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May 28, 2005

A tale of two shows, CeBIT and PacPrint

CeBit and PacPrint show passes
I've been "beta testing" a business advisory service which we're launching on July 1 and had reasons to be at both CeBit Sydney and PacPrint in Melbourne this past week. What a contrast...

CeBit felt like just another IT show, only with a New Zealand pavilion. It wasn't much different from the computer shows in years gone by, although Wireless Networking and mobile companies had replaced hard drives and mother board vendors. Of course, there were the AIIA stands and the national stands, subsidized by their respective governments, but as a show, it didn't work for me. A very, very pale imitation of the Hannover CeBIT show. Moreover, the question that hung in the air at CeBit was "What is the target market of the show?"

Pacprint show floor
At PacPrint in Melbourne, it was abundantly clear who the audience were: Printers, people and companies involved in "Ink On Paper" technology. You knew who they were and why they were there. They were looking for that printing press or some other piece of technology which might make their business more productive or improve their quality of service. There was a sense of excitement and interest which seemed sorely lacking at the other show.

Of course, there was as much Information Technology on site at Jeff's Shed in Melbourne as there was at CeBit. Powering not just the presses and ancillary equipment, but of course also on stands like Adobe's. An important software category at the show was workflow. Printing equipment is expensive, and needs to be constantly "kept fed" in order to provide a return for their owners.

Quote & Print logo
Workflow is a hot topic and efficient execution determines profit and loss for commercial printing companies. It's good to see an Australian software company, Quote & Print doing well there. They are an example to many in the software business: start with a customer's problem and help them solve it. When there are a number of customers with that same problem, you've got yourself a business. As long as you run it well and stay in touch with the customers, which is exactly why Dave Bell and his company, Quote & Print were at the PacPrint show and not at CeBIT. Simple, really...

Posted by Marius at 05:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2005

The future of Enterprise Content Management

Enterprise Content Management 365 logo
I usually scan over the Penton email newsletter about Content Management because James Brown is an entertaining writer and Content Management is one of my continuing interests (passions?). In his last email, James announced a new series of articles on Penton Europe's CM365 site, the first of which was entitled "The future of Web Content Management", by Adrian Kershaw, Fatwire Software's General Manager for Northern Europe.

I read the article and was surprised that, while mentioning personalization and news, it did not mention Weblogs, RSS and aggregation. I left a comment to that effect, as the web site invited readers to "Add a comment to this article" and hoped to engage Adrian and others into a conversation about how RSS might impact ECM.

Thank you. Your comment has been submitted to our editor and will appear when approved.

Unfortunately, it looks like comments are a one way street at CM365. Four days later, my comment still hasn't turned up on the site. So we might well ask:

We are left with the impression that Content Management Vendors are not looking to learn from the Weblog/RSS phenomenon. They no longer call themselves CMS (Content Management Systems) vendors and have re-branded themselves as being in the "Enterprise Content Management" business. And of course there is a whole industry which is supported by the ECM market: the Analysts, the "Journalists" and the Trade Show organizers. Needed, because customers are confused by the bewildering array of vendors and price points. And in some cases, customers are coming to realize that the Emperor has few clothes and that they're very expensive.

There are millions of users of Personal Content Management Systems (a name which ECM vendors might prefer over "blogs"). Sure, blogging tools are in many cases, crude and unpolished. Users put up with the rough edges because the tools serve their purpose, they allow them to communicate in a way that they couldn't before. It is "Comments, RSS and Aggregators" that lets them turn one-way communication into a conversation with whoever they imagine their readers to be.

That's not to say that there aren't interesting problems to be solved when managing large amounts of content or that it isn't useful having a predictable framework to build a web site, but one would think that Enterprises would want to communicate as well as manage their content.

Weblogging is disrupting the CMS market and vendors will ignore it at their peril . The Innovator's Dilemma and Solution by Clayton Christensen (not to mention the Cluetrain Manifesto) should be required reading for ECM vendors.

Oh… and Adrian, I feel you describe the past of Web Content Management, rather than its future, no matter what Rupert Murdoch or Forrester might have said. Like you, they have a particular perspective which is not be shared by literally millions of bloggers.

Posted by Marius at 04:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

About...

In the process of working on a range of projects for clients and privately, I come across interesting, disturbing, useful and useless items. This is where I write about them. Some items might turn into larger projects elsewhere, most will be ephemeral.

I expect readers of this site will be more interested in the impact of technology on business, in usability and how organisations and website visitors interact than in technology for its own sake. Oh... and if you came here expecting to read about sailing, you're in the wrong place. It would also be nice to have some guest spots, but most of the writing around here will probably get done by me, Marius Coomans. Just in case we've never met, here is a photograph from my "late Firmware period".

Photo of Marius

I'll try and leave comments open around here, so feel free to say hello!

Posted by Marius at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack