The 2009 Magic Quadrant for ECM

[Note that my post on the 2010 Quadrant is now available.]

Thanks to the Documentum voters splitting their time between two topics, discussing the recent Gartner MQ for ECM is today’s topic.  The voting was an interesting little diversion that I’ll revisit later.

I’m going to talk about the report here.  The recent controversy around Gartner is a post for another day.

Staying Out of Trouble

image Last year I was threatened (my word) by Gartner for putting a copy of the MQ here.  I was also chastised for several other nitpicks. So I will only link to Oracle’s courtesy copy of the 2009 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management this year to avoid wrath.

One thing to remember is Gartner really doesn’t want you to compare a vendor’s location in the MQ from year to year. That is both well-advised and unrealistic.  To be fair, as the measurements and industry change, scores change.  Movement isn’t just dependent on vendor action, or inaction.

However, we are human and we like to perform comparisons. I have a copy to perform the comparison for my own interest.  The link I had online to last year’s report is no longer valid, so you’ll have to take my Word on it.

Looking at the Leader Quadrant

The first thing that you notice is that the same five vendors are sitting in there. One a second, closer, inspection, you notice a few things:

  • They are much more closely bunched. There are any number of reasons for this. I think that Oracle, EMC, and IBM aren’t doing anything that really distinguishes themselves from the pack.  Microsoft just caught the pack, and Open Text keeps acquiring companies, watering down anything they may do to stand out.
  • Microsoft has the “prime” positioning. Okay, this doesn’t mean anything other than bragging rights, but they are the most “visionary” and their execution is second to IBM. Of the five, they shifted the most. Keep in mind, SP2010 isn’t out yet, so next year’s MQ could be very interesting.
  • The analysis of EMC reveals nothing new. This is a negative reflection on EMC, not Gartner. The product stack works well together, but the price list is long and complicated and the lack of an overall strategy.  This is not new.

My general opinion on these vendors is this, they are large and “in-charge”. They also aren’t exciting and are going to be less flexible going forward in adapting to the market.

Other Fun Notes

There are some other things that caught my attention this year that I wanted to mention…

  • Alfresco: Last year we celebrated Open Source playing in the game. Now Alfresco has jumped quite a bit to the right to become a Visionary. This is a well deserved move.  They have added RM to their solution and they have been very visible leaders regarding CMIS in the industry as a whole.  Their open-source nature and smaller size is part of what is probably keeping them from moving their position into the leaders quadrant. Though, judging by the vendors their now, maybe they should strive to be the best visionaries possible.
  • Laserfiche: A newly evaluated vendor, they seem to want to join the ECM ranks.  Their product is pretty solid from a DM/RM perspective. Their web interfaces need some investment and they need to be looking at CMIS if they want to ever grow beyond their current location.
  • HP: Every year, I grow more disappointed.  Tower TRIM was a fairly solid product.  Even after the acquisition, it still is, but it feels static.  While other vendors have taken their roots and made them an application on the ECM foundation, HP has kept RM as the foundation. This is fine for an Enterprise-class RM system, but not for an ECM system. Also, as of September, their field people did not even know what CMIS was.
  • Composite Content Applications: Say goodbye to CEVAs (Content Enabled Vertical Applications), CCAs are here. While I’m not sold on the word “Composite”, I’m very happy to see the word “Vertical” removed.  Composite addresses the desire for mash-up applications with content, and the Restful services that vendors are throwing out there support this quite well. The term just seems to pass over the content-enabled aspect of some “integrations” where you are just managing the content in the ERP or CRM system.
  • Hyland Software: My “favorite” mid-market ECM vendor is threatening to become a leader.  With a strong Healthcare foundation, Hyland has been moving forward steadily.  They, like Alfresco, have added a DoD 5015.2 certified RM solution and seem to be thinking about capturing larger fish. The one problem I see, their baseball freebies now have green threading which looks horrendous. 🙂
  • SpringCM: The first SaaS ECM vendor to make the MQ is SpringCM.  With all of the cloud hype going on, I’m surprised that they only included one vendor here.  SpringCM is a great solution, but they have a while to go until they really have a complete offering.  RM is a no-show here, and I feel that is required. Even non-certified RM is better than none.  SpringCM needs to step their game up if they want to survive the eventual cloud offerings from the established vendors.
  • WCM for Marketing: Gartner has acknowledged the trend of Marketing to have their own systems for the external website. Given the WCM offerings of most of the ECM vendors, I see this trend continuing.  I think CMIS will be key to getting these systems working together, which will reinforce the trend.

I think that is enough spare thoughts for now. Time to start working on the “Why do we still care about Gartner” post.

4 thoughts on “The 2009 Magic Quadrant for ECM

  1. Claudia Saleh says:

    Great post! And thanks for the link.. I was looking for it today and it came right when I asked for it! To be honest, I was really waiting to see where Alfresco was going to be positioned, because, wanting or not, some groups/companies still care about what Gartner says, and last years’ quadrant was not helping much, especially knowing how much Alfresco evolved since then.


    • Claudia, glad I could help. The move to Visionary, and the addition of RM, should help Alfresco quite a bit. They may begin to gain more traction in the US Federal and larger commercial markets now.


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