Even though the enterprise content management (ECM) market is a mature one, vendors still struggle to meet rapidly changing business and worker needs. The rise of mobility, demands for easy collaboration and the push to provide better customer experiences are all emerging as market drivers.

Enterprises, meanwhile, continue to look to ECM to put content into the applications where it is most needed. According to new data from Nucleus Research, this is pushing vendors to develop strategies that are based around simplification and integration, wider user adoption as well as mobile and sharing capabilities.

In attempt to help prospective ECM buyers, Nucleus has just released its Technology Matrix H1 2014 ECM. It evaluates the abilities of vendors to deliver ECM systems based on usability and functionality, as well as an analysis of how vendors are innovating to keep their place in the ECM market.

As well as being challenged to provide new functionalities, vendors are also being challenged by developments outside their control and in other areas of technology. Cloud computing is a perfect example.

ECM vendors are now being forced to develop either pure cloud-based versions of what were previously on-premises ECMs or those increasingly popular hybrid solutions that blend the cloud with on-premises deployments.

Enterprises that are buying these products look to ensure end-user adoption and maximum return on investment (ROI).

Key Trends

Nucleus has identified three trends that are now being pulled into the product roadmap for ECM applications:

  • Simplification: Simplifying the end-user experience and making it easier for workers to work has become the priority, as has automating more processes to reduce training times
  • Integration: There is a move away from standalone solutions toward integration with other applications
  • Mobility and collaboration: Focus on ways to help employees create, access and share content securely from mobile devices

Nucleus Methodology

Before looking at vendors that made it into the leaders quadrant (and latter in the week at the other vendors in the other quadrants), a quick word about the methodology.

The Value Matrix is based on functionality and usability, the two core measures that Nucleus says indicate an application’s ability to deliver initial ROI and maximum value over time.

It is divided into four quadrants: Leaders, Experts, Facilitators, and Core Providers. If this sounds similar to Gartner’s MQs there are two important differences. Gartner’s Quadrant is based on absolute values, while the Nucleus analysis is presented as relative values, in which vendors are compared to each other.

The other major difference is that the Nucleus quadrant is published twice a year with the axis rebalanced for every different publication.

Each vendor’s location on the Matrix is the result of the usability and functionality scores assigned to that vendor based on interviews that Nucleus analysts have had with end users.

As part of Nucleus’s analysis, customers are asked to evaluate both the application they selected as well as other vendors they considered. (These are the main criteria, but there is a lot more on this, which Nucleus outlined in a paper specifically on this from 2012).

Then the vendors were broken down into quadrants. Vendors in the Leaders quadrant are those that have invested in both functionality and usability features that are likely to deliver the greatest potential returns. In this Matrix and in this order, they include:

  • OpenText
  • Oracle
  • IBM
  • OnBase
  • EMC
  • HP Autonomy
  • Perceptive Software
  • SpringCM

1. OpenText

OpenText, according to Nucleus, is top dog. This is probably not a surprise given developments over the past two years since it outlined its five-pillars of information management strategy two years ago and followed it up with Project Oxygen, which it unveiled last November.

According to Nucleus, its portfolio of offerings is constantly growing in both depth and breath, while moving from 2013 to 2014 has focused to a large extent on improving usability across collaboration, sharing and content access features.

Users also noted OpenText’s ability to respond quickly to business needs as an important quality, while its ongoing integration with other vendor offerings to provide better users experiences is also a major plus.

Nucleus says it expects OpenText to continue to streamline its product offerings and introduce new social and mobile functionality to increase the ease of deployment and overall usability of its solutions.

2. Oracle

Oracle has taken a two-pronged approached to developing the functionality and usability of its WebCenter offerings while the depth of its application infrastructure makes it an easily integrated complimentary content management application for all Oracle systems.

Nucleus points out that Oracle is extending the functionality of its content management integrations with other applications outside mainstream ECM, like applications for customer relationships management (CRM), or enterprise resource planning (ERP), making it easier for users to collaboration, capture and manage content directly form the application interface.