Posts tagged "news"

New Intermediate Online Joomla Training at Joomlashack

Take your Joomla skills to the next level with our Intermediate Joomla Course from Joomlashack University, the leading online Joomla training course.

When we launched Joomlashack University back in October, we knew Joomla beginners would flock to our rich library of step-by-step videos and written tutorials. And then they did in droves. But what to do when they're ready for more?

The Intermediate Joomla Course

With our first crop of students ready to move into new learning territory, we've loaded the Intermediate course with over 2.5 hours of new video tutorials, including:

  • Using Paypal to sell services and products - (26:45 min video)

  • Using Google Checkout to sell services and products - (16:30 min video)

  • Using Foxy Cart to sell services and products - (28:43 min video)

  • Using K2 to create a product catalog - (43:41 min video)

  • Using RS Form Pro to create forms - (26:25 min video)


Joomlashack University is ready for you to begin your Joomla adventure. For as little as $72, you get instant access to this treasure trove of Joomla learning resources.

Sydney JUG Next Meeting: Tue 9th March

Feb's new meeting format went down a storm, so we're sticking to it. Thanks to all who participated to a lively discussion. In March our topics will be "Joomla v Wordpress" comparison and a "Save my Site" spot, where a member gathers help from the group on their chosen site.

All welcome. Follow @sydjug on Twitter for SJUG updates.

Date and Time:
Tuesday March 9th 2009, 6:00pm-8:30pm


6:00-6:15pm Meet Up
6:15-6:45pm Intro round - you each have 2 minutes to introduce yourself and ask a quick question of the group. (Longer questions we will earmark and tackle in Q&A at the end)
6:45-7:30pm Topics: Joomla v Wordpress and Save my Site

Refreshments - pizza & beer
8:00-8:30pm Q&A session

Venue: (thanks to Sandra Sutalo!)
Mental Health Association NSW Inc
Level 5, 80 William St
East Sydney NSW 2011

The lift will be open until 6:30pm - go to floor 5 and turn right. If you have any trouble accessing the building/lift, please call the mobile number on the Joomla notice on the building door and someone will come and get you. If you arrive as close to 6:30 as poss it will make it easy for our door volunteers to round people up! Thanks


There should be some on-street parking at that time of day - try round the back of the building, parrallel to William St.
Or here at 100 William street evening parking $15 out by 9pm

Pizza and beer at half time, for a small contribution.
**** Please RSVP by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you are coming on February 9th, so we know numbers. Thx.

Meeting details:
All welcome, come one come all, anyone from beginners to gurus. Meet new people, ask your questions, join the friendly throng.

Dates for your Diary:
Next Meeting: Tuesday April 13th

The Redesign Progress

Just a few years ago was maintained by a small team of insiders. Now, we are making major changes to the site using the community's many developers and themers.

This update provides the Drupal community our implementation redesign progress, where we've run into challenges, and provide information about our future plans.

The following update provides insight into:

  1. Our progress so far
  2. The present focus of the implementation and management team
  3. Where help is needed from the community

1. A Redesign Progress Report

The redesign is an effort started in 2007 to make meet the needs of the growing Drupal community and showcase the power of the Drupal software. In 2008, an exciting and visionary new design for was completed by Mark Boulton Design and the community.

In 2008 and 2009, members of the Drupal community participated in six redesign sprints in North America and Europe. As major features of the redesign began to take shape, we needed to work on more granular details of the implementation. Recreating staging environments locally for development teams is a serious challenge, so we created a hosted infrastructure for developers and themers. In late 2009, we began to seek companies from the Drupal community to sponsor individual sections of the redesign. We've now recruited over twenty volunteer organizations to help implement sections of the redesign built on top of the features developed by the infrastructure team.

There is a lot of visible progress on the redesign:

  • Site is fully upgraded to Drupal 6, making customizations easier.
  • Single sign-on for all sites has been implemented.
  • Significant improvements to project module, with statistics, are complete.
  • New features like module recommendations and related discussions are now available.
  • The site now utilizes faceted search with the Solr search engine.

Additionally, much of the work associated with the base theme and the dashboard system has been completed.

Much of the back-end infrastructure that supports development is in place. This includes:

  • Ten staging sites for development are set-up.
  • Central authentication for SVN access for designers and developers to contribute their code has been built.
  • Automated deployment of themes and modules to staging sites for development and debugging is live.

The project management team is shaping up:

  • Kieran Lal (Amazon) continues to be Lead Manager, assisted by project managers Lisa Rex (lisarex), and Chris Strahl (chrisstrahl), who has recently joined the redesign team.
  • Dries Buytaert (dries), Drupal creator and project lead, is involved to review our progress and provide additional direction.
  • Damien Tournoud (DamZ) is providing technical assistance for the project, specifically with regards to search results and the Download and Extend pages that rely on Solr search results.
  • Todd Ross Nienkerk (toddross) and Aaron Stanush (astanush) are the base theme implementation leads. They are assisting in theme development and maintaining consistency in the overall style.
  • Bill O'Connor (csevb10) is now leading the Search results sections. He has already implemented the theme search results section.
  • Randy Fay (rfay) is the Lead Redesign System Admin and Jonathan Wagener (theamoeba) is the newest Redesign System Admin

Finally, the Project Management team has been busy:

  • We've identified a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which consists of 22 major sections, to be implemented as the first phase of the redesign. The redesign project is a big undertaking, and we need to focus on we can realistically accomplish within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Redesign has it's own project and issue queue
  • Blue Cheese (the new base theme) has it's own project and issue queue
  • The redesign project managers and some community volunteers have spent the last week evaluating the implementation progress by assessing each section.
  • A communication plan has been introduced to complement the existing documentation.
  • There are a lot of new contributors on the implementation team. To address this, we are providing development infrastructure, granting access to new contributors, documenting tools and training materials, providing project management, and recruiting more technical leadership to help train these new contributors.

2. The Present Focus

The current plan is to implement the redesign with community volunteers and sponsoring companies. Implementers are hard-working volunteers that are dedicating time and energy to this process; taking time out of their already busy work schedules. The redesign project managers will continue to monitor progress on this approach and assist the implementers as we're able.

Participation and section status in the redesign is being tracked at Assignments and Contact Info. Progress on the implementation can be viewed by clicking on the section status links:

Weekly IRC sprints will start on Friday, Feb 12th from 11AM-11PM GMT in the #drupal-redesign channel until the MVP is ready. Everyone who is actively engaged in the redesign implementation should join in. The agenda is to focus on implementing the search results and Download and Extend sections.

Several sections only require modifications to their themes or content to be considered complete. In order to better facilitate reviewing and finalizing sections that near completion, the redesign infrastructure administrators will merge all of the code and theme work from the sponsored sections to a single site. This will allow progress to be assessed by the community and a dedicated quality assurance team. The merging will begin this week.

The project managers are engaged in the following:

  • Consolidating information from g.d.o., issue queues, domain experts, redesign documents, and email as the implementation teams provide feedback. This will be used to improve the documentation (how to implement the redesign and what the redesign will accomplish).
  • Chris and Damien will introduce an architecture document to explain how is built from Drupal core, project modules, Solr and custom modules, and a custom site specific drupal_org module.
  • Focusing our technical resources on two key areas: Search results, and Download and Extend sections. We believe that when the first Download and Extend section is implemented the other six sections which rely on the same search infrastructure can be completed quickly.
  • Duplicate issues will be consolidated and non-MVP issues will be postponed in the Redesign or base theme issue queues.

While not everything we want will be delivered by the first phase, we will have a solid framework in place and can incorporate additional community contributions and refinements after MVP completion.

3. Where Help is Needed

The redesign is a great opportunity for organizations and individuals to gain experience working on a large Drupal project, work with Drupal experts, and give back to the Drupal community. The redesign project needs volunteers with a willingness to dedicate themselves to the redesign, familiarity of the site and an understanding of how to work within the community.

Some tasks are more difficult than others. General difficulty of each area:

+++ = difficult
++ = medium
+ = easy

We need volunteers in specific areas. Contact us via the Drupal association contact form. Use the Volunteer to help with the redesign category. The project managers will match your skills, and availability to the project:

Develop Drupal search filters with Solr +++

  • We are looking for experienced developers who have written search filters for Drupal using Solr. Damien has implemented the core filters, but we need other experienced developers to assist the implementation teams.
  • Time commitment: 5+ hours per week.

Section Technical Leaders +++

  • Leaders for Download & Extend and Documentation sections needed.
  • Ideally, this person is already a redesign implementer. Skills needed are good written/spoken English, a willingness to work with a diverse group of people, excellent technical skills, experience leading a development team, and the ability to maintain organization of multiple teams working on multiple projects.
  • As a lead, you would become the point person for your section and monitor the section's issue queue. You need to understand all of the technical areas of your section to coordinate your implementation teams and see the section to completion.
  • Time commitment: 10+ hours per week.

General Project Managers ++

  • We need cat herders to help the general management of the project.
  • Skills needed are good written/spoken English, a willingness to work with a diverse group of people, excellent organizational and analytical skills, availability to meet with various project teams and experience creating project documentation.
  • Time commitment: 10+ hours per week.

Coders, themers and reviewers ++

  • Individuals can work on issues in the Redesign or Blue Cheese issue queues. Many of these issues require knowledge of the redesign, but there are also a lot where work can begin immediately.
  • Skills needed are good written/spoken English, a willingness to work with a diverse group of people, and an understanding of how to contribute within the Drupal community.
  • To contribute CSS or code patches, you'll need to read about how to obtain SVN access. Once you have worked on a Blue Cheese issue you can request access to the theme repository.
  • Time commitment: Varies (it's up to you!)

SEO ++

  • Skills needed include good written English, a good knowledge of HTML, and a keen eye for detail.
  • Please review the SEO Best Practices wiki before signing up. The tasks for this position are outlined there.
  • Time commitment: 5+ hours per week.

QA ++

  • Skills needed are good written English, a keen eye for detail, experience QAing front-end and back-end functionality of sites, taking screenshots and a willingness to work in the issue queues.
  • Please review the Redesign QA Volunteers wiki before signing up. The responsibilities of this position are outlined there.
  • Time commitment: 5+ hours per week.

Content Migration +

  • Skills needed are good written English and a keen eye for detail. Experience with managing and maintaining content on a Drupal site is also important.
  • Read the Content Migration Guidelines for an outline of what this position entails.
  • Time commitment: Varies

The Next Step

The new is an exciting new design, but also an exciting new way that the community can collaborate together to show the beauty and power of Drupal. We invite members of the Drupal community to learn more about their home, and get involved in improving it.

Sign up to volunteer via the Drupal association contact form.

Thank you,

On behalf of the redesign Project Team

Kieran, Lisa, Chris

Facebook to Dominate Webmail with Project Titan?

Facebook and Google just can’t stop one-upping each other. Late last month Google took a small slice of Facebook's pie by tossing their Social Search feature into beta, but this week the popular social network took the upper hand with rumors of a fully featured webmail product.

Facebook Titan

Facebook Mail!

E-mail inside Facebook! 

Oh, the addiction! 

The upcoming webmail product — codenamed Project Titan — is set to replace Facebook’s archaic messaging service (you know, the one that makes you delete messages one by one). Word is that it’ll have full POP/IMAP support, meaning users will be able to configure it with any e-mail client, including Microsoft Outlook, Entourage and Apple's Mail applications.

Supposedly your e-mail account name will be the same as your Facebook vanity URL, though there’s no news about what will happen to users who haven’t chosen one yet.

Leveling Up

Facebook has yet to release comments on the client, but the Web is already roiling with anticipation—mostly, because the move makes a lot of sense.

Facebook is already the social communication tool of choice for 400 million people. By adding e-mail functionality Facebook becomes even more central, allowing users to socialize and communicate not only with their Facebook friends, but with people not signed up with the social networking service as well.

The addition will complement the network by allowing people to get more done under one umbrella, and we can also see it attracting more users. Moreover, Facebook's value as an advertising hub is poised to increase if more people started using it as their primary personal e-mail account.

The Giants 

Facebook's little warrior is hot on the heels of Google Social Search, a feature that takes a stab at Facebook's audience by integrating social networking with search results. Now of course, there are whispers of Titan killing off Gmail.

We can't really see one reigning supreme over the other — though attempts to blur the lines between their basic modes of operation are prevalent, at the core they are still two very different services — but watching them play off of each other, and enjoying the fruits of that game, is a pretty sweet deal.

Xerox Finalizes ACS Buy-out, Creates Business Process Outsourcing Giant

The acquisition by Xerox (site) of business process outsourcing giant ACS has been given final approval after a majority of shareholders from both companies gave the go-ahead.

While the financial details of the deal have not been made public, at the time of the original announcement in September of last year, we reported that overall it was a US$ 6.4 billion cash deal that will see Xerox take on US$ 2 billion of ACS debt as part of the takeover.

It creates a US$ 22 billion global enterprise for document management technology and business process management.


ACS provides information technology services to industries including telecommunications, retail, financial services and education and after the takeover it is expected to operate as a stand-alone firm.

It is impossible to properly estimate ACS’ share of that market at the moment, but absolutely no one is disputing the fact that it is the largest provider of managed services to government with over 1,700 federal, state, county and local government contracts.

ACS will initially be branded ACS, A Xerox Company and will continue to be led by Lynn Blodgett, who has been elected by the Xerox Board of Directors as an executive vice president of the corporation. Blodgett will report to Ursula M. Burns, who is currently CEO of Xerox.

According to technology marketing consultancy IDC the closure of this deal is a real game changer.

Xerox is working aggressively toward becoming more focused on information management and business processes and less reliant on printed documents…With this acquisition, Xerox becomes a significant player, and has an opportunity for growth, in the growing business process outsourcing market,” said Angele Boyd, group vice president/general manager, document solutions, IDC.

Further Acquisitions?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Burns has said that Xerox will be looking at further acquisitions over the course of the year, but not as large as the ACS deal.

"Acquisitions in the last few years are the core piece of our strategy," she said. But deals in 2010 and 2011 are likely to be half the size or less of ACS, she said; "It's the kind of deal you only do every few years."

Reaction to the closure has generally been positive as it will give Xerox a footprint in a wider market, a market that is being dominated by Hewlett-Packard at the moment.

K4 Publishing Platform v6 Enhances Workflow, Cross Channel Support

Newly updated, K4 is a German-originated product shipped in America by MEI. It offers tighter control of the publishing process with task-based workflow giving specific instructions on each user's tasks to keep them on the ball.

Publish and Be Cross

Anything that makes a publisher's life easier has to be good, and publishing platforms have helped behind the scenes, becoming ever more useful. The improvements in version 6 of K4 include handling data from any source. As well as the standard media-friendly Adobe files, it can take data from PowerPoint, Flash movies, PDFs and Excel documents.

What comes in can go out in the form of Web pages, mobile content, printed material, ebooks and other forms. But, K4's big feature is the step-by-step process control. Instead of a content creator or designer opening a page and looking blankly for what they need to do, K4 now offers a task-based user workflow.


At each stage of a project, users see specific tasks and individual jobs on a document that are assigned to them. Click on a task and K4 opens the requisite file, be it text, image or layout. The system is multi-tasking and open-ended, so many tasks can be completed by different users at the same time. An editor can check the text while someone else fills out headlines or panel, Web editors can add metadata and so on.

When a task is marked as completed, the user can follow the next step in the workflow while K4 automatically advances the updated document, routing it to the next person or team as defined by the workflow.

These workflows may be a pain to set up initially, but once the template is set, everyone has an easier life, following the graphical workflow charts.

K4 Version 6 makes the publishing process explicit

Behind the Headlines

Another neat trick is the ability to edit InCopy files from anywhere using a Web browser. This frees up those design Macs for the creative types and lets the writers or Web staff access documents from other offices, at home or that oh so stylish Internet Cafe. This feature is powered by a server side plug-in. Additional plug ins include a CMS Editor and XML Exporter.

While K4 is compatible with all the usual publishing systems, source applications and so on, there is also an open API and SDK for companies that need to integrate specialist software into the process. The system is secured with user permission access control to files and log-ins.

K4 is available worldwide via distributors and is already installed in hundreds of publishing houses including the likes of Popular Mechanics, Rolling Stone and Harvard Business Review.

The 6 Hidden Costs of Running a DAM System

Paul Boag wrote an article a while back entitled "The 5 hidden costs of running a CMS" over on Vitamin/Carsonified and I really thought it was a useful item to ponder over as a CMS user. Then I thought, "This totally applies to digital asset management software as well, somebody should write up the same thing for DAM." So here goes (with all due respect to Mr. Boag).

The ever burgeoning amount of digital items generated by a person or company is quickly outgrowing our ability to handle and track them. These assets (digital images, designs, layouts, training clips, music tracks, digital videos, presentations, documents…) are quickly filling up our CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, external drives and server space and we likely don't have any idea where a particular file might be, much less have any useful information attached to it. We may well be recreating assets that we have lost or don't know exist in some other division of the company. So we naturally turn to digital asset management (DAM) software and hope it will streamline and organize our work.

Besides the initial price tag, there is a lot more to consider when making a DAM investment and achieving a successful implementation:

  1. The cost of training
  2. The cost of ingestion
  3. The cost to quality
  4. The cost to functionality
  5. The cost of redundancy and flexibility
  6. The cost of commitment

Let's take a closer look at each of the six cost areas.

1) The Cost of Training

Training consumes a lot of time. So many users, so many roles, so many different groups to train. Super users, core users, editors, viewers, not to mention the Help Desk staff… Brand managers, salespeople, graphic artists, marketing, legal… At times it seems it will never end. And it won't. People will leave, new people will arrive, partners will come on board, and depart, and somebody will have to keep track of it all and make sure the users know what they are doing and where to properly do it.

Is the user manual well-written for every user type or do you require a custom "quick start" guide that covers all the basics for each group or role? What about creating a screencast for each role as well? How many languages do your materials need to support? These training questions (and many others) may change from client to client, from project to project, so make sure you have the capacity to keep up with the needs of your users.

2) The Cost of Ingestion

Who is going to upload your assets? Who is going to attach metadata to all the assets? This is always a surprise once the system is chosen and finally installed. No matter how much it is discussed in the planning phase, the reality doesn't hit until the DAM is launched and the core users start uploading the assets. "Hey, this takes a lot of time! I thought this was going to save me time!"

Many systems allow you to attach a drive and ingest gigabytes or terabytes in short order. While this seems like a time- and money-saver, keep in mind that these should all be clean, approved assets (not just a dump-and-index-it-later process (see 'quality' below) as that tends to never happen) and your DAM system needs time to actually index the assets, the metadata, and generate thumbnails and previews (I've seen 100,000+ assets take almost a full WEEK to process).

Even more surprising is that if your DAM tool supports multiple languages it probably requires a person to sit down and translate the metadata labels (likely just a few times) and contents (all the time, for every asset). People seem to expect there to be a magic "translate" button in the software that will just know how to decipher all their special lingo and naming conventions, but guess what? It'll probably take real human time and knowledge.

3) The Cost to Quality

The complexity of the DAM is largely related to the price of the package as the low-end solutions typically do not have such things as an approval process or workflows. Perhaps they cannot allow you to be as granular as you need when doling out privileges and permissions (they are grouped together, for example). This poses the question of who adds assets and who approves them for general consumption and where are they stored in the system.

Allowing anyone with a user account to add content to the DAM might quickly lead it to becoming a dumping ground for assets of questionable use and quality (the graphic designer's show-dog photos that he just had to store somewhere? MS Word docs that marketing is saving "just in case." 23 versions of a package?).

Because digital asset management software becomes really useful when metadata is attached to an asset, the entry form for any new item might have five to twenty fields that should be filled out as fully as possible. Since users are busy (and simultaneously quite possibly lazy) it may frequently occur that the metadata content is minimally populated or any details present are just lumped together in the description field.

This results is a garbage-in, garbage-out situation and makes the DAM less useful than desired for all users of the system. And who exactly will fix that mess?

4) The Cost to Functionality

Everyone always seems to think of a DAM system in a different light than, say, Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. For some reason, desktop applications are just accepted as-is. DAM software is expected to do everything imaginable and be easily customizable.

The fact of the matter is that while the code may be tweakable and an SDK might even come with it, the time/cost factor is usually prohibitive (every change seems to take a month and be $10,000). Keep in mind that if you do go down this road, you then have a custom DAM installation that must be maintained and updated every time there is an upgrade from the vendor.

Invariably, someone in the company wishes to tie the DAM database to some other system for exporting final files or data for PLM or even hooking into a partner's system. Since these are database tools, this can usually be done.

But does your internal IT department have the bandwidth to handle these modifications or are they contracted out to the DAM vendor or some other third party?

5) The Cost of Redundancy and Flexibility

Every DAM system does a few things the same way — you have to be able to view thumbnails and download assets of course — but once past that point the feature sets can vary widely. Since there are reported to be over 85 different DAM software vendors and nobody owns more than 5% of the market, the companies typically try to do as many things as possible.

Your system may allow very granular control over user groups and privileges and permissions and users and folders and domains. Perhaps the DAM tool allows graphic artists to search and use assets from directly inside their creative applications. Maybe video files can be played, scrubbed through, searched and cropped to specific segments. You get the idea. The complexity seems quite valuable but the time involved to apply the feature set in question might seem to require a degree in the graphic arts or library sciences. And if the features are overwhelming to the average user, will they ignore them and/or fumble ahead and make mistakes?

And make sure your DAM system can take a hit and keep on running. It happens. You need a backup system that is fully mirrored on a regular (short) basis.

6) The Cost of Commitment

Finally, the high cost of DAM commitment covers several segments:

  • The time for research and testing
  • The investment in implementation
  • The ongoing cost and time of user training
  • The expense of add-ons or plug-ins
  • The investment in asset ingestion

Building up a useful digital asset management platform, whether locally or globally, certainly takes a lot of time and money. Choosing the right DAM software is critically important. You could wish to change your approach in the future and how would you go about exporting the file structure, assets and the metadata? It can be done, but will likely require the expense of custom scripting and/or programming.

A well-implemented digital asset management system is invaluable in organizing files, attaching useful metadata, allowing global insight into the company's various regions and brands, re-purposing of assets, and cutting production time from a busy schedule with digital workflows. Any one DAM solution may not do all things as you wish, but most any DAM is certainly better than no DAM at all. Keep your eyes and mind open and become aware of all the costs in time and money and you will build a successful DAM implementation today, one that will be flexible and capable of your growing DAM needs tomorrow.

Web Publishing Roll-up: Social Media, Magazine Sales and Wisconsin

Journalists and Social Media Research

A national survey of journalists found that a majority of them routinely utilize social media sources when researching stories.

The online survey, conducted during September and October of 2009 by the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, reported that 56 percent of the 371 print and web journalists surveyed said that social media was important or somewhat important for reporting and producing stories.

Of those who use social media, 89 percent said that they use blogs for their online research. Linkedin and Facebook were not as likely to be used as research, but more than half of the journalists reported using Twitter in their research.

As journalists are wont to do, even though the trend toward using social media, they reported a high distrust of information from social media. Which is good, indicating that their research is all encompassing and not resting solely on a few single tweets.

Ultimately, the research indicates that we may see increased use of varied tools like social networking and microblogging by journalists as well as public relations professionals in the years to come.

Newsstand Sales Decline

Bad news for magazine and newspapers sales: newsstand sales and subscriptions declined in the last six months of 2009. But that’s not as bad as in past years. For the almost 500 consumer magazines in the United States measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, newsstand sales declined 9.1 percent, to US$ 39.3 million, in the last half of 2009 versus the same period a year earlier.

Although newsstand sales are a small percentage of most magazines’ circulation, they still remain pretty profitable. Newsstand copies usually cost more than a subscription copy does. Overall circulation, including subscriptions, fell as well, declining 2.23 percent, a sharper decline than in the last two six-month periods.

Wisconsin Saves the Newspaper

Good news for newspapers in Wisconsin. According to a recent industry study, nearly 62 percent of adults in Wisconsin have read a newspaper in the last day and nearly 83 percent have read one in the previous week.

The survey of 1,200 state residents found the share of weekly readers of newspapers in the state was higher than the national average of 74 percent. It also showed that showed that newspapers continue to lead the Internet in nearly all categories for readers seeking local news and information on products being sold in their communities.

That’s not to say that Wisconsin residents don’t go online. The results showed that a large share of state residents prefer going on the Web for information related to tourism and job openings.

Document Management Roll-up: Cloud Computing is Popular, Oracle Adds to SOA Platform

Last week we saw a considerable amount of movement in the document management software industry, not the least of which was the closure of the Xerox –ACS deal. The wheeling-and-dealing continues this week with the acquisition of AmberPoint by Oracle while AIIM and Gartner get back into gear with some research published recently.

Oracle extends Business Transaction Management

With a whole pile of acquisitions announced last week, the announcement by Oracle that it has just acquired AmberPoint looks like this week will be more of the same .

While financial details of the deal have not been released, the acquisition will significantly extend Oracle’s Fusion Middleware SOA Management Solutions and provide its users with more agility and visibility into their business processes.

If you haven’t come across AmberPoint before, its solutions resolve application performance problems and business transactions problems in insurance claims processing or account provisioning where multiple applications need to work together.

With the addition of AmberPoint, Oracle has underlined its commitment to providing end-to-end SOA management and Business Transaction Management solutions.

AIIM for content or records implementation

AIIM is getting back into its stride after a relatively quiet January with the release of a new  “8 ways to … “ eBook. This one should be of interest of to companies that are still trying to decide if they need document management software, or records management software.

Entitled 8 secrets of an effective content or records implementation it takes the discussion of whether a company needs records management software or document management software a step further than our outline of some of the major differences between the two systems last month.

The ebook, which is free to download for registered users from the AIIM website looks at the implementation of either system and includes the following recommendations:

  • Build a business strategy and blueprint
  • Conduct a technology assessment and create a blueprint
  • Think through a governance structure and approach
  • Create a roadmap and project plan
  • Build a sound foundation by creating an appropriate software development environment
  • Design the plan
  • Deploy the plan and cycle throughout life cycle
  • Include change management

Back In The Clouds

We’re back to cloud computing this week with new research commissioned by cloud email archiving specialist Mimecast. Its Cloud Computing Adoption Survey examines the perception and adoption of cloud computing solutions among 565 respondents responsible for managing their organization's IT operations and budget across the U.S. and Canada in the Fall of 2009.

It shows that while security and integration issues are clearly users' biggest fears about cloud computing, the concerns have not dissuaded companies from implementing cloud-based applications within their corporate infrastructure.

These well-known fears appear to be at odds with reality, as the survey findings suggest strong satisfaction with cloud computing once it is installed.

It also showed that 70 percent of IT decision makers already using it are planning to move additional solutions to the cloud — most within the next 12 months.

However, for companies that are still examining cloud storage, the principal concern was still security with 46 percent of respondents identifying it as the main reason for not moving forward. This was also true across a majority of industries, including financial services (76 percent), energy (75 percent), government (67 percent), retail (61 percent) and technology (40 percent).

Interestingly, among the respondents already using cloud computing solutions, email (23 percent) and CRM (18 percent) proved to be the most valuable with 33 percent of this group having moved email management to the cloud, 26 percent email archiving and 22 percent havong moved storage functions.

There really is a lot of food for thought here so check it out.

Gartner identifies 7 BPM Musts

Gartner (site) also has some interesting research this week in their report Seven Key Guidelines to BPM Project Success which identifies seven non-technology factors that companies need to watch for the implementation of a successful business process management system.

“Regardless of initial willingness to pursue BPM and a host of major opportunities for improvement, business leaders could do well to hold back and focus instead on a few projects that will deliver highly visible success,” said Bill Rosser of Gartner. “Early, visible, concrete project success is especially important to the long-term acceptance of BPM as a valuable discipline.”

In other words, there’s no point in introducing BPM unless you got your business running smoothly. Want to find out more? Check it out.

EMC Discusses SharePoint

If you are struggling with SharePoint and integrating it with Documentum, then EMC (site) is holding a webcast in March that could well be the answer to your problems.

The webcast is focused on how investment in Microsoft SharePoint will more efficiently manage the growth of unstructured information in your organization and how with Documentum, you can integrate SharePoint into your broader information infrastructure.

Subjects to be covered include:

  • Better control over rapid SharePoint Server farm growth
  • Searching, viewing and editing content stored in Documentum using SharePoint tools
  • Control over content, while expanding user access
  • Single system of record for content
Gilbane Acquired by Analyst Firm Outsell

One of the most known analyst firms — the Gilbane Group (site) — has been on the research and consulting market since 1987. Today marks another historical point for the firm – their acquisition by Outsell, Inc., a younger analyst company that was founded in 1998. The transaction between the two started at a breakfast meeting one day and has been in discussions for the past 5 years. We talked to Frank Gilbane, who gave us some insight into the merger.

Who is Outsell

Never heard of Outsell, Inc? It’s a research and advisory firm for the information and publishing industries with offices in Burlingame, CA, and London, UK, and customer base full of C-level folks.

How Gilbane and Outsell Come Together

Outsell is about 10 times bigger than Gilbane as an organization, but the brand is not very known. Hence, no wonder that Gilbane is staying as brand.

The firm is also bigger in the media and web publishing space. About 70% of their business is selling information to publishing and media companies. Gilbane, on the other hand, majors (for about 70%) in selling information and consulting services across all types of enterprises, and only 30% is focused on the publishing business.

Similar to Gartner, Outsell’s business model is classic subscription advisory services with about 80% of business falling into this bucket, and the rest is being done in the area of custom strategic consulting. Most of Gilbane’s business comes from custom consulting.

According to Gilbane, the two firms complement each other, with Outsell focusing on business information, and Gilbane’s focus on content management technology. Together, they will provide everything about information, both its usage and surrounding technologies.

Under one umbrella, the joint headcount will be around 50, including full-time and contractor analysts on both sides. Gilbane's HR and finance personnel will be trimmed down and merged with Outsell.

How Customers Are Affected

Gilbane says customers will not see any difference in how Gilbane will operate from now on. Having access to Outsell’s research will be useful to Gilbane customers, he adds. So far, Gilbane customer reactions have been a la “business as usual.” Some of the common customers (there are about 3 of those) are probably on the even happier side.

Gilbane is expecting that some customers may think there will be a change of focus from web content management technologies, but he doesn’t foresee that.

What Changes

Initially, we are told not much is going to change. More integration between two organizations may come later.

One of the most visible changes will be new business cards for the Gilbaners, which will from now on say “The Gilbane Group, a division of Outsell, Inc.” Frank Gilbane remains the president.

The Gilbane conferences — Gilbane Boston and Gilbane San Francisco — are not changing, with the only exception that we will probably see more Outsell analysts as speakers and panelists. Gilbane also mentioned that they may beef up the publishing technology conference track.

For Gilbane, this transaction is a way to grow faster. As its founder notes, they have been doing everything organically. Therefore, the biggest challenge has been to keep up with a number of inquiries they get. Outsell’s sales people will step in to work on business development initiatives.

Among other recent consolidations in the research industry we’ve seen lately, the Gilbane acquisition is nothing alarming, but rather expected.