When Documentum was founded, the founders' vision was to manage the world's information to enable innovation and scientific breakthrough (like finding a cure for cancer). Since then, what started as a Document Management opportunity has gone a long way. Today, Enterprise Content Management is a mature market providing breadth of technologies that enable organizations to reshape the way project or transactional decisions are made. The ECM market is also a market that has gone through significant transformation lately and continued consolidation.
I see the convergence of 4 markets contributing to the evolution of ECM targeting different interaction types (from adhoc to structured) and application types (from horizontal to vertical).
The Commoditization of Content Services
The unprecedented success of Microsoft SharePoint has commoditized content services and significantly changed the content management market. SharePoint is now a force to be reckoned with. The sprawl of SharePoint sites has also created tremendous opportunities for information governance and given rise to a new generation of anti-SharePoint offerings such as Box.net leveraging the cloud to simplify information sharing.
The Emergence of Social Business Platforms
With the launch of their new Alfresco Enterprise release, Alfresco embraced the concept of Social Content Management. Jive and IBM refer to the same opportunity as Social Business. Whatever the term, in its latest magic quadrant, Gartner recognizes the impact of social interactions as social media create masses of unmanaged content.
Jive and IBM are the clear leaders in Social Business Platforms and the recent partnership between Jive and Alfresco recognizes the need for Social Business Platforms to provide robust content management capabilities. Social Business Platform vendors like Jive have been successful against Microsoft by focusing exclusively on social features and how they can help certain types of employees (salespeople, developers, etc.). Microsoft has also recognized the impact of social on content management and collaboration with SharePoint 2010.
Vendors for Social Business Platforms include: Jive, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco Quad, Acquia / Drupal
When ECM Meets Search Based Applications
The concept of search based applications is defined by Sue Feldman and her team at IDC as "applications that combine search and or text analytics with collaborative technologies, workflow, domain knowledge, business intelligence or relevant web services". This definition is being embraced by search vendors such as Endeca, Sinequa and Exalead (now part of Dassault Systemes). Gregory Greffenstette, Exalead chief science officer, offers a glance into concrete examples of search based applications from logistic track and trace type applications, to CRM, 360 view of the customer and decision intelligence.
At EMC, we have recognized the importance of search based applications and are incorporating search and text mining functionality into our products from CenterStage to Documentum xCP leveraging our Documentum xPlore, Content Intelligence Services and Federated Search Services, now core features of the EMC Documentum Platform.
Other ECM vendors from OpenText to IBM have recognized this trend as well with significant investments and acquisitions in this area. Key to delivering the promises of search based applications will be tight integration with composition tools for a new breed of business savvy developers that will enable the rapid creation of search enabled applications.
The following search vendors have embraced this trend: Autonomy, Microsoft / Fast, Attivio, Endeca, Sinequa, Exalead (Dassault Systemes)
Towards Composite Content Application Frameworks and Dynamic Case Management
As Gartner points out in its latest magic quadrant, there is increasingly more pressure on ECM vendors for ready to use solutions which solve real business problems rather than generic content platforms composed of dozens of loosely coupled modules. The need for more business solutions coupled with the convergence of the ECM and BPM markets has seen the rise of new opportunities for what Gartner calls Composite Content Application frameworks and Forrester calls Dynamic Case Management. While composite content application frameworks address the needs of content solutions, dynamic case management focuses on the convergence of ECM, BPM, business analytics and event processing. The reality is that there is a spectrum of solutions from content to case that require a new generation of composition tools to rapidly deliver business value with the agility to evolve quickly as business needs change. Organizations need more than a repository, they need an application platform and the solutions that come with it.
The following vendors provide composite content application platforms: EMC Documentum xCP, IBM, OpenText, Adobe, SpringCM, Hyland, Nuxeo
Towards the New Information Fabric
As the delivery of composite content application platforms transition to the cloud, this creates an opportunity for a new information fabric that will deliver tremendous business value and flexibility while reducing barriers to adoption. The industry is clearly at an inflection points in the adoption of cloud services. While Public cloud services offer tremendous promises, hybrid cloud deployments are most likely to provide the right balance between information control and flexibility.
Future winners in the evolving ECM market will need to embrace new composition frameworks that can rapidly deliver solutions at the intersection of content, social, search and analytics, and BPM (from content to case). Those composition platforms will also need to support hybrid cloud delivery models to deliver optimal business values based on the customer needs.
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