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Top 3 Topics at Gilbane CMS Conference 2012

Gilbane Conference LogoThe annual Gilbane CMS conference, sponsored by Gartner, just took place in Boston, MA, on November 28th and 29th, 2012. The event strives to "help organizations apply content, web, and mobile technologies to increase communication and engagement with their ecosystem of customers, employees, suppliers, and partners in the most effective and efficient way possible".

My colleague Carol Ganz and I attended the conference as volunteers for the open source CMS Plone booth to meet with business leaders interested in the potential of open source.

The Gilbane CMS Conference is fascinating for tech leaders due to the various "labs" where vendors demo the features of their Content Management Systems (CMS). Those labs provide great insights in how organizations leverage those tools, what the end-user experience is, and what is on the roadmap for each CMS. This is was a great opportunity for visitors to get a high-level idea of what a CMS does before diving in a live version.

Carol and I met several representatives of very large organizations, such as Target, National Geographic Magazine, City University of New York, or Hallmark Cards. It sounds like open source is getting a lot of renewed interest as organizations grasp the savings potential from switching to Linux.

One of the topics that received quite a buzz was about online community management, presented by companies like The Community Roundtable. An entire track was dedicated to helping organizations realize that both intranets and public facing communities need to be curated frequently to keep conversations going, and to make it easier to find knowledge. This is easily understandable for systems like KARL that can host tens of thousands of members all looking to share and expand their knowledge.

Another big focus at Gilbane this year was on internationalization capabilities. Several vendors, like Kinetic, were exhibiting their language translation services for online content. This explains why the Plone CMS scored some extra points when Sally Kleinfeld from Jazkarta demoed the system's multilingual support to a Russian attendee by flipping over the interface to Russian in just a few clicks.

Finally, responsive design and mobile apps were, of course, at the center of many talks as CMSs strive to adapt to the rise of the mobile market. "Start with a mobile device design and then move on to a desktop design" seems to be the main advice. The Gilbane Conference itself had embraced the GuideBook event mobile app and I didn't have to consult the paper guide much, although I will say I find the Sencha-based event app we developed a bit more user-friendly.

Did you go to the Gilbane CMS Conference? What tibits of information and insights did you leave with? I'd really be interested to hear from you too.

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