Archive for June 2013
All of these mobile devices were supposed to make our jobs easier. On a flight? Edit your presentation from your tablet at 10,000 feet. Working from home? Review a time-sensitive document on your smartphone. This was the popular narrative on-the-go workers told themselves, and it was a good story – but it was a fictitious one.
Editing a Word document on an Android phone was not easy, nor was editing an Excel spreadsheet on an iPad. The Microsoft Office that workers know today is still stuck in its original design meant for a desktop computer. And when mobile users tried to download workaround applications, they often found so-called solutions that failed to live up to their promises. That, finally, is changing.
The market is now producing tools that offer a true fix to the mobile workflow challenge, with functionality to address every pain point that has throbbed in recent years. We have entered an era of all-in-one mobile productivity, although the difficulties of the recent past have left mobile enterprises skeptical of a brighter present and future.
That skepticism is understandable. Because Microsoft doesn’t offer an Office version for iPads, Android phones or any of the other popular mobile devices or operating systems that today’s workforce uses to stay connected, those workers had to build their own connectivity to their offices, coworkers and clients. For example, if a mobile worker wanted to revise a Word document on an iPad, he might have a complex recipe in place to make a few simple edits, and now IT solutions have arisen to fill each gap:
Step one: gain access. To even open the file, the mobile worker had to email the attachment to himself or open an account with a cloud storage service like Box.
Step two: view the file. Next, he might have downloaded an operating system-agnostic productivity app like Open Office to open the file on his mobile device and see whatever text, tables or graphics it contained.
Step three: edit or annotate. This can be the most difficult step, since some viewing apps don’t offer editing capabilities. At this stage, an additional annotation app comes into play for writing notes or changing the Word file.
Step four: save and share. To share an edited, annotated file from his mobile device, the user might have opted for Box or Dropbox. Enterprises should use more stringent criteria to leverage combined file access, viewing, editing and sharing on one interface for mobile enterprise workers. There are several mobile-friendly apps that aim to replicate the editing control you have from your desktop, while also building the cloud’s accessibility into their DNA.
Step five: secure. While it’s important that mobile workers can access files from anywhere, risk-averse enterprise users also have to ensure that unauthorised parties can’t access those files. Dropbox and Box have begun building security controls to accommodate enterprise security needs, such as permissions in Dropbox for Teams; however, these controls pale in comparison to security applied directly to a file, rather than the cloud compartment it lives in, for the inevitable point when that file is shared offline, outside the cloud.
IT department concerns with compatibility are no longer limited to “dumb” phones that are solely used for calls or simple text emails. The next generation of enterprise IT problems involve ensuring file compatibility and security across operating systems. Some organisations will even limit employees’ bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices to one OS (like an iPhone) altogether just to avoid the issues that stem from this type of segmentation. The result has been frustration among on-the-go employees, suppressed productivity, and company fear regarding mobile access.
This trend will only continue to grow. By 2017, according to several forecasts by Gartner and Forrester, tablet sales will outnumber desktop sales. In addition, we’re likely to see mobile phone shipments (mostly smartphones) grow to more than 2 billion in 2017, according to Gartner.
To keep pace with the growing employee demand for mobile access and collaboration solutions, businesses must rely on technologies that keep information safe and increase mobile productivity, which is a combination rarely seen in today’s market. This means scrapping piecemeal solutions that only address one aspect of the mobile-user experience and implementing an all-in-one solution that facilitates secure access, editing and collaboration, and control over a file’s complete lifecycle in order to track recipients and revoke access at anytime if needed.
The future belongs to computing on the move. That future is now for enterprises and employees that select secure, native Microsoft Office functionality and collaboration tools for their mobile devices.
To conduct everyday business, mobile users have been forced to download multiple apps to help them access, edit and annotate Microsoft Office files. They have settled for insecure cloud file services for sharing. The time for settling is over. Enterprise IT needs to deliver instant access to any file from anywhere, and companies can now achieve this. Mobile devices were supposed to make our jobs easier. With the recent evolution in mobile collaboration tools, they do.
Professional Software Development
Today comparing software on a market is a difficult task. Each product comes from a market / technology niche with great specific features developed by passionate people and open source lovers. There is no doubt the most appropriate CMS will depend on what one is trying to use it for, but let us try to have sort of a general comparison and see what definitely should be on our Java CMS shortlist.
There are so many Open Source Java CMS but let me focus on some of them which are considered quite popular now and they are Hippo, Magnolia and Jahia.
Hippo contains an optimal combination of enterprise architecture capabilities, fast development possibilities and values of open integration. It enables you to gain the power to be open for integration with any technology that you require to manage, optimize and create high-impact customer experiences.
This CMS is really about managing content for multi-channel publication: web, mobile, social, print, etc. Separation of content from presentation is the cornerstone of the product.
Speaking of analytics systems like Webtrends, Omniture and Google Analytics Hippo CMS makes it possible for you easily embed tracking codes into content to feed analytics systems. You can also observe your content effectiveness, as Hippo exposes data collected by analytics systems in the CMS.
In terms of ecommerce, Hippo has been integrated with many custom eCommerce solutions. Take ATG, Konakart, Magento and IBM WebSphere Commerce as example. Due to the open interfaces of all Hippo components, it works whatever eCommerce system you chose.
Hippo format neutral way of managing content makes it a great source for publishing into portals. So, if your extranet or intranet runs in a portal environment, then it is not necessary to rebuild it with Hippo if you want to increase it with centrally managed content. Hippo plays nicely with all major portals and has been integrated with portals like Liferay, JBoss, SAP and Websphere Portal.
• flexible content structure & faceted navigation
• integration with some external applications
• portal alike functionalities/ integrations
• a lot of sub-sites with sharing content capabilities
Magnolia powers the websites of government as well as leading Fortune 500 enterprises in more than 100 countries on all continents of the world. It is a leading CMS favored for its ease of use and license. The page editing interface enables authors to lay out content exactly as it would appear to the Web site visitor.
Magnolia is similar to Hippo in lots of ways, except that it’s very much focused on managing smaller, “single” websites. Magnolia CMS is not a framework to build web applications, however can be used to manage data. You can for instance manage products and use them as content for web pages.
Authors no longer need to switch between different navigation mechanisms to make a small change, but they can instantly edit any page in their browser.
Magnolia’s inline-editing feature ensures that editors see content paragraphs in their right context at all times, reducing the switching between working modes.
Magnolia has been designed for heavy-load enterprise websites, having a low memory footprint, a smart cache, built-in clustering capabilities, a distributed deployment architecture that decouples authoring from publishing and the possibility to build load-balanced public servers to provide more throughput and availability.
• good for smaller sites (content related); although, Magnolia can be used on quite big sites as well
• need in page editing/inline editing (this is possible within Hippo CMS but Magnolia is bit easier to setup)
• you only have page(content) based site/navigation. Hippo solution is much more flexible in this regard.
Jahia delivers web content integration software by combining enterprise web content management with document and portal management features. Jahia is content centric depending on the type of project you envision, this is a major difference. The granularity of Jahia’s content model offers a deeper control on each content item. This provides greater benefit when it comes to repurposing, reusing content or controlling precisely how your content should behave (roles, workflow, layout, display options, etc.). Of course, these advantages need to be balanced with the specific objectives or your project. For a basic website scenario, this granularity is perhaps not necessary and Magnolia may be an easier choice. For intranet or portal scenarios, complex websites or content based applications, the Jahia model and its widely recognized flexibility may be more appropriate.
Jahia works great with structured content. For instance, Jahia offers options beyond the unique paragraph concept – more suited to create unstructured objects that must be displayed in a page, it offers a variety of additional objects with multiple properties you can manipulate, sort, validate, repurpose, etc. You can obviously decide to only use a simple, unstructured approach in Jahia but the ability to really declare, control and manipulate a wide range of additional object types is very powerful in more complex scenarios. Also important is that all Jahia editing UIs are auto-generated based on simple content definitions: not having to create your own input masks is a huge time saver and cuts development time.
Jahia embeds several frameworks that are very important if you plan to manipulate your content through API and code, and if you want your Jahia instance to interact with other apps / systems, some of the most important ones are) Jboss Drools, Apache Camel, jBPM.
Caching mechanisms in Jahia is based on long experience fine tuning performance for large and high traffic websites: there is a sophisticated and efficient caching solution that deals with both automatic invalidation and expiration. This allows avoiding dependencies and flushing management problems, which is key to complex, large and/or interactive sites scenarios.
• deep control on each content item due to granularity of Jahia’s content model
• good for working with structured content
• good for large and high traffic websites
The CMSs under review have their differences but also have something in common. It might be interesting to note that all three products actually use the same storage technology: Apache Jackrabbit, which is the reference implementation of the Java Content Repository API. This ensures some guarantee as to the possibility to migrate in/out the content relatively easily.
You are welcome to make Java CMS shortlist of your choice longer with other products as well as to share your comments and comparative analysis details on the given ones. It would be really great to learn more on this subject as well as get to know your experience.
The stumbling block for many companies and the reason why organizations fall behind in the planning and pre-planning stages of big data, appears to be confusion on how best to make big data work for the company and pay off competitively.
With all the talk about rapid deployment and breakneck business change, there can be a tendency to assume that businesses are up and running with new technologies as soon as these technologies emerge from proof of concept and enter a mature and commercialized state. However, the realities of where companies are don’t always reflect this.
Take virtualization. It has been on the scene for over a decade-yet recent research by 451 Research shows that only 51 percent of servers in enterprise data centers around the world are virtualized. Other recent survey data collected by DataCore shows that 80 percent of companies are not using cloud storage, although cloud concepts have also been with us for a number of years.
This situation is no different for big data, as reflected in a Big Data Work Study conducted by IBM’s Institute of Business Value. The study revealed that while 33 percent of large enterprises and 28 percent of mid-sized businesses have big data pilot projects under way, 49 percent of large enterprises and 48 percent of mid-sized businesses are still in big data planning stages, and another 18 percent of large enterprises and 38 percent of mid-sized businesses haven’t yet started big data initiatives.
The good news is that the study also showed that of those organizations actively using big data analytics in their businesses, 63 percent said that the use of information and analytics, including big data, is creating a competitive advantage for their organization–up from 37 percent just two years earlier.
The stumbling block for many and the reason why organizations fall behind in the planning and pre-planning stages of big data, appears to be confusion on how best to make big data work for the company and pay off competitively.
Big data projects need to demonstrate value quickly and be tightly linked to bottom line concerns of the business if big data is to cement itself as a long-term business strategy.
In far too many cases when people plan to build out a complete system and architecture before using a single insight or building even one predictive model to accelerate revenue growth. Everyone anticipates the day when Big Data can become a factory spitting out models that finally divulge all manner of secrets, insights, and profits.
So how do you jump start your big data efforts?
Find big data champions in the end business and business cases that are tightly constructed and offer opportunities where analytics can be quickly put to use.
When Yarra Trams of Melbourne Australia wanted to reduce the amount of repair time in the field for train tracks, it placed Internet sensors over physical track and polled signals from these devices into an analytics program that could assess which areas of track had the most wear, and likely would be in need of repair soon. The program reduced mean time to repair (MTTR) for service crews because it was able to preempt problems from occurring in the first place. Worn track could now be repaired or replaced before it ever became a problem-resulting in better service (and higher satisfaction) for consumers.
Define big data use cases that can either build revenue or contribute to the bottom line.
Santam, the largest short-term insurance provider in South Africa, used big data and advanced analytics to collect data about incoming claims, automatically assessing each one against different factors to help identify patterns of fraud to save millions in fraudulent insurance payments.
Focus on customers
There already is a body of mature big data applications that surround the online customer experience. Companies (especially if they are in retail) can take advantage of this if they team with a strong systems integrator or a big data products purveyor with experience in this area.
Walmart and Amazon analyze customer buying and Web browsing patterns for help in predicting sales volumes, managing inventory and determining pricing.
Professional Software Development
There are many good open-source CMSs for web development. TYPO 3 is one of them. Although it is considered to be a really powerful CMS, but does it mean it serves well? Will it be appropriate for your website? Why use it and not some other CMS? To answer all these questions let’s try to understand if it is the right choice for you and why it is so.
TYPO3 is a powerful open-source, enterprise-class CMS Platform based on PHP, designed specifically with the needs of both enterprise and corporate clients in mind. Many CMSs are intended for specific types of websites. For example Magento is great for e-commerce web sites when WordPress is ideal for blogs. As for TYPO3, virtually it fits any website type: home pages, blogs, newspapers, blogs, e-commerce, educational, etc.
• The first and probably most powerful advantage of TYPO3 is that it is a universal system. There exist over 2000 extensions to TYPO 3. When you install these extensions, you add corresponding functionality to TYPO3 at the same time keeping the power of the TYPO3 core and functionality added by any other extension. It means you can have for example a blog, a shop, support section and many more all at once. This is true universal solution. And it is all manageable using TYPO3 Backend. If you need something new, you just install an extension and you get the functionality. You don’t need to install WordPress or Magento on top to add some kind of shopping to your blog. You do not have to login to blog and shop separately like in case of WordPress and Magento. With TYPO3 you login once and you have access to everything you need. You can even refer from your blog to your products. If you rearrange pages, TYPO3 will automatically ensure that links still work.
• Another advantage of TYPO3 is a very flexible user system. Many systems allow only one administrator user. But with TYPO3 it’s possible to have as many administrator users as you want. You have access control over everything that is really important. Users can also be assigned to groups-“Editors” or “Reviewers”-so you may assign user rights to the whole group. Every user can be assigned to as many groups as you wish, which makes TYPO3 incredibly flexible.
• In TYPO3 you have real pages. Not just a flat list of pages where you have to invent titles and later search for a long flat list. With TYPO3 you have a real page tree where you can group pages as necessary, reuse parts of the page tree from other parts through shortcuts or mount points.
• TYPO3 comes with lots of types of content that you can create. These types are optimized for the best presentation of the content. For example, you can create a text, or text with image. Image can be opened in a separate window when it is clicked making a very easy enlarge-on-click feature. And editors do not have to bother about it much: they just turn on a check box that enables this feature. It is that simple! Tables, forms, multimedia – all is available with lots of tuning possibilities. It is an incredible degree of control over web site look.
• First of all, TYPO3 is large. So it needs a good hosting. If you run a company you can afford it, so it is not a great disadvantage. TYPO3 can run on a shared hosting too, though it is not the best hosting case for it. So need for a good hosting is a price to pay for a good system.
• Another often heard disadvantage is that TYPO3 is difficult to learn. But it depends. TYPO3 can be used by three types of people: editors, administrators and programmers. Learning becomes harder with each next group. It is easy for editors to learn TYPO3. Not as easy as WordPress (because WordPress is a very simple blogging-only tool) but still easy. If you are administrator, you need to manage TYPO3, write TypoScript, install modules, etc. This requires learning. It may take from several weeks to 2-3 months depending on your learning ways and enthusiasm. But the result is always rewarding. If you are a programmer, it is the longest learning curve. Knowing how to program in PHP does not mean that you can write a good TYPO3 module. But if you compare it to other systems, it is not different. Every system will require learning, so this is not truly a disadvantage. So, yes, it will take time to use TYPO3. But it is worth the result.
• Sometimes people say that being open source is a disadvantage. Open source is often driven by a group of enthusiasts and there is no support. Fortunately, there are lots of very professional companies, who can provide TYPO3 support for you. So, if you can’t do something “in house”, you always can get help and learn how to make it.
So, advantages are obvious and huge, when disadvantages are minor and temporary until you learn.
TYPO3 CMS is used by over 300,000 web sites, ranging from corporations and universities to small businesses and non-profit organizations. Some of the users of TYPO3 include: Volkswagon; New York Times; Lufthansa; Ford; Samsung; Stanford University; General Electric. Will you be the next to use it? 🙂 Do you agree that this CMS is really worth learning and using it? As always, eager to hear your comments!