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Portals News & Analysis

Intranet Search: Where Documents Go to Die or KM Enabler?

2014-23-September-Lost-and-Found.jpgOrganizations look at search, its use, management and funding in different ways. My colleague who runs our organization's corporate intranet noted that although he isn't the business owner of “enterprise search” for the organization, employees go to the intranet, see a search box and assume that the intranet team is responsible for search.

Startup Offers Free Collaboration Option for Any Web Page

Just as Microsoft blends Yammer into Office365, a startup is offering a free service to add a Facebook-like collaboration tool to any web page.

Lifestreams Technologies, a 2-year-old company based in New Haven, Conn., said the widget can be used on any intranet or public-facing website by adding a snippet of code to the html.

"Most websites today are relatively static," said Peter Prosol, business development director for the 10-person SaaS firm. "You'll find pictures and images and text, but it's more or less as it is. It doesn't change much. But adding a timeline to your site ... it lets you be more dynamic, add new content, refresh and be a little more interactive and engaging to the user."

Real Estate Firm Scales Up Its Global Marketing Efforts

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By 1985, two years after Gary Keller and Joe Williams set up their first realty office, it was already the largest brokerage in Texas. Today, Keller Williams is going global, raising significant technology challenges in marketing, business process management and governance.

At the center of that tornado is Cary Sylvester, the company's Austin-based vice president of technology, communication and innovation -- a long, but accurate title considering everything on her plate as the company expands to six far-flung locales: Vietnam, Turkey, UK, Indonesia, South Africa and Germany.

"You can tell there's no specific region we've targeted," she explained. "Once we find the right people, and if their culture is one that will really embrace and adapt to our models, and they want our models, that's the country we'll go into."

Blending Social Collaboration and Intranet Publishing

2014-02-July-Bicycle-Blender.jpgThe reports are in again -- intranets are not dead -- which is always a relief to hear. Part of the rumors of its potential demise stem from the many shapes and forms that intranets can take, which includes the rise of the social intranet over the past five years. Even this term means many things to many people and does not necessarily mean all elements are built on the same platform. On the other hand, some organizations try to build a full intranet out of a social collaboration platform such as Jive, which does not necessarily work very well.

Gartner Execs Redefine 'Integration' and More

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There was lots to learn at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit this week, including the definition of "integration."  Thought you knew that one? Wrong.

Managing Vice President Susan Landry and Research Vice President Jeffrey Mann kicked off the conference by boiling-down the overused buzzwords of enterprise technology to just four bon mots: engagement, digital, content and integration.

They gave a unique spin to each. For example, they said that engagement is what happens when employees actually use workplace apps to do a better job. And content isn't just a stack of documents. It's a reflection of what your company thinks.

Digital technology isn't about digitizing everything in sight, but leveraging digital technologies to reinvent your business.

Gartner's 4 Magic Words for IT

2014-05-May-Susan-Landry.jpgDo your eyes glaze over when you see all the IT buzzwords thrown at you today? Sure they do.

Like anything involving language, words tend to lose their meaning when use too frequently or improperly. It can be a particular problem when complex topics overlap as they often do at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit running through Wednesday in Los Angeles.

In an effort to combat that, two Gartner execs boiled down the challenges facing today's IT managers to just four words, setting the stage for the 2,000-plus attendees attending the show in the JW Marriott. Managing VP Susan Landry and Research Vice President Jeffrey Mann focused on engagement, digital, content and integration while refining the meanings of those words to apply to today's context.

Why are those words more important than all the other techno-babble terms floating around? "Because they are bigger for a reason. They matter," said Mann as he and Landry began their keynote presentation.

We've Got the Scoop on Enterprise Mobility

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Maybe your employer doesn’t know what you’re up to on the mobile devices you use for work, but we do.

OK, we admit it, we’re not talking specifically about you, and our knowledge isn’t first hand.

But we did get a peek at the findings of the world’s first report focused purely on enterprise mobility, cellular data and trends. It was brought to us by Wandera, which provides a mobile Data Gateway aimed at ensuring a productive and secure mobile Internet experience for businesses.

End One Size Fits All Mobile Strategies

End One Size Fits All Mobile StrategiesWhether you think intranets remain an important part of the digital workplace or fall under the "why bother" school of thought for giving mobile access to intranets, the variety and differences of our organizations require that we eschew any overly simplistic advice. Instead we need to consider what the real business drivers and employee needs are as we work out what constitutes a suitable mobile employee experience.

Banish Boring: 3 Steps to High-Performing Partner Portals

Banish Boring: 3 Steps to High-Performing Channel PortalsThe term “portal” does not cause hearts to skip a beat. Almost two decades of boring, barely-functional portals have done immeasurable harm to the term; their intended audiences ignore them, and the people who manage them see them as busy work.

But if you sell through indirect channels, the portal is the key to growing and boosting the productivity of your channel program. If it’s being developed and nurtured the right way, it can be a one-stop self-service site that answers partners questions about marketing, training, technical support and more.

Jahia 7: The Rise of Digital Industrialization

There are few surprises in today’s official release of Jahia 7 — but only because Jahia disclosed most of its features and functionality during JahiaOne, its international user conference in Paris this past February.

While the general release of Jahia 7 is interesting, what is just as interesting for future developments of this open source content management system (CMS) vendor is the development of its vision and strategy around what it calls Digital Industrialization. 

Save Your Tears, Intranets Aren't Dying

Save Your Tears, Intranets Aren't DyingExpect nothing new for the intranet this year. No new major innovations, or paradigm shifts, or evolutionary arcs. The intranet will not die, nor will email, nor will any other enterprise technology. Some of the supposed "experts" (who are really just grandstanding) have predicted in recent years the death of the intranet, the death of email, the death of enterprise social media (one self-proclaimed guru even told me recently that wikis are dead). No one is dying, and no one is giving birth to any great innovation.

Nor should you be fooled by old sheep in new clothing with five-dollar handles like “digital workplace” and “enterprise social network.”

Backbase Boasts 'Lean, Agile' Customer Experience Platform

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Backbase is a small company with big plans for customer experience management (CXM). The company markets a CXM platform that puts control in the hands of the business users, explained Jelmer de Jong, the company's global head of marketing.

"It's lean and agile," he said. "It lets users access all enterprise content from a single place and adapt it for optimal omnichannel experiences."

Rather than offer a unified platform, many customer experience management vendors offer a number of different applications that are only loosely tied together — and leave it to the customers to pull everything together. Backbase claims to be an exception.

"Many of our competitors, including IBM, Oracle and Adobe, grew by acquisition. They have big, bloated customer experience suites that take a one-size-fits-all approach.. We started with one integrated portal and grew on the basis of market research and client feedback to create a flexible platform that really empowers our customers," de Jong said.

How Nat Geo Built One of the World's Best Intranets

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All told, it was a 30-month project that began with a request: Improve the intranet. So National Geographic did just that for its employees -- and got some international recognition in the process.

Nielsen Norman Group named the 126-year scientific and educational institution as the creator of one of the world's 10 best intranets in its 14th Annual Intranet Design Contest earlier this month.

This year's winning teams and their intranets are showcased in Nielsen Norman Group’s new 319-page report “Intranet Design Annual 2014: The Year’s 10 Best Intranets” (it costs $248 to download).

This week, CMSWire talked to Keelin Vaccaro, internal communications director at the National Geographic Society. Vaccaro led National Geographic’s complete redesign of its intranet, transforming the site from a static communications vehicle to an interactive, social site.

Webinar Recap: Have Social Business Tools Killed the Intranet?

Webinar Recap: Have Social Business Tools Killed the Intranet?Intranets have for many years been a place where companies disseminate information to employees in a top down, static way. As workers become more remotely distributed, the need for online collaboration tools is butting up against the concept of the traditional intranet. Combining the two is a hot trend in the social business world.

The Modern Intranet: A Mobile, Social, Collaborative Decision Support Platform

How do you define something in a state of flux, that supplies different features and functions for different organizations and whose success depends on how well an organization's business strategy is reflected in its stated requirements? That is the challenge of defining the modern intranet.

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