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IBM Digital Experience Conf: Developing Portlets Using JQuery

jQuery is one of the most pervasive scripting libraries in use today. The session “Developing Portlets Using Javascript and JQuery for Engaging Digital Experiences” by Stephan Hesmer, Web 2.0 Architect, IBM and  Jaspreet Singh, Rational Tools Architect, IBM provided good insight as to how to leverage jQuery in IBM WebSphere Portal.

First, a couple of key statistics to indicate why this is important and cannot be ignored:

  • 57.5% of websites use jQuery.
  • jQuery has a 93% marketshare.

WebSphere Portal still includes Dojo but it isn’t required for view mode.  It is required in edit mode however, especially for in place editing.    One key change in portal 8.5 however is when edit mode, the edit panel is now isolated from pages so it will not conflict with the page. Read the rest of this post »

IBM XDX – What’s New in WebSphere Portal and IBM WCM 8.5

Rob Will, chief architect for WebSphere Portal, once again gave a great presentation at IBM’s Digital Experience Conference 2014.  The focus was on the new capabilities delivered in the last year.

The focus of the digital experience suite has been to provide a framework with tools and services to be able to deliver a great digital experience.  The focus has shifted from IT building the solutions to the line of business being able to own and deliver content and services themselves.  The innovative capabilities below are some of the highlights that direction.

IBM XGX - What's New in WebSphere Portal and IBM WCM 8.5 Mobile

  • Portal and WCM is in the framework business, not application business.  this translates to mobile as well.  Mobile web site business, not web application business.
  • The direction is to deliver mufti-channel digital experiences.
  • IBM Worklight continues to evolve.  It is an application development environment that includes a thin layer of native client code that simplifies building multi-channel web applications.  There are many new capabilities that plug right into portal such as a content adapter to WCM.
  • A new mobile simulator is built in to be able to preview portal content using device emulators prior to publishing.
  • Mobile is part of everything IBM does.

Read the rest of this post »

IBM Digital Experience Conf 2014: Stephen Power’s View

Forrester’s Stephen Power spoke about transforming digital strategy. Stephen is Vice President at Forrester and covers the Digital Experience market.  He started by talking about the age of the customer and how we got to this point (customer centricity per Gary Dolsen).  Preceding the age of the customer was Age of Manufacturing, Age of Distribution and the Age of iInformation.  Starting in 2010, he suggests that the Age of Customer started.

IBM Digital Experience Conf 2014: Stephen Power's ViewComplexity is increasing in the Age of the Customer because of the multi-channel requirements increasing and shifting rapidly.

Business Technology is the term he uses instead of Information Technology because the focus is on business results rather than just information.  He predicts that budgets for business technology will surpass information technology in 2016.

With this shift to BT, digital experiences must adapt.  Here are three points he talked about with regards to digital experience transformation:

  1. Focus on the customer lifecycle, not just customer acquisition.  Switching costs for customers are lower in the digital world so they are more willing to move if they are not taken care of during their lifecycle with you. Ree
  2. Reexamine the technologies and investments for the new digital experiences.  You may end up with overlapping technologies and have to rationalize which ones to keep and which to retire.
  3. Don’t just manage your data – leverage it. Use demographics, historical and situational data to contextualize your experience. Predictive analytics is a key future capability.

Transforming your digital strategy is not about perfection, its about progression.  As you build out new strategies, keep in mind the need to be flexible because the Age of Customer is just beginning.  There will be a lot of changes as the market responds, adapts and changes to customers.

 

IBM Digital Experience Conference 2014: Opening with Gary Dolsen

IBM’s Digital Experience Conference got underway today in Anaheim.  For those that have followed IBM WebSphere Portal in the past, Digital Experience is a really set of individual point products that include WebSphere Portal, Web Content Manager, Forms, etc.

If you have really, really followed IBM’s portal you will probably know Larry Bowden as the long-time leader and builder of the IBM WebSphere Portal brand.  Larry has recently retired from IBM and Gary Dolsen has taken over the reigns for Digital Experience.  Gary has also been a long-time leader at IBM, so the transition from Larry to Gary should be seamless.

Gary started off by talking about “Reach” and “Engage” as two themes for where we are now with digital experiences.  You have to reach out to your consumers, employees and partners.  Once you reach those people, you have to engage with them through multiple channels and rich experiences.

He continued by talking imperatives over the next three years: Customer Centricity and Flexibility.  For Customer Centricity we need to understand customers and make them the center of your decision making.  People make emotional decisions, so our digital experiences have to evoke emotions.  Mobile is now a key component of centricity because 90% of consumers are using mulitple mobile devices.

For Flexibility, Gary mentioned that the half life of the Fortune 500 list is now 12 years.  So in 12 years, 50% of the Fortune 500 will no longer be on that list.  You can only imagine the flexibility required to stay on target in the fast paced environment.

 

Google: Reasons Why Nobody Uses Your App, Your Site, Your…

I came across the article Google: Reasons Why Nobody Uses Your App in my favorite iPhone app Zite.  The article is about a presentation given by Tomer Sharon, a user researcher at Google, at Google’s I/O Conference. I embedded the video here for you to view.

Tomer identifies reasons why nobody uses your app.  I want to extend this to your web site, your portal, or whatever because these six reasons apply beyond an app.

I’ll summarize the reasons below, but there were two reasons that really caught my attention because they are spot on with my experience consulting with many, many companies over the past 18 years.

The first reason that caught my eye was “You didn’t test your riskiest assumption.”  Many times clients look to companies like Perficient to reduce risks in their projects.  We have deep expertise in a product they want to implement or build upon.  But we don’t always have expertise in the exact problem that is the riskiest.  When we don’t have that expertise, our value can be in how we approach the problem and how we draw on experience in similar areas.  However too often, clients don’t want to test their riskiest assumptions first, but instead, want to dive headlong into a large project.  Part of the reason is because they they can only get funding one time – so lets ask for the most we can get and then start moving.  Another reason for this is that spending on these kinds of projects – experimentations, proof of concepts (POC), etc – are viewed as wasting money.  But getting a solution to the trickiest part of your project early on is absolutely critical to overall success.

The second reason that caught my attention was “You listened to users instead of watching them.”  Companies have spent boat loads of money gathering requirements by asking users what they want in a system.  Users are more than willing to talk about what they would do with a new system.  But too often what a user says they will do doesn’t match what they really will do.  In the video, Tomar talks about a UK Research Project where the researchers asked people whether they washed their hands after using the restroom.  99% said of course they did.  When the researchers put equipment into the restroom to monitor hand washing, surprise, surprise, less than 80% actually washed their hands.  So when building systems, it is important to get something built quickly – a prototype or POC – and observe how people actually use the system.

Here are the reasons why people don’t use your app, your web site, or whatever. I encourage you to watch the video to get all the details.

  1. You didn’t understand the problem your were solving
  2. You asked your friends (or co-workers) what they thought
  3. You listened to users instead of watching them
  4. You didn’t test your riskiest assumption(s)
  5. You had a “Bob the Builder” mentality

Let me know what you think or if you have other advice.

 

Are you going to IBM’s Digital Experience Conference?

Next week (July 21, 2014), IBM’s yearly Digital Experience Conference will be in full swing.  In the past this conference has been called “Exceptional Web Experience” and “Portal” conference and the new name reflects not only the market changes taking place, but also IBM’s approach to the market.  The market is no longer a “Portal” market or even just a “Web” market.

experienceI think that “Digital” explains that we are focused on more than just the web.  We have to be just as concerned with other channels, such as mobile, kiosk, TV, game console, etc).  And “Experience” broadens the scope to include customer experience, employee experience, patient experience, member experience, and so on.  So Digital Experience is a good name for this conference.

The focus of the conference naturally is on IBM’s Digital Experience products like Customer Experience Suite, Employee Experience Suite, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Content Manager and some Connections.  We expect to hear about all the new features and capabilities in the latest versions of these products.  Equally important, we will hear from IBM customers about their experience implementing and using these systems in real world scenarios.

Read the rest of this post »

Digital Tipping Point: McKinsey Releases Survey

Mckinsey released their digital survey and it’s chock full of information.  They note that this years survey focuses on digital spend and how companies organize themselves.  Not surprisingly, most companies are investing in digital to build a competitive advantage or to grow a business.

Strategic objectives to digital investment

Strategic objectives to digital investment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a lot more information in their survey including strategic priorities within the business. It’s worth a good 15 minutes to go over it all.

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Posted in News

Upcoming Webinar: Advanced Content Targeting

Next week, on June 26 at 1 pm CDT, the team and I will be presenting a free webinar on Advanced Content Targeting using Adobe Experience Manager.  Below is a description of the webinar and a link to register.  We’ll be demonstrating a new technique for managing content and targeting website visitors within AEM. I encourage everyone to attend.

Meeting Information:

As online resources become more essential to reaching customers, organizations are looking for creative and effective ways to target and personalize the digital experience.
Advanced content targeting has become integral to the marketing strategy, but many marketers struggle to optimize the digital channel due to daunting and technical content targeting methods.
Join Perficient for a webinar focusing on key content targeting issues and opportunities with Adobe Experience Manager to improve how to reach customers, including:
  • Investigating methods for managing content to efficiently target segments of users directly within the Context Cloud
  • Providing in-depth examples of successful, company-adopted content architectures using content hierarchies to enhance targeting
  • Demonstrating a streamlined authoring interface for managing targeted content

Click this link to register: Advanced Content Targeting & Personalization Within the Digital Experience Using Adobe Marketing Cloud

Posted in News

Myths and Facts About WebSphere Portal UI on our Spark Blog

I missed the following post on Perficient’s Spark Blog, but it is a good read for anybody connected to WebSphere Portal.  Older versions of portal had a reputation of not working with the latest advances in user interface tools and techniques, such as responsive design, jQuery, etc.  Starting with v7 and really taking off in v8, IBM has enabled WebSphere Portal to work with all the latest UI advancements.

In this post - Myths and Facts- WebSphere Portal and UI - Harish Bhavanichikar identifies four myths and provides the facts about developing the WebSphere Portal UI.  Harish is a front end developer at Perficient, so he has hands on experience with creating responsive themes and integrating Javascript frameworks with Portal.

Finally, Harish provides four best practices that a front end developer needs to follow when working on the portal UI.  These best practices are definitely worth the time to learn.

If you are interested in more innovative and user interface discussions, take a look at our Perficient Spark blog.

 

Why Will Your Health Portal Company Succeed?

I came across the following article at Forbes.com: If Google Health Failed, Why Will Your Health Company Succeed? The first thing that caught my attention was the premise of the headline: Google is big, smart and has a lot of resources. If they can’t get a health portal right who can?

I immediately thought, “Well lots of big, smart and resourceful companies attempt new ventures and fail miserably.”  Often times it requires agility, freedom from past investments and timing that contribute to success in blazing new trails.

So back to this Forbes article.  It really is an interview with the co-founder of MDCapsule, Dr. Nathalie Majorek, about what she is doing at MDCapsule to succeed in an increasingly competitive segment of the healthcare landscape. MDCapsule LogoSo Dr Majorek relayed some concepts that more companies need to adopt to be successful:

  1.  Think like a patient, not like search vendor, database vendor, cloud vendor, etc.  Patients who want to access a healthcare portal have specific needs for information and action, not just data.  As a patient, its nice to see my red blood cell count. But I also want to know what it means when I’m outside the normal range.  Can I quickly ask my physician or a nurse advice on what to do?
  2. A patient portal doesn’t have to add a huge workload to doctors who are already under pressure to see lots of patients.  As more doctors get paid on outcomes vs procedures, doctors should welcome greater patient engagement whether its in the office or online.
  3. Electronic medical records vendors don’t have a lock on patient portals.  In the real world, patient data is spread out among several EMR systems.  Current EMR vendors are great at pulling in data, but most won’t share data to other systems. A patient portal must be able to integrate with many vendors’ EMRs and other systems like billing, content, analytics, etc.

Innovation is alive and well in the healthcare portal space.  Major vendors don’t have a lock on success and many new companies are being successful in satisfying consumer needs.