The Lost Decade of ECM
Of the three posts rattling around in my head, this would be the third in order if I had to set a preferred order. Problem is, one idea takes more effort to develop while the other actually needs to refer to items in this post.
I spoke last week at Momentum in Las Vegas as part of EMC World. Instead of talking about Documentum or how I had worked with a client to solve a problem, I talked about the changing landscape of the Information Industry. The SlideShare version of the presentation is at the end of this post but I wanted to talk about the Lost Decade first.
Running in Place
While creating my presentation, I realized that there was a whole decade devoid of true innovation in the Content Management industry. My first Content Management project was in the 90s and was a working Case Management system. Look at what happened in those two years:
- 16 bit -> 32 bit
- Two-tier architecture -> three-tier architecture -> web architecture
- MS Access database -> SQL Server or Oracle
- MS Access interface -> Visual Basic interface -> HTML
The promise of the web wouldn’t be fully realized for several years and some of this was more evolutionary, but it was exciting. Shortly after I left that project, the portal concept was introduced. When the concept of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) was then announced, it seemed like the fun would never end. With one platform to rule them all and solve the integration problems, we would be able to innovate at will.
Ten years later, we were still using the same basic technology to solve problems. Sure, version numbers were bigger, but that was it. Let’s list what happened between 2000 and 2010 in Content Management:
- The web matured and became dynamic allowing us to do everything promised in the 90s.
- Content Management systems could handle all content but were big and bloated.
- Open Source came out but it was just a new way to use old technology to solve the same Content Problems.
- Microsoft, seeing a stagnant industry, released SharePoint with a better interface, more features, and lower initial price point. It quickly took off and is now suffering from some of the same issues as the vendors it first supplanted.
The clincher is this stat by Forrester stating that 66% of Information projects fail. 66%!!! That is two-thirds! What the heck have we been doing? This whole ECM path sure didn’t help us become more successful.
We lost a whole decade.
Today’s Information Professional
Today, there is lots of innovation again. Social, Mobile, Big Data, and Unified Communications are tools that we can bring to the business to solve the same business problems. Cloud isn’t going to help us solve business problems, but it will enable us to bring those tools to bear on the problems that we are facing.
It used to be enough to be a domain expert. The problem is that it is no longer enough to solve “Content” problems. We have to solve business problems. We have to be domain experts AND know how our respective domains make our organizations successful.
My Momentum presentation covers this and goes into more detail about how today’s innovative technologies can help us make progress in Information Management. Learn about the Brave New World of Information Management below or on SlideShare (which has slide notes).
One last question, do you think we lost a decade of innovation in the 2000s”? Chime up below.