Archive for January, 2012
by Bill Ives
I was pleased to get a review copy of the Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management For Online Customer Experience, Q3 2011 by Stephen Powers. It is a very useful document that covers a web content management market in transition. I remember back in my days with a large consulting firm that this was an emerging field and it was included within the knowledge management group I led. Now it was passed KM, at least the old school version, with the rise in Web, but also I doubt it would even be included in a KM group because of the external focus.
Forrester writes that, “functionality to enable publishing to the Web — whether internally or externally — has become commoditized. Yet now, the WCM market is growing based on customer experience management (CXM) needs, including multichannel delivery, content targeting, analytics, and integration with other CXM technologies.” The group the vendors into four classifications: traditional ECM vendors (e.g., IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and OpenText); CXM stack players (e.g., IBM, Adobe, and Autonomy); Independents (e.g., Percussion and Clickability); and Open source (e.g., Alfresco, Drupal).
The major capabilities within the emerging CXM offerings include the following:
Process-based solutions enable business users to create experiences. These solutions include tools that business users (as opposed to IT users) use to create and manage structured and unstructured content for customer experiences. Ease of use is a feature here.
Delivery solutions bring interactive experiences to customers. Vendors often tightly couple both WCM and eCommerce solutions with native delivery tiers, enabling businesses to offer CXM through a single package. Other options include experience delivery with rules-based content targeting through search, personalization, and recommendations engines.
Customer intelligence solutions also enable businesses to gauge the success of experiences. Testing can enable marketers to test variations of experiences on demographic subsets before rolling them out to a broader audience. Web analytics tools can give insight into how consumers use content. Social analytics can provide insight into how consumers engage with companies.
Because most companies already have significant investments in WCM tools, it makes more sense to integrate the missing pieces that rip and replace everything. The top candidates to add to existing WCM tools are analytics and CRM capabilities. This makes sense given the rise of CXM as a value proposition for the tools. The top new capabilities for the next 12 months include mobile capabilities, targeting content based on used behavior, analytics, and distribution of content to social sites.
This is vibrant market that will only grow in capabilities. The report assesses a number of vendors on how they meet market needs looking at their current offering, strategy, and market presence.
by Bill Ives
This is another in a series of my notes on Lotusphere 2012. I am very pleased to be back again after last year with support from IBM. These notes cover the “Innovation Lab Tour,” hosted by Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and Director, IBM Center for Social Business.
I was impressed by the extensive set of projects displayed. I have seen the innovation lab on several occasions on site and thought that was the strongest set so far. Here are some of the highlights. These are less than half of what I saw but these are the ones I had the most personal interest in. I am going to do a longer follow up interview on the Social Intelligence dashboard and will have more on it here in a few weeks.
Much of the focus seems to be on analytics. Since I began my career as a research psychologist these apps really appeal to me. Here are a few.
SaND for Activity Stream Management and Analytics
First, I looked at SaND for Activity Stream Management and Analytics. I think that Activity Streams are one of the biggest opportunities in social business. I spoke earlier with Suzanne Livingston about the enhanced activity stream in Connections 4.0 so I was especially interested in how IBM could use analytics with it.
The IBM site described SaND as “an aggregation platform for information discovery and analysis. It leverages the complex relationships between content and people that surface through social applications. Its integrated index supports the combination of content-based analysis and people-based analysis over a rich data foundation… Through its aggregation model, SaND supports queries over any entity in the system, be it a textual term, a person, or a tag; it retrieves a ranked list of entities related to that entity. More specifically, it can find the social network of a person based on a flexible set of relationships. SaND supports a generic model that can easily be extended with new data sources, entity types, and relationships.”
In this case they were looking at a Connections activity stream. You can see the volume around discussion topics and there is some sentiment analysis. It helps you decide what you might want to explore further within an activity stream.It will learn how to be more helpful based on your actions. You can do searches and add filters to these searches. They hope to eventually make it part of the Connections product which I think is a great idea.
This is a tool to help community leaders better understand the people, content, and actions within their community. Then they can take action to enhance the community. It is still a work in progress but they plan to make it available to all internal IBM communities. Here is a sample screen shot.
It shows you lets you know who is on the community, what they do and who can you reach for expertise. It provides access to the characteristics of the knowledge base and shows what content is valued by the community. You can follow participation and better understand what actions you need to take to make the community better.
The IBM Gamification Engine
This one is not analytics but it is hot topic so I had to check it out. Gameification uses game thinking and mechanics to further engagement help solve problems. The IBM Gamification Engine is a set of widgets such as leader boards, badges and points that provide a gamified user experience. Here is a sample screen where an award message pops up.
The idea is to drive further involvement through fun competition. I guess it puts a positive spin on the concept of “gaming the system.”
Analytics Driven Social Q&A
This tool provides an enhanced social Q&A experience through intelligent question analysis and routing technologies than integrate with social apps. It works with Connections profiles to provide re-asking capabilities based on search results for similar questions and routes questions to the right experts base don past actions. It can also refine questions to improve the answer quality and synthesize questions and answers. It can route questions to both individuals and communities. Like community insights, the plan is to eventually integrate it w into Connections.
REACH: Relationship Analytics for Connecting Humans
No, this is not a dating service. It does help people find someone in their social directory that they may have forgotten about or barely know. What happens next is up to them. It collects data about social interactions, extracts the contacts and uses multiple facets to characterize each contact. It then presents a ranked list of contacts based on what you are looking for.
There were many more. As I mentioned I am going to do a deeper dive into the Social Intelligence dashboard and will be reporting on it here in a few weeks.
by Bill Ives
Visualizations are key to clear communication in many business situations. Gliffy makes it easy to create, share, and collaborate visually. Gliffy’s online version was launched in 2006 to bring simple to use visualization capabilities to the Web and a few months later, it added plug-ins for Altassian Confluence and JIRA. Now Gliffy is one of the most popular plugins in the Atlassian ecosystem. I recently spoke with Chris Kohlhardt, Gliffy co-founder, to learn more about it and its capabilities.
Chris first related the company’s origins. He and his co-founder, Clint Dickson, were working with Web tools eight years ago before HTML5 and even Ajax. They used Open Lazlo and Chris even worked for Lazlo a year prior. Chris and Clint decided to bring visualization capabilities to the Web. There were visualization tools around but these tools were desktop based and tied to particular operating systems. Going to the Web not only allowed those working on Macs and PCs to use the same tool, it made content sharing much easier in general.
Chris related how they got started with Atlassian. In 2006, they released their first version of the online tool as a free app after a year of development. They then looked to generate revenue. They felt that wikis would benefit from visualization tools. At first they approached some US-based wiki vendors. But these companies were absorbed in their own product development.
They heard about Atlassian and sent them an email. Within a few days, Chris heard back from the co-CEO, Mike Cannon-Brookes. He was going to be in San Francisco and wanted to meet him. So they got together at the Atlassian San Francisco office. Within a few months, their Confluence plug-in was ready. Atlassian helped with some of the development.
Chris said that Open Lazlo complies to Flash byte code. As these tools are not used as widely now, Gliffy has now converted its product to HTML5 to comply with Open Standards. Gliffy also did this because HTML5 has better developer support, increased support by modern web browsers, and support of mobile devices.
Chris showed me how they use it internally on their own Confluence wiki. He walked through how to make changes to a custom support flow diagram that had been created. The visualization makes it easy to see the process and comment on suggested improvements. One created, visualizations can be placed within text on Confluence. Creating the visualization was easy enough that even I could do it. You can see a sample Gliffy – Confluence plugin screen below.
They have created visualizations to help software developers such as: BPMN, UML, Venn diagrams, user interface icons, and entity relationships. With these out-of-the-box tools you can quickly mock things up, even if you are not good at creating visualizations. Gliffy has done most of the work for you. You can see a sample editor screen below with many of the pre-defined shape sin the left column.
The Gliffy plug-ins for Confluence and JIRA work are not cloud based but operate within those tools in a secure on-premise mode. Chris said that many Atlassian customers prefer to host their own apps for security reasons. Even those customers that start with Atlassian’s OnDemand, often migrate to behind the firewall when their wiki becomes increasingly business critical. However, Gliffy online will integrate with other cloud tools such as Google Docs and WordPress. Below is a sample Gliffy online screen.
Below is sample Gliffy – JIRA plug-in screen. I can see how it would be very useful for issue tracking and resolution discussions.
This was before the concept of “app-stores” had emerged, and of course before the Altassian Marketplace. Gliffy was one of the first Atlassian plugins. Now it has grown to become widely used and enabled Gliffy to become a very profitable company. We think that Gliffy make a great enhancement to Confluence and JIRA, as well as a very useful online tool.
by Bill Ives
This is another in a series of my notes on Lotusphere 2012. I am very pleased to be back again after last year. These notes cover the Monday session at IBM Connect, IBM as Social Business with Carl Sormilic and Mark Heid from the CIO office.
Carol Sormilic, a VP in the CIO office at IBM spoke first. Carol is part of Business Transformation and It within IBM. She is responsible for HR related tools and the tools for employees to do their jobs, such as collaboration tools. She lived in Southberry CT and worked there but now has been working in China for the past year. The Connecticut location allowed for a lot of face-to-face meetings with colleagues. She said they saw good adoption of tools and retention in established markets but not in their growth markets.
So last year they picked her to go to China for couple of years to see if the new social tools can be used in emerging markets. IBM has over 500,000 employees in over 120 countries and 57% work remotely outside of a standard IBM office. They have the challenges that Carol set herself up to face as she looked at how they best use social tools.
She got to China on December 31, 2010 after a long flight. They got up to see the Chinese New Year and then shared again the New Year with her family on the east coast of the US a number of hours later. She and her family faced the challenges of not being able to get to standard sites such as Facebook and YouTube. This especially affected her son. There was also very slow bandwidth and spent lots of time waiting things to download. So she has helped IBM try to overcome these.
She could not do video conferencing that was her favorite method. Also there is the time zone difference so there was a more limited set of time to be able to connect on a live basis. She looked to participate asynchronously. Especially it was important to avoid the dinner time, as that was important in China.
Even the asynchronous communication presented problems as 12 hour delays often puts updates out of the current flow for receivers. So she timed things differently and also let people know the time at her location. She also has blog posts on her personal site and has a wiki, as well. She has not sent her team an email in over a year, working through the site. It gives full transparency to what she is doing.
With the new social business strategy these are the results:
87% increase skills
84% access experts quicker
84% share knowledge with others
77% reuse assets
74% increase productivity
65% increase personal reputation
65% increase sense of belonging
59% increase sales
42% increases customer satisfaction
Carol mentioned how the new CEO posted a three-minute video blog to communication her initial vision to employees and within a few minutes over 1800 people had commented on it. This would never happen in email. She said instead of thinking in terms of ROI, think in terms of anew way to get work done.
Carol offered 5 keys to making social work.
- Change behavior – you must nurture your community
- Create a robust infrastructure – so things flow in a timely manner
- Integrate the platform – this is a focus at IBM and a theme at this event
- Integrate the business units – for a shared platform
- Evaluate privacy issues – they differ from each countries
Mark Heid then talked about how they are using social analytics to listen to what their employees are doing. He showed a social intelligence dashboard for HR. This type of analytics is being used a lot on the s consumer Web but IBM is one of the first to do this extensively inside the enterprise.
The dashboard includes sentiment analysis. They pull in internal and external data from such sources as Facebook, Twittter, and LinkedIn. It is built of Cognos and can look inside, on the partner community, IBM Developer works, and on the Web. It uses algorithms to decide what is being said from a sentiment perspective. They fell that if they look at sentiment of employees who left to see who might be thinking about leaving and proactively try to keep the ones they want. Banks use the same technology to try to keep customers. They are very concerned about privacy.
They have a Chief Privacy Officer at IBM. They will be no individual outreach. IT just looks at aggregated data to see employee sentiment. They also take corrective actions in the aggregate, and do not undertake individual responses, as that would invade privacy.
They also look at health and wellness issues to help control the rising costs. Mark showed some sample dashboard screens that were pie charts and time lines. In one example 44% of people felt positive and 14% felt negative. He also showed evolving topics to discover what they do not know. He also showed a table mapping sentiment with topics. There was a positive correlation between positive sentiment and opportunity. You can drill down to see examples of the actual conversation that was put into each bucket.
IBM has a Social Intelligence Competency Center that runs these tools. I am impressed with this look at the voice of the employee. Here is a complete listing of my notes from last year’s Lotusphere 2011.
by Bill Ives
I have covered JackBe several times and watched their evolution from a mashup provider to using their technology to support a new wave of business intelligence (see for example, JackBe’s Presto provides Real-Time Intelligence with a Focus on the Business User). What originally started as an enterprise mashup platform has now evolved into a real-time business intelligence platform that connects directly to live data sources and delivers information through Enterprise Apps and Dashboards as needed by business users. I recently spoke with Chris Warner, VP of Marketing and John Crupi, their CTO, about their latest release of Presto which focused on smartphone and tablet users.
Chris talked about the rise of mobile in general and with business intelligence in particular. One analyst puts the current use of mobile for business intelligence at 8% of total use. Gartner now claims that by 2014 a third of business intelligence will be accessed through mobile devices. If they are including tablets in with mobile I can see this happening. Chris said that this increased use can take two forms. It can be a new channel for current users and an opportunity to reach new users with new apps. He hopes that the latter occurs, as it is a great opportunity.
Chris gave me an example. A data center operation manager, who supports several centers and is constantly on the go, needs to be able to monitor what is happening at these centers without having to log into a desktop or even lap top computer. They need a mobile tablet to get alerts, check on performance levels and respond to calls for support. They need a mobile operations dashboard. There are many people who do have operational responsibilities who fall into this category of need.
GE Aviation is one of JackBe’s clients using Presto for data center monitoring. GE Aviation has been working with Presto over the past year and half and has been very successful. They attribute some of this success to being able to develop Apps at a much more rapid rate than with previous technology solutions. For example, “A request came in from senior management asking for an additional App to be developed after the majority of the solution was implemented, ‘the project sponsor was able to send a last minute requirement to their developer and the was App built and deployed in less than 24 hours’ Normally, this would have taken them several weeks due to all the politics and policies GE has in place for their BI environment.
Chris predicts that operational dashboards, in general, will be one of the killer business apps for tablet. Other examples include agencies within the US Dept of Defense that use Presto for situational awareness, Smartronix uses it for budget performance management within its government clients, and Qualcomm looks at real-time program management KPIs. This all makes sense to me. Here is a sample dashboard on an iPad.
Chris went on to say that business intelligence is under going a renaissance and taking new forms. I would agree and it is the new forms that are driving the resurgence. First there is big data as the volume of content expands. Part of this growth is driven by user-generated content through social media. There is also an increase in the quality of analytics and focus on predictive measures.
Looking at social media there is some structure present through metadata. For example, Twitter has hash tags and location. You can look at volumes and tagging to see where spikes occur around topics. This and other sources now allow for real-time intelligence so business users can get information while it is still relevant to their decisions.
So support this new wave of business intelligence software needs new capabilities. Chris outlined three components of these requirements. First there are live connections, second, self-service assembly, and third pervasive apps. You need to get information immediately from multiple sources. Users are increasingly expecting self-service in all that they do and finally, you need to be able to publish and use apps anywhere. This latter requirement is where mobile comes in.
Chris and John showed me some components of Presto that address these issues. One of the features that I especially liked is the ability to preview what an app looks like in desktop mode, smart phone portrait and landscape views and tablet portrait and landscape views. You can see a close up of screen that shows these options below.
Here is sample screen optimized for as smart phone in the landscape view.
Creating apps is done through visual mapping and making selections from drop downs. Below is you can see an app being developed. I really like their ease of development and ease of use.
Mobile users are starting out expecting self–service. Most of them go out and get their own devices and do not wait for their firm to supply them. These same people are not going to want to wait for IT to set up their business intelligence apps. I think that Jackbe is making some wise moves to not only go into mobile in a significant way, but also to enable self-service for users as part of this offering.
by Bill Ives
SpringCM provides a cloud based enterprise content management platform. It was founded in 2005 and I have covered it before on this blog (see SpringCM Goes Beyond Content Management). I recently spoke with Roger Bottum of SpringCM on their latest moves. SpringCM is set up to put content into the work process. They are also putting content wherever you need it with an enhanced mobile capability that now includes a version specifically designed for the iPad. This is a smart move as mobile enterprise apps are now on the rise with tablets and smart phones passing desktops and laptops in usage. Over 15 million iPads were sold in 2010 and the numbers are increasing.
Roger said that they did a number of things to optimize SpringCM for the iPad. These features include a simplified screen that still provides the essential components. You can see a sample iPad screen below. They extended the simplification to provide an intuitive interface that does not require any significant training, similar to many consumer Web apps. There is some self-learning material to further support the self-service approach. They also made extensive use of the touch or gesture approach to navigation. The app is built in HTML 5 to take full advantage of mobile features. Finally, the self-service approach is brought to procurement. Once your company as set up things with SpringCM, individuals simply go to the SpringCM Web site and begin using the tool.
Next we covered the new free SpringCM solution to provide enhanced content management capabilities to Salesforce.com. I like their more to integrate with the most prevalent cloud based CRM system. I have written about how the newer systems of engagement need to integrate with the older systems of record for real progress to be made. This is a great example of these complimentary capabilities.
Spring CM began with some research into the needs of Salesforce users. Top issues cited by survey respondents include: 91% – having easier ways to add, access and edit documents within Sales Cloud Accounts, Opportunities and Campaigns; 83% – making documents easier to find and secure with folders; 81% – being able to search across all documents across Accounts and Opportunities using metadata. These request make sense when you look at how Salesforce works by itself.
Roger explained that there are now two main ways to load a document into Saleforce. One is to associate it directly to an account or opportunity. However, then it is not available for access through search across the system. You can also put a document into the central repository and then it can be accessed through search. However, there are then multiple steps to associate it with a specific account or opportunity. There is also the ability to tag a document in Salsforce but this capability does not support a controlled vocabulary so people can put in any tag they want. This results in a more of folksnomy approach rather than a taxonomy and it makes systematic retrieval more difficult. Here is a sample screen showing Saleforce integration.
The free version of Spring CM for Salesforce takes care of these limitations. When you upload a document it can be automatically associated with an account or opportunity and be searchable at the same time. A controlled vocabulary is offered through drop down lists of possible tags. This allows Salesforce to go beyond CRM capabilities to also become a useful knowledge repository, but one that is part of the workflow and not a separate system. This is a crucial difference because it puts knowledge in the form of documents right in the middle of where work happens.
The content management capabilities in SpringCM can operate in the background. For example, you can click on a Word document in Salesforce that is being managed by SpringCM and it opens directly in Word. Then when you are done it is closed back into Salesforce with any related additional metadata added behind the scenes by SpringCM.
Since both Saleforce and SpringCM are cloud apps this integrated capability can be acquired through the Web in a few minutes, bypassing expensive system integration work. If you want more capabilities such as automated workflow with approvals for contracts, then you can upgrade to the commercial version of SpringCM. SpringCM can also integrate with other systems of record such as SharePoint in the same way so that SpringCM works behind the scenes to bring greater capabilities to these systems.
Roger also mentioned that the latest integration with Salesforce involves Salesforce Chatter, their micro-blogging tool. Chatter allows for contextual activity streams within Salesforce, as well as standalone capabilities. You can now use the metadata that SpringCM creates to have more focused activity streams within Chatter related to documents. When a document is added or updated, an alert automatically goes out to the right people who are following the related account. Below is a sample screen showing Chatter integration.
These are two strong moves. The first move makes use of the new mobile devices to bring content to where you want it. The second move brings enhanced cloud-based content management capabilities to more traditional systems of record, especially Salesforce with the free version and also SharePoint with their commercial version.