Category: Technology Blog

WordPress vs Joomla 2013: Choosing A CMS

joomla-vs-wordpressWe use many different tools to deliver different types of sites, from customizations of content management systems like WordPress and Joomla, to custom developed applications.  Although we use many types of content management systems, for many sites it often comes down to a decision between WordPress and Joomla.  Why are these two CMS so popular?

WordPress versus Joomla

Both WordPress and Joomla are robust, mature programs with stable bases of code.  Both have an active plug-in development community so extending the core platform allows for extensive customization.

Joomla was released in 2005 and WordPress in 2003.  There are more implementations of WordPress and it continues to grow rapidly.  WordPress commands about 55% of the CMS market to about 9% for Joomla.

Joomla is better for more complex applications.  It has more robust capabilities and is built to be extended to the enterprise level.  WordPress is better for blogging and brochure type sites.  For lighter weight sites, WordPress can be customized to the point of not seeming like a WordPress site while maintaining all of the benefits of being a WordPress site.

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5 Tips to Business Intelligence (BI) Success

business intelligence dashboardWe live in an era of data overload.  Our systems gather and networks gather massive amounts of data and most of it flies by without even being examined or analyzed.  Some of the data is relatively useless to business strategy but most companies don’t utilized the nuggets of information gold that they already have.  Companies spend money to store and backup in their systems but in many instances, don’t take advantage of the existing data that is stored there.  Many times they don’t even know that it is there or how to access it.

Here are the keys to building successful Business Intelligence (BI) dashboards for your business:

1. Start with the data that you already have.  Generally, there is already a ton of data that is being wasted by not being examined or analyzed.  Make sure the data is accurate and there aren’t hidden assumptions that will result in bad information.

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Kentico CMS – An Excellent SharePoint Replacement

Critics of Microsoft’s SharePoint point to cost and complexity as some of the issues they encounter when deploying SharePoint solutions.  SharePoint certainly is an impressive product and valuable tool but there are other options in the Microsoft world that should also be considered.

Kentico is a terrific option to SharePoint.  It runs on Microsoft technologies and offers and easy to use content management system.  Kentico isn’t shareware but the cost can be considerably less than the cost to deploy SharePoint.

I’ve personally deployed hundreds of content management systems and I know the pros and cons of each one.  Other than it not being a free system, I don’t have many complaints with Kentico, certainly rare in the world of CMS reviews.  Kentico really is that good.

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Are You Ready For A Content Management System?

The evolution of websites has included several clear phases in capabilities and company strategy. The phases have been driven by advances in technology and software advancements. It’s clear that there is another huge shift taking place now and this is a great time to take advantage of the shift in cost and capabilities.

Phase 1 – The Emergence of the Web
Company Owners – “What is the web? What is a website? We gotta have one too.”
Website Technology – Flat HTML websites
CMS Techonlogy – No real good options

Phase 2 – Faster Internet Access
Company Owners – “We can put our marketing materials online?”
Website Technology – Better graphical tools produced web based brochure sites
CMS Technology – Some great content management systems, very expensive

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The Future of Outsourcing and Tips For New Outsourcing Industries

The world of information technology has been utilizing outsourced and offshore resources for years now and the market has become much more mature.

Now, other industries are dipping their toe into the waters of outsourcing work, and there are many things you can learn from experienced IT managers who have discovered the best ways to outsource work. The future will hold new industries and new countries becoming involved in outsourced work.

Here are a few industries that can and are benefiting from remote teams:

  • Translation
  • Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Auditing
  • Help Desk
  • Engineering
  • Backup and Security
  • Consulting
  • Drafting
  • Architecture
  • Legal
  • Back Office Tasks
  • Transcription
  • Medical (including medical tourism)

There are many industries that could benefit from outsourcing repetitive tasks.

[note class=”info”]IT managers involved in managing outsourced teams have discovered that you can have successful offshore projects, but there are aspects of working with outsourced teams that aren’t for the faint of heart. [/note]

Here are some things I’ve learned from working with remote teams of designers and developers. These principles are important whether you are working with technology vendors or with other industries.

1. Not all outsourced teams are equal.

Sure, it’s tempting to consider outsourced work a commodity, but it isn’t. Good developers and designers still work faster and better than average developers and designers. The same is true for other professionals. Errors cost money and lose clients.

2. Finding good teams is more difficult than it sounds.

Having great teams makes all the difference in the world. If you don’t know who the good teams are, find someone who does. It can be even more difficult when you deal with larger organizations because you may not know exactly who will be actually doing the work. And make sure the company is a great partner that you can trust.

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Peter Malkin’s Amazing List of Music Business Tools

The music business evolves and becomes more and more technical every day. It used to be so simple. You get a band together, get a couple of gigs, build your networks, and you are on your way to stardom.

The music business has been overturned multiple times in the last few years and new technology advances continue to change how music is produced, distributed, and promoted. Trying to stay up-to-date with all of the different aspects of online music tools and sites is a dizzying tasks with important new sites popping up almost daily.

Music industry veteran Peter Malkin recently released an epic video about the many tools available online for musicians, music lovers, and music promoters.

One of Peter’s final points is to get out there and do it the old fashioned way, but his list of sites is so expansive and valuable that it makes you thinks he favors a blend of the old and the new.

[note class=”info”]As Peter ticks off almost 100 tools, my initial thought was it would be great to have all of those tools available as links to check out. Peter didn’t have the links listed so I took some time and gathered the list and URLs for each tool. [/note]

If you aren’t in the music business but love music, there are quite a few gems in this list for finding and listening to music.

Here is Peter’s excellent but mind spinning video. Links to all of the sites Peter mentions are listed after the jump.

Make sure you check out Peter’s Blog too.

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5 Terrific Data Visualization Applications

As technology advances, the amount of data collected continues to increase exponentially. Much of this data could be very useful if harnessed and presented in a way that turns it into Information.

This is “Part 1” in a series of articles about great data visualization tools and applications.

[note class=”info”]One use of data visualization tools is corporate and government dashboards. Being able to apply data visualization tools to corporate and competitive data is a growing need in the information age. The tools to visualize the data continue to improve and evolve and corporate use allows for better trend identification and decision making.[/note]

Here are 5 outstanding data visualization tools:

1. Akamai Real Time Web Monitor

Akamai Real Time Web Monitor

Akamai Real Time Web Monitor

Akamai is a company that handles a large percentage of the web’s traffic. As a result, they have an enormous amount of data moving through their networks. They monitor global Internet conditions around the clock in real time. With this real-time data they can identify the global regions with the greatest attack traffic, cities with the slowest Web connections (latency), and geographic areas with the most Web traffic (traffic density).

This is an interesting application because it allows a user to know in real time what is happening all over the world, in a visual manner. It takes a great amount of data and presents it in a very easy-to-view way.

2. Voyage RSS Reader

Voyage RSS Reader

Voyage RSS Reader

Voyage is a web-based RSS reader that visually displays RSS feeds on a timeline. It’s a great way to explore the different feeds you subscribe in a completely different format.

The application bubbles up content in a timeline based approach. You can surf through and move around the articles with the most important and most recent items getting priority positioning.

Voyage is a good model for future news and information interfaces because it allows for bringing the most relevant information to the forefront as it wades through mountains of information. Adding personalization to this and you’ve got a huge advance.

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Top 10 Tips for Building a BI Dashboard

1. Before building your dashboard, spend a healthy amount of time determining what business information should be displayed on the primary display.

The best time to work through these issues is before you start working on the technology. Sometimes it is good to get an outsider that isn’t embedded in all of the issues of the day to help you work through this conceptually.

2. Don’t try to put everything in the dashboard

The dashboard should be the top level view for that person. It doesn’t need to everything imaginable in it. It takes work to get to the real important issues but narrowing it down will pay off in the end.

3. Make sure you have access or can collect the data you want to measure.

This seems to be a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many things that are important AREN’T being tracked or recorded. Sometimes you need to add systems to get to the data you need.

4. Know the dashboard audience and understand what information they need.

It’s easy to make assumptions about what people need to make decisions. Make sure the people involved have input and a voice in the process.

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Avoiding Technical Headaches – Tips for Migrating to a New Website

Migrating your website can be a real hassle. And if it is done poorly, the result can reflect poorly on your company. In addition to migrating to a new site, you may also be migrating to a new hosting provider. Migrating a DNS can also lead to other problems like email issues and breaking of internal processes.

So how do you plan to make sure it goes smoothly? Make sure you ask the right questions, have a solid migration plan, and triple check everything. Here are some things to help you evaluate and interview new firms to ensure a smooth transition.

Understand the Technology

Current site:

  • Do you have access to the current site’s files?
  • Your current site is built on a technology platform. Do you own the platform?
  • Is it portable?
  • Can you extract your content out of it for use in the new system?

Proposed Site:

  • What platform will be used?
  • Is the technology platform standard or is it a rarely used platform that only that vendor can support?
  • Is it proprietary?
  • Will it scale to suit your future needs?
  • How much maintenance will it need and who will provide the maintenance?
  • Where is it hosted? Is it in a secure facility with redundant connectivity?
  • What is the backup policy and cost?

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Executive Dashboards and BI – Solving the Executive Blind Spot

Every company has large amounts of data sitting in databases across the organization. There are database administrators and developers that know about all of this data. They know that this hidden data could be information, business intelligence, that could be used for decision making on all of the management levels.

In most cases, this information doesn’t bubble up to the executives that make the decisions and if it does, it isn’t in a format that is easy to decipher. This information could mean competitive advantages and a differentiator for the company if it could be accessed by executives and management while they are analyzing and making decisions.

[note class=”info”]Why is this information not being used? Is it because it is hard to find the important nuggets of information in the waves of data? Yes, this is part of it. Expert analysis and knowing where to dig can solve this problem. It takes some concentrated effort by people who understand both the business strategy and the data. [/note]

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