillip Hyun, 
CTO, EndPlay

E5. Thinking Beyond the Website – Mobile and Other Channels Deserve Your Attention Too


Thursday, December 1, 9:40 – 10:40

As phones and other mobile devices get “smarter”, so must marketers get smarter about their multi-channel strategies. It used to be acceptable for brands to focus on their desktop browser experience, and then, at some point, dumb them down by removing flash, videos, and all the other extras so that prospective customers could view the website on their phones. But this strategy is no longer viable. The Splinternet Age brings not only smart phones, but also tablets, mobile applications, social sites, and wifi-ready televisions just to name a few. As more and more consumers seek to experience your brand through these mediums, having a strong multi-channel strategy is essential.

Moderator: Scott Liewehr, Senior Consultant, Web Content Management, Outsell’s Gilbane Services



Arje Cahn
, CTO, Hippo

Tom Wentworth, 
CMO, Ektron


New Reality – Mobile First


Michael Assad
, Co-founder & CEO, Agility


Content Management for Digital Marketing: Thinking Beyond the Website

The day before the main conference we also have a pre-conference workshop covering important issues for mobile customer engagement:

Workshop B: Integrating Website and Mobile Strategy for Consistent Customer Engagement

Wednesday, November 29, 9:00 – 12:00

You’ve heard all the talk about web engagement management. You’ve read about web and content optimization for contextual consumption. You may even have preached to others about the rise of mobile-, social-, and personal-ization. We suppose you could even be doing some of these successfully, but we doubt it. These are just a few a few of the sexiest, most contemporary practices that everyone likes to talk about but no one is really doing… but they should. 

In this workshop, renowned author and digital marketing expert Robert Rose teams up with industry analyst and web content management expert Scott Liewehr to teach you how to realize true web engagement across web and mobile channels for your organization. Robert and Scott will teach attendees how to integrate content optimization into the marketing process by pragmatically focusing on three of the primary aspects of web engagement: testing, targeting and contextual design. The workshop walk attendees through a step-by-step approach to each practice, focusing on both the marketing process implications as well as the implementation and operationalization aspects. Web engagement management is more process than technology, so while you may not be able to buy it in a box, you can learn an awful lot about how to implement it in three entertaining, fun-filled and educational hours.

 Attendees will also receive Robert’s brand new book, co-authored with Joe Pulizzi: Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand.

Instructors: Scott Liewehr, Lead Analyst WCM, Outsell Gilbane, and Rob Rose, Chief Troublemaker, Big Blue Moose

Register for the conference, workshop, or both (speaking of mobile … note a Conference Plus registration includes the Workshop and also a new Kindle Fire tablet.

Adobe Acquires Auditude

Adobe Systems Incorporated announced that it has acquired privately held Auditude Inc., a provider of video ad management and monetization technologies for premium publishers and media companies. Supporting video ad management and monetization delivered via an open architecture platform, Auditude lets premium publishers and media companies create a high-quality, TV-like, multi-device advertising experience that is an essential component to viewer loyalty and attracting major brand advertisers. features of the Auditude platform include: easy integration into content management and other video operations systems; precise targeting capabilities; flexible ad placement and ad product offerings; intuitive sales rights management; access to and control of incremental advertising demand; and cross-device workflow.  http://www.auditude.com/ http://www.adobe.com/

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