Archive for April, 2011

Setting the right Expectations

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
Expectations

Expectations

Expectations = :

  • the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.
  • something expected; a thing looked forward to.
  • the degree of probability that something will occur.
  • Statistics . mathematical expectation.

Yesterday I was playing with my son and he was behind me to get more and more chocolates from me. And I was trying to set his expectations. I had two ways to set him right, easy and faster was to set his expectations as per his needs. Other was to make him understand with all proper explaination and setting his expectations which could have been long and painful process. Lets not get into what I finally did :)

Setting the right expectation is important on any front and CMS world is no different.

I have been part of few sales demo’s and it is really amazing to see how the sales people try to promote their product by just agreeing that they can do whatever client needs, setting wrong expectations. Well, I think it is very important to set the right expectations at first place. Because all the other expectations are relates to each other and they can blow aways pretty quickly.

Lets take an example, in one of the CMS demo, there were queries from client around workflow capabilities to understand the level of granuality available OOTB (Out of the Box). As usual, the sales team provided sales pitch highlighting all the positives and agreeing with client that their needs for workflow could be fulfilled by this product better than any other in the market. All went out happily out of the room. Client went back with certain expectations that building any custom workflow within the system is easy (drag and drop) and so they started working on requirements. Time passed and development phase arrived and so did the troubles. The defined requirements could not be matched with the OOTB workflow and it ended up with lots and lots of customization and thus adding all the upgrade issues along with it.

Reality-Expectation-Gap

Reality-Expectation-Gap

So, if you set the expectations right at the first time, though it might be painful and not the melody music to people who are listening to you, but it is going to help in long run.

Have a I set the right expectation about my blog with my 100th post?

Scarce Skills responsibility: Service Providers or Vendors or both?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Recently there was post from Irina Guseva from Real Story Group around CQ5 WCM development skills are hot — and scarce.

This is not the case just with CQ but with an niche product. I have worked in Fatwire during its Open Market and Divine days in India and it was soo tough to get a single resource with any Fatwire experience. There was a time that in IT driven country like India, I was in touch with all the people with Fatwire skill which is not usual. :).

So why are these skills scare? And how does that impact products like CQ, Fatwire and others?

From IT service providers view, they build such niche skills in a reactive mode i.e. once they get a project they start engaging with product vendor for trainings and do not really invest pro-actively till they see a big pipeline of projects in same product. And there are cases where people work on one project to acquire such niche skills but than are moved to completely different project and the acquired skill gets lost. So, is IT service industry responsible for building such skills pro-actively and make these skills more readily available?

Service providers could really differentiate themselves from others by specializing in such niche skills but it could very well add a risk for such providers and more balanaced approach needs to be taken based on service providers position.

I think apart from IT service industries, product vendors as well need to focus on developing skills but working with IT service industries and/or clients. From the product vendor point of view, they should pro-actively provide trail versions (downloadable or cloud), free training, service providers specific seminars and try to partner with a number of service providers. This will not only help in building skills required for their product implementation but will also drive their product forward. In most of the cases, vendors focus more towards client needs than a providers which is helping client to achieve the goal. I think product vendors should focus towards service providers equaliy as they could be reliable networking partners to promote product through various seminars, part of RFI/ RFP response etc.

I was in one of the conference couple of weeks back which had a mix of people from vendors to implementors to clients. It was really amazing to hear from vendors that because they are not close to service providers, they do not have a view of what all diffent case studies a product can be implemented. And some of the cases fall well outside their own imagination of using the product.

Mantra to exploit Social Media/networking

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Social media has been in market for sometime but it has really picked up in recent times. The reason for such out burst is people’s awareness to exploit social networking/ media to their benefits.

There is a saying that setting up anything is really easy but maintaining it over a period of time and sustaining it is really tough.

And the same applies for social media/ networking side. Many companies started positively in the social space by simply getting the word out about the company through social media, hoping it will build brand awareness. But is that enought?

Well that is not just enough. The real trick is to build a loyal and consistent followers on social media sites by keeping them interested and engaged and providing constant feed in which they are interested in. If you are able to bind a loyal user group than you can very well leave it to the very group to spread your content across various media channel and bringing more and more within the valuable group.

social networking

social networking

Its all around constant and consistent flow of information and which ever company understand the mantra are able to exploit social media to their benefits than others. It is really important in today’s organizations that a dedicated team needs to be identified who constantly keep the flow of information, keeping themselves motivated, to explore the endless opportunities which social media can
bring on. The group should be on constant hunt to engage more and more people and utilize them for spreading the world: initiate discussions, blog posts, fun activities, like’s, plus 1 etc.

social networking sites

social networking sites

Perfect Example: WCM project Lifecycle : Sign-off’s?

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Some days back I wrote about sign-off’s value in a WCM project lifecycle. Recently, I came acoss a perfect example to showcase the same. We recently launched a website based on signed-off requirements, signed-off wireframes, signed-off designs, signed-off HTML mock-ups, signed-off browser support, signed-off content etc. All worked perfectly until two super high priority stuff came through:

Website to run on iPad and iPhone’s
Why this has become a super high priority is due to the fact that senior managers in the organisation are having iPad and the site is not working fully in iPad.

Changes to content – (text and images)
Changes to the images which are hardcoded in CSS. This brings back to the point of realization of technical verification of HTML mockup so that authors could have more control over images than governed through CSS/JS hardcoding

The first point is really interesting of the fact that there are no actual requirements around support for iPad. iPhones. And more interstingly, does the same website presentation holds good across desktops, laptops to iPhones? Or it is better to have a cut down version of the site for mobiles which in turn reference the same content instances?

I am in suppot of cut down version of site as the original site could be lot more fancy with images, graphics while the mobile version can limit them, though providing all the functionality. But again, there is no definitive set of rules which defines whether to have cut down version of site or the same site can run on mobiles. I think it varies from case to case basis.

How have your experience with website Vs mobile sites?