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.
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.