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2013: Enterprise Content Management Comes Full Circle

In 2012, the enterprise content management industry saw tons of growth and movement — and 2013 promises to shake it up even further.

According to research by the Radicati Group, the ECM market will continue to grow from US$ 4.4 billion in 2012 to over US$ 7.5 billion in 2016 — an average growth rate of 15 percent over the next four years. Given the growth, there is bound to be more changes in the landscape even as we move into the New Year, and 2013 promises more.

Below are a few predictions that will begin to unfold next year:  

The Social Enterprise: This is NOT Facebook

While social media for business is a concept that’s here to stay, more companies will question the value and need for standalone social enterprise vendor platforms during 2013. The US$ 1.2 billion acquisition of Yammer was shocking, but the hype surrounding the social enterprise will wane. Interest in independent social enterprise vendors will dry up and many features will be deemed unnecessary.

Instead of adopting new social enterprise platforms that prove to be just disconnected silos, social features will be built into all types of business applications and platforms to better connect and engage employees, partners, customers and other stakeholders.

Enterprise buyers will be looking to avoid the Dropbox effect and purchase platforms with built-in social enterprise features with a focus on being more secure and scalable over time. Social media won’t be relegated to one department such as marketing communications, but used across multiple departments that drive true business productivity.

Work is Finally Mobile, Now What?

The mobile office will become a business reality, along with demand for enterprise-grade file sharing and synchronization. In the past year, we've seen widespread enterprise adoption of mobile devices, but their use remained confined by the limitations of safely accessing content anywhere, anyhow. 2013 will be the year of sync or swim for business tablets as they evolve from personalized, pure content consumption to mature, content creation devices that better serve enterprise needs to deliver real ROI.

Metadata: Good Cop, Bad Cop

In 2013, metadata will be the new “BYOD police officer” as it becomes widely relied upon and used beyond the traditional ECM market. Companies will aggressively adopt metadata from security to automating business processes. We are just starting to see how metadata can expose threats and simplify processes through automated workflows.

Cloud Wars Reveal That Clouds Aren't Enough

With the invasion of so many of the cloud "disruptors" grabbing market share and sounding off an alarm in 2012, some of the large tech giants have begun fighting back. We've already seen signs of this with the acquisition of Syncplicity and Easylink. Next year, I believe we’ll see more of this trend, with traditional ECM vendors trying to acquire their way to cloud relevance.

Consequently, it’s do or die time for cloud-only providers like Box, Dropbox, Huddle and SugarSync. In 2013, I expect some of the hype surrounding the cloud-only providers to subside as enterprise’s demand full ECM capabilities to be extended to the cloud. Within our own contacts, we’re beginning to hear that cloud-only systems won’t suffice.

Vendor Monopoly Yields to Open Standards

Recently, many companies have attempted to lock-in users the way they wished they could in the 80’s and 90’s with Microsoft. But in 2013, history will repeat itself and people will react similarly, looking for alternatives as they did in the previous technology cycles and looking to open standard-based companies to provide the choice for them.

In the new year, we will see more cloud-based tools and apps that allow users to be more productive on mobile devices because they can sync their work or tasks from their content creation devices behind firewalls to mobile devices while still adhering to corporate content policies.

In 2012, enterprises really began to see the advantages of a hybrid ECM approach, and the possibilities really took off. Companies are now able to sync products in the cloud and on-premises, in addition to extending capabilities within mobile apps.

As some of the bells and whistles that the tech industry offered in 2012 begin to shake themselves out, 2013 will provide clearer focus into what enterprises truly need to manage content from anywhere on any device.

Editor's Note: Interested in reading more of John's thoughts on the social enterprise? Try Social Business is About Conversations

About the Author

John Newton, CTO and Chairman, Alfresco, has had one of the longest and most influential careers in content management. John is also the Chairman of AIIM, the industry and advocacy group for content management.management. In 1990, John co-founded, designed and led the development of Documentum, the leader in content management acquired by EMC. For the next ten years, he invented many of the concepts widely used in the industry today. In addition, he built Documentum's marketing and professional services organizations in Europe. Follow John on Twitter @johnnewton.

 
 
 
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