Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Tag: technology acquisition

How to choose a new CMS

First of all, choosing a new CMS, or any other enterprise software, should only ever come after a critical and comprehensive analysis of business requirements, strategic objectives, current technology infrastructure, existing and expected operational processes, and a determination of service provider involvement. And once you’re ready to start looking at the options you need to pay attention to the employee, partner, and customer experience from the start if you want to ensure adoption and success. The whole process is less obvious and sure to involve way more effort than you anticipate.

Below are a selection of four conference sessions and two workshops at the upcoming Gilbane Conference that will be especially relevant to anyone considering a new CMS product, platform, or environment.

P2. Aligning Technology with Strategy – Harvard Business Review

The Harvard Business Review Group launched a redesigned site in November 2014, a big step forward for the company in terms of both strategy and technology. The team adopted new technologies for the both the front end and back end that were not only designed to push our capabilities forward, but chosen in close collaboration with business stakeholders with a deep understanding of where our business is heading. HBR’s goals are similar to any other magazine/publishing/media company, to grow the business by creating and retaining subscribers and simultaneously meet the changing needs of digital advertising as print revenues potentially decline. As the primary place where more and more people and clients engage with us, HBR.org has become the center of our strategy. The old site served us well for years but our new technology choices now allow us to form the direct relationships not only with our audience, but more importantly with each subscriber. Topics we’ll cover in our talk will include: advantages of modern UI frameworks and why we built our own, migrating from traditional relational databases to a big data/nosql database.

The presentation will consist of at least three parts: setting the stage for change, evaluating options for new technologies to meet the need, choices made with a retrospective on lessons learned.

Wednesday, December, 2: 2:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
Moderator: Kevin Newman, Director of Technology, Harvard Business Publishing
Panelists:
Fred Lalande, Technical Production Manager, Harvard Business Publishing
Daigo Fujiwara, Web Developer, Harvard Business Publishing
Matt Wagner, Web Developer, Harvard Business Publishing

T4. Benchmark Your WCM Environment

Join Real Story Group for a fast-paced, hands-on session where you will assess your existing WCM environment in a series of structured Q&A exercises. Then find out how your situation stacks up against your peers’.

Thursday, December, 3: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Speakers:
Tony Byrne, Founder, Real Story Group
Jarrod Gingras, Senior Analyst and Managing Director, Real Story Group

T5. When and How to Move to a New CMS / Digital Platform

Replacing a content management system has always been a daunting task, but is now more difficult than it ever. As CMS’s have matured they have taken on more functionality, much of which overlaps with other systems thus forcing choices about which system should be responsible for which function. The marketing technology landscape and the variety of technology stacks it suggests are possible is scary indeed — even though your own existing environment provides some constraints. The speakers in this session are consultants who have been through this with many clients and have some great advice to share.

Thursday, December, 3: 9:40 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.
Moderator: Barb Mosher Zinck, Content & Product Marketer, MarTech Analyst, Publisher, BMZ Content Strategies / Digital Tech Diary
Speakers:
Rob Martinez, Director of Professional Services, NorthPoint Digital
When to Abandon your Existing Technology and Start Afresh
William Thayer, Principal Consultant Technologist, Avalon Consulting, LLC.
Strategies for Migrating to a new Web Content Management System

T6. CMS Alternatives – Bespoke to WordPress

When you need a content management system you have lots of options. In this session our speakers advocate for two alternatives that have been controversial choices for “enterprise-class” requirements. At one end of the spectrum, WordPress, the most popular “content management” system, is often thought of as too lightweight a solution. At the other end of the spectrum, building your own custom system means it can do whatever you want, but the cost of development and maintenance required is considered too high a cost. Both speakers are Gilbane conference veterans and know our audience so will be well prepared for any challenging questions!

Thursday, December, 3: 11:40 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.
Moderator: Barb Mosher Zinck, Content & Product Marketer, MarTech Analyst, Publisher, BMZ Content Strategies / Digital Tech Diary
Speakers:
John Eckman, CEO, 10up
Building a Better Author Experience: WordPress as a CMS platform
John Petersen, Programmer, Sutro Software
Throw Away Your CMS

Also see these pre-conference workshops for deep dives:

Workshop C. Insiders’ Guide to Selecting the Right WCM

Tony Byrne, Founder, Real Story Group: Tuesday, December, 1: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Workshop D. Foundations for Best-Fit WCM Service Provider Selections

Cathy McKnight, Partner and Principal Analyst, Digital Clarity Group: Tuesday, December, 1: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

Gilbane pre-conference workshops announced

It’s only June but we’re already working hard on the 2015 conference program and want to share a bit of what you can look forward to.

We’ve got a great lineup of pre-conference workshops that will be held Tuesday, December 1, the day before the main conference, December 2 – 3.

Pre-conference workshops:

Developing a personalization strategy: one size doesn’t fit all
Instructor: John Berndt, CEO, The Berndt Group (TBG)

An anatomy of a digital audit
Instructor: Tim Bourgeois, Partner at East Coast Catalyst and Founder, ChiefDigitalOfficer.net

Insider’s guide to selecting the right WCM
Instructor: Tony Byrne, Founder, Real Story Group

Foundations for best-fit WCM service provider selections
Instructor: Cathy McKnight, Partner and Principal Analyst, Digital Clarity Group

Great ideas need the right metrics to flourish – building the analytics you need to monetize your innovation
Instructor: Jaime Fitzgerald, Founder and Managing Partner, Fitzgerald Analytics Inc.

Digital is global in nature, not by default: leveraging digital globalization to increase global customer experience
Instructor: Bruno Herrmann , Director of Globalization, Nielsen

Find out more and get detailed descriptions for these workshops.

Hotel now accepting reservations

The Fairmont Copley Plaza is the official conference hotel for Gilbane Conference 2015. Discounted room rates have been arranged for attendees and are available starting today. Find out more.

Taking Measure of Search on Vendor Sites

As I was developing concepts put forth in the report Enterprise Search Markets and Applications – Capitalizing on Emerging Demand I bounced around the Internet a lot to verify information I had previously noted about products listed in the vendor directory. As I did so, evidence began to emerge about the ease with which I could resurrect an earlier retrieved bit of content. It mystified me that vendors of products to aid retrieval of content would make it so difficult to find information on their own web site. One assumption of mine has been completely debunked, that vendors would use their own search product to help site visitors discover more about their products and services. It made me wonder why they would not be showcasing the full flavor of their offerings.

The report was not written to evaluate specific products but rather to give a more holistic view of how the markets for products break down and how products themselves can be categorized. In order to do the latter, it required reading about many products with which I had no hands on experience. I wanted to understand how vendors were positioning their products, what markets they felt their products are most suited to satisfy, and what search problems were best solved with their technologies. Coming up with generalizations, trends, and differentiators was one purpose for my research. When I realized how difficult it was to dig out specifics from many vendor Web sites, I moved on, probably leaving stones unturned but time was not on my side.

Now I am going back to learn more about the problem with researching search, something complained about by a number of buyers I interviewed. Vendors are not making it easy for buyers to narrow their search for search, and shame on them. This should be a “no brainer.” If you are a vendor pushing a product that is easy to install, implement and deploy, there is no better way than to put it to work on your own site. On the other hand, if you have products that are more sophisticated in terms of offering complex retrieval by leveraging refined ontologies or rules, you had better take the time to make it work well for finding nuggets on a few hundred pages of your Web site.

I am going to be writing more about this because the deeper I dig, the more interesting the results. For starters, of the first 28 vendor on my list, twelve have no site search. Of those that do, several use a third-party search engine, not their own. One major vendor’s search result count displayed nearly a hundred records that matched the search while also displaying the breakdown of records by category. The trouble was the category numbers totaled less than 20. Hmmm!

Perhaps the trouble in “searchland” is that no one wants to take the time to implement, deploy and maintain search to satisfy the user. I keep saying, “it’s not the technology; it’s the thought and skill that goes into the back room implementation.” Or is it? Stay tuned.

Become a Technology Acquisition Star

We’re moderating a session entitled Successful Processes for Selecting a Content Management System: How to Become an Expert in Technology Acquisition at DocTrain East 2007, Thursday, Oct 18, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

The session begins with a discussion of why technology acquisition is not about tools, but about assembling capabilities that lead to competitive advantage for your organization. We walk through two scenarios that draw on our recent experience helping users acquire XML publishing and web content management technologies. The fun begins when we turn to a panel of experts who will share what they’ve learned about making a business case, distilling requirements, crafting great RFIs and RFPs, developing the short list of suppliers, and scoping a successful proof-of-concept. We’ll also look at acquiring software as a service and how the acquisition process is different from acquiring licensed software solutions.

The goal of the sesson is show attendees how to develop the skills to lead a successful technology acquisition process. If you’re interested in the topic but can’t make it to the conference in Boston this week, send us email and ask for our presentation materials. We also welcome comments from readers who’d like us to address a specific question during the session.

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