Tuesday, August 04, 2009

New ECM Report out soon

The headline says it all really, Jarrod and I have been working hard on a major update to our ECM research. Has been fascinating and I think we have uncovered many trends - and even added a bunch of vendors to our evaluation process.
This will be the biggest update to the report in almost a year - so expect me to go crazy in the next week or two via the CMS Watch Blog and the press on all the interesting things we have to chat about!
If one thing has been reinforced above everything is that ECM is moving into the mainstream - some might think it is already there (courtesy of MOSS) but no - it still has a ways to go, and its impact will be huge.

Bottom line (as they like to say at Gartner) this is far from a mature market, and some interesting stuff bubbling away beneath the surface.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vendor Demo Hell

A link to the finished article (see posting below):


What is an industry analyst?

Industry analysts are for all intents and purposes technology critics...

I read this and thought it touched a spot:-

“The reason so much average or absolutely awful art gets promoted is that no one seems to understand what criticism is; if nothing is properly criticised, mediocrity triumphs. A critic is basically an arrogant bastard who says “this is good, this is bad” without necessarily being able to explain why. At least, not instantly. The truth is, we feel this stuff in our bones. And we’re innately convinced we’re right.”

-Jonathan Jones writing in the Guardian

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ECM Vendor Selection Day 2

Day two, and vendor number two - this one got off to a flying start, then went downhill in the second half. So some more tips to vendors coming up:

1: If you list a product/module on your RFP price quote - be sure you know why its there and what it does

2: If the client makes a request in precalls for a certain chart/description to be included in your presentation, be sure its there on the day - and don't look like a deer in the headlights when it isn't

Overall, a better day - some great insights into this particular product suite that I will capture in the relevant CMS Watch evaluation. But vendor three tomorrow at least has the opportunity to close the deal on the spot.

Reflecting on yesterdays debacle, I thought it interesting that even today they could have come back, cap in hand and said "Wow did we screw up - let us try and fix this", it would have at least been worth a try, and done correctly it might have worked. Vendor sales people tend to fall into two categories, those who just can't accept they lost, and chase a deal long after it is clear they have no hope, and those that give up too easily and walk away. I guess that's just people in general....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vendor demo implosion

What a day! I shall marshall my thoughts and write something more considered for CMS Watch later in the week. But sufice it to say that I witnessed the worst vendor demo to a prospective buyer I have ever seen. It was a disaster, and yet it should not have been....

The vendor (who shall remain nameless) has the tools and the skills to set a very high bar in this particular product selection process. Yet they missed the boat by a mile. For some reason they arrived with 7 people (why?) and one or two of them clearly were not as briefed as the others. Unfortunately the weakest link in the team, was also the most important part of the demo puzzle today.

Just a tip or two to any vendors out there

Firstly, never ever under any circumstances (ever) display scripting during a demo. That is suicide, the only time the buyer should ever see it is when they ask to.

Second tip, listen to your audience - if they pep up and show interest build on it - don't drag them back to the stuff that glazed their eyes.

Third tip, people want to see real demonstrations that at least approximate their working environment and the issues they detailed in the RFP

Fourth tip, it is ok to show examples you made earlier. Yes we want a real live demo, but we understand you cannot build the empire state building in a day - its ok to show us a few examples of outstanding interfaces, processes whatever - alongside the real demo which by definition will always be limiting and limited

Not a good day - two more demo's to come, they left in a huff - we all felt bad. But with two days to go, they can't be any worse - can they?

Monday, April 06, 2009

The problem with Google

I came across this excellent article originally published in The Guardian - one of the UK's higher quality newspapers - it is well worth a read:


Interestingly The Guardian, is also a high profile customer of, and indeed cheerleader for Google applications........odd

My other recommendation of the day is for all those who read George Orwell's 1984, to read the follow up penned by Anthony Burgess - 1985. Written almost contemporaneously (1978) by Burgess, 1985 is chilling indeed, and paints a picture of a nation awash with useless information, and suggests a future that is in many respects our current reality.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Back from AIIM Expo 2009

Yesterday was a long one (if fun) for me, and I am relieved to be home and back at my desk. I did 3 sessions at AIIM and they were all demanding. I did a point/counterpoint argument/debate with Dan Elam that the crowd loved (as did I). I then did Stump the Consultant in the afternoon - another full house - drawn I suspect to see the 'experts' humiliated on stage - a session made somewhat complex when two of the randomly selected questions from the audience happened to be from CMS Watch customers! I Finished the day off with a co-presentation on SharePoint with Tony.

What of the Expo? Foot traffic was clearly down on last year, the On Demand portion of the show continues to dominate, our new booth looked awesome. But......not at all bad, was my conclusion. A bit quieter than we would have liked at times, but we met with a lot of our customers, and met (hopefully) many new ones. Lots of good sessions (though maybe a few too many scheduled side by side) providing a solid education track.

Attendance at the pre-conference tutorials and Tony's SharePoint workshop today have been surprisingly high, and the 3 sessions I mentioned above (along with the Analyst panel we hosted the previous day) were all in large rooms, and were full or nearly full. Considering the state of the economy and the associated difficult in getting budget to attend such events, it was a success.

I will be thinking more about the information, gossip and observations I got at the show - and writing more about the for CMS Watch once things have filtered through, but I was struck with two things in particular at the show.

1: Microsoft, Oracle and SpringCM (big suprise) acting as virtual hubs on the show floor
2: The notable reduction in Java offerings for ECM outside of the very high end - something that was glaringly obvious but unoticed by me till Kas pointed it out

Much to ponder - a good week overall - much better than I expected.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I read a very interesting article last week in the Financial Times regarding India's struggling outsourcing business. At least that was the tenor of the article, but I am not so sure that it is struggling quite to the degree that the FT claims.
It was apparent a few years back when I worked for Wipro that things would mature and change, recession or no. And natural change is occurring there, albeit at an accelerated rate now.
For where India has been smart, is in spreading its bets - in the last few years more an more work has been coming in from Japan (for example) and the smart executives recognized long ago that the US and Europe were already reaching a point where growth could not continue at the same unrelenting pace. What India has, is a huge amount of highly educated technical folk - and India has continued to invest heavily in education whilst the West has not.
You can't take this huge educational advantage away from India quickly, and insourcing work once it has been outsourced a few years is not a lightweight task. I believe that just like China, India will survive and do well.
Where India may be hit I think is in the call center area - many firms are slowly and at times reluctantly coming to the conclusion in the US and Europe that local support just can't be beaten - and probably never can be. IMHO a lot of outsourced call center work was done simply to cut costs - often to meet a quarterly reporting demand. But it was done at the expense of quality and the value of a local touch. There is a good reason to move call centers back to the right time zone.
And in the US it is pretty likely that the new administration will impose even tougher H1B restrictions, but the outcome of that will be more outsourcing not less - as near-sourcing becomes increasingly difficult to enable and support (see comment on lack of skills above).
So though call centers might be hit, IT outsourcing in general will do ok, its too late now to turn back - and too many things still remain favourable for India. The access to a highly educated technical (and growing) skills base, the cost of change - and the short termism of most Western organizations.
The only thing that could really hurt India, is India itself (witness the horrific events at the Taj in Mumbai, and the implications around the IPL moving to South Africa) - sadly self destruction remains a possibility.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why did I leave Facebook?

This week I deleted my Facebook account, and so far have suffered no withdrawal symptoms if anything I am annoyed that I did not do it earlier. I left because:

  • I felt it was invasive - I was finding out too much about other people, and visa versa.
  • The attempt to change the contract with Facebook users and gain ownership of data a while back was a trigger.

And frankly it seems time to move on from such things - and gain some control back over privacy and private data. We are moving very quickly into an Orwellian world, the UK is already way ahead of us in the States, with CCTV's on every street, face and license plate recognition software everywhere. It has happened so remarkably quickly, and probably as a result of the speed of change we behave as if we have no say in the matter. We do have a say, and currently we do still have some controls and safeguards. We do still live in something similar to a democracy, with legal safeguards and a press that still (though only just) represents a balance of sorts..

I am not against electronic information - heavens that is how I earn my living! But...there are huge implications when it comes to the misuse of data, and the lines between valid, less valid and downright invalid uses is being blurred by the day. And that is not something I am personally comfortable with. For me its way too late, everything from my Marital status to my DNA is held online, but its not too late for most, and its certainly not too late to make a stand and say enough is enough..

Recession? What recession?

I can't believe its been over a year since my last post......

Anyway I am getting fed up with the doom and gloom regarding the 'recession' as I think as some commentators suggest "this is different to past recessions". It is, and without a doubt many people are being hurt by it and much fall out is yet to come. But its starting to feel like people understand now that there will be no quick fix, and its time to get on with life.

In my industry (ECM) there are more than a few shoots of optimism out there. Job postings are still strong, many vendors are telling me that the market remains not only steady, but in many instances growing.

On a side note, the ECM Maturity model that we (CMS Watch) along with Apoorv at Wipro, Erik Hartman and Dave Smigiel jointly developed was released into open commons a month ago. To my (if not our) amazement it really seems to have taken off with a lot of downloads, and so far some very complimentary feedback. Check it out here: http://ecm3.org/