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 Tony Byrne
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Profile of Tony Byrne

News & Commentary Posts: 59
Tony Byrne is the president of research firm Real Story Group and a 20-year technology industry veteran. In 2001, Tony founded CMS Watch as a vendor-independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies and publishes research comparing different solutions. Over time, CMS Watch evolved into a multichannel research and advisory organization, spinning off similar product evaluation research in areas such as enterprise collaboration and social software. In 2010, CMS Watch became the Real Story Group, which focuses primarily on research on enterprise collaboration software, SharePoint, and Web content management.
Articles by Tony Byrne

When Employees Reject SharePoint

11/10/2010
If you employ SharePoint on your intranet, should you also use it publish your public Web sites? The debate rages, and there is no universal answer. Key deficiencies -- around cost, developer-intensiveness, usability, and more -- tend to argue against the platform in public Web site scenarios...

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When Google Analytics Is Not Enough

6/26/2010
Google's free service has become the most widely deployed Web analytics solution in the world... but for some enterprises, it's not sufficient. How can you know for sure whether Google is the right choice for your organization?

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Ten Reasons Governance Is Like Sex

5/26/2010
I don't claim to be an expert on IT governance, but after a couple decades of helping people make technology decisions, I'll boil down my thoughts on the topic to one simile: Governance is like sex because...

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Finding the Best Vendor Means Treating Bidders Right

3/31/2010
Some enterprises believe that technology suppliers are so hungry for business that they will line up for kilometers to respond to an RFP. This is increasingly not the case. We're actually seeing fewer responses to even "good RFPs." There are a couple reasons why...

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Stop Blaming IT!

12/3/2009
"IT is the problem." I heard this epithet issued by a cloud computing guru at last month's Interop conference. But you could replace "cloud computing" with nearly any emerging technology and hear the same thing. Enterprise IT just doesn't adopt new technologies as fast as many consultants and analysts would wish.

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Enterprise 2.0: Practical and ROI-Oriented

11/11/2009
Last week's (excellent) Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco was much more practical and much less like a religious revival meeting than previous events. Some gurus complained about a lack of passion, but Andrew McAfee set a great tone when he exhorted attendees to replace liberation theology with more realistic goals.

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Business vs. Tech Perspectives on SharePoint 2010

10/28/2009
It's tough to get your mind completely around SharePoint 2010 -- an even bigger and more all-encompassing platform than 2007... I can't overstate the enthusiasm for SP2010 at last week's SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. But here's a question for you the enterprise customer: is all this enthusiasm always in your best interest?

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Align Web and Search Analytics

10/8/2009
Last week I heard Marko Hurst give a nice talk on search analytics in which he emphasized the importance of integrating quantitative and qualitative analysis in any user experience effort. That makes great sense. But before you even get to that point, I think the domains of search analytics and Web analytics need closer alignment...

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The Vendor-Analyst Echo Chamber Game

9/23/2009
Had a nice chat with an old acquaintance who has served as both practice lead at a major technology analyst firm and as head of "analyst relations" for a major vendor... We talked about the conflicts of interests when analyst firms consult for both buyers and vendors... and we also discussed a related issue that strikes me as potentially more insidious...

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Do SharePoint Right Before It Does You Wrong

8/26/2009
I recently advised a global consumer goods firm about how to integrate its various Social Software implementations and where to place SharePoint in that mix... It occurred to me later that the same advice could be taken to heart by existing SharePoint customers. It might mean "undoing" some work, but here are six basic things you can do...

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Should You Buy Social Software From Your ECM Vendor?

7/16/2009
One question that came up at last month's Enterprise 2.0 Conference addressed the topic of information lifecycle management for enterprise social spaces. Most of the attendees didn't seem to think it was necessary. I disagree. All information follows lifecycles, and you shouldn't just publish-and-forget, on your intranet or any public Web site.

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If IBM Buys Sun...

3/20/2009
I'll leave it to other analysts to discuss potential overlap in the areas of hardware, operating systems, and databases. Instead I'll focus on the platforms of greatest interest to content technology people. First, there's the future of Sun's meandering enterprise portal strategy...

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Skittles Social Networking: Strategy or Stunt?

3/3/2009
Skittles -- a brand in the Mars candy conglomerate -- set off a small tornado in social media land yesterday by nearly completely turning over its Web site to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Judging by early tweets, the Twitterati love it.

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The Case Against Flex-Based App UIs

2/5/2009
We're starting to see more vendors coming out with Flex-based user interfaces, sometimes extending them as full-blown desktop applications using the AIR runtime... To me, turning to Flex is a cop-out. It creates nice demoware for the vendor, but long-term problems for you...

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Tech Investment Advice for Tough Times

10/15/2008
As bailouts become a global phenomenon, it's time to review what this all means for you, the technology buyer. There are two main issues: 1. The immediate liquidity crisis and any lingering effects that may lead to longer-term financial sclerosis, and 2. An enduring recession - which previously left much of the enterprise software space unscathed - getting deepened and extended.

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Cross the BI-Web Analytics Divide

8/22/2008
At the TDWI Summit this week, I had the opportunity to talk about Web Analytics with enterprise business intelligence (BI) execs. I came away concluding that the worlds of enterprise data and Web metrics still remain far apart... The separation is partly technical and partly cultural.

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Interwoven and Gartner's WCM MarketScope

7/14/2008
Gartner's recent "MarketScope for Web Content Management" has predictably garnered a lot of attention from vendors happy with their position in the ratings chart... but I take issue with Interwoven's "Strong Positive" rating... The company is one of the best briefer/demo-givers in the industry. What we've uncovered on the ground is a rather different story.

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CIA Agents Detail Enterprise Self-Sabotage

6/11/2008
One of the keynotes at the Enterprise 2.0 conference featured a couple of guys from the CIA discussing the Intellipedia project to create an internal wiki shared by the entire U.S. national intelligence community... They quoted from the now famous, "General Interference with Organizations and Production" section of the 1944 OSS Simple Sabotage Manual...

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IBM-Microsoft Shootout at Enterprise 2.0

6/10/2008
Yesterday at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference we were treated to a series of Social Software demos pitting IBM (Connections) against Microsoft (SharePoint). Both vendors pushed the portal angle: IBM bringing WebSphere Portal Server into play and Microsoft showing off various third-party Web Parts... IBM came off looking better for various reasons.

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BEA and Oracle in Chicago

5/20/2008
I spent a couple of days in Chicago last week at BEA's (oops, Oracle's) "Participate" user conference... Of course the big question surrounding the whole event was the "roadmap" for these products going forward. Oracle finds itself in possession of no less than four portal products....

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Lessons From IBM, SAP Legal Imbroglios

4/3/2008
U.S.-based Über-trash-collector Waste Management Inc. is suing SAP for a whopping $100 million... Meanwhile, IBM has been suspended from any new federal contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)... I don't know how either of these disputes will turn out, but they raise several important issues for customers...

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SharePoint Licensing Costs 'Highest in Class'

2/27/2008
The CMS Watch Web CMS Report, calls out MOSS 2007 as having "perhaps the highest fee structure in its class," - by which we mean among mid-market and departmental solutions - particularly when used as a Web CMS for a public site. Seems others agree...

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ECM and Enterprise 2.0: Zealotry of the Apostate?

12/6/2007
At the Gilbane Conference keynote today, execs from ECM vendors Alfresco, Oracle, IBM, and Adobe focussed on - perhaps inevitably - Enterprise 2.0. The overall gist was: enterprises should focus on sharing information rather than just controlling it... but while the ECM vendor talking heads get excited about their new religion, their companies are actually praying to different gods...

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Pick the Right Content Management Approach

12/3/2007
Do you need enterprise content management, Web content management or a portal with built-in content management capabilities? Take this scenario-based approach to set priorities and choose the right technologies.

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SharePoint as a .Net Development Platform

11/20/2007
On the one hand, the Web Parts framework is very attractive for plugging widgets into dashboard-type pages. In addition to what ships natively with SharePoint, you can find lots of 3rd-party Web Parts. But their quality and safety varies substantially, and inevitably you need to extend them...and then how do you handle support?... Microsoft's portal is no more or less complicated than, say, Sun's.

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Dilbert Takes On Web 2.0

9/25/2007
There's a particular Dilbert cartoon making the rounds that pokes good fun at Web 2.0 in general and "folksonomies" in particular... Cartoonist Scott Adams is particularly adept at surfacing (and pillorying) vague but alluring-sounding words like "folksonomy" and "platform" that, yes, we all over-use. But getting Dilberted also represents a certain coming of age...

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CMS Watch Partners With AIIM on Training

8/10/2007
This week, CMS Watch officially kicks off a formal training program. In conjunction with AIIM, we are providing classroom workshops (leading to official AIIM designations) in Information Organization & Access (IOA) and Business Process Management (BPM). The coursework was developed under the guidance of AIIM's Educational Advisory Group, and both organizations will be leading courses throughout North America, Europe, and (next year) Asia-Pacific. Here's why these courses are so important.

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Ten Steps to a Successful Vendor Demo

5/25/2007
I've been attending a lot of vendor demonstrations on behalf of clients recently. These are in-person demos, typically following a tight script, after a set of vendors has been selected following written proposals. More often than not, the demos don't turn out very well. Sometimes the customer is ill-prepared. But more frequently, the vendor just flubs it. Demos are important for vetting finalists for any proof-of-concept, and customers could really benefit from better ones.

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AIIM 'Smackdown' and the Perils of Portals

4/19/2007
Yesterday at the annual AIIM Expo, we held an "Enterprise Portal Smackdown," in which a packed room keenly watched seven-minute demos presented by different consultancies (Ironworks, Molecular, and Liferay) demonstrating, respectively: BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, and Liferay Portal. Here's a one-liner summary of each demo:

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Enterprise Content Management Rising?

4/12/2007
AIIM Europe has just completed research that reveals that the number of firms deploying ECM in the UK has doubled in the last two years. Another interesting piece of research recently revealed that around 25 percent of enterprises now at least claim to run a services oriented architecture, and that number is set to grow rapidly. These data points confirm that ECM is becoming business critical.

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Just What is 'Convergence' Anyway?

4/6/2007
For the past two decades I've heard about the "coming convergence" in enterprise software between the data and content sides -- or, if you like (I don't like, but other people do) -- between structured and unstructured information management. This always seemed like more of a vendor fantasy than real enterprise need

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Build a Practical Intranet Development Plan

3/18/2007
Managing an intranet seems like an overwhelming task... In most enterprises, the opportunities for internal collaboration and process improvement are, well, limitless...but also very difficult to pull off. That's why I very much like Step Two Designs' new guide, 6x2 methodology for intranets.

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How a CMS Can Help Your Web Analytics

3/6/2007
Take a closer look at the intersection between Web content management and Web analytics. There are several important issues, but one revolves around the growing tendency to use page tags in lieu of (or in addition to) log files for data collection... A content management system can help by letting administrators embed page-tag code directly into templates.

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Blogosphere Responds on Google Appliance Upgrade

2/7/2007
Google's recent announcement that it upgraded the "Mini" version of its Search Appliance ("GSA") inspires me to share some useful links that have been accumulating... Google continues to work to get inside the enterprise. Buyers need to carefully evaluate what "enterprise" search really means...

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Put to the Test: IBM WebSphere Portal 6.0

2/2/2007
This portal's best play is enterprise integration, but it's also suitable for intranets and workgroup collaboration. Implementation can be complex and confusing, but a new Portal Express offering is aimed at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees aims to speed and simplify deployment.

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Avoiding Failure: The Better Part of IT Valor?

1/29/2007
It felt confessional to explain to a friend the other day that typically my greatest value as a consultant comes from helping enterprises avoid making a big mistake. Usually the looming mistake is selecting the wrong software for their needs. That just doesn't sound as triumphant as "restored them to profitability," or "instituted a fabulously successful publishing regimen."

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Enterprise Search Is Not Dead

1/24/2007
Someone tell the vendors. Two fine blog entries point out that search vendors miss the point when they reposition themselves as business intelligence or business processing suppliers. Gilbane's Lynda Moulton finds vendors attempting to "stave off their own boredom" with enterprise search. MarkLogic CEO Dave Kellogg sees search vendors as "distracted with a strategic vision."

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New Year's Resolutions for Vendors and Buyers

1/4/2007
When I talk to vendors about customer projects that were seriously delayed or that failed outright, the response is invariably: "implementation problem." That's code-speak for the customer or integrator (or both) screwing up. Sometimes customers are blissfully ignorant of their unreadiness to implement new technology, but I suspect more commonly implementation troubles result from a poor product fit.

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This Portal Will Self-Destruct in Five Seconds

12/7/2006
Microsoft SharePoint is famous for its ease of creating -- and abandoning -- local workgroup portals. As readers of our latest Enterprise Portals Report know, this has not fundamentally changed in MOSS 2007. Here's why those who require firm, enterprise-level administration and control may need to look elsewhere for their portal solution.

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SharePoint 2007: Ring In the New… And the Old

11/22/2006
It seems that the world is almost slowing down a bit as Microsoft readies a final version of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, the quite substantial upgrade to a nearly ubiquitous SharePoint 2003. SharePoint is many things to many people, but customers typically deploy it as a lightweight collaboration portal. With this latest version, Microsoft is trying to extend the product's reach. Microsoft has certainly broadened SharePoint functionally, but sometimes "enterprise" means depth

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