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.

2013: Waiting for the Culmination of Everything

New Picture (2)In 2013, one trend that I had been watching for years finally culminated in the next stage. I got a position with Alfresco that will allow me to make a difference in the future of the industry. While it took longer than I thought it would, the future arrived.

In looking at my Predictions for 2013, I didn’t do well…at all. If it wasn’t for a slam-dunk prediction, I would have failed to even be half right.

Let’s see how poorly I did.

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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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Future of the Cloud, Suite or Best of Breed?

The last few weeks have been very interesting. Oracle held their annual conference, followed by SalesForce, and then Box. It was a good time to be in San Francisco as you had three distinct approaches to helping the Enterprise.

  • Oracle, for all the jokes around them “discovering” the cloud this year, offered a story about their tight stack of hardware and software.
  • SalesForce announced Chatterbox which makes Content Management a native feature to their platform.
  • Box announced new partners and new tools for integrating Box with all sorts of other cloud-based applications.

What you have are two suites and a best of breed approach. A recent NY Times blog post on Open vs Closed covered the two approaches well. What is the right choice? What is the future?

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Oracle Buys FatWire, Now What?

If you missed it, Oracle bought FatWire yesterday. Whether or not this was a shock depends on who you ask. In fact, I suspect that the tension of the sale has been rippling though events for several months.

This acquisition raises several questions, such as, does anyone care, that is, outside of the FatWire install base and those competing against FatWire? I think it matters. Not because of the actual purchase, but because of what Oracle does with FatWire. That will show us volumes about their long-term Content Management strategy.

Before proceeding into my world of hypotheticals, you should read Real Story Group’s collection of thoughts on the deal.

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The ECM Magic Quadrant, The 2010 Edition

imageSo Gartner released the new Magic Quadrant last week.


I’m a little torn here.  It is an important piece of research and of value and all that, but…

  • Those in the Leaders quadrant frequently aren’t leading.
  • Too many people look at the report and research the market no further.
  • Enterprise Content Management cannot be bought.  It is a strategy.  I can buy a Content Management platform or suite that supports my ECM strategy, but I cannot buy ECM.

Of course, it is full of useful/interesting facts, so let’s dive into it…[download a copy from Hyland Software.]

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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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