Content Management, Platforms or Solutions?

Pendulum about to cut a man in half in the movie "Pit and the Pendulum"The Content Management industry is rife with contradictions. The biggest of which is that the business just wants solutions to their problems while IT wants a common platform from an established player to make integrations and upgrades less risky.

I’m not sure how we solve this problem and I am tired of watching the pendulum swing back and forth.

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Heartbleed is NOT an Open Source Issue

I was going to write a nice, calm post today when I came across Ralph Losey’s piece on the Heartbleed bug. It is a long piece and you can tell it was written by a lawyer. I have nothing against lawyers as two of my oldest and closest friends are lawyers. I’ve met and talked to Ralph before. He is a smart guy and general understands how technology can change the world. Ralph simply misses the point on Open Source.

Completely misses it.

This was a bug that was not caught before release, the same as happens in proprietary software. I know as I’ve released a few bugs in my day.

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Strategy Versus Tactics in Content Management

One of the things I REALLY like about my job is the chance to talk to clients, prospects, and people throughout the industry. Nothing helps you learn a technology or vertical like a project, but nothing helps you keep a broader perspective than talking to a wide array of people.

Last month I visited two such companies that were taking different approaches to the same situation. While both approaches have benefits, I began to ask myself…

Which is the best approach?

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Security, Real or Imagined?

I’ve opined on the security of cloud solutions in the past, usually stating that the odds were good that established cloud vendors have better security than the average data center. Yesterday, I saw an shared an article about how researchers reversed engineered the Dropbox client. While this isn’t necessarily a critical issue for Dropbox, it does raise some interesting discussion points around security through obfuscation.

First, the Research

The researchers decompiled the Dropbox client which was compiled in a manner that decompiling was difficult. Once the researchers were able to do it, they hijacked the account. Given that a program would already possess full access to a person’s machine to accomplish this, there wouldn’t be new data to access through the client.

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Services, The Open Source Hedge Against the Cloud

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how the traditional vendors are being disrupted and are going to face an increasing number of challenges from the new cloud vendors. I want to take a minute to talk about why the Open Source vendors, like Alfresco and Nuxeo, are likely to not be disrupted.

Don’t get me wrong, the question of usability that hurt the likes of EMC, IBM, and Oracle still applies to the Open Source vendors. The key difference is that usability is the open door, not the actual disruption.

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Review: The New Kingmakers


I will admit that I have been following what Stephen O’Grady and James Governor have been doing over at Redmonk for quite some time. They were doing for developers what I wish people had been doing when I was a developer. When Stephen published his book, I promptly went out and got it…and then had to wait to find time to read it.

I am so glad that I did. It took a little more time to get around to writing this review, but it is important to write because The New Kingmakers is full of truth. What Stephen has written about is the critical start of the trend we are seeing all over the world of technology.

Before I go into that, let me talk about the book.

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Nuxeo World 2011, A Healthy Start

I had the pleasure of flying to France to speak at the second Nuxeo World last week. While my primary purpose was to deliver a quick little keynote on Content Management Trends (slides and CMS Wire article), I had ulterior motives:

  • Where are they going?
  • Do they know Records Management?
  • Are they capable?

I had enough of an answer on each question to enter into a partnership with Nuxeo, but this was all about long-term planning and strategy. I thought I’d share what I learned while letting them learn that there are pros and cons to the publicity that they get by working with me, just ask EMC (who has accepted the balance).

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Splintering of the Content Management Market

Life was so easy 10 years ago in this market. Web Content Management was simply publishing unless you were one of those companies doing business online. Enterprise Content Management wasn’t a reality, but we thought it was just waiting for the blending of the core technical capabilities. When it came to selecting a technology, it was a simple matter of matching capabilities with requirements.

Today, Web Content Management is much more complicated. ECM is more “challenging” than we thought it would be to execute. When it comes to selecting solutions, the traditional vendors usually can check every box but it is slightly more complicated. Do you want open source? Do you want to be in the cloud? These questions are frequently asked by users. Those questions have re-segregated the Content Management market.

None of this is really new, but let’s look at the impact to the consulting world.

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The Challenge for the “ECM” Vendors

image I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but I’ve been a tad busy.  Then today, I saw a post over at the Real Story Group by the ever-so-wise Alan Pelz-Sharpe.  In that post, he talks about the High Cost of Support, and how it seems to be rising.  It is a great post that cuts a little into the financial actions of some of the vendors.

This is important to understand because financial incentives is what drives behavior at product companies, and all companies for that matter.  Even startups that do anything and everything to please customers, but aside from a few founders with visions of a new world order, they are driving towards the payoff of the IPO.

With that in mind, let’s look at how some of the financial systems at Enterprise Software Vendors, not just Content Management, impact behavior of their employees and thereby impact the customers.  Keep in mind that they’re are exceptions to the rule.

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The ECM Innovator’s Dilemma

So I promised an ECM specific follow-up to my book review on Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma.  There is a lot to talk about, so I’m not going to blather on with a long intro (though this sentence seems to be compounding the issue) and get right to it.

Or not…I have some disclaimers/notes:

  • Going to try and use as much of Chistensen’s terminlogy as possible.  This isn’t to say that he has a perfect model, or even 80% model, of what is happening.  It just helps to keep the terminology consistent during this particular post.
  • Every Content Management company is different and the observations will not apply universally.  Every company reacts differently.  That said, if I didn’t think that this applied to a large number of vendors, I would have targeted this post at particular vendors.

NOW we can get started.

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