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Buyer's Guide to Web Projects

Independent advice in planning and buying web projects.

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Choose the right technologies

What technologies will suit your needs.

CASE: Eckerö Line succeeded with a complex web store renewal

26.11.2018

The web store requirements of Eckerö Line are very complicated. Similarities with typical consumer web shops cannot really be found. Already, the cruise and route trip sales have many dimensions and when enhanced with different kinds of extra services onboard, such as meals and vehicle shipping, and services in the destination, such as hotel accommodation and opera tickets, managing different kinds of combinations becomes really complicated. An extra spice is the pre-order selection, which comes with its own set of rules. Continue reading “CASE: Eckerö Line succeeded with a complex web store renewal”

Magento is in the middle of a change – again

18.6.2019

Today, Magento is the most commonly used e-commerce platform in Finland. The installation base is broad for both the open source version and the commercially licensed version. Due to the new ownership, the market position of the product changes slightly.

Global software company Abode announced an acquisition of e-commerce platform Magento back in May 2018. Adobe has had an extensive offering already before, but it’s been lacking an e-commerce solution. Magento seems to be the missing piece for the puzzle. Now that a year has passed since the announcement, it’s time to reflect the impact of the acquisition and the future of Magento. Continue reading “Magento is in the middle of a change – again”

Most popular web technology platforms in Finland 2019

When you look at the web technology platforms different companies use, the most popular open source products are still going strong. If we compare purely the number of installations, WordPress and Drupal are leaders of the pack. Free license attracts buyers, but the products are also very suitable for typical website implementation scenarios. Continue reading “Most popular web technology platforms in Finland 2019”

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”

CASE: Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre’s web services take a digital leap

24.4.2017

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre Messukeskus launched their website redesign project in 2014. At the time, their website was running on SharePoint 2007. The site was not serving customers as well as desired anymore, and the technical platform was aging rapidly, too.

The aim was to replace the old SharePoint solution with a modern, easier-to-maintain combination of web services targeted to both visitors and exhibitors. Messukeskus wanted to offer their visitors inspiring and activating content before, during and after each event, and to encourage people to share their experiences with others.
Continue reading “CASE: Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre’s web services take a digital leap”

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”

What are the advantages of commercially licensed web content management platforms over open-source products?

May 23, 2016

Platforms based on open-source code are conquering the world of online services. WordPress, in particular, has spread with vigor. The platform is constantly developing, and there is no shortage of implementation partners. With the number of installations as the criterion, WordPress is probably the world’s most popular content management system. Continue reading “What are the advantages of commercially licensed web content management platforms over open-source products?”

State of Finnish e-commerce: local, under-resourced and tech-driven

Dec 2, 2015

Amongst Finnish online shops, only one in five has planned a strategy for international markets, and less than half feel they have the resources needed for developing e-commerce in general. These are some of the discouraging results of a survey, which was conducted by North Patrol and eCommerce Finland. On the brighter side, the survey shows that it is possible to run profitable e-commerce even without significant investments. Continue reading “State of Finnish e-commerce: local, under-resourced and tech-driven”

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”

Digital Customer Experience Marketing Cloud Platform

Sep 16, 2015

– “Excuse me? What does your blog title mean?”

– “I have no idea.”

But by combining two or three words from the title you get many of the latest product or service brand names of big IT vendors. These brand names are astonishingly identical.
Continue reading “Digital Customer Experience Marketing Cloud Platform”

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”

To personalize or not to personalize?

May 18, 2015

The whole world is talking about how the power in digital channels has switched over from organizations to consumers. It’s The Age of the Customer as they call it. Humble and patient “Hopefully they’ll provide me what I need if I only search long enough” attitude has been turned upside-down. Now consumers are demanding “Give me everything I want! Right now!” and “only for me and exactly to my specific need”. People want better digital experiences and more relevancy. Suddenly everybody’s time is money.
Continue reading “To personalize or not to personalize?”

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 Sitecore by Lars Nielsen

Dec 16, 2014

Today, Sitecore is one of the major players in the global web CMS market, but in the beginning of 2000 it was just another CMS out there. In this interview, one of the founders, Lars F. Nielsen, tells the story of Sitecore and how the company view the global CMS marketplace. Lars visited Helsinki in the beginning of October when CMS Expert Group Europe had its latest meeting, hosted by North Patrol.
Continue reading “Story of Sitecore by Lars Nielsen”

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