I made a few observations the other week about the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management that came out recently. I, and others, criticized what it was measuring (though one blogger defended the MQ). I made the following comment in my dissection:
Personally, I think EMC (Documentum) and IBM (FileNet) are Niche Players in the WCM world at best. Why? Their WCM products sell into a very specific niche, those companies that already have, or are making, investments in their EMC or IBM platforms. If you know of either product winning a pure WCM bid, let me know.
Well, no comments on them winning a bid. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just means that people that know of such wins didn’t read the post or care to comment. My point still is that EMC’s, and IBM’s, WCM offering is not the “Challenger” as the MQ seems to suggest.
Let’s dig in a little.
In the Challenger’s Corner We Have…
…EMC, IBM, and Microsoft. I’ve commented before on SharePoint’s WCM “capabilities” so there is no need to revisit them here. SharePoint 2010 promises some upgrades to those capabilities, but we’ll just have to wait and see. As for IBM, they are in the same boat as EMC, so much of this applies to them as well.
Now we have EMC. Of the “large” ECM players, they had the worst position in the MQ. One could argue that IBM may have been a micron worse on the Completeness of Vision axis, but EMC is clearly below IBM on the Ability to Execute axis. Given the inflation to execution from EMC being a large ECM vendor, I would argue that all of the Visionaries, with the possible exception of Clickability, are much better situated in the MQ as well.
The Vision is clearly lacking, or is it? What Gartner calls Vision includes many factors, including innovation. It is hard to innovate with a long product release cycle that is the norm for ECM systems. You develop an idea, pitch it, and it gets approved for the next release, in 9 months.
I’m making a timeline up here, but the point is that there could be a lot of innovation going on at EMC, it just takes too long to get to market. By the time the new features are finally passed off to the sales and marketing folks, they are last years hot items.
There will be a two year difference between 6.5 and 7.0. That is fine from an ECM perspective, and preferred by my clients. From an Internet perspective, that is a lifetime. How can the WCM product compete?
Open Source the Interface
Maybe EMC should open-source the user interface for their WCM product. I’m not saying that they should scratch their development team. I’m just saying that they should enlist the community to help them out. It might not be a large community to start, but it would accomplish a couple of things:
- Allows for clients to add that one little feature that seems to be missing.
- Avoids the 2-year delay by freeing it from the standard release cycle. There could still be an officially branded release, but that could be focused on back-end functionality and a tested front-end version.
EMC can still make money with the back-end and through maintenance. In a few years, this interface could back onto the Documentum platform using CMIS, and then be used to front other systems, leading to more revenue streams.
Will this work? No idea. I can tell you that the Documentum WCM product line is not working now. It is, at best, a checkbox feature for the ECM “suite”. When I talk to the WCM community, EMC never comes up. Not once. Even by accident or as a joke. It is that far out of the community’s mind set.
EMC needs to figure out what they want to do, even if it just to be content with where they are. Not inspiring, but it would be refreshingly honest.