Revisiting the Content Management Frontier


Scene from the movie Alive, dead bodies in the snowTwo years ago, a journal was discovered while excavating in the Trough of Disillusionment of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies. The journal told a story of fear, distrust, and desperation.

Today another tome was discovered. Written hastily in the margins of an IDOL manual was the following text. It is estimated that this was written two days after the conclusion of the previously discovered journal (which you should read 1st). The author is unknown.

The Aftermath

I am writing this huddled under the equipment of those who have gone missing. The last few days had been tense but calm. This did not prepare any of us for what was to happen this morning.

Yesterday had been fairly peaceful. IBM was finally climbing up the slope to freedom using a rope that appeared to be tied to Box. I’m not sure if Box has captured IBM or IBM has captured Box. Both seem determined to reach the upper plateau and were working together to escape.

Today that plan looks better than ever. We all woke-up to discover that OpenText had taken down Recommind. At first we were relieved it wasn’t us that had become next . It had been a few days since OpenText had last fed and we were all becoming worried. Little did we know.

Before we knew it, OpenText was consuming the few parts of Autonomy with meat on its bones. HP was clearly trying to escape the trough by discarding the last remaining shreds of ECM. HP was last seen fleeing down the valley, throwing the ECM scraps that OpenText didn’t claim to MicroFocus.

Why MicroFocus wants to join this hellish landscape is anyone’s guess.

EMC was just rescued. Dell swooped in to scoop them to safety. This had been apparent since yesterday but everyone was interested how it was going to work with Documentum still firmly attached to EMC. Then, out of nowhere, EMC kicked Documentum towards OpenText, who without pausing to finish consuming Autonomy, leapt and took down Documentum with one gigantic bite.

At that moment, everyone scattered. I managed to grab a few supplies from Autonomy while OpenText was distracted by the death throws of Documentum. I’m not sure how much longer any of us have got before we either starve to death or are consumed.

Alfresco and Nuxeo both look like they are making a move to climb up the slope but I’m not sure they have time. Documentum had been working on a plan to escape for years. It finally looked like they had the needed equipment but then OpenText happened.

OpenText always happens.

I am writing this so future generations can learn from our mistakes. Do whatever it takes to escape up the slope and find productivity. They say it’s on the plateau but I suspect I’ll never know as it is hidden by the clouds.

I have to go now. Night is falling and I’m afraid that come sunrise, OpenText will be ready to feed again. What OpenText will do to survive once we are all either dead or escaped up to the plateau is anyone’s guess.

Pray for us.

Saying Goodbye to Documentum


One year ago, when Dell announced it was buying EMC, I wrote,

If you see Open Text or CA buy the ECD, start lighting the funeral pyres because Documentum would be officially brain dead and waiting for the machines to be turned off.

Well, it happened. OpenText acquired Documentum. This brings to end the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) wars that began almost 20 years ago. Back then, the leaders were FileNet, Documentum, Oracle, and OpenText. FileNet is buried at IBM who is flirting with Box. Oracle is struggling to reestablish itself after bringing on former Documentum leaders but they are fading away.

This morning, OpenText announced their acquisition of Documentum. I was hesitant to predict that OpenText was going to buy Documentum. It was the obvious prediction and I knew that it would be a chunk of change. $1.62 billion was the final price which covers the $600 million OpenText raised in May and another billion of debt commitment provided by Barclays for this transaction.

I suspect that nobody else was willing to pay EMC that much.

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Box and Dropbox Race for Long-Term Relevancy


The Spanish InquisitionIn case you missed it, Dropbox has followed the path blazed by Box and has integrated with Microsoft Office. While Box integrated on the desktop, Dropbox is integrating with the Office mobile apps and plans to extend it to the Online Office versions. This is a no-brainer move as anything that simplifies people’s ability to work with content within Dropbox helps keep people using both tools.

On top of all this, Microsoft announced that their Android and iOS versions of Office will now be free. Microsoft is clearly trying to maintain their edge on the office productivity world and Dropbox is aiming to stay in front of people’s eyeballs.

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Moving from Expert to Evangelist and Back


Clarence the AngelIt has been an interesting few years. As I approach the 7th anniversary of this blog, I was prodded to look at my journey by Gina Minks. She wrote a post about how to take advantage of experts and evangelists without them turning into obnoxious tools. (Her words were not as kind) She was asking as much as sharing.

This is a tough one. As you become recognized as an expert, it is a little intoxicating. You want to keep the recognition while still maintaining the credibility that got you there. Opportunities come along and you have to decide which ones will let you keep your soul and which ones will require you to cross that line that Gina was warning about.

Let’s start with my journey as a point of reference.

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Box v Dropbox v Everyone


While I was at Alfresco, I made a point of ignoring the competition. I always believe that if you can’t win without saying something negative, don’t bother. On the flip side, I didn’t want to draw extra attention to the competition.

Don’t have any of those issues now.

Even though I was quiet, new things still happened. Recently both Box and Dropbox have been making some announcements. While I am not going to go into the details, plenty of people have done that already, I’m going to talk about why any of it matters.

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Saying Goodbye to Alfresco


Red Swingline StaplerAt this point, you don’t really need to read much more, but since you are likely the type to want to know more, I shall share. Alfresco and I have parted ways. I greatly enjoyed my time at Alfresco, I learned quite a bit, and I met some amazing people. Alfresco was my first return to a major vendor since the 90s and I enjoyed it. They have a solid vision, good people, and amazing technology. I will be watching their growth with interest.

As for me, I am free to fully explore my options, but first…a vacation.

Still working on the details of what that entails, but I am sure that one or two oceans will be involved. I haven’t had a real vacation in years as I’ve shifted from one job to another with no break twice now.

This time, I’m going to take some time to relax.

Of course, I cannot vacation forever. Even during my vacation, I will likely be sending posts up into the void and answering email. The joy will be doing it on my schedule.

As for afterwards? Some people have already asked me and I thought I would share where my brain is leading…

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Share Your Story at Alfresco’s 2014 Summit


Alfresco Summit 2014, SF Sept 23-25, London Oct 7-9Last year, Alfresco started holding business tracks at our annual Summit. There was a lot of good information shared about how people were using Alfresco and Content Management as a whole. I moderated two panels on Best Practices that were very lively.

We have announced the 2014 Alfresco Summit dates and we have opened the call for speakers for the event. We are taking topics for both the technical and business tracks. Jeff Potts, Alfresco’s Chief Community Officer, has written an article discussing what constitutes a good submission. Jeff hits a lot of great points and I highly recommend reading his post.

This year, Alfresco has given me charge of planning the business tracks. I will be working with the team to find the best stories to provide the best content to attendees.

What will we be looking for in the proposals? What will you see if you attend the Alfresco Summit? Here is a short list of questions we’ll be keeping in mind.

What Did You Solve?

The business track’s focus is on solving problems and creating solutions for business. What business problem did you solve? Was it a new or an old one? How did you solve it?

What Did You Learn?

Your experience matters. It is what makes your story unique. What have you learned? What advice would you pass on to others? How did you tackle challenges? What would you do differently?

What was Unique?

The last thing I want at any conference that I attend is a slate of  presentations telling the same story. I want to hear new stories, every year. That is what all attendees want to hear. Share what you did that was special. Brag. Inspire others to think of new ways to solve old problems.

Where are You Going?

Every organization has evolving needs and new challenges. Don’t simply share what you have accomplished. What is next? Are you focusing on Mobile, Cloud, Analytics, or some other technology?

What are We Looking For?

We want stories. We want a slate of presentations that any one of us would pay to see. There will be extra points for creativity. Our goal is a breadth of stories that represent the wide variety of ways people are using Alfresco. We want people to walk away from the program with fresh ideas on how to use Alfresco and Content Management to improve how they do business.

What Is In It For Me?

It is a chance to brag. It is a chance to attend the Alfresco Summit and learn lessons that you can take back. It is a chance to trade war stories with others who have tackled similar challenges. I have spoken at many events and all have been very beneficial for me professionally on many levels.

Get started on your proposal now so you can share what you have learned. We are taking proposals through the end of April but don’t wait. Think it through and get it in early.

Looking forward to reading your stories and then hearing them in person this Fall.