Vendor Profile on Nstein Technologies and Web CMS Every Content Management Solution Provider seeks to find and market what makes them unique. For Nstein, it's a little about their ability to produce a multi-lingual content management solution for the digital publishing industry. But that's not what makes them unique -- they have a "secret sauce". And it may just be the thing that pushes them ahead of an ever growing and growling pack.CMSWire had the opportunity to sit down with Nstein executives including David Crouy, Marketing Director and Diane Burley, Digital Publishing Industry Specialist and banter a bit about the Nstein product line and what they believe sets them apart from the crowd.

Nstein Bio in Brief

From a biography standpoint, Nstein's story is straightforward. The Canadian company was founded in 2000 and is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (EIN). They have over 200 employees and have grown their company through some major acquisitions which included Eurocortex in Q4, 2006 and Picdar in Q1, 2008 -- Web Content Management and Picture Management accordingly. The company is based in Montreal Canada and has a presence the United States, the UK, Germany and France. They started out providing text mining solutions for anyone and everyone, considering themselves a "Jack of All Trades". But as they grew, they started to recognize a need for specialized services for media and publishing companies. As a result, they shifted their core business to focus increasingly on an in-depth solution for the media world and acquired a Web CMS solution to help them achieve this goal.

Understanding the Needs of the Publishing Industry

CMSWire talks a lot about how things are changing for the media industry, their efforts to understand the online model, their battle with user-generated content and their need to find new revenue models. Nstein is no stranger to these discussions. They understand that the media industry is looking to find new ways to create, publish and monetize content. They have watched the market consolidate media properties and slowly start to change their mentality and culture from print to web. They recognize the challenges that these media companies face: * Content Lock-In: Companies have vast quantities of content locked in various formats * Publishing Channels: Print is not the only channel -- nor perhaps the most predominant channel -- for content * Consumer Expectations: Consumers no longer want to sit on the sidelines and read the content the media provides -- they want what they want, when they want it, and they expect to have their say * Google Influence: Google has affected the landscape greatly affecting reader acquisition, retention and content monetization Nstein believes media companies can not only survive the changing era, but thrive and learn to leverage evolving behaviors and technologies to build stronger businesses.

The Nstein Product Portfolio

To help media companies, Nstein has a tightly integrated product portfolio made up of several components: * Text Mining: TME * Web Content Management * Digital Asset Management * Picture Management Desk Nstein Products
Nstein Product Offering
What this product portfolio offers is obvious -- a seamless flow of content from one end to another.

An Overview of Text Mining

This is the product that makes the whole portfolio hum and tick. Nstein calls it their "secret sauce". They have been developing their patented semantic analysis technology since 1996. To go along with the technology, they have built up professional services that have extensive linguistic expertise particularly with media content. Nstein_TMEArchitecture.jpg
Nstein TME Architecture
Nstein's solution, known as TME -- Text Mining Engine - has the following features: * Extracts metadata from content objects * Sentiment analysis * Document clustering and related content * Multilingual processing * Off the shelf IPTC taxonomy TME works by combining the following two approaches: * Machine Learning: The process of parsing sentences and paragraphs and pulling out key verbs, concepts and Proper Nouns -- this help determine the "aboutness" of the content. This is semantic analysis. * Authority Files: The media company creates customized files -- taxonomy -- or uses the off-the shelf IPTC taxonomy The two sets of words are then compared using statistics-backed technology and what emerges is finely tuned meta-data. It's this two pronged approach to text mining that has helped Nstein win customers. So what are the benefits to all this text mining? * Improved findability (SEO) and stickiness * Increased online ads revenues (more page views, higher CPM) * The ability to leverage the value of your content by linking and relevancy between information

Web Content Management

Nstein says they developed their Web CMS for the publishing industry in particular. They took a product based on an open source LAMP architecture and refined it with features and functionality that they believed publishers needed to get their content created and published quickly. Nstein_WCMArchitecture.jpg
Nstein WCM Architecture
Some features of the Web CMS include: * Back Office and Site Administration: The WCM enables multi-site content management, the ability to extract content for display in 3rd party applications, a toolbox that includes both HTML and XML editing and cache management, localization, publication of static and dynamic content, content storage in XML * Editorial: All the typical publishing features such as schedules, rules and users, taxonomy editing, feeds managements, XML search and guided navigation, slideshows, event calendars, glossaries -- you get the picture * Front-Office: Search, including advanced XML search, topic clustering, most-rated, most viewed, ask the experts * Web 2.0 Tools: Blogs, Forums, RSS/XML feeds * Search Engine Optimization: Content is optimized for search engines, friendly URLs and more Of course the Web CMS is tightly integrated with TME and the Nstein Digital Asset Management Solution.

Digital Asset Management

Nstein's DAM solution has been mentioned as an up and comer by CMS Watch in their 2008 DAM Report. The product is an enterprise repository that integrates all content types and sources into a single XML central repository. Nstein_DAMArchitecture.jpg
Nstein DAM Architecture
The DAM solution stores the TME rich metadata that is generated for all content, including the metadata on digital assets. It also secures assets and enforces rights management rules.

Picture Management Desk

PMD is the latest product to come from Nstein. They acquired UK-based Picdar earlier this year and went to work immediately integrating it into their other solutions. It is also integrated with In-Design, Xpress and other editorial systems in addition to providing access and user rights control. PMD enables picture editors access into the DAM to do editing and version control on pictures. If you know anything about the publishing business, you know pictures are a key component of any content. For example, Nstein says News International manages tens of thousand pictures a day. That's a lot of pictures.

The Nstein Differentiator - TME

The product portfolio for Nstein is a fairly standard portfolio for publisher needs. Most of the products -- WCM, DAM and PMD -- you will find with any CMS vendor looking to support the media industry -- and any other industry for that matter. What gives Nstein a hand up is their Text Mining Engine and how well it's integrated into each product. Other Web CMS vendors offer some type of tagging, classification and SEO features with their solution. This type of capability is a necessity these days. But Nstein's "secret sauce" does some really interesting and automated things that can help publishers truly understand their content, how it's related and how people move through it to find what they are looking for. nstein_WCM_TME.jpg

Nstein cited a Jupiter Research report that stated that 50% of searchers are link navigators. That means the navigation and other links on a web page need to be relevant. The combination of TME and WCM is what makes Nstein's solution unique. An example of a customer who has done well with this combination is impreMedia. This publisher took 14 separate news sites and integrated them together into a single Web CMS solution creating a portal -- all within a 6 month period. The sites are template driven, but look very different. The benefit to impreMedia is a manageable portal of news sites that have enhanced SEO and traffic generation. Gesca Ltée, another publisher, implemented Nstein's Web CMS in 6 weeks to help increase stickiness with related content for their website They did just that.

The Future for Nstein

Business for Nstein is good. The last two years has shown significant growth in their revenues and they picked up 27 major deals. With customers like the BBC, CyberPress, the Economist, the Canadian Press, Reader's Digest and Business Week, they are definitely proving that a solution with the heart of the Text Mining Engine may just be what the media and publishing industry need to not only survive, but control this new Web 2.0 world. Nstein's product portfolio is an in-house solution. They are looking at the potential for SaaS, but nothing in the works at this time. Next steps for Nstein include a new version of the Web CMS that includes cross site monitoring dashboard to show trends and perform analysis on site content, and the integration of TME into the Picture Management Desk. Long term plans include taking the user's profile and providing contextual content and advertising. Nstein wants to show how the full experience can be customized for the visitor. They are also looking to take text mining to the next level. They want to tie content together by creating a new layer of intelligence that will help analyze and categorize content. Another area where we may see application changes in their solutions are in the mining of classified advertisements. The technology is there and the possibilities are endless. If you are a media company, take a look at Nstein's product portfolio. A discussion with the group on content management alone demonstrates their understanding of the publishing industry's need to manage content in a way that lets them focus on creating and publishing their content. What they need is a solution that helps them easily develop all the relevant links, SEO, tagging and classifications that increase stickiness and lead to better monetization. Nstein could be that solution.