The enterprise content management (ECM) market looks set to change again. According to new research form Boston-based Nucleus Research, enterprises are taking to the idea of storing content on external servers.
ECM vendors have moved into agile mode and are now focusing on the development and simplification of their systems as well as automation and integration of new capabilities to generate value propositions for customers.
Both trends, Nucleus claims, are being driven by the massive increase in the amount of information that enterprises are storing thanks to drops in storage prices. This is being accelerated by the fact that strategic information is losing its value quicker than ever, with the half-life of strategic information now only 56 hours, the company concluded.
The result is that vendors are being forced to look at the lifecycle management of data that includes the archiving and disposing of information that is no longer relevant.
Nucleus noted that its research has shown customers are averaging $7.50 returned for every dollar spent in their ECM deployments.
Despite the relative maturity of the ECM market, vendors continue to develop and enhance offerings for cloud and hybrid deployments as users increasingly turn to these environments to produce higher return on investment.
In all, then, Nucleus identified four driving forces:
- Simplification: Many vendors are developing their user interfaces (UI) to make their platforms more intuitive and easy to use
- Automation: Reducing human error by cutting the number of people that touch content by automating the content extraction processes
- Integration: Developing integration with other ECM platforms, or providing adding functionality when they can’t
- Mobility and collaboration: These continue to be milestones in the roadmap for vendors
ECM Value Matrix
The findings appear in Nucleus’ ECM Value Matrix for the second half of 2014. Nucleus identifies Leaders as those that provide products that are easily deployed on premise, in the cloud, or in hybrid solutions.
Leaders, Nucleus notes, offer functionality without complexity and an increased number of content integrations while automating the content management process. EMC, HP Autonomy, IBM, M-Files, OpenText, Oracle, Perceptive Software and SpringCM are all ranked as leaders.
However, like Gartner’s Magic Quadrants, Nucleus has three other quadrants populated by vendors offering different abilities. They include:
- Experts: Alfresco, Kofax, OnBase and Xerox
- Facilitators: Digitec, DocSTAR, Fabasoft, Intralinks, Microsoft, Newgen, Software Innovation
- Core Providers: EverTeam, Laserfiche, Objective, Systemware, Unisys
When thinking ECM and EMC, most organizations think Documentum, which also has InfoArchive and Syncplicity as separate, related products. Earlier this year EMC released multiple new functions and features for Documentum that focused on integration with other content management systems.
Documentum is also being used to improve the functionality of other systems. It currently uses its content and process management integration to improve collaboration and search functionality SharePoint, SAP, Salesforce.com, and Microsoft Office. EMC’s InfoArchive platform enables users store structured and unstructured information. While it is a separate product to Documentum, the two are complementary and often considered a complete package.
Finally, EMC also continues to invest in Syncplicity, which provides document sharing, viewing and editing capabilities across platforms. It is designed for each platform individually to optimize the user experience, and supports private and public cloud, hybrid and on-premises solutions.
HP has been integrating Autonomy technology across its wider portfolio, especially information governance.
It has developed this through the integration of ECM capabilities across a number of products enabling users access to a broad range of services to manage and utilize content stored in enterprise repositories in the cloud, or on premises.
In August, HP Autonomy released Records Manager 8.1 improving document capture search and disposal as well as developing integration with Office 365 and SharePoint. It also received a significant boost with the introduction of Autonomy’s IDOL server, enabling users search and analyze unstructured data.
This is particularly useful given the reluctance of enterprises to dispose of data because of evolving regulatory regimes. IDOL offers enterprises better control of the information lifecycle and access rights.
IBM has been working hard in the ECM space and has succeeded in confirming its position as a leader with the last six months spent integrating its content management capabilities with other IBM services. It has also expanded its reach internationally with the addition of 26 new languages in its support program.
Other developments that should help it manage content include integration with Cognos and Watson and should result in better customer reporting by improving accuracy and refinement of the information being discovered.
IBM has a range of ECM products that provide advanced capture, content management, and analytics and are sold as pay-as-you-go, but it has recently been investing in marketing more out-of-the-box bundled packages.
According to Nucleus, IBM will continue to push automation in information governance through continued development of auto-tagging, document capture and secure data disposal.
M-Files has been developing its folderless document management system over the years and now offers advanced functionality like metadata search, process and content archiving.
The key to M-Files’ folderless system is the use of metadata, which prevents document duplication and easy retrieval, while the intuitive interface allows for easy search and the ranking of findings.
Over the years it has partnered with 18 hardware and software vendors including Microsoft, Salesforce and Epson to improve its functionality and end-use experience.
M-Files offers document management (DMS), quality management (QMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions, while clients are able to pick whether to deploy on-premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.
OpenText continued to develop its ECM capabilities by making it easier to collaborate, share and access content. In November it announced a completely cloud-based content management platform - - OpenText Core.
OpenText also offers hybrid-solutions for data storage while its focus on cloud-first development will help its customers attain a greater ROI. Core also integrates social features to improve collaboration on its platform including a Facebook-style ‘like’ commenting feature, along with automatic syncing and version protection.
However, Core is only one of five suites it has on the market at the moment including a discovery suite, a customer experience suite, and information exchange suite and a business process management suite. It also continues to develop its partnerships with Oracle, Microsoft and SAP. Nucleus says OpenText is likely to extend the cloud-based rebuild of its ECM platform to its other product suites.
Oracle’s WebCenter provides a platform that is suited for customers that are already embedded in Oracle’s ecosystem. It is also suited for mobile applications and integrates with the full range of Oracle middleware and business solutions.
Oracle is still making it easy for users to capture, manage and collaborate on content directly from the applications interface. Feature integration across Oracle’s business applications drive productivity by eliminating time wasted in switching between platform interfaces.
Nucleus says it expects Oracle to continue to improve the usability of its solutions with an ongoing focus on user experience by simplifying the UI design, improving automation and developing deeper content management integrations.
Perceptive is also a company that just keeps developing and has acquired several companies that it is using to develop its core strengths and become an ECM vendor able to reduced organizational complexity. Its acquisition strategy has resulted in improved enterprise-wide search, archival, text mining and mobile technology.
It has also enabled Perceptive to develop web-based document imaging and workflow integration along with medical imaging capture and management.
Perceptive Content 7 is a fully integrated solution that is functional throughout the content lifecycle, while customization continues to be a principal reason for the selection of Perceptive over its competitors.
As more and more enterprises start moving to the cloud, SpringCM has been in a position to ride the wave into the cloud as one of the first vendors to offer a cloud-based content management system.
SpringCM integrates with Salesforce with a simple and dynamic interface that ands and removes action buttons based on what is appropriate for the selected content. It also integrates with integrates with Oracle FusionCRM and Oracle Sales Cloud.
Nucleus says it expects SpringCM to further develop strategic partnerships to allow for a richer feature set along with a more streamlined user experience. It also says that if it were to streamline the process of opening, editing and saving new modifications it would increase its value even more for its customers.