This article was published for the September/October 2003 issue of AIIM's E-Doc magazine, but was just brought to our attention today. It covers some interesting topics in the ECM space and specifically discusses the competitive landscape between Microsoft, IBM, FileNet, OpenText, Vignette, and Documentum. Below are some highlights. Several indicators strongly suggest a changing landscape for content management By Tom Dale Understanding where enterprise content management (ECM) is going requires understanding where ECM is right now. Analyzing the marketing and technology directions of the major ECM players, when combined with understanding the general information technology market and buying trends, provides strong hints as to how the ECM marketplace will play out over the next three to five years. And how the ECM marketplace plays out affects the quality of decisions we make today, since decisions-especially major purchasing decisions-are often judged in hindsight. ... Let's take a closer look at what's been happening in the mass market arena. Many smaller organizations, what can be considered the business mainstream, have been buying what Gartner calls IDARS (integrated document archiving and retrieval software), i.e., storage into and retrieval from an electronic filing cabinet, which results in a labor savings of 40-50%. HIPAA requirements further appear to be assisting IDARS adoption among healthcare providers, traditionally technology laggards. In general, the larger of smaller organizations are moving towards EDMS (what Gartner calls IDM or integrated document management) over the next 2 to 4 years or so. ... On the ECM high end, FileNet, Documentum, and IBM seem to be the companies chasing the true enterprise deals, with FileNet and IBM most often direct competitors because of installed base in financial services. FileNet and IBM tend not to encounter Microsoft as a competitor for the high end. On the Web side, Microsoft, with its Content Management Server, most frequently confronts Documentum, Interwoven, and Vignette. On the document side, Microsoft appears to most frequently compete with Open Text and Hummingbird and only infrequently with IBM and FileNet, with Documentum somewhere in between. IBM and Microsoft have very quietly become the largest two out of the big four in IDM/ECM. ... IBM has been repackaging content management around DB2, its DBMS (database management system) product. IBM has merged its Content Manager and DB2 technologies, not to mention shifting the repository for Lotus Notes to DB2. Content Manager typically goes hand-in-hand with IBM's WebSphere Portal product. IBM's acquisition of Tarian Software for records management gives it a well-rounded, fairly complete suite, all based on its DB2 DBMS. As the DBMS has provided infrastructure for IT organizations for years, IBM apparently believes that content management is infrastructure, and has packaged it that way. Microsoft's advancements in the Windows Server 2003 platform, when considered in light of its SQL Server and SharePoint advancements, indicates its increasing emphasis at extending collaboration and document management platform capabilities for its ISVs (independent software vendors). History has shown that Microsoft focuses on volume markets, and extending the platform appears to be part of a timed strategy to grab the IDARS and IDM volume business market, i.e., small and midsized businesses. Microsoft too has shifted the repository for Exchange to its DBMS (SQL Server). Microsoft furthermore has announced Jupiter which will integrate its collection of servers-BizTalk, Content Management, and Commerce-to create a platform for helping customers build and integrate portals. ... The big three database manufacturers are Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft. They will likely continue to be the big three for the foreseeable future. And it appears that the engine that powers ECM will be the database. ECM convergence will occur simply because there are not enough customers around to support the number of vendors chasing enterprise dollars. Convergence will mean a big three. IBM has taken the approach to scale down DB2 from the enterprise to the mid-market. Microsoft takes the approach to continually improve a cost-effective product over time, thereby taking the mid-market to the enterprise, as it has with SQL Server, Exchange, and its other enterprise products. Oracle's intentions regarding ECM are less clear. Read the original article.