Posts tagged ‘ecm’

November 9, 2010

Optimize Your Customer Experience First…Then Your Content!

Today, companies need to focus on the 360 degree relationship and interaction they have with customers in all forms of media. It is not enough to just ensure your content is search engine optimized or enhanced for analytics. It’s not enough that your site navigation is simple enough for the average person to find what they’re looking for, or you have a Facebook page or “like” buttons on your site. It’s not about “web experience management” or “web engagement management” that you hear some WCMS vendors talk about. It’s about the customer experience. 

It’s a Multi Channel Experience

People are looking for current and relevant information as well an interactive experience. It’s difficult to capture people’s attention today and they are looking to interact with your brand on your website, on Facebook, tv, in your store, on their mobile device, at work on their laptop or at home on their iPad. It’s critical companies look at the overall multi-channel experience customers have with their brand in a web browser, on their website, in email, in print, tv, in a social network, on their laptop, on their cell phone, iPads, as well as in person!

Customers expect websites to be dynamic, fast and incorporate rich media content. And depending on where and how the customer chooses to look for or access information about your brand, it might dictate a different experience all together.

For example, look at a retailer like Best Buy. I go to on my desktop browser, I see a rich and engaging experience. I can view the weekly circular, browse products, deals and more. When I access Best Buy on my mobile device, I am automatically taken to a store locator and have the ability to search for a product or read the circular in text based format as well. The mobile vs. web experience is obvious.

iPad-like devices may not be as obvious and may incorporate different UI and navigation design because of the touch screen and “pinch” capabilities. Additionally, I might be holding my iPad vertically vs. horizontally and use the device in different ways than my mobile or desktop. I might even want to bring my iPad to Best Buy, walk through the store, have the latest circular and deals automatically fed to me, and have it tell me where in the store a particular product is located. Of course no matter what I do with any device, I will always want to share that with my friends.

Customer First, Technology Second

The point here is that content management systems are important and will always be a necessary technology no matter what the customer channel. As organizations have begun to move to this next generation of web content management technology platforms, many are doing so without a solid strategy, without optimizing the customer experience, and without an understanding of how that content fits into consumer lifestyles and purchasing decisions.

Fortunately, we’re starting to see at least one major vendor recognize this with IBM’s announcement of their Customer Experience Suite. However, as with any technology, it’s more important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes before pushing that information out through multiple channels.

You need to understand how people prefer to consume the information you’re providing them, in what context, on what device and how customers use those devices, when, and where they use them. Once you understand the process and the people, it will be much easier to focus on the technology, the channel, and the optimization of content and analytics.

July 10, 2010

Good article/discussion on Knowledge Management 2.0, Strategy, SharePoint, ECM, and more…–007986.php?awt_l=BXLod&awt_m=1a2FZF0ZKqn0sm

KM 2.0 seems to be more about aggregating unstructured information with structured data (perhaps in a community, portal, team space, etc…).

And there is a hope and promise that SharePoint will “do it all” — but I think you have to leverage the platform as a collaboration system first and not just a place to store documents. SharePoint can work very very well for communications, collaboration, and community in large organization (both inside and outside the firewall). However, for traditional ECM/RM or e-Commerce driven websites, it may not be the best fit (esp. in larger organizations).

And SharePoint (like any of the vendors/systems you mentioned) requires good governance, some tweaking/development, and care/feeding and the right consulting guidance to optimize the ROI and ensure users view the technology as a productivity tool that enables them to get their jobs done better, faster, and cheaper…..

The challenge most organizations have is too many repositories, different taxonomies, too many places to search, too costly, not well governed, etc, etc… And of course, users inside a company expect a google-like experience in spite of all that. Organizations have created an “information mess” and as a result KM becomes difficult and can fail today just like in KM 1.0.

It’s really not any different than back in the 80s/early 90s with companies having 3,4, or 5 different email systems….and they realized they needed to standardize on 1 email system (novell, exchange, or notesmail generally).

And there is a tremendous economic benefit attempting to cleanup and consolidate different ECM systems into a single vendor platform (for the 80%) with a consistent and enterprise information architecture. No I don’t think 1 system will “do it all” but 80% is good enough …while the remaining 20% might require a more unique/tailored technology/solution (be it open source or a more pricey ECM solution).



July 2, 2009

SharePoint and Connectors

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If you have SharePoint, I don’t see any reason why an organization would have a connector between MOSS and Lotus Quickr/connections or eRoom/CenterStage or Oracle’s Beehive. They are all really competitors to each other. My recommendation to any client is to standardize on 1 platform from 1 vendor (where possible) for the following reasons:

1. If you don’t standardize, it’s almost like an organization having multiple email systems — it just doesn’t make sense.

2. It also doesn’t make sense from a cost perspective — as you’d be paying for multiple licenses for the same people.

3. Learning curve – multiple systems means learning how to do the same stuff in different web interfaces. It’s confusing.

4. The big challenge is information governance or information management — and that’s why you want to standardize on 1 platform from 1 vendor.

However, the reality is that many organizations have different lines of businesses, business needs, budgets, and politics — and you wind up with multiple silos of information. There is a trend to consolidate/standardize because of SharePoint. Microsoft as you know has the largest community of developers and there are so many SharePoint tools (built on top of SharePoint) that make it easier to administer or migrate data to SharePoint or manage workflows, etc….   IBM/Lotus, Oracle, and EMC all need to do more to compete with Microsoft and expand/open up their developer community to gain adoption (at least in my opinion).

So if you’re comparing SharePoint against competitors and you are thinking about opportunities for connectors/integration, first understand what the SharePoint “eco-system” includes. Microsoft has the pie-chart which I’m sure you’ve seen.


                          Pie chart courtesy if Microsoft

I tend to view SharePoint as follows — and my diagram below allows you to compare the competition better and see where there might be potential for integration/connectors:


· Communication: Oracle(beehive), Microsoft(SharePoint/exchange/live communications), IBM(notes/websphere) all have technology that address Communication — with portals, instant messaging, email, enterprise messaging and unified communications. EMC has no technology for communications.

· Collaboration: Oracle (beehive), Microsoft (SharePoint), IBM(quickr), and EMC (eroom/centerstage) all have technology that address collaboration. You can even include Alfresco, Opentext, and others smaller traditional content management players all who have collaborative features now.

· Community: all the web 2.0 stuff — social computing, blogs, wikis, communities, profiles/expertise location, social networking, etc.. Again, Oracle, Microsoft (SharePoint), IBM (connections), and EMC (centerstage) all have technology that address web 2.0. You might even include smaller players like Jive Software.

· Content: This is your traditional content management and records management. Oracle, Microsoft (Content Svr/SharePoint), IBM(filenet), EMC(documentum), OpenText, Alfresco, etc…

Vendors like Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle all have solutions that address all 4 Cs in the diagram — but they don’t address all 4 Cs very well. SharePoint doesn’t address content or records management well and SharePoint web 2.0 functionality is okay out of the box — you really need to customize it. IBM/Lotus Connections is good for social computing/web 2.0 — but Quickr is poor for team collaboration (in my opinion). EMC addresses 3 out of 4 Cs very very well with CenterStage and Documentum. As for Oracle, from what I’ve seen of beehive it looks impressive and the integration with Oracle ERP/CRM systems might drive sales for beehive — but I don’t know what Beehive costs or how Oracle will foster user adoption of beehive.

The bottom line is that no matter where the digital information lives (in an email, or blog, or team space, or instant message, etc…) — at the end of the day, it all needs to become an official corporate record. And that is where the biggest business driver lies for a connector/integration — e-discovery and records management. This challenge is the same in every client I’ve worked with in both the private and public/government sectors. EMC’s new product SourceOne focuses on email and records archiving (with or w/o Documentum for retention policies). EMC also has their own “SharePoint connector” for Documentum. In the IBM eco-system — the integration between Quickr/connections and Filenet will become tighter over time. I’m not familiar with integration between SharePoint and Filenet (but I’m sure it exists if you Google it). Opentext has made many recent announcements about their integration with SharePoint.

Beyond records management, other business drivers for connectors might be very “business process” specific. For example, in Pharma, they have Documentum used as a “validated” environment for regulatory submissions and digital signatures. Or maybe contract management where all the sales is done on SharePoint and then the contract is pushed to a more robust content management system sitting in Legal. Or perhaps you collaborate on content in SharePoint and need to “publish” to a more robust and structured web content management system outside of SharePoint. The only other place I could see a connector/integration is with portals. If a company uses IBM websphere portal and decides to use CenterStage/Documentum for community/collaboration/content management. Lastly, there’s the ability to search across any and all silos of information — which presents an opportunity for connectors. And EMC has a product for that and so does IBM.

So when you think of connectors for SharePoint — think in terms of solutions or business processes: global search, regulatory submissions, contract management, mortgage applications, portal integration, and of course records management and e-discovery.    Also, make sure you understand the one problem with any connector is that you are connecting 2 different systems with 2 different object models and potentially 2 different UIs and 2 different memberships/security structures.  

The fact is that SharePoint can effectively eliminate the need for any of this type of integration (because it has features for global search, portals, workflows, web publishing etc…).    Again, SharePoint may just not scale enough or be robust enough for large organizations who have relied on traditional search/document/content/records management systems for heavy lifting.  However, over time Microsoft will improve as they have in the past with MS Office, MS SQL Server and almost all the products they release. Microsoft may not always be the best at first, but they are so focused on gaining 80% marketshare over time.  (Of course whether MSFT can overtake ipod or rimm is questionable and remains to be seen…I’m not sure I could live w/o my ipod or blackberry).


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