January 31, 2015
An information sideshow is enterprise software that presents itself as the motor, transmission, and differential for the organization. Get real. The main enterprise applications are accounting, database management systems, sales management, and systems that manage real stuff (ERP, PLM, etc.)
Applications that purport to manage Web content or organize enterprise wide information and data are important but the functions concern overhead positions except in publishing companies and similar firms.
Since the Web became everyone’s passport to becoming an expert online professional, Web content management systems blossomed and flamed out. Anyone using Broadvision or Sagemaker?
Documentum is a content management system. It is mandated or was mandated as the way to provide information to support the antics of the Food and Drug Administration and some other regulated sectors. The money from FDA’s blessing does not mean that Documentum is in step with today’s digital demands. In fact, for some applications, systems like Documentum are good for the resellers and integrators. Users often have a different point of view. Do you love OpenText, MarkLogic, and other proprietary content management systems? Remember XyVision?
Several years ago, I had a fly over of a large EMC Documentum project. When I was asked to take a look, a US government entity had been struggling for three years to get a Documentum system up and running. I think one of the resellers and consultants was my old pal IBM, which sells its own content management systems, by the way. At the time I was working with the Capitol Police (yep, another one of those LE entities that few people know much about). Think investigation.
I poked around the system, reviewed some US government style documentation, and concluded that in process system would require more investment and time to get up and toddling, not walking, mind you, just toddling. I bailed and worked on projects that sort of really worked mostly in other governmental entities.
After that experience, I realized that “content management” was a bit of a charade, not to different from Web servers and enterprise search. The frenzy for Web stuff made it easy for vendors of proprietary systems to convince organizations to buy bespoke, proprietary content management systems. Wow.
The outfits that are in the business of creating content know about editorial policies. Licensees of content management systems often do not. But publishing expertise is irrelevant to many 20 somethings, failed webmasters, self appointed experts, and confused people looking for a source of money.
The world is chock a block with content management systems. But there is a difference today, and the shift from proprietary systems to open source systems puts vendors of proprietary systems in a world of sales pain. For some outfits, CMS means SharePoint (heaven help me).
For other companies CMS means open source CMS systems. No license fees. No restrictions on changes. But CMS still requires expensive ministrations from CMS experts. Just like enterprise search.
I read “EMC Reports Mixed Results, Fingers Axe: Reduction in Force Planned.” For me this passage jumped out of the article:
The Unified Backup and Recovery segment includes mid-range VNX arrays and it had a storming quarter too, with 2,000 new VNX customers. VCE also added a record number of new customers. RSA grew at a pedestrian rate in the quarter, four per cent year-on-year with the Information Intelligence Group (Documentum, etc) declining eight per cent; this product set has never shone.
So, an eight percent decline. Not good. Like enterprise search, this proprietary content management product has a long sales cycle and after six months of effort, the client may decide to use an open source solution. Joomla anyone? My hunch is that the product set will emit as many sparklies as the soot in my fireplace chimney.
CMS is another category of software for which cyber OSINT method points the way to the future. Automated systems capture what humans do and operate on that content automatically. Allowing humans to index, tag, copy, date, and perform other acts of content violence leads to findability chaos.
In short, EMC Documentum is going to face some tough months. Drupal anyone?
Stephen E Arnold, January 31, 2015
November 4, 2014
The article talks about the software required to hook a source like a Web page or a dynamic information source to a content processing and search system. Most vendors provide a number of software widgets to handle frequently encountered file types; for example, Microsoft Word content, HTML Web pages, and Adobe PDF documents. However, when less frequently encountered content types are required, a specialized software widget may be required.
There are a number of multiplicative factors to consider from the perspective of trying to provide a high-quality connector that works across all versions of a source:
· The source software version, including patches, optional modules, and configuration
· Embedded or required 3rd party software (such as a relational database), including version, patches, optional modules and configuration
· Hardware and operating system version, including patches, optional modules, and configuration
· Throughput/capacity of the repository APIs
· Throughput/capacity and ability to operate in parallel.
This is useful information. In a real world example, Attivio reports that a number of other factors can come into play. These range from lacking appropriate computing resources to corrupt data that connectors send to the exception folder and my favorite Big Data.
Attivio is to be credited for identifying these issues. Search-centric vendors have to provide solutions to these challenges. I would point out that there are a number of companies that have leapfrogged search-centric approaches to high volume content intake.
These new players, not the well known companies providing search solutions, are the next generation in information access solutions. Watch for more information about automated collection and analysis of Internet accessible information and the firms redefining information access.
Stephen E Arnold, November 4, 2014
October 26, 2014
The goslings continue to experiment with short videos. The most recent on is about enterprise search requirements. The four minute YouTube program hits some highlights about the perilous process of licensing an enterprise search system. The video is located at http://bit.ly/1qx87yr.
Donald C Anderson, October 26, 2014
August 18, 2014
I find CMS Wire quite interesting. A number of the articles are by consultants and some seem quite vendor centric. In general, it is a useful way to keep track of what’s hot and what’s not in the world of content management. Like knowledge management or anything with the word “management” in its moniker, I am not sure what these disciplines embrace. Like the equally fuzzy notion of predicative analytics, I find that the aura of meaning often at odds with reality. Whether it is the failure of certain professionals to “predict” problems with the caliphate or whether it focuses on predicting which start up with be the next big thing, the here and now are often slippery, surprising, and, at times, baffling.
Not in “How Vendors learn to Play the Gartner Game.” This is a darned good write up and it introduces a bound phrase I find intellectually satisfying: “the Gartner Game.” I understand Scrabble and checkers. More sophisticated games are beyond my ken. I am not able to play the Gartner Game, but I can enjoy certain aspects of it.
The article explains the game clearly:
Now, in fairness, just because someone gives you a wad of cash — even in the form of extra business — it’s no guarantee you’ll write something favorable. Trust me on this: Back when news was still reported in daily papers and reporters were wooed with more insincerity than a contestant on The Bachelor, it was customary for sources to send gifts.
My own brush with Gartner-like firms was a bit different. I did not expect to see a report with my name on sold on Amazon from late 2012 to July 2014. Why? I provided content/research to IDC, a Gartner competitor. IDC took the information, created reports, and sold those reports. I received no contract. No sales reports. When one of the documents turned up on Amazon, I realized that an IDC expert named Schubmehl was surfing on my work.
I wrote a short commentary about the apparent erosion of certain business practices. In that article, I found a thread connecting the HP problem with the post office, the Google executive’s brush with heroin and a female not involved in Kolmogorov analyses, and IDC’s Schubmehl. In each case, executives made decisions that probably seemed really good at the time. Over time, the decisions proved to be startling. I mean the post office and postage. Horrific. I mean the Google wizard who ended up dead on a yacht while his wife took care of the kids. Professionally clumsy. I mean an “expert” who writes reports taking another person’s information and using it to close information centric deals.
I don’t know much about the world of mid tier consulting firms. I worked for a number of years at a pretty good outfit, Booz, Allen & Hamilton. I did some work for other consulting firms as well. I do not recall a single instance of a failure to pay postage, a colleague flat lining from heroin, or a professional on our team using another’s work or name to make professional hay.
None of these actions surprise me. I am getting older and I suppose I am able to cruise forward in Harrod’s Creek without worrying about the situational decisions that produce some interesting business situations. Exciting stuff this world of mid tier consulting and the unbounded scope of action some executives enjoy. Wow. Postage, heroin, and using another’s name to look informed. Amazing.
I will expand on this notion of “loose governance” in one of my columns. This notion of “governance” is an intriguing topic in knowledge management.
As Einstein said:
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
Stephen E Arnold, August 15, 2014
August 2, 2014
Editor’s note: These three companies are involved in search and content processing. The opinion piece considers the question, “Is management unable to ensure standard business processes working in some businesses today?” Links have been inserted to open source information that puts some of the author’s comments in context. Comments about this essay may be posted using the Comments function for this blog.
Forgetting to Put Postage on Lots of Letters
I read “HP to Pay $32.5 Million to Settle Claims of Overbilling USPS.” (Keep in mind you may have to pony up some cash to access this article. Mr. Murdoch needs cash to buy more media properties. Do your part!)
The main point of the story, told by “real” journalists, is that the company failed “to comply with pricing terms.” The “real” news story asserts:
The DOJ also alleged H-P made misrepresentations during the negotiation of the contract with the USPS regarding its pricing and its plans to ensure it would provide the required most favored customer pricing.
I suppose any company can overlook putting postage on an envelope. When that happened to me in my day of snail mail activity, my local postmistress Claudette would give me a call and I would go to the Harrod’s Creek post office and buy a stamp.
I am no big time manager, but I understood that snail mail required a stamp. If you are a member of the House or Senate, the rules are different, but even the savvy Congressperson makes sure the proper markings appear on the absolutely essential missives.
My mind, which I admit is not as agile as it was when I worked at Halliburton Nuclear Utility Services, drew a dotted line between this seemingly trivial matter of goofing on an administrative procedure and the fantastic events still swirling around Hewlett Packard’s purchase of Autonomy, a vendor of search and content processing software.
A number of questions flapped slowly across my mind:
- Is HP management becoming careless with trivial matters like paying $11 billion for a company generating about $800 million in revenue and forgetting to pay the US post office?
- Is the thread weaving together such HP events as the mobile operating system affair, the HP tablet, the fumbling of the Alta Vista opportunity, and the apparent administrative goofs like the Autonomy purchase and this alleged postage stamp licking flawed administrative processes?
- What does the stamp sticking, Autonomy litigating, and alleged eavesdropping say about the company’s “git ‘er done” approach?
The attitude may apply to confident senior managers with incentives to produce revenue. Image source: http://profileengine.com/groups/profile/420722222/larry-the-cable-guy-for-president
I don’t think too much about Hewlett Packard. I do wonder if HP is an isolated actor or if companies with search interests are focusing on priorities that seem to be orthogonal to what I understand to be appropriate corporate behavior. One isolated event is highly suggestive.
But what do similar events suggest? In this short essai, I want to summarize two events. Both of these are interesting. For me, I see a common theme connecting the HP stamp licking and the two macro events. The glue fixing these in my mind is what seems to be a failure of management to pay attention to details.
But first, let’s go back in time for a modest effort penned by Edmund Spenser.
April 13, 2014
Attensity provides social analytics and engagement applications for customer relationship management. Their former CEO, J. Kirsten Bay, has left to take the helm of ISC8, a provider of intelligent cyber solution technologies. Street Insider gives the details in their story, “ISC8 Announces CEO Succession.”
The article begins:
“Succeeding Mr. Joll as President and CEO is J. Kirsten Bay, who has joined ISC8 effective March 19, 2014. Kirsten was most recently President and CEO of Attensity Group, a Big Data analytics enterprise software and services company specializing in customer experience management and corporate intelligence, where she restructured the company improving both operating revenue and margin.”
Will this be a moment of growth or turmoil for Attensity? The newest Attensity CEO is Howard Lau, who has connections to SAP and some investment firms. As a venture capitalist, Mr. Lau brings a different emphasis and expertise to Attensity, which might signal a shift.
Emily Rae Aldridge, April 13, 2014
April 10, 2014
If you are a CIO, you probably already know that life isn’t what it was when you started. If, however, you dream of being a CIO, it may help to look into a crystal ball to better understand what the job will look like. Chances are, it isn’t what you think, as we learned from a Computer World article, “CIOs Must Become Technology Consultants.” http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9247121/CIOs_Must_Become_Technology_Consultants
According to the story:
“It’s now contingent upon the new CIO to make the technology sales pitches, not receive them. The new CIO must show how IT services can help business leaders become better within their particular operations, as well as how a cross-departmental, holistic approach raises the tide and lifts all boats. The new CIO must advise and assist on technology adoption, not give orders and mandates.”
This seems a little parental to us, but overall practical. The job is changing. In fact, CIO Insight recently reported that the role will change drastically by 2018. http://www.cioinsight.com/it-news-trends/slideshows/how-the-cios-role-will-change-by-2018.html One of the most interesting was “An Increased Vulnerability to Knowledgeable Insiders.” This means, among other things, CIOs must now be detectives. The role of CIO is among the most important in any company, so expect the role to change and the responsibilities to only grow more serious.
Patrick Roland, April 10, 2014
March 24, 2014
I know that the article “Sinkhole of Bureaucracy” is an example of a single case example. Nevertheless, the write up tickled my funny bone. With fancy technology, USA.gov, and the hyper modern content processing systems used in many Federal agencies, reality is stranger than science fiction.
This passage snagged my attention:
inside the caverns of an old Pennsylvania limestone mine, there are 600 employees of the Office of Personnel Management. Their task is nothing top-secret. It is to process the retirement papers of the government’s own workers. But that system has a spectacular flaw. It still must be done entirely by hand, and almost entirely on paper.
One of President Obama’s advisors is quote as describing the manual operation as “that crazy cave.”
And the fix? The article asserts:
That failure imposes costs on federal retirees, who have to wait months for their full benefit checks. And it has imposed costs on the taxpayer: The Obama administration has now made the mine run faster, but mainly by paying for more fingers and feet. The staff working in the mine has increased by at least 200 people in the past five years. And the cost of processing each claim has increased from $82 to $108, as total spending on the retirement system reached $55.8 million.
One of the contractors operating the system is Iron Mountain. You may recall that this outfit has a search system and caught my attention when Iron Mountain sold the quite old Stratify (formerly Purple Yogi automatic indexing system to Autonomy).
- Many systems have a human component that managers ignore, do not know about, or lack the management horsepower to address. When search systems or content processing systems generate floods of red ink, human processes are often the culprit
- The notion that modern technology has permeated organizations is false. The cost friction in many companies is directly related to small decisions that grow like a snowball rolling down a hill. When these processes reach the bottom, the mess is no longer amusing.
- Moving significant information from paper to a digital form and then using those data in a meaningful way to answer questions is quite difficult.
Do managers want to tackle these problems? In my experience, keeping up appearances and cost cutting are more important than old fashioned problem solving. In a recent LinkedIn post I pointed out that automatic indexing systems often require human input. Forgetting about those costs produces problems that are expensive to fix. Simple indexing won’t bail out the folks in the cave.
Stephen E Arnold, March 24, 2014
Stephen E Arnold, March 24, 2014
March 14, 2014
The article on Bloomberg BusinessWeek titled IBM Named a Leader in IDC MarketScape for Business Consulting Services explains the 2014 Worldwide Business Consulting 2014 Vendor Assessment report measuring client feedback by IDC Marketscape. Using their vendor analysis model IDC studies data to provide information on where a business stands in relation to other business in the same field. The report studied worldwide client perception of 600 of IDC’s clients. The article explains,
“IBM is “seen as the most capable of all firms at delivering value-creating innovation and driving innovation through an organization” when compared to other firms worldwide….”We are seeing that new models of engagement are reshaping the front-office agenda. Â Soon there will be no distinction between business strategy and the use of data,” said Sarah Diamond, general manager, IBM Global Business Services. “The IDC MarketScape report reinforces the need for a first-of-a-kind consulting practice such as IBM Interactive Experience to innovate client experience.”
Does pay to play delivers what IBM wants and needs? IBM credits their focused office approach and use of data and analytics for their client’s positive response. Clearly the survey indicates that IBM enjoys an excellent reputation for customer service. This praise for IBM’s consulting services comes as no huge surprise.
Chelsea Kerwin, March 14, 2014
October 23, 2013
In the world of business process software, it can be tricky deciding which one to deploy at your organization. That is when one resorts to research and relying on opinions and experiences of others to help them make a choice. Forrester is always a great resource to turn to for business matters and in March 2013, they released “The Forester Wave: BPM Suites, Q1 2013,” detailing the top ten business process management vendors. Bitpipe archives the report.
Ten vendors were reviewed: Appian, Bizagi, Cordys, HandySoft, IBM, OpenText, Oracle, Pegasystems, Software AG, and Tibco Software. Each software has their positives and negatives, what is really interesting is if they are compatible with the leading data content managers, such as Kofax:
“All of the vendors in this evaluation can support the three most common use cases for BPM: dynamic case management, human workflow, and straight-through processing. However, this does not mean that all vendors must or can offer exactly the same approach or the same functional depth for each use case.”
They are Kofax compliant, which is wonderful because Kofax owns Kapow Software –the big data integration platform. Big data is one of the primary concerns of organizations and a business management software that does not have the capability to handle said processes is useless in a competitive market.
Whitney Grace, October 23, 2013