Tuesday, June 16, 2009
It's certainly no news these days that the economy could be a lot better, but a recent survey from Gartner points to both the scale of the cutbacks affecting enterprise technology providers and how they are being hit by those cutbacks. According to Gartner 42 percent of the surveyed CIOs had cut back their budgets in Q109, and 90 percent of CIOs had made budget changes opting for cutbacks. While the average overall decline was about 4.2 percent among the surveyed CIOs, those cutting back were averaging about 7.2 percent.
Of more concern to information services providers, though, is how these cutbacks are impacting the vendors servicing these CIOs and their organizations. The two most popular methods for dealing with budget cutbacks this year mentioned in the Gartner survey have been to reduce headcount and to renegotiate contracts with vendors. So although information services providers may not be getting the axe, they're certainly getting that pared-down feeling in many instances. Of course, their clients still expect them to deliver outstanding service for those lower prices. Goodbye margins, hello aspirin. It's going to be a bumpy stretch.
There's no magic wand that can help an information services company avoid these cutbacks, but there are strategies that you can deploy which just might help to make the difference between pain and gain during challenging times. One key strategy is to use cutbacks as an opportunity to open a dialogue with your customers about aggregating information services. With different departments and work roles using different information services, oftentimes with overlapping functions and content sources, helping your customers to reduce the number of interfaces into those services can wind up being a cost-saving move for them that may create new revenue opportunities for you. In other words, instead of customers being forced to choose between one information service over another, help them to deliver the information from as many of them as possible under one more easily supported service.
Now, wouldn't it be nice if that aggregator who helped your client to solve their budget problems while improving information access was your company? Well, it certainly can be you - especially if you're a MuseGlobal OEM partner. MuseGlobal's MuseConnect content integration services enable any information technology and services provider to provide well-integrated access to any number of searchable information sources rapidly and reliably. Instead of looking at all of the other platforms in use at your clients as potential competitors for budget, they can become the sources of content that can be fed into an integrated solution that your own platform champions.
You can use MuseConnect to bring content from other platforms into your own platform using our exclusive Smart Connector technologies or create a custom interface that combines information from both your platforms and others exactly the way that your clients want to see it. And with MuseConnect's built-in management of network security, user administration and content source updating the complexities of bringing multiple platforms under one access point will turn out not to be so complex at all. Client support costs go down, their productivity goes up. So when push comes to shove on which platforms will get the lion's share of whatever budget is left, you can put yourself at the head of the line for getting a fat cut of that budget.
Our MuseConnect technologies are a key enabler for such dramatic turns because of their ability to provide reliable content integration at the drop of a hat. With more than 6,000 pre-built and easily configured Smart Connectors at your disposal, MuseConnect makes it easy to move rapidly from "We can help you" discussions to "We're ready to show you" discussions that can help to turn around budget discussions from a paring down to a win-win save - or more. And as always, since our Smart Connectors are maintained around the clock as a part of your MuseConnect service, your support costs for these victories are factored in easily to your bottom line.
So as you're wrestling with clients who are trying to eke their way through tougher times, remember that there can be great opportunities in these times to turn the tables on your competitors and to be the first to step forward as the aggregation solution that helped to save your clients money and to wind up improving information access all at the same time. Hopefully that will be enough to get your clients through the next year or so - and to put you in the driver's seat for when times get better.
Monday, June 1, 2009
One of the great challenges in confronting the value of the open Web is that many of the most popular and timely sources of information are not being produced by traditional publishers. Who would have thought, for example, that a simple text messaging service like Twitter would explode into a major conduit for alerting people to breaking news and insights produced by millions of people? Yes, there's the "I just put peanut butter on my sandwich" kind of "breaking news" in that mix, but then, if you make peanut butter, perhaps that's news if you're trying to understand the quickly shifting world of consumer habits. Of course there's also a healthy mix of other sources in the stream of Twitter messages, including breaking headlines and comments from major news organizations, politicians, celebrities and just about anyone else who can pump out information 140 characters at a time on a moment's notice on their PCs and mobile devices. If Twitter represents the cutting edge of "real-time" information on the Web, then it's an edge with a powerful force behind it.
Yet for all of the recent excitement about Twitter, it's hardly the only source of important real-time information from online sources. The truth of the matter is that any information source can be a real-time source of information - if it's information that's important to you as soon as it's updated and you can access it in time for that information to be immediately relevant. It's important to factor in access to sources like Twitter into your strategy for real-time information awareness, but these other sources of information - what you might call "the dark real-time Web" - can provide you with insights and advantages that others will be missing in their search for real-time relevance. If it's important to your decision-making process and it's out there, you need it now.
This concept of engineering real-time relevance is nothing new to MuseGlobal, of course. Our MuseConnect technologies have been used for harvesting on-demand information from our thousands of Smart Connectors for more than a decade. MuseConnect is particularly well suited for extracting real-time relevance from any number of content sources because it's been designed from the outset to pass through updates and alerts from the freshest and most relevant information it can find from any content source. Instead of building a massive database of potentially out-of-date information from many sources, our Smart Connectors can go out and get fresh information from each and every source that matters to you and deliver it to you on any information platform where it's needed in whatever normalized data formats suit your operations.
In other words, it's important to have software that monitors Twitter if you want to be aware of real-time opinions, news and events, but why stop there? Other social media services, videos, GPS-enabled applications, corporate Web sites, subscription databases, government and public databases, catalogs and, most importantly, your clients' own internal databases - all of these are potential sources of real-time relevance for the services that publishers and technology companies provide to clients. If you wait for a search engine crawl to find the nuggets of value in those sources that you need, they could be hours, days or more out of date, and that's if they're even crawled, of course. If you rely only on data harvesting tools, you could find yourself waiting for those tools to be repaired when a source's data formats change and break down your ability to provide real-time relevance, while missing out on thousands of sources that are beyond the reach of typical harvesters.
So getting the most valuable information in real-time is not just as simple as parking a Twitter feed into a piece of software. It's about getting every bit of the freshest and best-organized information that you can use in the right format at the right time on the right platforms, day in and day out - and being able to return the favor of providing fresh updates to the sources that supply your own platforms. That's a much, much bigger picture for real-time than many publishers and technology companies may have put their arms around, but it's the picture that MuseGlobal's OEM partners have been embracing for years. Because we sell our MuseConnect technologies as a service, it's a picture that keeps on getting refreshed. We keep our partner's content connectors up-to-date every day, so that their thousands of installations around the world can have real-time information all the time.
The buzz on "real-time" is bound to build as more and more applications are built to take advantage of emerging fast-updating sources like Twitter, which means that you have to be ready to focus on the final products of your real-time automated editorial efforts as much as possible - instead of the infrastructure that brings that content from any number of sources of real-time information updates to your platform. And that's where MuseConnect and its Smart Connector technology comes in. We connect to the freshest sources of information and make sure that keeping connectivity to real-time information is the least of your concerns.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The author Mark Twain once scoffed at reporters who had been writing stories about his having passed away by saying at a public appearance, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." Well, perhaps the buzz that the global economy is dying is also a bit premature, as well. While things are still pretty tough out there, we're picking up a lot of signs recently that companies are starting to bounce back and seize great opportunities for information products and services that beckon around the world.
The key to many of these opportunities, though, is the time and the cost of execution. With lean product development staffs and leaner client budgets, getting a client to "yes" means being able to turn ideas into actions as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. In the information industry, this often means that you have to be able to demonstrate a new concept for a product or service as rapidly as possible. The good news for many information technology and services companies is that today's software development environments enable companies to cobble together some great new application demos very quickly. A common sticking point, though, is that the content that would make those demo apps look best is not quite what clients were looking for - or just not available. Canned data and pages may get you past a few quick moments with a client, but when you want them to pull the string on the revenue-generating phase of a client relationship it generally takes more than that to build a high level of confidence.
This is where MuseGlobal has really helped our clients to shine in recent years, and even more in today's tough economy. Our MuseConnect content integration technologies offer information services developers truly amazing turnaround times in assembling content from any number of internal and external information sources. Having developed more than 6,000 Smart Connectors for MuseConnect through the years means that your ideas for assembling as much valuable content as possible in a new or enhanced information product or service can appear more rapidly than you may imagine. Since MuseGlobal maintains its own development staging services for our clients, we have the ability to start streaming updates from content sources to your development environment whenever you're ready to receive them. Sometimes within just a few hours of having spoken about an idea your development staff can be working with live data from the key information sources that they need to accelerate their efforts.
This can make an enormous difference in jump-starting innovation and product development from many perspectives. Instead of waiting weeks or months to get content from databases, subscription services, file services and search engines flowing into prototype applications, you can eliminate content connectivity and availability as a bottleneck for developing and testing new software and services. Besides shortening the product development cycle in general, it also means that you'll spend more time looking at "real-world" information flowing through your new applications that will put it through its paces. The result will be more reliable and useful applications that encounter fewer surprises once they hit your clients' production environments. Time-to-market issues get solved more rapidly and efficiently, which means that more revenues come more quickly. In an economy in which anything that can help a sales cycle to shorten is critical to meeting sales goals, you might say that MuseGlobal's Smart Connectors are like found money.
Once you do sell and install your new applications, the even better news is that MuseGlobal Smart Connectors will continue to be reliable for you and your clients all on their own. That's because MuseGlobal delivers its Smart Connectors as a service to you through MuseConnect's unique content integration architecture. Whether it's pre-existing content source connectors or connectors tailored to your specific needs, MuseGlobal will be testing your content connectors constantly - and ensuring that they keep on working for your clients. Instead of client teams having to focus on maintenance issues that are annoying your key accounts they can be focusing on the next great opportunities for your products and services to be solving valuable problems.
There are no perfect answers to bouncing back from the effects of a tough economy, of course, but we've discovered in these times that our MuseConnect OEM content integration solutions can help more answers to be tried, tested and delivered to more of our clients' customers - an advantage that can turn a tough sales environment into one in which you can have the edge through rapid innovation. I hope that we can help you and your teams to see how MuseGlobal technologies and services can put your own organization on the path to innovative information products and services soon - and to keep them running smoothly and cost-effectively for years to come.
Monday, April 27, 2009
There was a time when Sun Microsystems was a rising, shining force in Silicon Valley, parlaying its variation of the Unix operating system running on its proprietary hardware into quite a tidy empire of servers, workstations and software services for many major enterprises and Web publishers. Topping off Sun's holdings was the promising Java platform-independent applications environment, which enabled more than a decade's worth of software on many platform's beyond Sun's own. And recently Sun's acquisition of MySQL gave them a key component in Web-oriented database development. Great stuff, but not great enough to drive Sun into a more competitive position against giants such as Microsoft and IBM.
It makes perfect sense, then, for Oracle to have picked up Sun to offer them more leverage against those same giants. With cloud computing and other forces commoditizing network server hardware, the pressure is on for most technology companies to add more value further up the technology "stack" as cost-effectively as possible. Be it MySQL, Oracle's own database offerings or a cross-platform programming environment such as Java, it takes a very full kit of technology offerings these days to be able to devise solutions that command premium investments from most enterprises. Sun's traditional hardware and systems assets may be of some use to Oracle to protect its databases running on those platforms, but the far greater value to Oracle is to give it components that will enable it to attach its databases and value-add services to the applications development environments that allow for rapid, cost-effective services development.
In other words, having excellent software is a good thing, but these days it's more important to help your clients to have excellent solutions. Increasingly this means ensuring that you have every resource at your disposal that could contribute to those solutions. That includes, of course, access to all of the content sources that they need to deliver the right information at the right time in the right applications on the right platforms. It's simply no longer possible to capture all of those content sources in a single database or Web server. There are too many legacy platforms and databases and too many new and rapidly changing technologies collecting new sources of content to risk any technology company's future on a handful of content assets. Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems is a key acknowledgment that the future of computing technology makes effective content integration an absolute necessity.
No wonder, then, that MuseGlobal finds itself a certified Oracle partner. Our MuseConnect for Oracle Secure Enterprise Search uses our world-leading OEM content integration technologies to enable content from key databases, subscription information services and search engines to integrate with all of the sources already accessible via Oracle's own Secure Enterprise Search software. The MuseGlobal technologies behind MuseConnect for Oracle Secure Enterprise search have enabled hundreds of technology companies and publishers to connect their technology platforms to the content sources that they need at thousands of installations around the world. With over 6,000 Smart Connectors to a very wide variety of content types and sources, MuseGlobal enables any content-delivering platform to push its way up the technology "stack" to higher levels of value rapidly and very cost-effectively.
Certainly Oracle's acquisition of Sun bodes well for a marketplace that needs more powerful and cost-effective publishing solutions that can be delivered on a wider array of enterprise, home and mobile platforms than ever before. It's nice to know, though, that MuseGlobal's content connector solutions are a key component in just about every imaginable major information publishing platform available today. I expect that we'll be seeing a lot more healthy competition amongst the technology giants with this key move by Oracle. In the meantime, we're glad here at MuseGlobal that our rapidly deployed and highly cost-effective Smart Connector content solutions help them all to compete more effectively.
Monday, April 6, 2009
As everyone knows, there's a new administration at the controls of the federal government in Washington, D.C., one that came into power in part thanks to a presidential campaign's mastery of new online publishing tools and one that is looking hard at how content technologies may be able to help transform our government. In some ways the new administration is picking up where it left off at the end of the election, using online publishing as a way to advance programs for political change. Web sites such as HealthReform.gov and Recovery.gov are White House-sponsored information sites that are as much about promoting the policy positions of the new White House team as they are about public information.
But at the same time, the new administration is championing initiatives to spread Web 2.0 technologies throughout the federal government as tools that can help to both disseminate and gather content from and for the public. During the transition period the Obama transition team used the Web site Change.gov to collect information from people about what they wanted from the incoming administration, information that was used as input into policy-making decisions. Similar initiatives are working their way into all parts of the Executive branch of the federal government, significantly increasing the breadth and frequency of content being made available by the government. In addition, members of Congress are also discovering the abilities of social media technologies to enable them to communicate more directly with their constituents, using tools such as weblogs, Twitter, online video services and online forums to cast a wider net of interaction with the public outside of traditional media.
Beyond the political side of the U.S. government, the incoming administration technology team is promising more open access to government information for the public, as well as supplementing the ability of national security and law enforcement professionals to collect information from across the spectrum of government and public resources. Our recently announced relationship with Capgemini to enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to aggregate the right content at the right time for law enforcement officials is but one example of where MuseGlobal is able to help governments make sense of a sea of information resources far more rapidly and efficiently than ever before.
All of this adds up to a profile for government information services that is far different than what we were encountering even just a few years ago. Yes, the events of 9/11 triggered a massive onslaught to modernize intelligence gathering technologies, but today we're starting to see that the government as a whole is being transformed through both the ability to collect information and the ability to generate it as well. It's just not possible any more to monitor a few of the traditional publications and government information services to get a handle on what is going on in the government: literally hundreds of information initiatives are each crying out for the attention of both the public and professionals - and creating an enormous challenge for those who need to stay on top of both information and changing technologies at the same time.
As usual we're seeing that our Smart Connector technologies are going to help play a big role in sorting this out for both government initiatives and for enterprises that are trying to stay on top of the latest government information sources. You see, although much of what's new in federal information services rides on top of standardized Web technologies it's difficult to say when and where these technologies are going to be deployed next - and what impact those changes in deployment may have in your ability to track government information sources. Today an agency may be putting out information in a simple Web page format or have a legacy database interface that you've been processing for ages. Tomorrow it could all change in a heartbeat - and change again as newer and better technologies come into place at those agencies.
In an era in which new technologies are going to break more than a few eggs on the way to making great government information omelettes, our Smart Connectors are an enormous help to enterprises trying to keep the distractions from these changes to a minimum. Since our Smart Connectors are maintained automatically as a part of MuseGlobal services, interruptions to your ability to retrieve information from these sources are kept to an absolute minimum. They could change their formats and platforms every day of the week and still you'd have the best content source connector team in the world ensuring that you'll be in touch with their information. Best of all, since MuseGlobal Smart Connectors support two-way update flows, government agencies can collect information from thousands of sources and enable those sources to reflect the knowledge that they have collected as well. With the preponderance of social media initiatives under way now in the federal government, ensuring two-way updates will be more important than ever.
So if you were hoping for more openness and access in the U.S. federal government, the good news is that it's coming in buckets. The bad news is that you have lots and lots of new and changing buckets to sift through to make sense of it all - even, and perhaps especially, if you're the government. Well, it's clear to me that our ability to unify thousands of different types of content sources on the fly to deliver fresh content reliably in whatever format suits people is entering a new phase of usefulness in the face of this onslaught. Thank goodness that it's nothing new to us. Just another day at the company that unifies everything, as we like to say.
Friday, March 27, 2009
While many suppliers of enterprise content technology are struggling to define a path towards growth this year, one arena that continues to hold its own in the face of adverse market conditions is enterprise search. According to IDC analyst Sue Feldman, one of our most trusted sources of content technology intelligence, the enterprise search market grew by approximately 22% in 2008, not even pausing for breath in the fourth quarter. Enterprises around the world are seeking out ways to get more "bang for their buck" from their information resources, trying to corral all of their knowledge assets into easily accessed collections through search technologies.
Feldman notes that vendors are starting to gain traction with a concept called “unified access” — the ability to pull content from a variety of internal and external sources into a single platform. As the company which has been trying to "unify everything" for our OEM partners for years, the fact that vendors are beginning to focus on pulling together disparate content sources through search engines and other technologies comes as no surprise. The main question is, are most enterprise-oriented content and technology companies truly ready to supply their clients what they need to provide truly unified access to content? And, perhaps more to the point, do they really understand what is required for successful unified access from both a content and a technology perspective?
And the needs of enterprises for information don't stop at merely federating the right search engine results into a common framework. Sue Feldman mentions in a recent report that enterprise content users are particularly keen to get subscription content melded in with internal and Web resources far more effectively than in the past. It's an "on demand" world today, making subscriptions for fixed collections of content for fixed groups of users less attractive than being able to extend rights to subscription content to the people who really need it in the "here and now." These are problems that subscription information services wrestle with regularly, but they're generally not the kind of thing that technology companies focus on deeply. Similarly, subscription information services companies generally tread fairly lightly on the really knotty enterprise content integration issues that technology companies focus on regularly.
How does a technology company shoehorn content from thousands of different types of content sources, including any number of subscription information resources, into a cohesive whole that protects the value of their brand? Well, search technologies can play a key role, but it takes more than a simple crawl of easily accessed content sources to pull all of the content that an enterprise needs from internal and external sources into a common framework. Most search engines are geared to handle just a handful of different types of content repositories. In the typical enterprise there may be hundreds and even thousands of different kinds of content sources that need to be brought into a common framework. Even if you were able to crawl all of those sources with one search engine, good luck building a common index for them. The timeliness and size of that index would always be a major design and maintenance compromise.
As the leading source of OEM content integration technologies, MuseGlobal finds itself oftentimes at the intersection of these very thorny issues. Enterprise technology companies need to respond rapidly to client demands for completely integrated content sources that cross many different technology suppliers while maintaining the value of their core technologies in the eyes of their clients. Enterprise information companies need to be able to "play the game" of enterprise information integration successfully with whatever technologies suit their clients best - while maintaining a clearly understandable value proposition to the people using and paying for their content. In both instances the key to a viable solution for both the short term and the long term lies oftentimes in MuseGlobal's ability to unify access to more types of content from more types of content sources than any other content integration technology available today.
That's why MuseGlobal's Smart Connector technologies are so popular these days. Smart Connectors enable connectivity to thousands of different types of content sources on an "on demand" basis from any technology platform, combining in a common format all of the information that someone needs into the most relevant "just-in-time" information that people need based on a single query. Then Smart Connectors can push back to those sources whatever updates that clients may need to post to them.
MuseGlobal has done it hundreds of times for thousands of enterprise installations for nearly a decade. How can enterprise subscription information services ensure that their clients will not lose sight of their services as their complex integration needs threaten to leave their products and services out of the picture? MuseGlobal's ability to integrate not just content sources but complex and multi-layered security and access permissioning into simple and easily administered single sign-ons for their users ensures that their content will be at their clients' fingertips on whatever platform suits them best. Best of all, it's all stuff that we've done again and again - we've ironed out pretty much all of the big issues that most companies will face in staring down the challenges of unified access to content.
It turns out that although search solutions are a big part of what people are willing to invest in these days that it takes far more than search alone to meet their expectations. It takes the ability to unify absolutely everything into the freshest and most relevant information resources available, the ability to do it rapidly, cost-effectively and efficiently, the ability to maintain the unity of your content sources with as little work as possible and the ability to keep potentially complex administration needs from turning a beautiful solution into a cauldron of troublesome issues. This is all do-able stuff - or, should I say, done stuff. At least we think so. "Bang for the buck" from unified access is not news to us - it's just what it takes to do unified access right.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
recent media ratings showing that nearly two-thirds of all searches in the U.S. are initiated through Google, it doesn't appear that its position as the pre-eminent destination for everyday searching will be in jeopardy any time soon. Or will it?
In recent days there's been quite a bit of twittering in the news about search features surfacing in test mode on Twitter, the broadcast messaging service that's been separate search of messages with real-time updates - in effect a customizable real-time filtered message feed. The search features surfacing now on Twitter in test mode are largely the repackaging of these already existing capabilities. But with Twitter having the wherewithal to make its search capabilities more visible and integrated with its core messaging service, the question of what happens at the intersection of broadcast messaging and search is becoming more interesting to many people.
Why is the ability to search Twitter messages so important to many people? Well, as the only highly scalable broadcast messaging service currently in play on the Web, Twitter has become a de facto source of breaking news and opinion monitored by many people - including enterprises wanting to understand what's happening in their market sectors. Is there an earthquake in China? You'll hear hundreds of first-hand reports about it first on Twitter, including links to photos and videos snapped by people equipped with mobile access to Twitter.
Want to be the first to hear of news being reported by major media outlets and corporations? Increasingly Twitter is becoming the channel that gets the first headline and link out on the Web from traditional sources of news. How are people reacting to major events? Searching the opinions found on Twitter is now occupying more of marketers' attention in determining where they stand in the battle for influencing their existing and prospective customers. Think of Twitter as the largest and most intelligent sensor network in the world, keeping people in touch with physical, social, financial and professional realities being broadcast for the world to tune into on a moment-by-moment basis.
But as powerful at Twitter may be at delivering the right-now view of the world from hundreds of thousands of points of view every minute, it is in fact just one input that people need to make decisions in their lives. If I want to know if an earthquake is actually happening, I may turn to Twitter for first-hand accounts. If I want those first-hand reports assembled into a cohesive story, I may want to look at mainstream news outlets. If I want to know how I can send aid to the victims, chances are I may turn to Google to research what resources are available. If I want to consider how my corporation is going to be impacted by it, I will turn to my intranet database, email and file management resources. If I want to study emergency preparedness in detail, I may search on Amazon for current books by leading experts. Each input may be important to me on different levels for different purposes.
So if your question is something along the lines of "Who will be the champion of search a few years from now, Google or Twitter?" you're asking the wrong question. The real question should be, "How can I profit from all of the searchable information sources available at any time, no matter where they come from?" Information from Twitter searches and feeds will be most valuable when it's available alongside all of the relevant information sources that can add depth to the insights that its short messages point towards. Having searchable real-time messages from Twitter is a great feature, but if you don't have all of the other information resources available that relate to those inputs, you're only halfway down the path to making great decisions.
That's where MuseGlobal comes into the picture, of course. Our OEM Smart Connector technology can comb through Twitter content as easily and as rapidly as it does more than 6,000 other types of Web and enterprise content sources and search engines, performing data normalization, categorizing and integrating it all on the fly into whatever technology platform, program interface or application that suits your needs. Most importantly, MuseGlobal Smart Connector technologies are not just for listening: your software and services can publish content to Twitter and other platforms as well via MuseGlobal Smart Connectors, enabling a cycle of monitoring, evaluating and responding that can make the most of all of the well-filtered inputs available from your MuseGlobal-connected content sources.
So who will have the best search engine in the world a few years from now? You will - if you have deployed MuseGlobal's highly scalable Smart Connector technology to enable your platform to be configured rapily and reliably to take advantage of whatever searchable and updateable content sources matter most to your audiences. No need to put any guesswork into it; just deploy the solution that's been working at thousands of locations worldwide for our hundreds of OEM clients for nearly a decade. Now that's something worth twittering about!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Well, if you're not sure that history doesn't repeat itself, you have to look no further than Vint Cerf's recent comments at the Search Marketing Expo in Santa Clara, California. Often called "the father of the Internet" (along with other well-known fathers), Vint Cerf now is Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, a title that knits in rather nicely wih Google's mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." The Internet was supposed to solve all of our problems with connecting different sources of content through a universal standard network. Yes, the World Wide Web that rides on the Internet infrastructure has made it possible for billions of computers to communicate with one another easily, but it didn't replace every communications network in the world. Even where the Web made easy connectivity between computers, that didn't always ensure that there would be actual communications between those computers. As Vint Cerf notes from a recent article based on his SMX talk:
You build these clouds and they know about themselves and they know about their own resources, but they don't know about any other cloud. So the question is: how do you say 'send this information to this cloud over here' if there isn't any way to call it.Of course there are many reasons why the Internet is feeling these kinds of growing pains, many of which have to do with its overwhelming success as much as its inherent weaknesses. Some are proposing to address those weaknesses by creating a new kind of Internet network design that will provide more security, privacy and ability to handle advanced kinds of content such as streaming video that were not fully anticipated at the time of its first design. This may turn out to be a good idea in the long run, but what exactly would be the long run for such a change at this point - and how good would the results be in a world in which technologies change so rapidly?
The greater truth is that network clouds have always come in different shades. Legacy networks will remain in place as long as they are cost-effective for the organizations that support them. New networks then come into place that promise to be the global standard - eventually - but in the meantime they present the same kind of incompatibility issues oftentimes as legacy networks. Even when content flows in and across network clouds, issues such as security, access control, data formats and other key obstacles to getting usable content present themselves more often than not. This cloud thing gets pretty cloudy, at times, doesn't it?
While creating a new and better Internet may be a worthwhile goal in the long term, the here-and-now problems of content connectivity are the real issues that need to be addressed for most people trying to get the content that they need. The universal problem of "bit rot" will never be solved perfectly, but MuseGlobal has been at it for more than a decade. Our Smart Connector technology has been there, done that and then some on just about every conceivable network configuration and security setup that you can imagine. Being able to bridge into the widest variety of network environments is in the very core of our content connector architecture - it's not something that got tacked on after the fact.
Once Smart Connectors have ironed out the network issues for connecting platforms to content sources, they are experts in communicating with more types of content repositories than any other source of content connectors. After more than ten years of building content connectors we've accumulated more than 6,000 different types of connectors that give us a quicker fast-start on content connectivity than any other service. Best of all, we maintain them automatically for you. Bit rot has hardly a moment to set in with your content connections with Smart Connectors on the job.
Smart Connectors go beyond simply ironing out the connectivity issues for content sources, of course. MuseGlobal is leading the way with content connectors that enable not just reading content sources through thousands of possible configurations but also with delivering content back to those sources. With MuseGlobal your clouds become truly a multi-way communications environment, leaping over networks, data formats and security issues to provide not just content but conversations between content sources and platforms.
My hat is off to Vint Cerf and other great thinkers who are pondering just how the next generation of the Internet will serve us all better. We need them focusing on this important task, to be sure. But in the meantime MuseGlobal will continue to help the thousands of organizations using our OEM technology around the world to connect to the content that they need today. To us the Web isn't broken; it just needed to get Smart Connectors to pull it all together for our clients.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The SIIA 2009 Information Industry Summit was a great event for MuseGlobal. Maybe it's our improved messaging or maybe it's just good timing, but people who we were speaking to at the IIS really seemed to "get" our positioning as a company that can connect content sources to software applications and platforms more efficiently than any other OEM supplier. To some in the publishing and content industries this may not seem to be the most glamorous side of the business, but it's what is really creating enormous value for our enterprise, government, and media-oriented clients.
Certainly the IIS provided a lot of the more glamorous side of publishing in its presentations and panels. From the opening keynote from Marjorie Scardino, Chief Executive of Pearson, to the ending keynote from Stephanie George, Executive Vice President of Time Inc., I heard a lot of good speakers - and some pretty flashy ones, too. Stephanie George's presentation was capped with a very dynamic slide deck with lots of multimedia showing how Time brands were being strengthened on the Web through their investment in technologies that made it easier for their editorial resources to appeal to their audiences. Fun to watch, of course, and I don't doubt that Time is getting good mileage out of these efforts. But in our experience, the brands of MuseGlobal customers that do best are the ones that focus on what a brand really does for its customers.
The presentation by Kristian J. Hammond of Northwestern University on "Frictionless Information" captured this "doing" brand concept pretty well for me. His "Make my Page" concept was nothing radically new, but it was a good example of how to pull together highly customized pages assembled automatically from numerous sources of content on the fly on a topic into an aggregated document. This "content is as content does" approach to publishing may lack the pizazz of many traditional brand publications, but it seems to be where the real action is with our clients. Yes, publications finished by an editorial team certainly still matter in a big way, and we supply content connectors to many of the publications that do this, but the more efficiently that you can do the heavy lifting to assemble and to integrate all of the content sources that are needed to satisfy them, the more that you'll be able to focus on delivering the exact content and features that can build your brand's unique value.
Enterprise publishers and technology companies certainly understand the importance of this "heavy lifting" for their brands, but it's easier said than done. Most I.T. teams are either way too busy to focus effectively on building enough connectors to the content sources that can really make a difference to their clients or will find that to do a robust job of connecting to content sources will turn out to be far more expensive and time-consuming than they can afford to do in a tight economy. Everyone's customers are pleading for more and more content from published sources and from their own sources that's well-organized, integrated, and all in once place, but it's just not that easy to pull it all together cost-effectively.
I guess that's another way of saying that MuseGlobal is going to be very busy this year, because our highly scalable Smart Connector OEM technology is the most cost-effective and reliable way to get the heavy lifting done for connecting content to brand-name content and technology services. Instead of having to say "no" to clients and senior executives, MuseGlobal gives our clients the ability to say "yes" more quickly to getting new and better content into their products. If a brand is all about saying "yes" to your clients - then it's clear to us at MuseGlobal that fewer things can help to build a brand better than the ability to connect to content rapidly through our Smart Connectors. Be it in online media, enterprise subscription services or content integration services, I think that it's worth us chatting with you about how your brand can benefit from the heavy lifting that MuseGlobal technology can put in place for you today. I hope that you enjoyed IIS. SIIA conferences are great value, and MuseGlobal will be at SIIA's NetGain in San Francisco in May.
Friday, January 16, 2009
The Birth of the Intelligence Grid: Content Connectors Deliver Mission-Critical Insight for Law Enforcement with MuseGlobal and Capgemini
MuseGlobal's new partnership with professional services firm Capgemini is off to a rousing start. Our world-class content connectors are being recognized widely now for their ability to deliver mission-critical content from (and to) key sources of enterprise and Web content. No surprise, then, that Capgemini Government Solutions approached us when they were faced with the challenge of integrating more intelligence and background data that would allow public officials to connect, collaborate on, analyze, investigate and identify public safety risks for government agencies in the U.S. Can't say more about the client at this point, of course (you understand), but Gapgemini needed to expand their vision for providing a broad array of information sources to law enforcement officials that would not be compromised by the typical challenges of content integration and applications development.
Do you recall how at the time of the 9/11 attacks the F.B.I. had an information system that could respond only to single-word search queries? Security-oriented government information services have improved a lot since those dark days, but in doing so there has arisen a galaxy of repositories that need to be pulled together to have truly effective information services - just as major government budget constraints begin to kick in. Capgemini had a vision as to how to pull these services together, one that needed to be done rapidly, cost-effectively and reliably. Hello, MuseGlobal? You mean, you can connect us to that content now? You mean, you can implement this when? Before you know it, the Capgemini Intelligence Grid was extended, integrating content from all of the key sources that law enforcement officials need to catch the bad folks using MuseGlobal's exclusive MuseConnect architecture.
MuseGlobal Smart Connectors truly were the key to this project. Unlike other content connectors, which are very limited in their ability to be configured and maintained easily, MuseConnect content connectors are readily adapted to any content source quickly and encompass a library of more than 6,000 pre-configured content connectors for the most likely sources and platforms that content integrators require for robust federated content applications. Also unlike other content connectors, our Smart Connectors are maintained by MuseGlobal automatically, so you can keep your entire range of sources normalized through MuseConnect acting as one unified source of content.
We're very excited by this new relationship with Capgemini, which demonstrates how well professional services organizations can use MuseGlobal to turn their powerful content integration ideas into real applications. It's one thing to promise sophisticated and reliable content connectivity, and quite another to deliver it in a timely and cost-effective fasion to your clients. Fortunately Capgemini decided to go with the world leader in content connectivity and brought a key expansion of available content to their dream service for law enforcement. Our thanks to our Capgemini partners in relying on MuseGlobal to unify everything that's needed for security intelligence for our nation's law enforcement professionals. What a better way to show the value of unified content.