Posts tagged "document management"

2010 Open Source CMS Market: Drupal Trails Joomla!, DotNetNuke Challenges

Water&stone has released their annual Open Source CMS Market Share Report. Who is dominating the open source web content management space? And who managed to move ahead of other contenders? Find out here.

The Report

2010 is the third year that water&stone has published the Open Source CMS Market Share Report. The report is non-commercial and released under an open license, unlike similar work from other industry firms. This year’s report began with thirty open source systems but ten were eliminated due to current market position. Water&stone assess the remaining twenty systems on metrics related to rate of adoption and brand strength. Using this data, the report defines market leaders.

The report uses multiple data sources to draw conclusions. In addition to a survey, which water&stone conducted with over 5000 responses, other metrics included:

  • Product downloads
  • W3Techs’ analysis of technologies used on the top one million websites in Alexa’s rankings
  • BuiltWith’s technology rankings
  • The number of developers offering services in the technology on Elance and Guru
  • The number of books in print for the platform
  • Google page rank

Using a multi-faceted approach minimizes the likelihood that the outcome is biased toward a single factor and hopefully quiets the inevitable cries of, “But what about…” that will come from supporters of platforms that did not rank as expected. The firm was also very careful to note cases where their methodology might have resulted in a skewed outcome.

The Good

WordPressJoomla! and Drupal, three of the most well-known open source CMS platforms, remain decisively in control of the market. In metrics such as number of installations and shares of Facebook
posts, these three clearly dominated the field.

 

water&stone 2010 CMS survey - installations

 

share of Facebook posts

In fact, in almost every measure, there is little indication that the leadership of the top three platforms is being challenged in the near future; but this is the internet — we could all be surprised.

As for the leader of the pack, WordPress managed to take the lead in a number of key metrics. They included:

  • Search interest
  • Daily website traffic
  • Daily unique visitors
  • Daily page views
  • Downloads

In terms of technology specific results, Liferay leads the Java WCM market, followed closely by Alfresco. DotNetNuke is the leading platform for the .NET market, although newcomer Umbraco is quickly narrowing the lead. The report also lists Concrete5 and Umbraco as solutions that are gathering strength in the market.

The Bad

The report identifies the following platforms as struggling to maintain market share:

Using metrics like Google's search query interest, water&stone concluded that these projects are showing negative market trends.

  

Google search interest

The Ugly

Jahia and phpWebSite, which were included in the 2009 version of the report, were removed from the top twenty list for 2010. Textpattern and Xoops may also want to take note — the 2010 report notes the two as at risk systems.

In its second year making the at risk list, Textpattern's downward slope has continued into 2010. The report found low adoption rates, little growth in third party support, poor search engine visibility and low brand familiarity for Textpattern.

The results for Xoops did not look much better. Xoops finished last in many important metrics like downloads and installations while leading negative indicators like abandonment rate.

The Open Source CMS Market Share Report is likely a valuable source of information for any organization evaluating CMS tools. However, readers should be careful to consider their unique needs to determine if the conclusions are applicable. For example, small firms overwhelmingly dominated survey responses; larger firms may have radically different challenges.

Have you read the full report? How did your favorite CMS system fare?

Editor's Note: See how your favorite open source CMS fared this year compared to last year.

Dealing with CMS Obsolescence

As a consultant, I don’t often get to enjoy the fruits of a successful project. I get a good handshake and a nice project wrap-up party. After that, I usually move on to the next client, often to solve the same problems, with some new wrinkles, all over again. I do like to stay in contact with several clients and over the years, there is one challenge that they are rarely prepared to solve — obsolescence.

The Price of Success

Let’s take your generic enterprise content management system — this is CMSWire after all. Five years ago, you sat down, defined your content types, defined the content life-cycles and built out the core business processes.

Over the years, new types were added and new processes were implemented, but on the whole, it has been a reliable system.

On top of that, you have had some luck. The original software vendor has not been bought by a company looking to move customers to a different product or aiming to milk the software maintenance. Upgrades have been implemented on a fairly regular basis and they haven’t been nightmarish.

Now the system’s age is showing. Over time, meaningful new releases have become further apart. Meanwhile, there has been a gradual change in your requirements that didn’t track directly with the vendor’s enhancements. Some examples that I’ve seen the past few years include:

  • Progressing from managing content to capturing the content.
  • Supporting significantly more users in the organization over a wider area.
  • Sharing information with external partners.

These are all problems. All in all, it is a pretty pickle. There are two basic approaches you can take to attacking this problem.

Just Start Over

This always has lots of appeal at first blush. A fresh start with new technology can be very exciting. The techies love to play with the latest technology and management can point to the shiny new toy that they brought into this world to solve the problem.

Of course it is never that simple. Remove from consideration all of the content that may have to be migrated and just look at the embedded business rules.

There is a lot of business knowledge tied up in older systems. Outside consultants/experts may come look at an older system and start pointing to how things can be better if they only use their products instead.

Theoretically, their assertions may be correct. The issue is that you have to make things dramatically better for the users to accept the new solution. Do not underestimate the ever-present danger of a key feature not being available in the new system. What you may view as something that needs to be listed as a key requirement, the user may just assume that feature is a given and not even mention it. That lasts until the user realizes it isn’t in the new system.

Let’s consider the enhancement route.

Bonus Features

An alternative to a full replacement is acquiring new technology that can enhance and supplement the current system's capabilities. This can be as straightforward as adding a new search engine, to something more obscure as compression software for content.

A common challenge in larger organizations is budgetary politics. Management may see the problem and wonder why the existing system can’t do what they deem to be core features of an Enterprise CMS. Management tends to react in one of three ways:

  1. Decide to live with it. Why spend any more money? The system has been good enough for years. Why not a little longer?
  2. Replace it. Take on the previously discussed challenges and bring in a new vendor that does it all.
  3. Go with the Golf Solution.

Let me explain that last one. The Golf Solution happens when someone in management is socializing with someone and they share, at a very high level, the basic problem. The response they hear is: “Oh, my company can fix that.”

This leads to an actual meeting where it is agreed that the suggested solution is the answer to the problem. Shortly after that, the actual system team is brought into the discussion.

Now comes the tricky part. The components being proposed aren’t ideal. They may not even be on the shortlist of solutions. They do have one very critical characteristic though: management support and the budget that goes with it.

When faced with this situation, experience has taught me to just go with the flow. Make the focus learning about the proposed solution and educating the provider about the realities of the system they are trying to “fix”. What you will learn is that the solution provider doesn’t always want to implement at all costs. Use them to bring your system out of obsolescence and help your users get the most out of their system.

With the above said, eventually you will have to break down and take the replacement route. But remember, there is nothing wrong with making your existing investments sweat a little if they are still solving your business needs.

Oh, and like everything, your mileage may vary.

Litera Releases Innova v6.0: Simplifies Document Automation Processes

litera_logo_2009.jpg

 

Since document content lifecycle management company (DCLM) Litéra (news, site) bought document automation company SoftWise last December, it has been working on developing Innova, SoftWise’s automation platform. After six months work on it version 6.0 has finally been released.

Targeting law firms in particular, Innova streamlines and standardizes document creation and automation and now comes with new features for Microsoft Active Directory configuration as well as new legal modules for 19 more states in the US.

With Innova 6.0 the company aims to simply the platform making it accessible to more users in more enterprises and has done so by delivering a user-friendly macro/template package with an architecture that uses advanced multi-level caching to increase speeds and improve productivity.

Innova Document Automation

Part of the Litéra group of document lifecycle management products, Innova is a document automation platform that streamlines and standardizes document creation and automation.

  • Active Directory Integration: With direct integration into an enterprise Active Directory, enterprises will not have to configure connections to an external personnel database.
  • QuickDoc: Easy change between document types by extraction of data in one document type for use in another. Also includes ability to fill dialog boxes with information from saved documents.
  • Doc ID: Support for multiple versions, or even different document management systems as well as multiple versions of Microsoft Office.
  • Numbering Module: Support for the existing number module with improvements including support for multiple Table of Content(s).

Litéra And SoftWise

Innova became part of the Litéra family of document content lifecycle products following Litéra's acquisition of SoftWise in December 2009.

Like most similar deals the price the company paid was not released, but at the time the company said Innova would add feature-rich document creation, template management and numbering to some of the components in Litera’s DCLM suite.

For its part, Litéra’s DCLM software suite enables users to create, collaborate, compare and cleanse documents as they move through the document lifecycle.

Litéra, which works principally with corporations and law firms, said the acquisition was prompted by the need to provide standardized document creation and process automation using a single interface.

FileTek Releases Migration Tool, Adapters For SharePoint, IBM, Open Text

filetekLogo[1].gif

Information and document management provider FileTek (site) has just released new content migration software that enables users to move documents that are stored on network files into enterprise content management systems.

The new Trusted Edge for Intelligent Content Migration (ICM) works by providing adapters for the majority of systems including SharePoint, Open Text’s Livelink and IBM’s content and records management software.

In essence what ICM does is to locate, classify and move documents based on administrator defined criteria into secure locations by uniformly classifying and tagging both new and legacy content during the archiving process.

Intelligent Document Migrations

Maybe it’s just an accident that this has been released only two months before the release of SharePoint 2010 but whether it is or not, it will give SharePoint users an additional adapter that will be able to take network documents and throw them into SharePoint.

While it’s not the only system that will benefit, all the buzz at the moment is SharePoint 2010 and this kind of release needs to be seen in this context just for the moment.

One of the principal advantages of this new software is that it will be able to burrow into shared drives across a network and all the information that is stored in them, be that information business critical or horoscopes downloaded over lunch breaks, identify what is needed, take it out of the shared files and send it to a safe repository.

For the large part, current software moves bulk data “as is” and pushes it all across to a repository so instead of having a disorganized and uncategorized stack of document files in your shared folders, you have a stack of disorganized and uncategorized documents in your records management, document management or enterprise content management system. And that’s not good.

ICM deals with this by tagging only relevant content according to pre-configured file policies that can be built around file type, path, name and even file content. Based on that it can make intelligent decisions on whether the content should be migrated. If the content is moved, it is tagged with further metadata to make it easier again to find.

FileTek’s Trusted Edge

This is not the first foray for FileTek into the world of unstructured content, nor is it the first time it has produced software to deal with it.

Last September it released Trusted Edge v4.0 which is able to get into employee’s laptops and desktops — transparently they say — to get all the unclassified content sitting there properly organized.

By its own estimates, FileTek reckons that up to 80% of unstructured content resides on either desktops on laptops and their focus with that release was to cull the content form “the edge of networks” and classify it all.

It too can work with the major ECM systems, including SharePoint, IBM Content Manager, Open Text Livelink and EMC. Watch out for further solutions to whip all that unruly content into shape!

EMC Extends MS Exchange, Adds Email Disaster Recovery

EMC and Microsoft can’t seem to get enough of each other. This time, EMC (site) is using a new API that came with Exchange 2010, extending the Exchange platform and offering back-up and disaster recovery for it.

Announced recently as a continuation of its “deep engineering” work with Microsoft, EMC is using Exchange’s Replication API not only to provide disaster and recovery solutions but also to add synchronous replication to Exchange.

By adding EMC’s Replication Enabler to the Exchange environment, EMC is giving companies an added layer of back-up, and by automating it ensures that in the event of a systems failure email will still be available across the enterprise.

Exchange's Replication API

This is the first time that a company outside of the direct Microsoft family has made use of the Replication API that came with the recently released Exchange Server 2010. In doing so, EMC has been able to considerably extend the reach of its data and recovery tools.

There are three new tools:

  • Replication Enabler for MS Exchange Server 2010: Enables integration of synchronous replication into the Exchange environment and supports EMC RecoverPoint Continuous Replication and MirrorView Remote Synch replication.
  • EMC Autostart: Provides infrastructure monitoring and automated restart for MES 2010 and is particularly useful and aimed at enterprises with geographically distant data centers.
  • Replication Manager: Provides point-in-time replicas of information lost in databases located on EMC arrays.

Consulting Services

EMC is also offering consulting services to enterprises that are looking to deploy or upgrade to Exchange Server, which was introduced last November, as well as for those that are looking to deploy Microsoft’s holistic communications strategy, Microsoft Unified Communications (MUC).

Exchange Server 2010 is corner-stone of that strategy, which aims to manage all asynchronous communications and delivers unified messaging (e-mail, voice mail, faxes, and calendaring) to users directly.

While EMC is not the only company to offer services for Exchange 2010 — Dell (site) started offering migration services in November — by providing comprehensive back-up disaster recovery, they are likely to be amongst the most popular.

Oracle Enhances its ECM with Imaging and Process Management

Oracle (site) has announced two major additions to the document management module of its Universal Content Management (UCM) system today: Forms Recognition software and Imaging and Process Management 11g.

Offering End to End Business Capabilities

Some say the enterprise content management suite may have had its day. Oracle is challenging that view with a couple of new releases to its Oracle Universal Content Management Suite.

The addition of Oracle Forms Recognition and Oracle Imaging and Process Management mean that Oracle now provides end to end capabilities for managing content and complex business processes.

Part of Enterprise Application Documents

Both Oracle Imaging and Process Management 11g and Oracle Forms Recognition are components of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Both solutions are also delivering on the implementation of Oracle's Enterprise Application Documents (EAD) strategy first introduced at Oracle's OpenWorld last October.

Enterprise Application Documents is a strategy that provides Oracle business applications an integrated set of content management services which includes document capture, imaging and workflow (using Oracle Image and Process Management) and storage, management and access to attachments (using Oracle Content Management).

Oracle Imaging and Process Management 11g

Oracle Imaging and Process Management 11g is an integrated platform for managing document images within business processes. The platform leverages solutions such as Document Capture and its web-based equivalent Distributed Document Capture, and the new Forms Recognition solution.

The solution supports a single enterprise content repository for all enterprise content using Oracle Universal Content Management and has pre-integrated adapters for the Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Business Process Management.

Capabilities of the suite include:

  • Intelligent data capture
  • Annotation and markup of images
  • Automated routing and approvals
  • Solution templates that include workflow, process rules. data forms and dashboards
  • Support for 27 languages 

It's also important to note that Oracle Imaging and Processing 11g is built on a new platform. Previously a .Net based application, it is now built on the J2EE platform and supports an SOA architecture, placing it firmly integrated in the Fusion Middleware platform.

Oracle Forms Recognition

Oracle Forms Recognition does not use templates to define extraction rules. Instead it incorporates advanced learning capabilities. You submit a sample of document types to the solution and it will figure out how analyze, recognize and categorize documents that are scanned into its Document Capture Solutions. This includes the ability to recognize a new document type without any administration intervention.

Once you have captured data using one of the two document capture solutions listed above, Oracle Forms Recognition provides the ability automatically extract information from those documents and integrate it into specific business applications as required based on the document type, business process and vendor.

Providing a 360 Degree View of Information

Remember what Hasan Rizvi, Oracle Senior Vice President of Oracle Fusion Middleware Product Development said during OpenWorld:

"…plans include the most complete ECM platform by providing a unified repository with end-to-end image processing," Rizvi said. “Oracle's plans include enabling more efficient and timely reuse of content while also continue delivering tighter integration with Oracle Applications as well as Oracle WebLogic Server and other Oracle Fusion Middleware."

It is true that the managing of enterprise content should not exist in a vacuum. It is completely tied to business applications and business processes. Enterprises do need solutions that enable them to have this complete view of their enterprise content without having to use multiple systems.

Available as both standalone products or as part of the Oracle UCM Suite, Oracle Imaging and Process Management 11g and Oracle Forms Recognition are available today. In fact, Oracle Imaging and Process Management was officially unveiled during an Oracle Webinar in late February. You can view that webinar or read a Q&A on Oracle's blog.

Selecting a CMS: Managing Product Demos

If you followed the advice from the first two articles in this series (How to build a short listand Developing scenarios), you should have a good idea of what you are looking for and with what products you might find some content management system bliss. This next article provides guidance on how you can start evaluating actual products against your defined requirements.

 

This next phase of the selection process is where you evaluate the products against your requirements. Successful completion of this phase will mean that you have selected a product/vendor that is compatible with your content and your way of working. The product satisfies both your objective and subjective criteria.

Failure in this phase means that you will either be swayed by the most charismatic salesperson or that you will be stuck in a never ending sales cycle that doesn't drive you towards an informed decision. Neither case is very appealing — so lets avoid both.

Take Product Demos Seriously

The vendor presentation and product demonstration is one of the most critical components in a CMS selection process. You will learn more from seeing a product in action than reading an analyst report or a RFP response from a vendor.

But to be effective, a product demonstration needs considerable investment from both sides. You won't learn anything by occasionally peaking up from your email to glance at a canned demo about a fictional business that has nothing to do with your company.

Instead, you should partner with the vendor to develop a prototype that supports the scenarios you have given in the RFP. In this exercise, you get to experience what it feels like to be a customer working with the vendor to achieve success. If you run a demonstration properly you will be able to answer the following questions:

  • Does the vendor understand your business and the way you work?
  • Will you be treated like an important customer?
  • Does your company and the vendor have good chemistry?
  • How naturally does the product fit your vision?
  • What customizations or compromises would have to be made to use this product?

Construct a Thoughtful Invitation

The first thing you need to do is connect with the vendors on your short list to tell them that you are evaluating their product and could use their help. This is where most companies go wrong. By pulling out their standard RFP template and loading it up with demands one shoots oneself in the foot, and early.

The worst of such offenses have a glob of irrelevant boilerplate text and then a long feature checklist. One CMS vendor I know even received an RFP that asked if the product contained any radioactive materials — clearly this was language designed for another type of procurement and the customer was too lazy to even read what he sent out.

Trust me, when you do work like this, you are sending a signal to the vendors that you don't care. Some vendors will not engage at all. Others will play along but invest as little as possible in the opportunity — they know that the sales cycle will be long and unpredictable.

You get what you give: an RFP with a lot of boilerplate text will get responses with a lot of boilerplate text. Plus, you will get stuck in "qualification" queue until you show some signs of intelligent life.

The good news is that, if you have done the work of developing scenarios, you have a lot of information that shows (a) you are serious about this initiative and, (b) you know what you want.

Vendors love scenarios because they efficiently tell the story of content in your organization and help them understand what you need. In addition to your 10 most important scenarios, your RFP should contain the following information:

  • Background about your company and division
  • Sample content types and perhaps some screen captures of how they appear on your site
  • A roadmap of your selection process with a timetable
  • A point of contact
  • The response format you you expect.

Be Concise in Your Communications

Attributed to an impressive number of famous folk including Mark Twain, Pascal and a host of others, there's a quote that I find to be a useful and humorous reminder. It goes something like this: "

If i'd had more time, i'd have writen a much shorter letter."

The most important part to keep in mind is that assembling your RFP is not a contest for who can write the longest, most elaborate proposal. The RFP response will not help you manage your content and the quality of an RFP response says nothing about the product. In fact, the prettiest proposals are usually written by a dedicated proposal writer and re-used across lots of sales opportunities — they have very little to do with your RFP.

Some RFPs demand that participants spend weeks of time filling out a response. You don't want the vendors to spend all of their effort on the RFP and then coast through the rest of the sales process. Vendor resources are much better spent building a prototype that shows you how the product would work in your organization. This will give the vendors a chance to show how they approach problems and how their products work. Keep things as informal as you can.  The more leeway you give, the easier it will be easier to identify differences between the vendors and products. When differences are more visible, decisions are easier.

If you really want a vendor to put in the effort to get to know you and translate their features in terms of your requirements, you should let it be known that you are only evaluating 2-3 products. This indicates that you are in the home-stretch of your decision and it is time to pull out the stops. This will help the vendors justify putting their best people on the opportunity rather than pacing themselves for a long slog. Time-boxing a decision helps people work more efficiently on both sides.

Preparation

A successful demo is all about preparation. You need to prepare the vendor — or systems integrator or in house staff if you are evaluating non-commercial software — with the information they need so they can do their best. You also need to prepare the audience on what they should be looking for.

  • Verify that the vendor understands your requirements
    Have the vendor prepare a written response describing how their product can support your scenarios. Review it and give them feedback with ample time to adjust their demo in case they misunderstood what you need. I typically encourage vendors to do a pre-demo walk-through of the scenario in front of their customer contact person. If you are a vendor, always take advantage of this offer. In my own selection consulting work, when one of the three candidates does a pre-demo walk-through, the demos are so much better that they win 100% of the time.
  • Prepare the audience 
    Prepare your audience for the demo by telling them what they should be looking for. A scorecard that lists the scenarios is useful for keeping people's attention on their needs, not gimicky features. Vendors tend to up their game when the realize they are dealing with a sophisticated audience.

    If the audience does not understand basic content management theory (separation of content and layout, re-usability, content life-cycle, etc.) address that before the first demo. Vendors are actually pretty good at explaining that stuff but there are more effective uses of their time.

  • Call the vendor's references
    Don't wait to the end of the process to call references. If you talk to references before the demonstration, you will be more educated for the demo. Maybe a complaint from a reference was addressed in a newer version of the software. Maybe a feature that demos really nicely isn't practical for everyday use.

Demonstration

The demo should use everyone's time as effectively as possible and should be organized to ensure that vital information is communicated to the right people. I usually allocate 4 hours but the agenda is broken up so that not all stakeholders have to sit through the whole thing.

  • Limit company background information 
    The vendor should be able to introduce their company and make the case that it is a stable company, it gets content management, and knows your business. However, you need to contain the amount of time that they take to do it. They should be able to build a level of credibility and comfort with the audience but not infringe on the time they have to talk about their product within your context. Your short-listing exercise should have already pre-qualified the vendors along these lines.
  • Mind your manners 
    Even if your corporate culture thinks it is OK for staff to attend meetings in-body only, keep distractions to a minimum. Ask your audience to put aside their email, blackberries, and cell phones and pay attention. Give the vendors every opportunity to engage with the audience. If the vendor is missing the mark, don't tune out. Instead, help steer them back on course. If you can't do that, politely end the meeting as quickly as possible and be happy that you were able to eliminate an option in a very hard decision.
  • Mark your scorecards
    Without making it feel like a Bingo hall, have the audience take notes in their scorecards so that they remember what they saw and their impressions. By the time they have gotten back to their desks and answered their first of fifty waiting emails, they will have forgotten half of what they saw. The most important thing for your audience to capture is their doubts. These are aspects of the product or service that raise questions and concerns. The follow up phase will focus on these doubts.

Follow up

Don't let wait long to get feedback from the audience. It doesn't take long for people to forget. Follow up and plan the next steps as soon as possible.

  • The post mortem
    As soon as possible, get everyone in a room and have them express their observations and impressions and, most importantly, doubts. For each doubt, you need to first validate (was this a misunderstanding or an oversight?), mitigate (what compromises or customizations could compensate for this issue?), and rate (what risk remains after mitigation? Is the customization expensive or does it risk future upgrades? Is the compromise sustainable?).
  • Schedule follow ups
    Review the doubts that came up and have the vendor invalidate or suggest mitigation strategies. For the vendors that didn't make the cut, explain why. If the demo was a disaster but you think the product still has potential, you could give them another chance or you could take it as a sign that they are not prepared to support you. Remember, after the contract is signed, things are only going to get worse.
  • Prototype
    Some doubts will be best addressed with a prototype that the vendor can leave behind for you to use. Different vendors will have different policies around this. Some create hosted sand boxes and allow business users to experiment. Others provide trial versions of the software so that a customer can attend training and try to build the prototype themselves.
Document Management Roll-up: Office in the Cloud, Business Process Management to Follow

The release date for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 is out and about, but not everyone is happy with some of the details. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the company has ambitions with this release for a fully functioning Office in the cloud.

Microsoft Aims For Office In The Cloud

The big news this week is, of course, is the announcement of definitive dates for the release of SharePoint  2010 (site)  and Microsoft Office (site). It’s on May 12 (for businesses) and June for home users, if you haven’t been paying attention.

You may also have come across Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s speech at the University of Washington where he outlined the company’s plan for its products and the cloud.

In his outline of Microsoft’s vision of the cloud, he described Office 2010 and the company’s ambition to run it from the cloud as the “most mainstream” effort Microsoft would be doing in cloud computing.

We're really taking Microsoft Office to the cloud, letting it run in the cloud, letting it run from the cloud, helping it let people connect and communicate and express themselves … That's one of the core kind of technical ambitions behind the next release of our Office product …” he said.

And already, 90% of the companies Microsoft is working with are happy to go with the elements of Office that are already in the cloud with “lot of good work … still going on for the consumer”.

Microsoft also plans to give its corporate customers the option of hosting the Web-based version of Office 2010 on their own servers in order to give them more control of the product.

Office 2010 Tech Guarantee Outlined

Speaking of Microsoft Office, details of the Technology Guarantee that will accompany the release of Office 2010 were finally explained by Jevon Fark, Sr. Marketing Manager for Microsoft Office on the Office 2010 Engineering blog.

And not everyone is happy. The Guarantee goes like this: consumers who have purchased and activated Office 2007 since March 5 and who purchase it up until September 30 will be able to download Office 2010 at no additional cost when it becomes available in June 2010.

To be eligible you need to:

  • Purchase Office 2007, or a new PC with Office 2007, and activate it between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010.
  • Have, or create a Windows Live ID.
  • Redeem your Tech Guarantee before October 31

You will not be eligible for it if if you have Office 2007 through a volume license (typically business owners with five computers or more), promotional or not-for-resale copies, or bought Office 2007 through the Home Use Rights or Student Select programs.

However, some users say they feel “snubbed” by the fact that only those who purchased it after March 5 will be covered by the guarantee. Many of the comments on Fark’s post are from users in that situation and they’re just not happy.

Office 2010 will be available online and on retail shelves in June. Until then, you can can always use the Office 2010 beta.

SaaS BPM Is Finding Friends

New market research from Datamonitor (site) is showing that many business process management vendors will have to look at their application in the cloud because of the success of the SaaS model.

The strategic focus entitled SaaS BPM: Silencing the Skeptics says that now is the right time for BPM vendors to make their SaaS strategy mainstream.

While demand in the on-premises BPM market continues unabated, SaaS BPM is slowly finding acceptance in certain pockets of the BPM market. The research indicates that lower entry costs, broader reach and faster time to deployment could endear SaaS BPM offerings to customers that are comfortable with the cloud computing application delivery model.

Another reason it is becoming attractive is that many business processes are carried-out using resources outside an organization, such as BPO, SaaS customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and cloud infrastructure.

The result is that as the number of external influences in a process grow, it will become imperative for BPM to be able to customize the external services it consumes.

However, the effect of SaaS BPM offerings on the BPM market will be complementary rather than negative. The SaaS model will boost the proliferation of BPM and help BPM reach a larger user base. Interested in more?

Healthcare Mistrusts The Cloud

BridgeHead Software (site), a developer of healthcare data management software, unveiled partial preliminary results of its Data Management Healthcheck 2010 survey, which shows that only 6.5% of respondents would use cloud storage for archived data.

Furthermore, only 33% noted their organization plans to adopt a cloud storage strategy for any data over the next 12-24 months. The online survey, launched on February 9, is designed to assess healthcare's preparedness for the massive volume of data generated by the industry's reliance upon information.

More than 80% say that the most significant factor influencing decisions about utilizing cloud storage is concern about security and availability of data. Respondents also cited cost and a lack of conviction that cloud storage offers significant benefits when compared to local media.

The Data Management Healthcheck 2010 survey, will remain open during the WoHIT conference in Barcelona, Spain, between March 15 - 18, 2010. If you want to take part in the survey you can access it online.

Recession Cuts European Printer Market by 17%

The combined printer, copier and multifunctional product (MFP) market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) totalled 39.6 million shipments in 2009, a decline of 17.8 per cent from 2008, according to Gartner (site).

Overall end-user spending also declined by 21 per cent from €14.4 billion in 2008 to €11.3 billion in 2009, as a result of tighter credit controls by banks and cuts in IT spending by businesses as well as consumers.

Many organizations are still delaying the purchase of new products as cost containment policies remain intact with a focus on cost reduction. However, colour devices registered a 5 per cent growth.

Each of the top five vendors saw a decline in 2009. HP remained the market leader in the EMEA printer, copier and MFP market, but registered the worst decline at 21 per cent year-on-year. Canon, ranked No. 2, continued to perform well in the A4 segment.

Samsung Electronics posted the lowest market decline at 2 per cent in 2009, which helped it maintain its No. 2 position in the page market, led by HP.

If you’re interested in more you can log on to the Gartner website.

7 Google Docs Tips for Smarter Working, Smarter Collaboration

No longer in beta form and poised to snatch a portion of the market typically commanded by the stalwart Microsoft Office software suite — Google Docs is providing an as-of-yet unrivaled online document editing and collaboration platform for the masses. Here's 7 ways you can use it even better.

Developers at Google, many of whom are part of Google's own user community, are adding and improving features to an already brimming list of document tools at a rate higher than their user base can seemingly disseminate. Despite Google Docs’ intuitive interface, there are some worthwhile tips and lesser-known tricks to remember when working on your next project. Here they are.

1. Shared Folders

To help you organize files and information, Google Docs has been kind enough to include a folder tab for such a purpose. Simply select Folder from the Create new drop-down menu in Google Docs, customize your folder through a series of prompts, drag and drop your files into the new folder and enjoy the benefits of having your work aggregated, online in an easily accessible and shareable folder.

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Google Docs — Sharing Folders

2. Chatting While You Work

Instant connectivity and communication is vital in today’s fast-paced work environments. Naturally, Google Docs offers a chat feature to deliver on this necessity.

Whether you need to collaborate with a partner on a project or just get some insight and advice on your work, you're moments away from a chat session with this feature. By clicking the dropdown menu titled "Share" in a document and granting a person of your choosing access, you open the door to live communication.

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Google Docs — In-context Chat for Real Time Collaboration

3. Revisions Upon Revisions

Many a person has found themselves aimlessly hoping to revert back a copy of a document that is no longer available. With Google Docs, you are now able to track changes through a revision history and go between versions at your leisure.

Use this feature to keep track of the changes you’ve made during a document’s creation, share changes with partners or to aid in assessing the progress of your project.

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Google Docs — Revision History and Actions

4. Multi-page Forms

Forms can be useful for anyone looking to organize a substantial amount of collected data in a spreadsheet. Google Docs provides a forms feature that allows you to do just this. From the Docs list or a spreadsheet, you can create a new form. Tailor your form to your needs, and e-mail it away to your desired recipients; then create a spreadsheet with the data you gather.

5. Quick Document Viewer

Why struggle with a litany of applications to view Word, PDF, PPT, TIFF and other files when Google Docs offers a self-contained service to preview these documents on the fly?

Google Docs Viewer allows you to create a viewable document and send it to any number of recipients by mailing a hyperlink pointing to your document, resulting in a quickly accessible file addressed to your recipient without ever leaving a browsing session.

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Google Docs — Viewing and Sharing Documents Quickly

6. Script a Spreadsheet

Google Docs grants users the ability to become developers with the scripting feature in spreadsheets. The feature allows for nearly limitless functionality, bounded only by your knowledge of JavaScript.

Fear not, though, as code is readily available online to help customize your spreadsheet to your liking. Ideas for utilizing this feature include: creating an expense report, creating a timesheet and other workflow-improving ideas.

To start, navigate to the “Scripts” tab in the “Tools” drop-down menu in a spreadsheet. For a crash course on how to create a basic script, go here: http://www.google.com/google-d-s/scripts/yourfirstscript.html.

Note: You can also use Apps Scripts to script the creation of Google Sites.

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Google Docs — Adding Custom Scripting to Spreadsheets

7. Upload Any File

A recently launched feature for Google Docs is the upload any file feature. With it, users can — as indicated by its name — upload any file to Google’s servers, making it accessible online and sharable with your collaborators.

Additionally, uploaded files can be edited and stored within Google Docs. To begin, select "Upload" from the default Google Docs window and follow the prompts to upload your files.

Storage space is limited, but the good news is that you can buy as much as you need at reasonable rates.

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Google Docs — Upload Any File Type to Specified Folders (and share)

SpringCM To Bring Government To Cloud-based Document Management

A new partnership between cloud content management provider SpringCM (site) and technology consulting company Acumen will bring cloud-based solutions to government agencies, particularly document management and workflow solutions.

The move towards cloud computing follows plans in the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget of the United States Government to introduce pilot software projects that will cut the cost of content, information and records management, and introduce on-demand case management and workflow management.

SpringCM already offers these solutions, but with the experience brought by Acumen Solutions, which already advises Federal agencies on commercial content management best practices, Steve Maier, SpringCM VP and general manager of government solutions says they should be able to align their document management solutions with government needs.

Government Cloud Adoption Difficult

However, Maier doesn’t expect the move to the cloud by government organizations to be an easy one. In an audio interview on the Fed Cloud Blog last month, he said the technology purchasing pattern of government departments, which are inextricably linked with procurement processes, will make cloud adoption difficult.

“The government is interesting because, given the size of their procurements and the things that they do, they’re a little hamstrung by the procurement process. I don’t think there’s a shortfall in desire, but the procurement process is very much tuned to the status quo,” he said.

He says that because with SaaS, users are buying services rather than assets, the procurement process will have to be reprogrammed and that this could take up to two year to do.SpringCM Platform.jpg
SpringCM Platform

SpringCM 5.4

Late last year, SpringCM released v5.4 of its SaaS-based enterprise content management system, which did much to upgrade its ability to provide secure records management.

It took records management a few steps further with several new capabilities including:

  • Setting retention period of a document using a date field inside the document
  • Automatic classification through a SpringCM Advanced Workflow

It also took reporting and dashboards two steps further with more out of the box reports and more options for dashboard customization.

On top of that users can design and deploy their own ECM applications by accessing these core services through web services, email and fax, web client and other approaches.

There is no indication of when the first results of this partnership will be visible, but there is considerable pressure across government agencies to cut IT costs so it will probably be sooner than the 24 months that Maier predicts.