CMSWire's Top 25

It was another busy year in the world of B2B digital experience, customer experience, social business and information management. We learned a lot about everything from the imperative of digital transformation to where Microsoft is going with its major services. And don't forget plenty of insight about cloud computing, enterprise collaboration, marketing automation, big data, the Internet of Things …

A Sample of Popular Posts

Businesses seem to be seeking that right balance between maintaining a focus on successful strategies while remaining flexible enough to innovate. We saw a lot of things along those lines this year.

Here, on the first day of 2016, are the top 25 that burned up the traffic charts this year.

1) SharePoint 2016 was big news this year, with lots of details and questions about the new product. David Roe got a lot of information about the software with Microsoft Leaks Offer a Glimpse of SharePoint 2016. Tweet to David Roe.

Earlier this month Julia White, general manager for Office product development, outlined some of the directions Microsoft will be going in the medium term. Microsoft, she said, will continue to build and develop the on-premises version as long as people are using it. She added that the new on-premises version this year would be “the most secure, reliable version to date allowing organization to take advantage of cloud innovations on their terms.”

2) Windows 10 shipped with a new mail client. It seemed like Outlook in some ways. As Scott M. Fulton wrote, however, not so much in other ways: Windows 10's New Mail: Is It Outlook or Isn't It? Tweet to Scott M. Fulton.

Yet when the new Mail app pops on-screen for the first time, it shows a familiar looking portfolio logo with an “O” on it. Its default email account, even if it’s hosted on a non-Microsoft server, is called “Outlook.” And its background picture, when the preview pane is empty, is an Outlook icon over a clear, blue sky.

3) I was another busy year in the Enterprise Content Management space. David Roe took an in-depth look at 8 Companies Leading ECM into 2015. Tweet to David Roe.

ECM vendors have moved into agile mode and are now focusing on the development and simplification of their systems as well as automation and integration of new capabilities to generate value propositions for customers.

4) Human Resources saw some key changes this year. Lori Alcala dug into them with Five Hot HR Tech Trends for 2015. Tweet to Lori Alcala.

Although the survey shows that performance management ranks high regardless of company size, the results show significant differences in the objectives of small, mid-sized and large companies. For large companies, learning, compensation, workforce planning and HR analytics are at the top of the list. Mid-sized companies are focusing on wellness, Core HR/HRIS, leadership development and HR analytics.

5) It’s hip to say that it’s a “cloud first, mobile first” era, but it means a lot more if the companies proclaiming this vision are actually following through. Virginia Backaitis explored this with Beyond Documentum, EMC Disrupts Itself. Tweet to Virginia Backaitis.

Alas, there’s something interesting to talk about at EMC besides the shape and timing of CEO Joe Tucci’s exit and whether Elliott Management will force it to lighten its grip on VMware. EMC’s Enterprise Content Division (EMC ECD) is building a new Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution that will be completely independent of Documentum.

6) If you possess the right IT skills, you can write your own career ticket, Erika Morphy explained in 6 IT Skills Employers Will Pay Anything To Get. Tweet to Erika Morphy.

These employees' skills are in such high demand that they can even snub the likes of Apple if they want to, and apparently some do. This October Bloomberg reportedthat Apple was having trouble attracting top data scientist talent — because its policies kept them from publishing their work.

7) If you need some help making predictions with all that big data, there are plenty of good choices. That’s what Virginia Backaitis found with 3 Vendors Lead the Wave for Big Data Predictive Analytics. Tweet to Virginia Backaitis.

Enterprises have lots of solid choices for big data predictive analytics. That’s the key takeaway from Forrester's just released Wave for Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions for the second quarter of 2015. That being said, the products Forrester analysts Mike Gualtieri and Rowan Curran evaluated are quite different. Data scientists are more likely to appreciate some, while business analysts will like others. Some were built for the cloud, others weren’t.

8) With the newest version of SharePoint bringing in some excitement, Yammer had much less luster to offer. That’s what Chris Wright found with SharePoint is Back, Yammer ... Not So Much. Tweet to Chris Wright.

So soon we shall have SharePoint 2016. Microsoft posted a pretty in-depth blog just before Ignite on what to expect in terms of features. It is focusing on three areas: improved UX, cloud-inspired infrastructure and better compliance and reporting. There is a lot of good stuff from Office 365 being included, and much better support for the Hybrid deployment model.

9) Office 365 definitely brings out some varying opinions. But few had as dire a take as Joe Shepley, who wrote Office 365 is a Disaster Waiting to Happen. Tweet to Joe Shepley.

Microsoft is in the midst of a full court press to get organizations on O365, especially moving share drive content to O365. As part of this, it's doing quick hit, fixed fee projects to migrate shared drive content to O365 -- whether a simple cut and paste to OneDrive or a slightly more advanced lift and shift to SharePoint.

10) Windows Phone has struggled ever since Microsoft rebooted its mobile efforts. Todd Klindt wondered Is It Time To Lose Your Windows Phone? Tweet to Todd Klindt.

Microsoft released another build of Windows 10 for the Windows phone this week. And I have to admit: I’m not a big fan of Windows 10 on the Windows phone.

11) Sometimes you just have to brag, particularly when you were right about something. That’s what Noreen Seebacher was up to with Told You So: Ektron is Merging with EPiServer. Tweet to Noreen Seebacher.

What do we know for sure? Not much. Both Accel-KKR (AKKR) and Ektron executives have been notoriously tight-lipped since rumors of the sale surfaced, fueling passionate and often heated debate among past and present Ektron employees. Just last week, Ektron delayed its annual conference, Ektron Synergy 2015, by seven months because of low registration numbers.

12) When it comes to analysis, Gartner is one of the top dogs. Dom Nicastro took a deep look at news from the company with Gartner Names Web Content Management Leaders. Tweet to Dom Nicastro.

The big news in the leaders group may be Sitecore’s leap over Adobe in its “ability to execute.” Adobe edged out Sitecore in the last Gartner report, but Sitecore grabbed the top spot today for the first time. However, Adobe beat Sitecore for “completeness of vision,” leading the pack this time around after finishing second to Sitecore 10 months ago.

13) SharePoint and Office 365 took up a ton of news in 2015. One of our more popular pieces was this set of forecasts from David Roe in 4 Directions For SharePoint and Office 365 in 2015.

While some companies have been thinking about investing in SharePoint Online or moving from the on-premise version to the online version, many enterprises as still scratching their heads as to how it will evolve. Without confirmation or at least a general picture of where SharePoint is going, many are going to hold off.

14) Sometimes you have to give things up in order for it to get better. That may be the case with SharePoint 2016, as Todd Klindt looked at 5 Things We Lose in SharePoint 2016 Preview. Tweet to Todd Klindt.

I guess Microsoft assumes that SharePoint is so darn popular now they don't need to give it away for free. Previous releases of SharePoint Server included SharePoint Foundation, a free edition of SharePoint that included most of the core functionality and architecture provided by the commercial editions of SharePoint.

15) What were the key trends in workplace communication this year? Lori Alcala broke it down with 4 Trends in WorkPlace Communication. Tweet to Lori Alcala.

Flexible hours, the ability to work remotely and more time off will motivate employees to work harder in 2015. But there’s another motivator on this list you might not expect: better communication tools. This is just one of the findings of a recent survey conducted by uSamp Research on behalf of RingCentral. The results were published in an infographic, Business Communications are “Always On” in 2015.

16) It was another year for key mergers. Dom Nicastro explored Who Wins, Loses in Ektron-EPiServer Web CMS Merger? Tweet to Dom Nicastro.

The merger between Ektron and EPiServer announced Tuesday forms a tech alliance that could compete with web content management system giants like Adobe and Sitecore, according to industry analysts. Or, as one analyst said, it could be "another venture capitalist effort to milk software license maintenance revenues out of an ailing vendor."

17) The animal kingdom isn’t the only thing threatened: it’s the corporate intranet that’s endangered. That’s what Rich Wood argued in Endangered Species: The Corporate Intranet. Tweet to Rich Wood.

The question facing intranets should be how internal collaboration and communication tools are going to evolve in the world of social, cloud and mobile — and whether there’s any place left for the traditional intranet down the line. We shouldn’t be asking if enterprise social will replace the intranet, but rather how long the whole idea of a browser-based intranet portal really has left in the face of mobile apps and form factors (of which social is only one example).

18) Office 365 is the central nervous system for many businesses. Bill Ryan offered some tips about Building a Digital Workplace with Office 365. Tweet to Bill Ryan.

Our workday world has changed dramatically with the advent of always on Internet access and the explosion of mobile devices in the enterprise. Employees are no longer tethered to their desks in office buildings but are in the field working face to face with clients and customers. Microsoft’s vision for the future of work is made up of the Cloud OS (Office 365) and the mobile devices you use every day to get work done. The intersection between the two is the digital workplace.

19) Quite the fuss was made over Cloudera and MapR declining to join the Open Data Platform, as Virginia Backaitis found in Hey Cloudera & MapR: Open Data Platform is the Real Deal. Tweet to Virginia Backaitis.

“ODP by all appearances seems to be a marketing tactic, a distraction,” Matt Brandwein, Director Product Marketing at Cloudera, told us in an interview shortly after Pivotal Software announced ODP in February.

20) Even with some stumbles, SharePoint will be a major player in the collaboration space far into the future. That’s what Edmund White argued with 3 SharePoint Paths for the Next 10 Years. Tweet to Edmund White.

Office 365 will still be a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering 10 years from now, as it is today. But the on-premises SharePoint platform will always offer a more flexible, customizable and controllable experience for administrators and developers. Certain workloads may never be able to leave the on-premises environment.

21) It’s time to bring your file management efforts into the 21st century. Find out why from Virginia Backaitis in her article Are You Managing Documents Like It's 1990? Tweet to Virginia Backaitis.

Forget file-sharing services like Dropbox, Box, Nitro, Syncplicity and OneDrive for Business. Ditto for high resolution monitors, tablets and digital signatures. More than a third of us are working with documents and collaborating the old-fashioned way, via email, printing and editing, hand signing and scanning -- you get the idea.

22) Good work often takes good collaboration. David Coleman looked more deeply at strategies for getting a team on board with this approach with 10 Collaboration Trends for 2015. Tweet to David Coleman.

Companies of all sizes have adopted collaboration tools, but many still struggle to find tools that meet all of their needs. The following trends come in part from data and conclusions from a recent survey of over 500 practitioners. Vendors should pay attention as some of the findings show areas for improvement.

23) Did you have a SharePoint project tank? Then David Roe says Blame the C-Suite for Your Failed SharePoint Project. Tweet to David Roe.

About two out of three organizations complain their SharePoint projects have stalled (26 percent) or failed to live up to their expectations (37 percent). And it gets worse, according to new AIIM research. A majority of respondents blame those SharePoint failures on lack of support from senior management.

24) DAM systems still may get better when it comes to an area they’ve struggled - the User Interface. Jeff Lawrence dug into this in A Sneak Peek at DAM's Roadmap for 2015 and Beyond. Tweet to Jeff Lawrence.

Vendors are working hard to improve the usability of their DAM systems by reimagining the User Interface (UI). This will make it quicker and easier for users to find and repurpose assets. They are looking for innovative ways to provide easier access to assets with better control and tracking. Both these concepts are intended to help their client improve the user experience and provide a higher return on investment (ROI).

25) SharePoint customization can turn into a powerful tool. Follow the advice from Kevin Conroy with Don’t Be Afraid of SharePoint Customization. Tweet to Kevin Conroy.

Big consulting companies you’ve heard of — with names like Accenture and PWC -- have built thriving businesses around customizing platforms like Oracle and SAP. You don’t hear those companies telling you to stop customizing their products the way Microsoft did. They embrace the understanding that they make powerful platforms — and there is always room to customize to further enhance the power.