The Emojo Workout:
Hot Content Management
Technology from Harrod's Creek
Stephen E. Arnold. Submitted,
January 10, 2002)
The Royal Opera House has its "mojo workin'".
The ballerinas are not dancing to a
hot new tune. The ROH's Web
site is shaking and baking with Emojo, a zesty mix of
content management, dynamic Web pages, and
Emojo, to borrow from the music industry's lingo, is
"working its way up the charts." Clients range
from healthcare to financial services to
governmental entities across Europe.
Emojo is a content management software company
that has landed major accounts in Iceland,
Germany, the U.K., and several other
A good example of the Emojo Affino system
in action is Content Wire. The site is
a news and research service focusing on the
content management software industry. Users
can access content on the public site. The
company also offers a password protected
for-fee service. A single Emojo system supports
the editorial production, subscription and
financial functions, discussion fora, and
e-mail marketing services.
Each of these functions was implemented by a
small staff with little (or no) programming expertise pointing
and clicking choices offered on the Affino interface.
The Affino software generated the Web pages, established and
validated links, and interacts with what
the company calls a "permissions based
rapid publishing system.
Says Markus Karlsson, the company's founder,
"We did one Web
site in 24 hours. I personally don't suggest this, but it
is hard proof of how different we are from some content
management software companies. With some high
profile content management software,
a systems engineer may install one module
in one day."
Mr. Karlsson is a walking advertisement
for the virtues of growing up breathing
Iceland's clean air and drinking its
His firm was originally called "Internet
Business Development Agency." Mr. Karlsson
adds, "But I never thought
of my software as specific to the Internet.
We are a productivity and process
management company. We are a software / technology
although we use the positioning line 'action anywhere'
Unlike many Internet companies, Mr. Karlsson
has found a niche where the economic downturn has
had modest impact--content management that
is affordable and easy-to-use.
His company has expanded in 2001
to more than 50 "users" with a user
an organization such as MasterCard and Alternative Medical
Centre) plus resellers in Europe. Mr Karlsson
says, "We expect to have a major announcement
about the availability of our products and
services in the U.S. before the middle of
"Our software automatically handles
much of the housekeeping that adds so much
time and cost to some content management systems,
says Mr. Karlsson. "When customization is required,
our software engineers
can modify a specific
module without affecting any
other Affino user."
The Emojo product is one of a new breed of content management
solutions. Clients have distinct choices about
how to implement the basic software and the types of
functions needed for a specific application.
Instead of creating a content management from
the ground up, Emojo's Affino is a wrapper that
uses Allaire's Cold Fusion for what Mr.
Karlsson calls the "substructure" of Affino.
The company supports an Application Service Provider
model. In this approach The Emojo software is available as a service
running on Mr. Karlsson's or his partners' servers.
Customers pay a start up
fee and a monthly fee that covers
the Cold Fusion and Affino software and
Customers using this approach interact with the various
content management modules via a Web browser interface.
"There is more and more interest in this type of service
provider approach," says Mr. Karlsson. "Many organizations
have an information technology department, but the
cost and time required to duplicate what we offer as a
7x24 service is hard to justify in terms of costs."
Emojo's other approach is for customers who want to control
the Affino software themselves.
Emojo provides its software in shrink wrapped
packages in three versions.
Affino Intro includes basic content management, Web
building, link management, security, online
forms, and a number of other ready-to-use
features such as full support for multimedia
objects and their management.
The Affino Promo pack includes an enhanced survey
functionality, a tool for building and maintaining
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), newsletters, and
an online presentation component. The Promo pack
allows a marketing organization to create and manage
a wide range of online sales and promotional campaigns,
statistical reports, and rapid turnaround for special
The Affino Syncro pack adds additional messaging
functions, including chat and conferencing, a
forum (real time discussion group) management tools,
and an advertising component with an e commerce module
on the release schedule for 2002.
Each module has the productivity functionality
Productivity is something that makes Mr.
Karlsson's Icelandic blood pulse with Emojo beat.
"When I was seven years old, I
worked in the local fish processing plant like
everyone in my family. I learned how
important it was to do work quickly and
correctly the first time. I am obsessed with
making people productive and the work move fast and making its almost
impossible to do wrong. The consequences of a mistake
were too unpleasant when one is
working outside in the winter."
Affino's price point begins at about
£2,000. Only a handful of firms such as the U.S. firm Ektron Inc.
eMPower 3.5 are in this range. Affino's pricing
contrasts sharply with the often lofty fees for the
products from such firms as Documentum, Percussion,
"I want to see content management
software become more realistically price," says Mr. Karlsson,
the £200,000 to £1,000,000 packages are out of reach for
the vast majority of organizations that want to manage
The differences between Emojo and a content management
system from Vignette, Interwoven or Stellent are
both technical and conceptual.
On the technical side, Emojo provides a fast-cycle work
environment that is technically agnostic. Says Mr. Karlsson,
"We use XML [Extensible Markup Language]. We use some Java.
We use the Microsoft tools that make sense. Our approach is
to create easily maintained, fast executing, and bulletproof
components. We avoid saying that we will only use a
particular technology. We use what we know works for our
Emojo's engineers create what they call "information objects."
Our client -- for example, MasterCard Europe -- accesses
these virtual objects from the Emojo software," says
Mr. Karlsson. "The MasterCard staff use these virtual
objects how and where they wish. If we need to add functionality
or change a behavior, these changes are invisible to the
Affino user and happen behind the scenes. We have one of
the few content management systems whose functionality
can be continually enhanced without breaking any client
Another feature of Emojo's information objects is that they discover
relationships. Says Mr. Karlsson, "Affino knows that
a particular content object is available to paying
subscribers or to a user with a particular security
clearance. When a user logs in with a particular
attribute, that content becomes available to
that user. We have built these automatic discovery
functions into our system so that Affino users can
focus on their job, not learning about indexing,
security tags, and moving data from one queue to another.
Once an authorized user establishes a relationship,
Affino uses that relationship in ways that
speed the user's productivity.
Emojo's most interesting innovation is a functional called
"inherent syndication." According to Mr. Karlsson, "If a large
company has many Web sites, Affino can be used to give all of
them the functions, features, even look and feel necessary for
the many different constituencies. Our syndication function
allows content from these distinct Web sites to be viewed
and distributed as one syndicated content stream. This means
that a series of government agencies can use Affino to
publish health-related or any other type of information to
other sites; for example, health information to local
clinics or even specific schools."
The Bad Oeynhausen Web sites are a good illustration of
the power and flexibility of Affino,
implemented under the the Welldoowebware brand.
medical complex comprises
four medical centres, four specialist
institutes and a blood bank.
The site includes
a search engine, an international events calendar,
a wide range of static and dynamic information as
well as and the centre's own art exhibition.
The design on for Bad Oeynhausen site was by
Welldoo limited, an Emojo partner. Emojo then carried
out the technical implementation of the project.
(Welldoo is a web services company with operations in the u.k.,
france, and germany.)
On the conceptual side, Emojo is designed to get the work
done quickly and easily. "Too many of the content management
systems take days or weeks of learning. Emojo's Affino
can be used as soon as the software is installed or the account
If a person can use a browser, the Emojo system is there
ready for use. Online for fee usage tracking. Click. Bang.
The function is ready to go. Our software maps the content to
the subscription system to the particular link."
Emojo Limited faces a number of challenges. Like any
fast-growing company, many decisions must be made
quickly in order to maintain momentum. The content
management arena is intensely competitive with
fierce price cutting eroding the margins of many
companies in the segment. Finally, the need to
invest in new software and technology can consume
prodigious amounts of cash. Emojo must continue to
perform at a high level to maintain its trajectory.
Emojo's software is stretching the boundaries of
content management. When asked about the future
of Emojo, the polished Mr. Karlsson said, "Information
plus communications plus analysis equal knowledge
management." Emojo's path, then, is "CM to KM," adding
another beat to Emojo's Affino.
80 Mortimer Street
London W 1 W 7 S D
voice: 020 7291 1070
Web sites mentioned in this column:
Alternative Medicine Centre,
Royal Opera House,www.royalopera.com
Stephen E. Arnold
Arnold Information Technologies
Postal Box 320
Harrod's Creek, Kentucky 40027
Voice: 502 228 1966
E mail: email@example.com
Web site: http://www.arnoldit.com
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