Reports from the Content Management Frontier

The following are excerpts from an explorer hiking the Gartner Hype Cycle for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies.

Day 1, Reached the Peak

Today we finally reached the Peak of Inflated Expectations. The view is simply amazing. This technology is going to revolutionize everything. Everyone is excited and  teaming up with their friends. Documentum just got some great new equipment from EMC. I suspect that those two will be very happy together for a long time.

Life is good.

Day 2, Getting Crowded

Apparently everyone is excited and more and more people are joining us on the Peak. While the view is still lovely, they ground is starting to get muddy from all the people trampling everywhere.

Stellent showed up with their new pal Oracle. Everyone thinks they are a bunch of posers but they are mostly keeping quiet because Oracle has a bit of a temper.

There seems to be a new noise. I’m going to go check it out.

Day 4, Ooops

That noise from the other day? That was the beginning of an avalanche that carried the entire group off of the Peak. According to our maps we are in the Trough of Disillusionment. It is hard to validate because nobody can get a clear signal anymore. It is a bit gloomy but some people seem to think we can get out.

OMG! Open Text ate Hummingbird while we were sleeping! They must be panicking already.

Tensions are very high.

Day 7, False Hope

SharePoint hailed us from the Peak today. They offered a rope to pull us up one at a time. Everyone was fighting to join forces with SharePoint, even offering up their first born for a chance. The efforts don’t seem to be working as the ropes keep breaking from the weight.

Open Text ate Gauss and Ixos last night. Everyone is wondering if they are next.

Day 9, Morale is Dropping

SharePoint fell down into the trough with the rest of us yesterday. Resources are starting to become scarce. There is a sinking feeling that we are all going to be stuck here for a while.

Open Text ate Vignette yesterday. Is nobody safe?

talking about finding new food sources. Most of us have taken to sleeping in shifts to stay safe.

Day 11, Despair Setting In

Have setup a permanent camp here in the Trough. Supplies are running low and the outlook looks bleak.

There are rumors of some people that might help us but they seem pretty thin and hyperactive. One of them, Box I believe, appears totally powered by Red Bull and Diet Coke.

Open Text found a nearby Trough and ate Global 360 and Metastorm. We are all feeling a little more relaxed now that Open Text has found a new source of food.

Day 12, Fights Breaking Out

The stress is getting to everyone.

EMC and Documentum had a fight today. EMC was found with a knife at Documentum’s throat yelling something about being a commodity. When we pulled them apart, Documentum screamed that if they had been allowed to do it their way, none of this would have happened. EMC stalked off muttering that they never signed on for any of this.

To be fair, none of us did.

Open Text hasn’t eaten anyone in a while. We are all getting nervous.

Day 13, Hipster Invasion

Those skinny people who lived off of Red Bull are apparently called ‘hipsters’. The hipsters are claiming to have found a path up the Slope of Enlightenment. We all have our doubts.

Documentum seems to be dating Syncplicity and EMC has found a new BFF called Pivotal. They are obviously trying to annoy each other.

Open Text just ate a hipster named Cordys. Nobody is sure why as there didn’t seem to be a lot of meat on Cordys’ bones.

Day 14, Resignation

We are stuck. Nothing is working. Everyone keeps coming up with ideas to get us up the Slope but they are really just the same ideas everyone has had for days.

Box disappeared last night. Open Text swears they had nothing to do it.

Dropbox and SharePoint have been talking and they claim to have found the path up the Slope that Box took. Everyone is skeptical.

I’m not sure what the future holds. If Open Text tried to eat me I might let them as it would end the suffering. This is not the utopia we were promised. Cannibalism, back-stabbing, and false promises have left us rotting down here in the Trough.

If anyone finds this journal, please tell my family I loved them. Well, most of them. I still haven’t forgiven my brother for taking my giant-sized Star Trek coloring book.

Box and Dropbox Race for Long-Term Relevancy

The Spanish InquisitionIn case you missed it, Dropbox has followed the path blazed by Box and has integrated with Microsoft Office. While Box integrated on the desktop, Dropbox is integrating with the Office mobile apps and plans to extend it to the Online Office versions. This is a no-brainer move as anything that simplifies people’s ability to work with content within Dropbox helps keep people using both tools.

On top of all this, Microsoft announced that their Android and iOS versions of Office will now be free. Microsoft is clearly trying to maintain their edge on the office productivity world and Dropbox is aiming to stay in front of people’s eyeballs.

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Box Just Threw Down the Gauntlet

Clint Eastwood as Dirty HarryLast week, Box held their annual conference. Many announcements were expected and the announcement of Workflow coming to Box in 2015 was quite exciting. If you want a high-level look at everything that happened, check out Chris Walker’s quick thoughts on BoxWorks.

None of that is why I am writing this post.

Buried in the wave of tweets were two game-changing announcements. Box announced Retention Management and Auto-Classification of Content.

That’s right. Information Governance behind the scenes on an application that people actually use AND a way to get content in the right retention bucket without people having to intervene.

All in the cloud.

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You Will Never Have One Place for All Your Content

Dr Who in the rainYou read the title correctly. No matter how hard the industry works between now and the time you die, or are simply drooling in a wheelchair, you will never have one place for all of your content. I’m not simply talking the difference between work and personal pieces of information. Whether you are at work or home; on your computer, tablet, or phone; or any combination of those, you will always have content you need to access in multiple systems.

A little depressing isn’t it?

That doesn’t make it less true. If it makes you feel any better, it will not be entirely your fault. The problem is that you and your company do not own all of the content that you use. There is content out there that originates, and lives, in other places.

And there is nothing you can do about it.

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Doom and Gloom for Dropbox and Box?

If you have been anywhere near twitter the past week, you’ve seen the article from ZDNet asking Can Dropbox and Box survive as independent services? The author, Ed Bott, then goes into the pricing competition for storage and how both services are falling way behind the curve to Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Ed misses the point. This isn’t about storage. Not anymore. It is also about convenience. How well can you synch across all your devices with products from the big three? How well do those products work with other applications on your mobile devices?

Even more importantly, how well do those applications serve the enterprise?

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Content Management Step One, Capture that Information

A Cinnabon treatThere were a lot of disagreements on my view that Box or Dropbox will be a leader in Content Management in five years. Some were willing to concede that in the Small and Medium Business (SMB) market it might be the case but not in larger Enterprises. To anyone relying on that argument, I suggest refreshing yourself on how disruptive technologies attack a market.

I want to take a moment to explain why one of them WILL be a player in the market. It all comes down to one simple point, they capture content.

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Box v Dropbox v Everyone

While I was at Alfresco, I made a point of ignoring the competition. I always believe that if you can’t win without saying something negative, don’t bother. On the flip side, I didn’t want to draw extra attention to the competition.

Don’t have any of those issues now.

Even though I was quiet, new things still happened. Recently both Box and Dropbox have been making some announcements. While I am not going to go into the details, plenty of people have done that already, I’m going to talk about why any of it matters.

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