Don’t Discount the Cloud Guys


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Was going to have a multi-rant post, but I’ve decided to slice and dice. I thought I would start with a warning for all the Content Management vendors.

Never discount the cloud guys. They are dangerous. Today they may just be file-sharing or basic document management but tomorrow they’ll be the de facto cloud content repository. As fast as you think you are moving, they are moving faster.

Those flying cloud monkeys have no problem throwing new features up there at a pace that will make your head spin just to see what sticks. They don’t need to make a profit today as they are working to make profit in the future. The source of that profit? Money that is now going to all the other content providers.

How do you beat them? Simple, fix your pricing structure to a metered/usage approach and move to a secure cloud, now. Older vendors know the market better, so if they get the architecture figured out fast enough, they can take the cloud monkeys down.

Oh, and fix that user interface and work on a mobile strategy. Both of these can be handled with agile development processes that you can use to match the cloud guys.

Yes, the cloud guys aren’t there yet, but they are driving a Veyron.

10 thoughts on “Don’t Discount the Cloud Guys

  1. Steve Sanderson says:

    Well stated. I made the same comments today in a conversation with a fellow worker. ECM vendors better make their UI sexy, up to date, and mobile ready out of the box. I’d suggest the invest in HTML 5 and a zero client interface that can run on anything of the following interfaces BBerry, iPhone, iPad, or Andriod device. If they don’t become more innovative they will die a not so slow death in their space.

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    • It is going to be tough. The Cloud guys…their UI has been prepped in the consumer space. We are seeing the ones that worked. They are tried and tested.

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  2. I’ve been saying for a while that cloud computing is going to change the IT landscape in ways that the big vendors don’t want to anticipate. The per user or per processor license models will have to change if the big vendors want to stay competitive. Thing is, if this source of income dries up, will the big vendors still be competitive? They won’t be able to buy the competition any more, and they will have to become more innovative to stay competitive.

    I do think exciting times are ahead, and IT is going to change drastically from what it is today 🙂

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  3. Ronda Ringo says:

    Complacency will be the gray beards thorn in their side. They’ve got start listening to consumer demand, both on ease-of-use and simplified pricing, and they could get themselves in the running. Only time will tell, but they need to get the lead out if they want to successfully compete with the newbies.

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    • Oh, many are starting to listen. The next question, is it too late? Will anything they do result in more than slowing the decline in their market share?

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  4. The Cloud is only really relevant with Mobile …

    ECM as anyway just a stopgap soution and therefore they are easy to attack from both Sharepoint and Cloud vendors. But I still don’t see enterprises moving to a Cloud ECM storage solution soon. I am not saying never, but it will take some more time.

    The biggest issue with ECM is that it ought to be consoilidated with CRM and BPM and I don’t see that happening in the Cloud either. If ECM vendors do that … and they are trying and failing … then they are pretty safe from the Cloud for some time.

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    • Max, not only relevant with Mobile. I know a large Federal agency that is planning to pull the trigger this month on a cloud-based Content Management solution. They are the first, but they have a lot of people talking to them about how it works. There is no Mobile in the requirements or near-term plans.

      I also strongly disagree with your consolidation view. I think that Content Management is moving to a platform service with solutions, such as CRM and BPM leveraging that platform.

      You have to disconnect Mobile and Cloud. They both exist without the other, though Mobile is much easier with the cloud.

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      • Martin Estrada says:

        “You have to disconnect Mobile and Cloud.” Well, it depends on your orientation. From a technology perspective, absolutely correct. But from a consumer behavior perspective they are linked because they represent two ways that the line of business can bypass corporate IT while pursuing innovation. 1) I can bring in my iPad/iPhone/Android device and demand that you allow me to send and receive corporate email, access corporate information,etc.; 2) I can acquire cloud-based technology assets for business use and put it on my credit card — forget about your Technology Steering Commitee and its processes. Both were unthnkable in the past.

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      • But that isn’t anything about the necessary linking of the two. The behaviors you are citing are a reflection of the failure of corporate IT to respond to the needs of the users. I know people using cloud services with normal computers in order to share externally.

        They reinforce, but are separate. They are both consumer products that corporate IT have not responded to adequately.

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  5. Cloud is a way of life, not just a sexy UI, mobile connectivity or a different pricing scheme. Easy to find … easy to understand … easy to try … easy to buy … easy to use — that’s at the heart of a true Cloud company’s DNA and omnipresent in the way they deliver solutions to market, ECM included. Users today expect to interact with business applications in the same way they interact with consumer applications and websites. And so while legacy on-prem ECM vendors continue to ponder their Cloud strategies, the Cloud “newbies” will be pushing out weekly release, adding more and more functionality and increasingly completing for and winning deals once the sole domain of on-prem vendors — not just because their UI is prettier or mobile connectivity is part of the standard offering or because of a subscription pricing scheme, but because true Cloud companies deliver what users want in a way they want to consume it.

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