Open Source ECM is Dead

imageIt finally happened. An acquisition in the ECM space that was so newsworthy I had to write about it. One so big that it is going to fundamentally change the market.

Hyland just announced that they are acquiring Nuxeo.

I never thought that an acquisition involving these two firms would be so newsworthy. However, this is the second acquisition of a major open source ECM vendor in the past year by Hyland. And that is the problem.

There were only two major open source ECM vendors in the market.

That’s right. A single vendor, who was not in the open source market before they bought Alfresco, has acquired both major players. While this may not spell the end of open source in the ECM space, it does mean the end of true choice.

And only with one choice, you do not have a competitive ecosystem.

The Coexistence of Alfresco and Nuxeo

Let’s look at the practicalities of the acquisition, putting aside the open source nature of both Alfresco and Nuxeo. Alfresco was a good fit. They had a larger footprint with “enterprise” customers and their content services architecture was more cloud ready. There was a little bit of overlap but there were lot of reasons to not worry.

Nuxeo overlaps with Alfresco quite a bit. It has a stronger digital asset management (DAM) offering and a more advanced technical architecture. It is lacking in records management features, though that can be compensated by leveraging a tool with federated records management capabilities, like the one within Alfresco.

Alfresco was liked by enterprise buyers. Nuxeo was liked by the technical geeks. However, as Alan Pelz-Sharpe points out, there was no love lost between the vendors because they saw each other, rightly so in my opinion, as each others main competitor.

Future of Content Services

Right now, Hyland is a big unknown. Will they provide information governance capabilities for Nuxeo and use that as their cloud baseline? Will they take Nuxeo’s DAM and engineers but ditch the rest? Whatever the direction, it will take time to get everything structured at Hyland and moving in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Microsoft 365 and Open Text have to be a little concerned. If Hyland does things correctly, Hyland is going to be a strong competitor. Best case scenario, they can leverage the uncertainty for the next year to retain customers thinking of leaving and to win a few more deals before Hyland comes out swinging.

The biggest winner, and likely the only one in both the short-term and the long-term, is Box. They have benefited by the on-premises ECM industry failing to successfully attack the cloud. They just got one more chance to “win” the industry, just when they might need it.

What Is Next?

It is hard to say. There is clearly an opportunity for some vendor to step-up and become a significant player. Perhaps one of the headless CMS (content management systems) players that are making a splash in the web content management (WCM) space.

To be honest, I half expected Amazon to buy Nuxeo and turn them into an AWS offering. If Amazon created an ECM offering, perhaps with Textract tied-in, that could be formidable. Microsoft may also decide to move past checkbox content services and turn SharePoint into a real platform.

A lot could happen. For the next few months, everything should be status quo. If I was a cloud native vendor, I’d be closing my gaps and getting ready to pounce on the clients being left behind. Right now, Box is likely the best positioned. Their largest weak spot, from a content services perspective, is their lethargic content modeling.

And that can be compensated for if necessary.

Book Review: Designing Connected Content

Designing Connected ContentTwo book reviews in a row? Yep. As I said in my last review, I’m reading non-fiction a lot more now and I have a backlog of industry books to read. One of the authors of this book, Carrie Hane, is a good friend. I watched her work on Designing Connect Content for pretty much all of 2017. I was very excited to finally get my copy.

For years, Carrie and her co-author, Mike Atherton, have been talking about Designing Future Friendly Content. In the web world this means using a structured content model so that the management of the content is not tightly coupled with the presentation layer. As design trends change, your content and underlying website structure doesn’t have to. Taken to its ultimate conclusion, you are looking at a headless Content Management System (CMS) supporting one or more presentation layers (web, mobile, Alexa…).

They finally took the time to write a book on the topic. It was time well spent.

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Book Review: Web Content Management

Web Content Management by Deane BarkerA long time ago, Deane Barker swung through DC on business and I was lucky enough to have breakfast with him. Even luckier, he gave me a copy of the book he had recently published through O’Reilly, Web Content Management. After nearly two years, during which I read very few non-fiction books, I picked it up and gave it a read.

I’m glad that I did.

I am not going to profess having learned a ton about Web Content Management (WCM) from reading Deane’s book. After all, I have been doing this whole content management thing for a while. However, it was great to read a collection of wisdom from Deane’s decades of experience focused in this domain. Deane is an excellent write and his practical (and witty) use of footnotes really conveys what is involved when you tackle a WCM project.

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Charting a Path for Managing the Customer Experience

New Picture (3)Today I am breaking my blogging drought by cheating. By cheating I mean that I attended a breakfast hosted by ICF Ironworks and Sitecore to hear Ron Rogowski of Forrester speak on Customer Experience Management. During the session I, among others, tweeted quite a bit using the hash tag #icfcxm.

Before diving in, want to say that Ron was smart, knowledgeable, and entertaining. The room was heavy with Association types and his experience in the space was minimal but most of what he said applied very nicely to the world of Associations.

Why Customer Experience Management

I know that many, including myself, will call it a craponym, but CEM/CXM is a valid concept. Knock the marketing lingo all you want, managing the customer’s experience with you and your brand is critical. As proof of this, Ron pointed to someone who had taken the top 10 companies in CXM, as per Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, and the bottom 10 companies and tracked their stock price over five years.

You know what he found?

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Sitecore Sym NA: Sitecore Roadmap

One more session today, the Product Roadmap. Normally I prefer these sessions in the morning so I have time for the entire conference to follow-up. Given that I personally needed more background first, I’ll let it slide. Once again, Darren Guarnaccia is speaking. Dude is earning his pay today.

  • CMS 6.6 this quarter, November 5, 2012
    • Mobile SDK, Device simulation, MVC (new development approach)
    • Mobile SDK, build mobile apps with Sitecore managed content
      • iOS first, Android later
      • Restful API’s that are optimized for mobile applications
      • Device Specific API’s, First for iOS devices in Objective C
      • SDK for creating an “App Shell”
    • Device simulation allows viewing a page in different simulated mobile devices through page editor

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Sitecore Sym NA: Leveraging SEO to Drive Measureable Customer Engagement

Here to hear Ted Prodromou talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Any tidbit that I learn that can help us is important.

  • Good Old Days, SEO 1.0, was easy back then
    • Meta fields, repeating terms, keyword stuffing, and links all USED to work well
    • Meta Titles still works well
    • Meta Description is useful because it will show-up in the Google result (helps people choose your result)
  • Panda and Penquin (monthly) updates to cut down on cheating
  • Thriving in current SEO world

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Sitecore Sym NA: Social Connected Deep Dive

Checking out the Sitecore Social Connector. If you’ve been to the AIIM website, you see that we do a little of this. I want to do it better. I’m here to see if we can do it cost effectively. David Morrison is presenting in this session.

  • Version 1.3 was just released and it is a free module (Nice confirmation for ignorant people like myself)
  • Social Brainstorm
    • Simplify visitor registration and authentication
    • Post content to social networks directly from CMS
    • Manage multiple Facebook accounts

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Sitecore Sym NA: Product Track Keynote

First, going to abbreviate the conference name in the title. It is just too long. This session is Driving Tangible Business Value through Integrated Cross-Channel Marketing. Being presented by Lars Birkholm Petersen and Darren Guarnaccia.

  • This track is focused on Best Practices and what is shipping or about to ship
  • Improved Customer Experience = Improved Share Price, Consistency drives loyalty, Integrated marketers outperform
  • People, Process, and technology (Like any business problem)

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Sitecore Symposium North America 2012 Keynote

Notes from this morning’s Keynote. Not sure how much I’ll be blogging the event but I figured the keynote was one thing that needed to be covered.

Michael Seifert, CEO and Co-Founder takes the stage…

  • 500 in Boston last year, 1,000 this year in Vegas
  • Customers don’t want to have to tell you what they want, the customer wants you to anticipate what they want
  • WYSIWYG of tomorrow is “What You Need Is What You Get”

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