FINRA Affirms Regulation of User-Generated and Social Content

In a Regulatory Notice released earlier today, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) opined that brokerage firms and their registered representatives must retain records of all communications related to the broker-dealer’s business that are made through public blogs and social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

"Every firm that intends to communicate, or permit its associated persons to communicate, through social media sites must first ensure that it can retain records of those communications as required by Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and NASD Rule 3110. SEC and FINRA rules require that for record retention purposes, the content of the communication is determinative and a broker-dealer must retain those electronic communications that relate to its “business as such.”

Brokerage firms will now be required to archive and make discoverable business-specific content produced by their employees. They will also have to establish and maintain procedures that ensure a supervisor has either approved an interactive electronic communication before it is posted, or that a "risk-based" method of post-communication review exists and is exercised.

"While prior principal approval is not required under Rule 2210 for interactive electronic forums, firms must supervise these interactive electronic communications under NASD Rule 3010 in a manner reasonably designed to ensure that they do not violate the content requirements of FINRA’s communications rules.

Firms may adopt supervisory procedures similar to those outlined for electronic correspondence in Regulatory Notice 07-59 (FINRA Guidance Regarding Review and Supervision of Electronic Communications). As set forth in that Notice, firms may employ risk-based principles to determine the extent to which the review of incoming, outgoing and internal electronic communications is necessary for the proper supervision of their business. "

In addition, FINRA’s guidance states that all organizations under its purview must establish and communicate social media usage guidelines for their employees, and that those individuals must also receive employer-provided training on those guidelines.

"Firms must adopt policies and procedures reasonably designed to ensure that their associated persons who participate in social media sites for business purposes are appropriately supervised, have the necessary training and background to engage in such activities, and do not present undue risks to investors. Firms must have a general policy prohibiting any associated person from engaging in business communications in a social media site that is not subject to the firm’s supervision. Firms also must require that only those associated persons who have received appropriate training on the firm’s policies and procedures regarding interactive electronic communications may engage in such communications."

FINRA’s guidance marks the beginning of a new era for financial services companies and their use of external social media. However, the Financial Services sector is not the only one that will be subject to regulation of communications made via blogs and other types of social software. An IBM Senior Product Manager related last week at Lotusphere that IBM customers in the Healthcare and Utilities industries were also beginning to ask about the management of user-generated and social content.

If your organization is currently required to comply with regulations pertaining to the use of email and instant messaging for business communication, expect to see similar requirements placed on your management of external blog and social media site posts in the near future. At some point, it is likely that these regulations will also be applied to internal communications conducted via enterprise social software.

Is your organization ready for this new era? Gilbane Group’s seasoned advisors can help you prepare to manage user-generated and social content. Contact us today to learn how.

SDL Consolidates Brand

SDL has consolidated branding in order to be recognized globaly under a single brand. Through a series of acquisitions and research and development investment, SDL has expanded its technology footprint from Language Technology into Structured Content Technologies, Web Content Management and most recently eCommerce Technologies. To better convey SDL’s end-to-end content platform, the company is relaunching as a new consolidated brand. As of now, all business units in SDL, including SDL Tridion, SDL XySoft and SDL TRADOS Technologies, SDL Enterprise Technologies and SDL Language Services, will be referred to as divisions of SDL. The different business units of SDL will become one of five specialized divisions‚ Structured Content Technologies; Web Content Management Solutions; eCommerce Technologies; Language Technologies; and Language Services. http://www.sdl.com/

Open Text Releases Vignette 8

Open Text Corporation announced the release of Vignette Content Management 8. Vignette Content Management 8 introduces a new design aimed to let business users to create websites, microsites and landing pages on-demand, while staying within branding and technical guidelines. The design caters to specific personas in marketing or other departments, providing tools, designs and other resources based on their roles. Vignette Content Management 8 offers a way to create and manage Web experiences by streamlining the management of Web layouts and structures. This includes page management, site and navigation management, content production, taxonomy and task management. Vignette Content Management 8 has been designed to help users move to the new interface at their own pace. Marketers can assign search engine compatible vanity URLs to specific pages, or navigation channels; leverage site templating capabilities to quickly generate microsites for promotions or events; establish seasonal or event-specific designs when and where applicable in a consistent manner; add content contextually within the website; and work with rich media and social media assets. www.vignette.com/v8

IBM Unveils Project Vulcan

IBM has unveiled IBM Project Vulcan, which they claim will be the blueprint for the future of collaboration. Building on a company’s existing investments, IBM Project Vulcan enables approaches to reduce personal information overload and improve business agility. IBM Project Vulcan is designed to exploit the convergence of Cloud and on-premise systems; Collaborative Services business applications and social networks; and Desktops, netbooks and mobile devices. Social analytics, by IBM Research, will provide recommendations to locate expertise, relevant content, and critical business events. Designed as a loosely coupled architecture, it is meant to provide flexibility and responsiveness to rapidly changing business requirements and personal preferences. IBM Project Vulcan is designed to allow developers to create new generations of applications powered by collaboration. The capabilities of IBM Project Vulcan will be delivered in future releases of products such as LotusLive, Lotus Notes and Domino, Lotus Connections, Quickr and WebSphere Portal. IBM plans to deliver a beta of a development environment in the second half of 2010 on LotusLive Labs. http://www.ibm.com

4 Predictions [or hopes?] for the WCM Industry in 2010

Given that we’re halfway through January, I figure it’s high time I get around to writing my predictions for the Web Content Management industry in 2010. Let me correct that: these are my hopes for the WCM industry in 2010. I believe there’s enough evidence to support the notion that my desires have a shot at coming to fruition, but I’ve come to grips with the fact that Nostradamus I am not.

I have a long list of both predictions and desires, but I’m focusing on my top 4 since they are all tied to a single theme, are the most likely to come to fruition, and are all driven by what we at Gilbane believe will be one of the four global, cross-industry Megatrends for 2010: Customer Experience. We believe that customer experience has been and will continue to be a significant basis for competitive advantage for all companies, as it defines their relationships with their customers. Experiences are personal, and thus, they must be tailored to the individual. Companies, now more than ever, need to identify (and prioritize!) their customer segments in order to individualize their experiences, and they must consider both stated and latent customer feedback as essential metrics.  ALL interactions with customers then, whether in-person or via the web, must be 1) grounded in an understanding of the customer, and 2) empowered to adapt based on recent feedback. This valuation of customer experience is [finally] starting to raise the bar for the WCM industry…gone are the days when we can get away with merely providing a means of doing more with less. CIOs and CMOs alike are now recalling those long-promised ROI calculations which included increased sales, and they are holding the WCM vendors accountable. If they’re not doing so already, I sure hope they start because the technology has finally caught up to the hype. So, with that said, here goes…

Hope #1: Audience Engagement Frameworks [The almost forgotten promise of WCM]

If you haven’t heard of an Audience Engagement Framework, it’s because I just coined the phrase last week. Hopefully it’s at least partly self-explanatory. AEFs, in my opinion, are the future of marketing on the web. They will enable WCM to realize its full potential. AEFs include traditional WCM combined with web analytics, marketing automation, audience segmentation and dynamic content delivery. Analysts and thought leaders have been discussing the notion of Persuasive Content for a while — the idea that content is tailored to suit the consumer / visitor. The only bit I would add to this is that in order to be persuasive, one must also be perceptive. Perceptive Content, another phrase I’m laying claim to, is that which is informed by visitor behavior via analytics (preferably in real-time), search, user-generated content, etc. AEFs includes both the perceptive and persuasive aspects of content, and a handful of innovative vendors have already released varying degrees of the framework in their products. I fully expect this trend to continue in 2010. And, while some vendors will implement it more wholistically than others, at least we’re not talking about WYSIWYG editors being the biggest leap forward anymore. Or, at least, I’m not.

Hope #2: Search [Tightly integrated and much improved]

In 2009, we saw a mutual interest between the Search and WCM industries as Autonomy purchased Interwoven, Squiz bought Funnelback, and a number of WCM vendors such as Drupal and eZ Systems took major steps to integrate advanced search engines into their products. Many of the newly integrated products include features such as faceted search, auto-complete/suggest, content spotlighting, relevance ranking, and more. As I see it, this was more than just an attempt to improve the usability of their resulting websites in response to an ever-increasing shift towards search as the primary form of navigation. I believe, er, I hope, this trend is an intentional step towards improving a site’s perceptive capabilities. Our ability to understand our audience’s desires will most certainly be enhanced by attending to their searches, and our ability to manipulate the search results based on the visitor’s (and her associated segment’s) interaction with the website should only improve her [customer] experience which I’ve deemed so imperative above. If my guess is right, today’s notion of search within a website will get a serious upgrade in the year(s) to come.

Hope #3: User-Generated Content [WCM gets even more social!]

User-Generated Content such as micro-blogs, social networking, tagging, commenting, etc. is everywhere.  Many WCM Vendors have offered various UGC features in their products for a while now, but most have not implemented ways for companies to capitalize on the resulting content. As the industry continues to brainstorm ways to monetize the “social” trend, a handful of vendors such as Alterian and Sitecore have begun leveraging this content to improve audience engagement, thus again following suit with my theme from Hope #1. It won’t take long for others to follow.

Hope #4: Globalization [Multi-lingual gets localized in the mainstream]

In the days of old, multi-lingual content capabilities were only promised by specialized vendors. However, as more and more companies are concerned with improving the experiences of their international customer base, a number of mainstream WCM vendors have begun to include these features in their products. With a few exceptions, the capabilities of  most are relatively immature at this point, but 2010 should see an improved understanding of localization by mainstream vendors. The continued enhancement of such features should help to avoid what my colleagues have termed the Language Afterthought Syndrome, and the engaged conversation will be allowed to thrive worldwide.

Well, that’s it.  I’d love to know your thoughts.  We’ll be discussing many concepts related to the Audience Engagement Framework in the Customers & Engagement track at the upcoming Gilbane Conference in San Francisco, so mark your calendars for May 18-20! I also intend to write more on the subject and am just getting underway with some related research, so please stay tuned!

Follow me on Twitter: @sliewehr

Conference topics for Gilbane San Francisco – Updated

Though we are still catching our breath from the Boston conference and the holidays, it is time to get moving on our annual San Francisco conference, which the 3rd week of May this year. The conference site is http://gilbanesf.com, is still mostly populated with 2009 information, but will be updated this week with a new site design and current information. Content from the 2009 event is at http://gilbanesf.com/09/ will be moved to a subdirectory and continue to be available.

In the meantime, The description below is taken from the draft site and will give you a good idea of the topics we’ll be covering. If you are interested in submitting a speaking proposal, remember that the deadline for submissions is January 18. See http://gilbane.com/speaker-guidelines/.

Oh, and the Twitter handle is http://twitter.com/gilbanesf and the hashtag we’ll be using is #gilbanesf.

Gilbane San Francisco 2010
Web, content, and collaboration technology have reached a new level of maturity. This is true in terms of technology, but more importantly, it is true in terms of what businesses expect to be able to do with these tools. Web and enterprise content management permeate every aspect of an organization. Public facing internet sites are the front door to an organizations’ products and services, and where customers, partners and investors engage with the corporate brand and develop perceptions. Internal websites, whether in the form of intranets, blogs, wikis, or portals, provide knowledge workers increasingly efficient ways to collaborate and share knowledge. Customer and internal-facing applications share requirements that call for a number of enterprise content, publishing and infrastructure technologies, such as multi-lingual, social media, search, and integration software.

Gilbane San Francisco is organized into four tracks so that whether you are responsible for marketing, IT, a business unit, or an internal function, you will be able to easily navigate among the conference sessions. If you are responsible for customer-facing business activities start with the Customers & Engagement track, and then add appropriate sessions from the Content Technology & Content Publishing tracks. If your role is focused on internal collaboration, knowledge sharing or support activities, start with the Colleagues & Collaboration track, and supplement it with sessions from the technology & publishing tracks.

Track 1: Customers & Engagement
Corporate websites are now the most important public face of an organization, and the best way to grow, and communicate with, a broader customer base. Successful sales and marketing now requires Web sites that can reach a global audience, a mobile audience, and an audience familiar with social media and used to richer media. Websites also need to be findable, accessible, engaging, real-time & responsive, and have accurate and timely information that is synchronized with other channels. This is a tall order, but it is what your customers expect, and what companies are building.

Attendees:
For anyone responsible for marketing, business, or technical aspects of public facing websites, including, sales & marketing, digital marketing, brand managers, business units with P&L, Web strategists, IT, Web managers, business managers, digital media, e-commerce managers, content managers and strategists.

Topics:
Web content management, analytics, web design and UI, social media, rich media, global reach, multilingual practices, personalization, information architecture, designing for mobile, e-commerce, search engine optimization.

Track 2: Colleagues & Collaboration
Well-designed internal websites for collaboration on projects or operational activities, whether in the form of intranets, portals, blogs, or wikis are critical for supporting modern corporate missions. Social software has reignited interest in enhancing employee collaboration and knowledge sharing, and the right use of social software, alone or combined with an intranet or portal, is a competitive requirement. Employees already use it, and expect it, and can be much more productive with it. While some business use-cases are obvious, companies are a long way from having enough experience to know how best to integrate and deploy different types of social software to best support business requirements.

Attendees:
For anyone responsible for internal websites, portals, collaboration & knowledge sharing activities, including, knowledge managers, product managers, project managers, IT, and content managers.

Topics:
Collaborative authoring, intranets, knowledge management, search, wikis, micro-blogging and blogging, managing social and user-generated content, integrating social software into enterprise applications, SharePoint, portals, social software platforms, enterprise 2.0 strategies.

Track 3: Content Technology
There are many different technologies involved in building web and enterprise content applications. Some of them are simple and some complex, some are open source and some are commercial, some are available via license, some as a service, some are ready for prime time, some aren’t, and some might be ready, but are controversial.

Attendees:
For those who are either responsible for technology decisions, or those who need to keep up-to-speed with the latest technology for enterprise content applications of all types, including, central IT, departmental IT, strategists, and managers who need to know what’s possible and what’s coming.

Topics:
Multi-lingual technologies and applications, XML, standards, integration, content migration, mobile, search, open source, SaaS, semantic technologies, social software, SharePoint, XBRL, and relevant consumer technologies.

Track 4: Content Publishing
Multi-channel publishing has been a goal of many organizations for years, but it is now more important than ever – and not that much easier. In addition to more traditional print and web channels, smartphones, e-book readers, other mobile devices, and even “in-product” displays need to be considered. In addition to more channels, there are more media types to manage. Dynamic publishing is a key business requirement for both single and multi-channel delivery.

Attendees:
For those responsible for content creation, management, and multi-channel/multi-lingual publishing, IT and others that need to learn about publishing technology because of new multi-channel demands, including corporate or commercial publishers, content managers, digital asset managers, documentation managers, and information architects.

Topics:
Multi-channel publishing, multi-lingual publishing, e-books, tablets, mobile, digital rights, digital asset management, documentation, structured content, XML, dynamic publishing, and publishing business models.

Conference topics for Gilbane San Francisco – Updated

Though we are still catching our breath from the Boston conference and the holidays, it is time to get moving on our annual San Francisco conference, which the 3rd week of May this year. The conference site is http://gilbanesf.com, is still mostly populated with 2009 information, but will be updated this week with a new site design and current information. Content from the 2009 event is at http://gilbanesf.com/09/ will be moved to a subdirectory and continue to be available.

In the meantime, The description below is taken from the draft site and will give you a good idea of the topics we’ll be covering. If you are interested in submitting a speaking proposal, remember that the deadline for submissions is January 18. See http://gilbane.com/speaker_guidelines.html.

Oh, and the Twitter handle is http://twitter.com/gilbanesf and the hashtag we’ll be using is #gilbanesf.

Gilbane San Francisco 2010

Web, content, and collaboration technology have reached a new level of maturity. This is true in terms of technology, but more importantly, it is true in terms of what businesses expect to be able to do with these tools. Web and enterprise content management permeate every aspect of an organization. Public facing internet sites are the front door to an organizations’ products and services, and where customers, partners and investors engage with the corporate brand and develop perceptions. Internal websites, whether in the form of intranets, blogs, wikis, or portals, provide knowledge workers increasingly efficient ways to collaborate and share knowledge. Customer and internal-facing applications share requirements that call for a number of enterprise content, publishing and infrastructure technologies, such as multi-lingual, social media, search, and integration software.

Gilbane San Francisco is organized into four tracks so that whether you are responsible for marketing, IT, a business unit, or an internal function, you will be able to easily navigate among the conference sessions. If you are responsible for customer-facing business activities start with the Customers & Engagement track, and then add appropriate sessions from the Content Technology & Content Publishing tracks. If your role is focused on internal collaboration, knowledge sharing or support activities, start with the Colleagues & Collaboration track, and supplement it with sessions from the technology & publishing tracks.

Track 1: Customers & Engagement
Corporate websites are now the most important public face of an organization, and the best way to grow, and communicate with, a broader customer base. Successful sales and marketing now requires Web sites that can reach a global audience, a mobile audience, and an audience familiar with social media and used to richer media. Websites also need to be findable, accessible, engaging, real-time & responsive, and have accurate and timely information that is synchronized with other channels. This is a tall order, but it is what your customers expect, and what companies are building.

Attendees:
For anyone responsible for marketing, business, or technical aspects of public facing websites, including, sales & marketing, digital marketing, brand managers, business units with P&L, Web strategists, IT, Web managers, business managers, digital media, e-commerce managers, content managers and strategists.

Topics:
Web content management, analytics, web design and UI, social media, rich media, global reach, multilingual practices, personalization, information architecture, designing for mobile, e-commerce, search engine optimization.

Track 2: Colleagues & Collaboration
Well-designed internal websites for collaboration on projects or operational activities, whether in the form of intranets, portals, blogs, or wikis are critical for supporting modern corporate missions. Social software has reignited interest in enhancing employee collaboration and knowledge sharing, and the right use of social software, alone or combined with an intranet or portal, is a competitive requirement. Employees already use it, and expect it, and can be much more productive with it. While some business use-cases are obvious, companies are a long way from having enough experience to know how best to integrate and deploy different types of social software to best support business requirements.

Attendees:
For anyone responsible for internal websites, portals, collaboration & knowledge sharing activities, including, knowledge managers, product managers, project managers, IT, and content managers.

Topics:
Collaborative authoring, intranets, knowledge management, search, wikis, micro-blogging and blogging, managing social and user-generated content, integrating social software into enterprise applications, SharePoint, portals, social software platforms, enterprise 2.0 strategies.

Track 3: Content Technology
There are many different technologies involved in building web and enterprise content applications. Some of them are simple and some complex, some are open source and some are commercial, some are available via license, some as a service, some are ready for prime time, some aren’t, and some might be ready, but are controversial.

Attendees:
For those who are either responsible for technology decisions, or those who need to keep up-to-speed with the latest technology for enterprise content applications of all types, including, central IT, departmental IT, strategists, and managers who need to know what’s possible and what’s coming.

Topics:
Multi-lingual technologies and applications, XML, standards, integration, content migration, mobile, search, open source, SaaS, semantic technologies, social software, SharePoint, XBRL, and relevant consumer technologies.

Track 4: Content Publishing
Multi-channel publishing has been a goal of many organizations for years, but it is now more important than ever – and not that much easier. In addition to more traditional print and web channels, smartphones, e-book readers, other mobile devices, and even “in-product” displays need to be considered. In addition to more channels, there are more media types to manage. Dynamic publishing is a key business requirement for both single and multi-channel delivery.

Attendees:
For those responsible for content creation, management, and multi-channel/multi-lingual publishing, IT and others that need to learn about publishing technology because of new multi-channel demands, including corporate or commercial publishers, content managers, digital asset managers, documentation managers, and information architects.

Topics:
Multi-channel publishing, multi-lingual publishing, e-books, tablets, mobile, digital rights, digital asset management, documentation, structured content, XML, dynamic publishing, and publishing business models.

Publishing Perspective 2010

By Ted Treanor, Senior Publishing Consultant

Publishing predictions for 2010 abound. As a digital publishing pioneer and visionary, Ted Treanor has been well positioned ahead of the curve, with a unique vantage point to see what’s in store for the industry. At this tipping point, publishing convergence of print and digital has collided with mainstream. Let us know what you think of these predictions.

Let’s see if 13 predictions will be lucky for publishing.

  1. New eReading devices will proliferate. The market is responding like the California gold rush.  Not only will there be new companies launching in 2010, but big electronics firms will have their products. CES will be a haven for digital reading, which will astound everyone.
  2. Pricing experimentation will take center stage.
  3. Digital sales channels both retail and distribution will grow rapidly.
  4. The ePub standard (IDPF.org) will strengthen as an international industry standard. ePub will compete with PDF for the top format for commercial content.
  5. The big surprise this year will be the number of large recognized companies that will strategically target the digital publishing eReading and content space. At least one major communications infrastructure company (possibly wireless) will stake a claim through a publishing partnership. Other prime segments will be computer manufacturers and printer manufactures.
  6. Trade associations will scramble to stay relevant in their attempt to lead members through this time of convergence of print and digital.
  7. Content workflow using XML technologies will become standard for single source production to multiple print and digital editions.
  8. Publishers will attempt to build direct relationships with their reader customers…not very successfully in 2010.
  9. Technology and services companies will further enable authors for self-publishing and in their sales goals. At least one big name author will experiment in self-publishing in 2010.
  10. eCatalogs will become a standard tool in selling content to booksellers, librarians, etc..
  11. Digital galleys will gain in popularity.
  12. E-content will be grafted into print in innovative ways.
  13. New ebook data reports and ebook directories will become ‘must-have’ resources. Gilbane Group has a series of three publishing transformation reports planned in 2010.

Follow me on Twitter @ ePubDr

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