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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Looking at the Legacy Content Management Vendors


In my predictions for 2013, I made the following prediction on the future of the traditional “leaders” in the Content Management space.

First Major On-Premises Traditional ECM Vendor will become Obsolete: I know, obvious right? Statistically speaking, one of those vendors will likely still be a market leader in 10 years. In 2013, we’ll see our next elimination for that spot (though they will be in denial). To make this easier to measure, I’ll name the contenders: EMC, IBM, Open Text, and Oracle. Microsoft falls into this category but it won’t be them, at least not in 2013.

Aside from simple statistical probability, I saw a few things this fall that led to this prediction.

  1. Talked to people attending the IBM Information OnDemand while I was in Las Vegas.
  2. Attended the Open Text conference in Orlando.
  3. Watched the news out of Momentum Europe.
  4. Kept my eyes open.

What I’ve seen is a scary amount of consistency among the players.

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Debating the Future of Content Management at AIIM 2012


imageBack before either Cheryl McKinnon or I were considering bringing our skills to AIIM, we submitted a proposal to this year’s AIIM Conference to moderate a panel on the Future of Content Management. For this discussion, we decided to bring representatives from the traditional, open source, and cloud-based Content Management worlds onto the same stage.

As a result, we have the following on the stage:

Pretty exciting group there. I have laid out some rules that we’ll be enforcing in the debate.

  1. No Selling: This is vendor solution approach versus vendor solution approach. Each speaker represents their entire Content Management vendor area, not just their own companies.
  2. Speak Ill of No Vendor: To be honest, if they want to say something negative about themselves, they can. If they want to say something bad about one of the other vendor groupings, that works as long as it is generic.
  3. No Speeches: Hoping for a discussion, not a few rehearsed viewpoints.
  4. No Selling: Or did I mention that already?

To warm things up, I asked them some questions to set the stage for next week. In addition, if you have any questions you’d like to submit to be put to the panel, add them to the comments below. I will be writing a follow-up afterwards to capture the debate.

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Crazy Uncle Owen Loses a Friend


For years, I’ve had a crazy uncle, Owen Tedford. Now crazy Uncle Owen always like to collect baseball cards. I’ve always liked baseball cards so I always like to visit with Owen for short periods of time.

We always considered him eccentric and not crazy until he started buying other collections. While that wasn’t crazy in and of itself, it was what he did, or didn’t do, with the cards. He wouldn’t look at the collection for overlap before buying it. He would see one or two cards that he didn’t have and just buy.

Once uncle Owen got the collection, he would put the new collection in his shed and slowly cull it for individual cards to add to his main collection. The leftover parts of the collections slowly deteriorating outside in the shed.

We were worried about crazy Uncle Owen being crushed by his rotting collection of cards on a trip to the shed. We figured it was only a few more years until the sheer dead weight of it all collapsed. Then he met Artie, the town loon.

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Reflecting on Pie’s 2010 Predictions


Last year I succumbed to the pressure of being one of the only bloggers to NOT have predictions for 2010.  So on the last day of the year, I threw together a post with some predictions.

As a side effect, I have to evaluate them now.  I am going to score them as either correct, incorrect, or partial (50%).  The partial is for predictions that were correct in the causes, but the effects were off.

So, let’s dive into the juicy goodness.

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The ECM Innovator’s Dilemma


So I promised an ECM specific follow-up to my book review on Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma.  There is a lot to talk about, so I’m not going to blather on with a long intro (though this sentence seems to be compounding the issue) and get right to it.

Or not…I have some disclaimers/notes:

  • Going to try and use as much of Chistensen’s terminlogy as possible.  This isn’t to say that he has a perfect model, or even 80% model, of what is happening.  It just helps to keep the terminology consistent during this particular post.
  • Every Content Management company is different and the observations will not apply universally.  Every company reacts differently.  That said, if I didn’t think that this applied to a large number of vendors, I would have targeted this post at particular vendors.

NOW we can get started.

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