The ECM Blogsphere


Recently, James wrote expressing his concern that the ECM domain doesn’t seem to collaborate. His opening paragraph was straight to the point is not an entirely inaccurate picture of the ECM industry:

It is plagued by a plethora of disconnected products that don’t integrate well, no notion of patterns or detailed reference architectures or even a consistent definition for what the ECM even contains. There are no standards specific to ECM, none of the vendors collaborate and yet everyone seems comfortable with this fact.

In this one fact I would dispute is the fact that everyone seems comfortable with the status quo. That is both very true and false all at the same time.

ECHO…Echo…echo….

When I started blogging, I wanted a place to share my rants and insights. I had observed over the years that some people had placed value in the information that I possessed. This ranged from the trite, Man, you know a lot of useless stuff, so I called to ask you xxx, to the sincere, After you leave, can I still get copies of your conference notes? I wanted readers and I wanted to build my reputation.

After blogging for a few weeks, I learned that I had to know what I was talking about or I would be taken to task by other bloggers. It didn’t take me long to realize that many of bloggers out there in the ECM space were disconnected from each other. Posts were rarely created as part of a dialog with each. Try as I might, I could only get one dialog started.

I went and looked at the blogs that I had linked to in the beginning and noticed a pattern. There were very few that posted regularly. Many blogs were very technical in nature, which is great as we need those as well. However, we need architectural and industry blogs as well.

Case in Point: The ECM Standards Dialog

Back in June, I started a solid dialog regarding ECM Standards that some others picked up, but when I stopped commenting, it died off. James can only incite effectively so much. I stopped because I needed to learn more before I continued. I felt that I had to take a few steps back in order to get my point across. However, that didn’t relieve the others from any responsibility for continuing the conversation or doing something.

Now, that isn’t to say that my insights were more important than anyone else’s thoughts. The feeling that I got is that some ECM bloggers just pointed the discussion out to their readers, added a quick comment, and moved on. Some would also respond to direct comments and observations, but they didn’t always provide them on others in the dialog. Still others that I think could provide valuable insight, didn’t post anything at all.

Another observation, I didn’t receive one comment to take this conversation offline or any proposal to try and do anything about it from any ECM people. That isn’t a major problem. However, I would be surprised if any others in the discussion did either.

What do WE do?

One problem is that the ECM blogsphere hasn’t reached critical mass yet. From what I can tell, we need to at least double the bloggers out there, and get some of the existing bloggers to post more than once every few months. We need more from the vendors, partners, and analysts. We all need to read, respond, and post. We need to move offline to take action.

I need to be more diligent as well. Mind you, I’ve had a lot of things going on both professionally and personally in the last few weeks. In addition, August is a heavy vacation time, so there isn’t a lot of activity. That doesn’t relieve me of any responsibility though.

Oh, and as for the status quo. Many aren’t happy, but not everyone realizes that it is their responsibility to work to change things. If you have read this far, then it is your responsibility.

It is September now. Everybody back to work.

5 thoughts on “The ECM Blogsphere

  1. Hi Laurence – first time commenter – long time reader ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think you have a point – but from my perspective things are getting
    better – there are more ECM blogs now that are worth reading. Where it
    fall’s apart a little is in the vendor focus. EMC Documentum is covered
    well, but beyond this particular vendor there is scant coverage. Would
    love to see more bloggers who have experience of IBM Filenet, OpenText
    etc etc
    I cover 30 ECM vendors in my report (20 in depth) and there is very
    little blog discussion about the vast majority.
    Just to be contrary though – I would also like to see a lot more
    discussion around the practical and business application and
    implications of ECM (there is even less on this than the technical
    stuff). We try through our CMS Watch blog to stimulate debate – and in
    bursts I do so through my own blog (www.doingitbetter.blogspot.com) –
    but it’s hard.
    All in all though – the picture is quite rosy – don’t underestimate the
    value of some of these debates (security & standards for example) they
    certainly inform my research at CMS Watch!
    Best
    Alan

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  2. leecsmith says:

    Interesting stuff. I started blogging earlier this year so am reasonably new to the blogosphere but I do sense some momentum being picked up. I’ve tried to make some time to look in more depth at XACML following James’ comments and come up with some ideas on how we could best adopt within ECM.

    There are standards bodies out there for this, in fact these were discussed in many of the blogs, do you think the standardisation cannot be achieved through these bodies?

    Happy to discuss offline if you wish to.

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  3. I appreciate both of your views on the improvement of the blogging arena around ECM. Summer is probably a stagnant growth period. That being said, there is a long way to go.

    Just for clarification, the standards discussion was an example of dialog, not the driving reason for this post.

    As for Standards bodies, I plan on becoming more involved this fall, once my personal life streamlines into a new chaos constant. So I will hold off on commenting. However, we shouldn’t just wait for them. We should push them. However, this is a topic for another post.

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  4. Well, your doing a good job at promoting dialogue ๐Ÿ™‚

    As you know, I have tried to pull a feed of lots of ECM and related blogs together on pageflakes (www.pageflakes.com/ecm) and have started to emulate you ‘oh great one’ by starting to blog at http://www.ecm-stuff.blogspot.com but what your talking about is building a conversational dialogue in a ‘community’ where many of the possible contributers do not actually know each other, and therefore there is an element of trust which is missing. You touched on this in your post, the blogosphere can be unforgiving, even if you do know what your talking about, and this to puts people off too !

    As you know, but others won’t, I work for a very large distance learning university, with 200,000 students at any one time, and getting those students to be actively involved in a ‘community’ takes a lot of effort, with Professors designing activities into their classes etc. Just look at AIIM or CM Pro’s sponsored groups in Facebook – not a lot of chat going on in there either. Certainly Alan and co at CMS Watch try their hardest, and there are a number of AIIM blogs too, one focused on standards as it happens – but I am sure that as ECM becomes more central in enterprise IT / information management, then the online community around it will start to gel and become more vibrant ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. This is even more true in the UK… most of the active ECM blogging “communities” seem to be in North America or the Pacific, so the European focus is a little lost.
    This only really makes a difference in two areas:
    1. Where we’re discussing substantive issues around compliance.
    2. Feeling part of the gang!
    Philippe

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