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Buyer's Guide to Web Projects

Independent advice in planning and buying web projects.

Author

Perttu Tolvanen

Perttu Tolvanen is a Web Technologies & E-Commerce Expert at North Patrol. Perttu assists clients on early-phase service design, defining requirements, and in technology selections.

Would you dare to rent a home directly on the Internet?

Quite a few do dare! Few years ago, we helped Kojamo (by then still VVO) with design and implementation of their new web store. A totally new renting process was very well adopted, because the availability of the rental apartments was (and is) poor in the Helsinki city area. Especially those moving in from distant locations thought that it is a good idea to rent a home on the Internet without even seeing it.

Right now, however, the situation is totally different. Kauppalehti tells in an article about Kojamo, that in the mid November 2018 over 7500 rental contracts had been done in the service. Continue reading “Would you dare to rent a home directly on the Internet?”

IBM abandons its web store platform

During the last few years the situation of IBM as a provider of web store systems has not looked very good. In Finland, the situation with partners has steadily become worse, and it is not easy to recommend IBM, even though the system itself is quite capable.

Now IBM has sold a remarkable collection of products to an Indian company HCL Technologies. HCL has become known especially as a partner in big outsourcing cases. This business case seems to be similar. Continue reading “IBM abandons its web store platform”

Forget the latest Forrester report about WCM systems

Forrester is one of the most well-known analyst companies that publishes ranking reports for content management systems (Gartner being the other one). The most recent Forrester Wave report about web content management systems (Q1/2017) was published at the beginning of this year, and there were some surprises, to say the least. I will review the report in this article and offer some background for how Forrester’s report should be interpreted. Continue reading “Forget the latest Forrester report about WCM systems”

Expert advice: Native mobile apps, bots or web apps?

Nov 14, 2016

Deciding your digital touch points is not always a straightforward task. Especially right now when the mobile world is developing at a fast pace. Many organizations have already invested big chunks of money in mobile apps, but many are still wondering about whether they should invest in high-quality web apps or new channels instead, such as Facebook Messenger bots. Continue reading “Expert advice: Native mobile apps, bots or web apps?”

Different conceptual approaches to self-service channels

Aug 23, 2016

Many organizations are now paying attention to the development of their customer-facing self-service channels, with some of them already developing the second or third generation. Many customers are already accustomed to good self-service channels; online banks are good examples of services with a long lifespan. Continue reading “Different conceptual approaches to self-service channels”

When do mobile apps make sense?

Feb 29, 2016

In recent times, many Finnish corporations have entered the world of mobile apps. For example, the retail chain Kesko published its K-ruoka (K Food) mobile app that makes it easy to create and share shopping lists within a household. The department store Stockmann published its loyal customer app in fall. The national airline Finnair has actively developed its loyal customer apps during the year. In summer, even The Finnish Taxi Owners’ Federation published its Valopilkku app that makes it easier to order a cab. All of these are genuine mobile apps published at least for iPhones and Android phones. Continue reading “When do mobile apps make sense?”

Philosophical differences: Sitecore vs. EPiServer

Oct 6, 2015

Sitecore and EPiServer are two of the major players in the CMS market. Especially those customers that prefer Microsoft technologies tend to evaluate both of these platforms. Sitecore has already proven itself as a very global player, while EPiServer is catching up especially after acquiring Ektron this year. Continue reading “Philosophical differences: Sitecore vs. EPiServer”

E-Commerce systems in Finland 2015

Sep 29, 2015

The e-commerce systems used in Finland can be divided into three categories: 1) the systems employed by small e-stores; 2) content management systems with built-in e-commerce features; and 3) the systems used in large, highly integrated e-stores. Continue reading “E-Commerce systems in Finland 2015”

My favorite startups in web content management

Sept 21, 2015

There aren’t many startups around that are focusing on web content management—at least not with unique approaches. Most of the startups are just “yet another CMS”, like Craft CMS. They can be useful, they can even be good business. But most of them are not really unique, and therefore are not interesting in a wider perspective. From my point of view, for a startup to be interesting requires that they are working on something that hasn’t been done before. Continue reading “My favorite startups in web content management”

Multilanguage management: US style vs. European style

Jun 6, 2015

Managing content in multiple languages is usually very difficult, and the more languages you have, the more difficult it usually gets. That said, there are two clearly different ‘schools of thought’ in managing multiple languages. From my experience, there are the ‘US style’ and the ‘European style’. The difference is not always very clear, and many big corporations actually apply both styles – sometimes at the same time.

Typically, most clients tend to fall in either of these categories. As consultants this is something we at times have to be hard to the client. Clients have to choose which style is closer to their requirements – at least on a regional level.

So what are we talking about?
Continue reading “Multilanguage management: US style vs. European style”

Low-cost website builders have become surprisingly good

Jun 2, 2015

A client wanted me to evaluate Weebly, a self-service website builder. She planned on using Weebly for a separate branch of their organization.

I confess, I was very skeptical. After all, this was a big company that usually spends hundreds of thousands of euros on their web renewal projects.
Continue reading “Low-cost website builders have become surprisingly good”

Good usability in CMS? A myth?

Feb 3, 2015

No, not a myth. Although for many people CMS usability doesn’t exist. The reason, though, is not that CMS vendors aren’t trying. They are working hard.

But the whole concept of CMS user experience is in its early stages.

First of all, the CMS world is divided into two camps. One side is making rich WYSIWYG interfaces while the other is working on structured content management. Yes, many are saying that they do both, but in reality most of them do structured content management. They have just invested a lot to a “decoration layer” on top of a structured content model.

The big paradox is that both camps are right.
Continue reading “Good usability in CMS? A myth?”

Story of a 300,000-euro web renewal – case helen.fi

Oct 28, 2014

This is a story of how the helen.fi website was renewed. Jukka Helin, Development Manager, Helsingin Energia (energy utility), details the project from the RFP to implementation through to final publishing. The project started in the summer of 2012, and the new site went online in late 2013.
Continue reading “Story of a 300,000-euro web renewal – case helen.fi”

Peculiarity of Finland: Liferay a popular web content management system

Oct 15, 2014

Liferay is slowly becoming more popular in Finland at the moment. Public administration in particular is attracted to this Java portal with a long history. There is even an attempt to make Liferay a widely used common web content management system for governmental organizations. Ministries, in particular, clearly consider Liferay the default CMS choice for new online services at present. The Lutheran church, for example, also has selected Liferay as the common web content management system for its parishes.

In addition to public administration, businesses in the finance industry are using Liferay in Finland to replace their costly Oracle and IBM portals. Continue reading “Peculiarity of Finland: Liferay a popular web content management system”

Modern CMSs are built for power users – interview of Tony Byrne

Sep 2, 2014

In the following interview, Tony Byrne, the founder of CMS research and analyst company Real Story Group, talks about the history, present and future of CMSs. Tony also analyzes the current challenges of the CMS market from the customer point of view. Continue reading “Modern CMSs are built for power users – interview of Tony Byrne”

eCommerce is the new name for web content management – interview with Boris Kraft

Aug 25, 2014

The interview series with CMS experts continues. The founder of Magnolia CMS, Boris Kraft, tells about the early years of the CMS industry and why Magnolia chose the open source way. Boris also explains why he believes eCommerce is currently one of the biggest trends in the CMS industry and why CMS products should be the primary tools to manage customer experiences in all channels. Continue reading “eCommerce is the new name for web content management – interview with Boris Kraft”

Contentful—CMS for mobile applications and custom web services

Aug 13, 2014

Berlin-based Contentful is an interesting startup solving a problem whose existence traditional CMS vendors have all but denied: managing content that is published somewhere else than in the channels the CMS controls.
Continue reading “Contentful—CMS for mobile applications and custom web services”

Marketing has inherited the web, but doesn’t know what to do with it

Jun 25, 2014

The interview series of CMS experts continues. In the following interview Janus Boye, the founder of CMS Expert Group Europe, talks about the history, present and future of CMSs. This interview took place in Leipzig, Germany, where the CMS Expert Group Europe had its latest meeting.
Continue reading “Marketing has inherited the web, but doesn’t know what to do with it”

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