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.]

First Impressions

The first thing I did, like a kid digging into their Christmas stocking, was look at the chart and compared it to the old chart.  Gartner tells you not to do that, but that just makes me want to do it more.  It is important to remember that how Gartner rates companies changes from year-to-year, so movement isn’t necessarily indicative of how a company is doing.

One last note, better positioning in the Quadrant does not mean that it is a better solution or that it is better for you.

  • Hyland Software jumped into the leader quadrant. SaaS/CMIS.  Congratulations to Hyland.  Let’s see what they do with the recognition.
  • Last year, the traditional leaders where separated by ability to execute, but not in vision.  Not so this year.  They are no longer grouped together.  Oracle has the best “vision” score, followed by, get this, Microsoft….
  • That’s right, Microsoft and Oracle are arguably the best positioned in the report.  Microsoft, as an established company, will always score well in the ability to execute.  The vision for SharePoint, especially when you listen to the marketing.  To be honest, the other longer-term established vendors should be a little ashamed to be falling behind.
  • SpringCM hasn’t moved much.  Not a good thing for a SaaS vendor.  They should be able to do a little better.  They have been focusing on delivering solutions and not a platform.  It is a nice revenue approach, but it doesn’t seem like it will lead to future leadership.
  • There are a lot of companies scattered on the left, but that is the low-vision side of the quadrant.  This is actually important as the industry starts to transform for the future.  I feel that the difference between the Niche players and those on the right is going to widen if those companies don’t act soon.
  • Along those lines, Perceptive Software is listed as the lone Challenger, though Laserfiche is pretty close.  Neither rated well in Vision and that is important.  In fact, once a company has a minimum level of execution capability, Vision is critical unless you are planning on changing vendors in three years.  Why would you plan on that?
  • HP is gone, on purpose.  They are a Records Management vendor now.

Okay, going to read last year’s post on the 2009 Quadrant and this year’s report in detail before hitting the next section.

Pulling the Real Value

Okay, more notes on the report as I have dug deeper.

  • Nuxeo and both get a mention, but neither qualified to be included.  Having been tracking both for a while, I expect both of them to get out of the Niche quadrant faster than those already in it.  They have the Vision to get there.
  • There are now “four worlds” of ECM.  They are Transactional CM (think CMS+BPM), Social CM (Collaboration),  Online Channel Optimization (evolution of WCM), and CM as Infrastructure (think Cloud and Services).  These are good divisions for the most part, though I think that to be good at the first two, you need to think about creating that solid platform.
  • There are example vendors listed under each of those worlds, some listed twice.  The thing that grabs me, EMC wasn’t listed as an infrastructure example, and Microsoft was.  Really?  SharePoint is a development platform, but I wouldn’t call it an ECM platform.  There is some reference in the example of integration with enterprise information management practices, so maybe that is the factor, but it still seems off.
  • There is a reference to Content Analytics as a key topic for the next year.  Let’s just chalk that done for the next several years until it is as common and reliable as checking content in and out of the repository.

That wraps it up for now.  To be honest, I could riff on many of these points for individual posts, but I think I’ve rattled on long enough.

For some other solid thoughts, checkout the initial article over on CMS Wire.

9 thoughts on “The ECM Magic Quadrant, The 2010 Edition

  1. Mmmm’ – were Microsoft a sponsor ? Is this another reason to get our analysis from the fiercely “vendor independent” analysts like our friends at the Real Story Group ???


  2. Hi Laurence, I have a 2 part question and a response to Jed’s comment.

    How do you define an “ECM platform”? If, in your view, an ECM vendor is not providing a “platform” then how would you position that vendor’s offering?

    To Jed’s comment:
    Jed appears to be suggesting that Microsoft bought their way to MQ leadership. If it were simply a matter awarding Leader status to the vendors with the deepest pockets, then the vendor I represent (Hyland Software) should have been overshadowed in the 2010 MQ by the likes of Autonomy and Xerox (HP and SAP certainly could have done the same in past years).

    As I’ve stated on Hyland’s Blog site (, the MQ for ECM is not an apples to apples comparison of like vendors and products. The MQ for ECM is best used as an aggregate view of an overarching concept (ECM) that is comprised of several, distinct sub markets.

    Microsoft’s presence in the Leader quartile is merely representative of the fact that, like it or not, SharePoint is a part of more ECM discussions than any other product on the market.
    Gartner analysts understand as well as anyone that SharePoint rarely underpins ECM applications that serve as “systems of record”. They do, however, acknowledge that SharePoint is widely used as a platform for “work in progress” collaborative document management and intranet publishing.

    At any rate, this debate will likely be moot in a year or two. I suspect Gartner will ‘break up’ the current incarnation of the MQ for ECM into separate MQ’s or Marketscope’s that more readily reflect a vendor’s strengths/weaknesses in the context of one or more of the four usage scenarios Pie lists above.


  3. Ken, great question, and one that I have slated for a post in the near future. Maybe this week I’ll get to it.

    Simply, a platform needs to provide Content Management services (longer list than first guess), provide a collaborative platform, be scalable to meet all needs, and support standards for interoperability (like CMIS). It can act as a base for all Content Management in an Enterprise.

    If something isn’t a platform, it usually is more like a Suite of products. There are pros/cons there, which is also a long discussion.

    I think I was generally taken aback by the combination of the inclusion of SharePoint with the exclusion of EMC. That combination was interesting.

    Stay tuned for more of my thoughts.


    • If you read Gartner’s report, they say, “We have removed HP from the Magic Quadrant because HP’s stated strategy is to focus solely on records management and not the broader ECM market.” From what I’ve seen from their marketing and sales people, I am far from surprised. While other vendors have created “ECM Platforms”, HP has marketed an “RM Platform”.


      • It may be, but if HP isn’t committed to the functionality of an ECM system, then it is dangerous to invest in it as one. That said, like with any vendor, just because it isn’t on here doesn’t mean it isn’t the right fit for someone.


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