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Category: community/collaboration (Page 1 of 5)

Red Hat Launches Opensource.com

Red Hat has launched a new online community focused on promoting everything open source. Aside from Red Hat’s own technologies, the site also promotes open source software and technology throughout various industries. The posted goals of the site is to promote open exchange, collaboration, rapid prototyping, and crowdsourcing to develop technologies for the greater good of humanity. http://opensource.com/

Sitecore’s Web CMS Integrates with Telligent Community

Sitecore announced that its Web CMS solution can now be integrated with Telligent Community, social software designed for organizations to create interactive communities to listen to and engage internal and external audiences. Combining these solutions should give organizations the ability to harness all of their content within the rest of their Web properties. The goal of the Sitecore integration package is to provide centralized security handling and the ability to interchange the content between Sitecore and Telligent Community solutions. With the security integration providing single sign-on functionality, the user signs into the Sitecore CMS and gets simultaneously signed into Telligent Community. The security integration also simplifies the user creation, so users only need to be created in Sitecore CMS and are automatically transferred to Telligent Community upon first login. The content sharing features provide the ability to mix social media applications and Web content within a website, giving users a combined experience of both types of content. The integration module supports content repurposing for Telligent Community forums, blogs and media galleries as well membership information. Social content can either be reused directly or it can be filtered based on the current user’s rights and group memberships. http://www.sitecore.net/ http://telligent.com/

The SharePoint Backend- What are the Headaches – What are the benefits

As I pointed out in my first post (SharePoint: Without the Headaches – A Discussion of What is Available in the Cloud,) you don’t necessarily need to host SharePoint in your own organization.  Although I believe that most businesses should focus on leveraging the front end of SharePoint to its full extent, it is important for non-technical users to have an understanding of what it takes to host SharePoint and why one might want to do so.  Therefore, this post provides a discussion of what it takes to host SharePoint and the driving factors for hosting SharePoint.

 

Microsoft’s original intent was to build a tool that was easy to leverage by non-technical users.  Microsoft thought of this as the natural extension of Office to the web[1].  That being said, the complexities got away from Microsoft, and in order to leverage a number of features one needs access to the back end.

Before delving into the SharePoint back end, let me point out that many businesses hire SharePoint development staff, both permanent and on a consulting basis. I think that developing custom SharePoint code should be done only after thoroughly justifying the expense.  It is often a mistake.  Instead, organizations should clearly define their requirements and then leverage a high quality third party add-on.  I will mention some of these at the end of the post.

SharePoint is a fragile product and therefore custom code for SharePoint is very expensive to develop, test, and deploy. Furthermore, custom code often needs to be rewritten when migrating to the next release of SharePoint.  Finally, SharePoint is a rapidly growing product, and chances are good that custom code may soon become obsolete by new features in the next generation.

In my first post, I pointed out that inexpensive SharePoint hosting options are available in the cloud. These options tend to be limited.  For example, the inexpensive rentals do not provide much security, only provide WSS (not MOSS), and do not allow one to add third party add-ins.  It is possible to lease custom environments that don’t surrender to any of these limitations, but they come at a cost.  (Typically starting at $500 per month[2].)  I believe that robust MOSS offerings with third party add-ons will be available at competitive prices within two years. 

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[1] SharePoint is developed by the Office division.

[2] For example, FPWeb offers a SharePoint hosted environment with the CorasWorks Workplace Suite included starting at $495 per month.

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Open Text Outlines Vignette Strategy and Product Plans

Open Text Corporation has announced plans to expand its suite of Web solutions with products and technologies from recently acquired Vignette playing a central role. Offered as part of the Open Text ECM Suite, the solutions should help organizations establish deeper connections to customers and use the Web as a channel for new revenues. As part of this strategy, Open Text will leverage technologies from both Vignette and its existing solutions to deliver new next- generation Web offerings. Vignette Content Management will form the foundation of Open Text’s Web business solutions, providing personalized and multi-channel capabilities integrated with the Open Text ECM Suite.  Open Text has said it will continue to develop both Vignette Content Management and Open Text Web Solutions as complementary offerings to meet the full range of WCM needs. Open Text will release Vignette Content Management version 8.0 and Vignette Portal version 8.0 in the second half of 2009. The recently released Web Solutions 10.0 will be followed by the release of Web Solutions 10.1 in the first half of 2010. Within 24 months, Open Text will launch an offering that combines key strengths of Web Solutions with the Vignette Content Management platform. Vignette Social Media Solutions (Community Applications and Community Services) will be the basis of a new Social Marketplace offering, which will be added to Open Text’s Social Media solutions, targeting Internet-style social media interactions and enabling existing Web sites with social content. Current Open Text WCM customers will be able to take advantage of this new Social Marketplace package. In addition, Vignette Collaboration will continue to be enhanced as part of the underlying Vignette Social Media technology stack. http://www.opentext.com/

When User Communities Take Control Everyone Wins

One of the LinkedIn groups I belong to has a great discussion started by Tom Burgmans , Enterprise Search Specialist at Wolters Kluwer, a publisher. The group is Enterprise Search Engine Professionals and has over 1,600 members. Tom began a discussion with this question: FAST Technical Users Group? As I read his call to action by the FAST user community, and the subsequent cheers in response from group members, I was delighted to see the swell of support. Here’s why.

This is a perfect example of where social tools meet a need. A suggestion I also made as a panelist at FastForward 2009 has emerged spontaneously as a direct result of market forces. My observation had been that the FAST user conference was largely attended by IT folks, and the overwhelming number of keynotes and session topics focused on social tools, not especially tied directly to search either. A recommended call to action directed to Microsoft was that they host a platform of social tools to facilitate genuine user community sharing around the FAST product. The people who most need this are search administrators and content managers who presumably have some governance responsibilities for searchable content.

In Tom’s suggestion we see the effective use of a social tool to generate interest among members, a large and focused audience who serve as a great test of the viability of his idea.

That is neat!

Almost 30 years ago when I ran a software company, we (the company) organized and ran annual user group meetings in tandem with a large professional conference that most of our customers attended. These meetings were very successful, well attended by 40 – 50% of our customers. Over almost 20 years the group spawned a lot of professional and collegial relationships that gave our small user community a sense of collective investment in furthering the improvement and support of the product around which they met. Efforts to turn over total control of the user group to the community were not successful because, in those days, the infrastructure needed for planning, organizing and running meetings across the North American geography did not exist. My company provided that support mechanism out of necessity.

However, three regional user groups began their own programs to share knowledge, and the entire user community collectively published a “cookbook” of source code for reports that many of the users had built for use with the database application and wanted to share with others.

Today the opportunities for building these communities of practice have a vast number of “free” social tools to employ, so that barrier has gone away. More important, the benefits to the user community are limitless. It gets to drive discussion about the product, share hints, workarounds, and tips for successful implementations. The user community gets to decide what is important, what is needed in the knowledge-base of operational information. It can call for product changes, improvements and use social platforms for galvanizing the community around specific issues.

One of the best outcomes we saw with our own user community was around a visitation day at our offices for customers to meet together to “test-drive” an alpha version of a major new release. We purposely stayed out of the meeting for an extended period. Later we learned that when each had developed a “wish list” of changes and tweaks to the release, some rather marginal choices had died a natural death as a result of the “wisdom of the crowd.” This was an ideal scenario for us as a development company because we did not have to disappoint any individual users with a unilateral decision to reject their ideas.

Trust me when I recommend to the enterprise search user community, you will empower yourselves in ways you can’t imagine when you join forces with other customers to drive the improvements and success of any product you use and value.

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